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The One About The $10,000

The story about how I made and lost 10K without it ever reaching my bank account, or the typical process of filmmaking.

The One About The $10,000

This is an article I haven't really been wanting to write, mainly because this is incredibly complicated to explain and sort of depressing. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened, mainly because it was something that I never thought would happen. I guess like most stories about "the process" it begins with a script. I wrote a twenty-seven-page script called "Payday," that was inspired by my life as a college student. I also had a friend, or rather acquaintance, in Stern. Let's call him "Hoffman."

Hoffman? Yeah?Columbia Pictures

It's hard to pin down how I got to know Hoffman. He just showed up on Facebook one day asking questions about NYU as he was going to be starting here in the spring. I answered his questions and proceeded on with my semester. After this, there were a couple instances where he pestered me to add him to Facebook or to stop doing things on Facebook, and I mostly ignored it. He was more annoying than anything else, and he displayed a fervent obsession with my film endeavors and I was fine with sharing scripts and such. But I didn't think much of it. After all, I had a life to live. So what if he was a bit weird, I shrugged him off. Then he saw "Payday" andupon seeing the first page, offered to give me 20 grand to make it.

He then said something about eternal friendship, asking me if I wanted his clout, me refusing said clout and he guaranteed that he was able to somehow earn me my money, showing me his bank account balance to prove it. The whole time I felt like I was gonna be offered a line of coke, and not the vanilla or cherry kind. Or even the zero kind. Not even the real sugar kind. This was the kind someone who had amassed a couple hundred thousand running a sports betting website would have.

Now, this was a jackpot moment for me, but immediately, the wealth of responsibility, no pun intended, hit me like a sack of bricks. I was besieged with Facebook messages from people looking to work on the project, and I settled on an AD and a producer.

However, this is where things began to get weird, weirder than usual, even for me. Immediately after I got a meeting with the producer and the AD, Hoffman starting to accuse me of things and want things. Before, after I had stopped talking to him for a bit, he immediately became distraught over the state of our "friendship." I was left confused but managed to diffuse the situation more than once, by giving valid reasons, like being busy with school, unsure if he went to NYU etc.

Once the money entered the picture, he began accusing me of only wanting the money, when in fact, I hadn't even asked. He'd offered in his own words, to help me realize my vision and make a product I was happy with. Things further got more complex when my producer gave him control over the main antagonist, so he wouldn't feel left out of the creative process.

This turned into him faking the permission of my producer to convince me to make changes, ranging from adding bikini-clad females into one scene for no plot reason, a Heineken reference, changing the script to revolve around the character he'd been given control over, and essentially ejecting all of my work.

Needless to say, he left the project.

I'm not really sure what was the lesson I learned from this. Maybe it was that money is a powerful force. It can cause us to overlook behaviors that should be concerning. It gives us the belief that we can handle Herculean tasks. The fact is that if we're not ready, we can't. Some people are beyond our understanding and believe that what they're offering guarantees them more control than what was agreed upon.

I jumped the gun. I jumped the shark. I almost sold my soul for money and being stalked by a weirdo. So "Payday" sits on the shelf for now. It's better this way. I have time to hone my skills, my style, build my own audience. Maybe I'll make it one day my way. This would've been a huge opportunity, but I thought I could control someone who had the ability to wrestle it from my hands. This was a learning experience, and I'm sure I'll try my best to avoid taking the easy way out. Anyway, long week, longer article, time for bed.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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