YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW
Tom here. I am one of the writers of Arab In America. Not the short one, the long one. Or the one that’s too long. Whatever. Most of you probably don’t know of me as my involvement with the short was very limited, but I like to think I had some helpful pointers here and there. I suppose that lead me to writing here — on the ‘Making Arab In America‘ blog.
YESTERDAY, Nabil told me he had this idea to do this blog, and so here I am. This is my first blog ever. I have never once thought about starting, writing, participating, reading, loving, hating, obsessing, fantasizing, dreaming, or smearing a blog, so if it is a bit uneven, sue me. (Seriously don’t really, I’m a broke filmmaker too!) Okay! So far, so good. I feel like I can say whatever I want, and it doesn’t matter. So a blog is for venting then? A perfect place for the guys behind Arab In America!
Except for one thing. Where to start?
I am honestly not bitter about any of our close calls, potential buys, and even a few name actors who enjoyed our story but didn’t want to bite. Seriously, who gets that lucky immediately after graduating film school?! It has been one of the most rewarding and informative journeys I have endured in my young twenty-three years. It was fun, and above all, was the kind of thing I want to be doing. That being said, none of us have any intention of giving up. We may move on to other things, and Arab may never get made, but giving up is for losers, getting smart is for us.
I think we’re smart guys. Nabil and Colin were smart enough to know they had a good idea on their hands. They asked for my help, so naturally that’s another check on the smart list. My credibility I suppose lied with my own limited (but existent) feature film knowledge (called I Am The Bluebird for anyone listening). Anyway, so I helped. And we worked together hard and long for many many months — I’m going to skip a year of that process and go right to the ‘Oh-Shit-Houston-We-Have-A-Problem!’ moment — the political climate keeps changing!
It took us smart guys a long time to realize that right!? Now before you tell yourselves, “No shit Sherlock! My dead parakeet’s rotten corpse fifteen inches under the rock in my backyard could’ve called that!?”, it gets a bit more complicated.
See, everyone knows someone with a great movie idea. We were those people to a lot of others. And haven’t you noticed that those movie ideas are almost always films perfectly acclimated for a studio? Doesn’t Arab In America sound like that? It’s the perfect edgy tent-pole comedy! Maybe that’s where we made our mistake. If Akiva Goldsman wrote it, it would’ve been shot before any studio exec green-lit the thing. I’ll sum it up by saying that for unknowns like ourselves with a politically satirical script relevant to TODAY, it proved a lot harder for anyone who had the power to say yes. Don’t worry, I haven’t gotten to the complicated part yet. We got this script (and idea) into many people’s hands who had the power to say yes, believe me. Turns out, when you have a good idea, that wasn’t so hard. It was the time it took to get the thing into those people’s hands that became the stinker.
A stinker you say!? Imagine a 12 once rib eye cooked to perfection. But somehow it gets misplaced in the middle of the desert and sits in the scorching heat for days. Vultures one by one peck at what was once the divine steak. Their nasty bald heads throw bacteria around like a wet dog. And to top it off, they’ve been enjoying themselves for so long that by the time they leave, there is nothing left but a pile of vulture dung. Yes, that kind of stinker.
I think normally, most aspiring filmmakers would not be so crushed by the amount of time between submitting a script, and it actually getting read. “What’s the problem!? It’s getting read!?” Well, if you have a script about killer monkeys in the jungle and some half-cyborg gorilla who speaks fluent English, lets just say you have a different kind of script. Nabil, Colin, and I spent a great deal of time writing about the current misconceptions and interpretations of the world — from the preposterous and obnoxious to the revealing and inspiring — all while putting our genuine humorous twist on it all for a full blown Arab “comedy of racial proportions!”
Turns out, by the time the guy read it. It was YESTERDAY’S news.
So, here we have the ‘Making Arab In America’ blog. My goals for this thing, while obviously hoping to provide some sort of perspective on the whole affair, is to keep moving forward. We have all decided, not only as the owners of this idea but as members of the next generation, that we all had something that we believed in. As screenwriters, we have the power to say something, to change something, and perhaps one day, make something. Whether its Arab In America or something else, I have no doubt we will get there. TOMORROW is a new day, and no one knows what will happen. Maybe somebody reads this and says, “Fuck it. Here’s four million dollars.”
That’s doubtful, but you never know.