We're Making a Movie!

Modelling! We’re just now roughing out the shapes in 3D from Carter’s amazing designs.

What you see here is merely a days worth of work. Just a rough pass to get the shapes together so we can give notes and fine tune.

The talented artists are Borja Lopez-Galiano, Pedro Conti, and Ramiro Garcia Salcedo.

This is so fun. I can’t show you too much (of course), but I’ll try to continue to update with every step as we go.

Next up:

Full models with textures.

Hair tests.

Rigging (bones to pose characters)

Facial expressions

Voice actors (some time around November I’ll be able to announce the talent)

And much more.

Stay tuned.

Scott

Color and Light!

Coming from an Illustration background (I majored in illustration at the Academy of Art in San Francisco), I tend to be drawn (no pun intended) to more painterly things.

Rather than studying great animators and movie history… I was taught to study the likes of NC Wyeth, JC Leyendecker, Howard Pyle, and Norman Rockwell (as well as MANY more great illustrators).

Unlike animation, Illustrators must tell a story with a SINGLE image. Through composition and color, body language and staging, they must guide the reader’s eye to the important parts of the painting.

I wanted to bring this type of storytelling to Animal Crackers. Using light to guide the audience’s eye. Using color to evoke emotion.

Since I would never have the time to illustrate this myself… I enlisted the help of my friend Nacho Molina and his partner Estefanía Pantoja Fernández. Two extremely accomplished illustrators who have an amazing grasp of light and color.

Over the last month, they have produced almost 300 illustrations to aid us in lighting and staging the scenes in the movie in a more “illustrative” way.

My hope is that this “touch of old school storytelling” will bring a classic polish to our movie.

I’ll try to post more in the future. But for now, hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Scott

Storyboards!

I was hoping I could update weekly. But with all of the travel, it’s pretty much impossible.

We’re storyboarding the film now. What you see here are some of the great John Pomeroy’s boards.

Yes.

THE John Pomeroy. This guy worked with Walt Disney! He co-founded Don Bluth Studios. He was the directing animator on Secret of Nimh and An American Tale. He was supervising animator of Pocahontas and Atlantis.

And now he’s working on our film!

And that’s not all. Our entire team consists of some of the greatest animators and directors in films who are taking up sequences and giving Animal Crackers every chance to be the wonderful film I always hoped it could be.

I’ll try to continue to update as often as possible. Show you all the amazing things we’re doing.

But it’s just so incredible to be in the midst of it all. Watching something I created out of the thought of “hey. Wouldn’t it be cool if Animal Crackers turned you into real animals?”, and seeing it come to life. Seeing it become a living breathing work of art.

I am in awe.

Unreal…

Sorry it’s been a couple weeks since the last update.

So much has been going on. We’ve begun hiring storyboard artists, we’re refining the environment and character designs, we’re casting actors, and so much more.

Last week, Tony Bancroft (Director) came out from Los Angeles to work with me here in Nashville. We spent a few days going over designs, budgets, schedules, our artistic preferences, story thoughts, and so much more.

It was a WONDERFUL and CREATIVE time. But something felt off…

After a bit of thinking… I realized….

"This doesn’t feel real."

Tony felt the same way.

We have been talking about making a movie together for at least a decade. And after so many failed attempts… here we are doing it… yet… it doesn’t feel like it’s really happening.

We’re funded. We’re making the movie. So why doesn’t this feel real?

I think it’s because we haven’t found a home yet.

When I go out to LA, we’re meeting at Jerry’s Deli or at our co-producer’s place at Sony. There’s no “official” production office.

This is okay for development. But in full production… we need a place.

I adopted (though some even say created) the concept of a “Virtual Studio” back in the late ‘90’s where I would hire artists around the world and we’d all work from home.

We’ve done this for television shows, film effects, commercials, and video games. It’s never been a problem.

But I’ve come to the sad conclusion that Virtual Studios just aren’t feasible for a feature film.

We have our studio in Valencia for animation/modelling, rendering. But nothing here in the states.

This is our next goal. Get a place for us to call home.

Hopefully, then, it will feel “real”.

Friday, Tony Bancroft and I got our first peek at Carter Goodrich’s initial designs for Animal Crackers.
Over 30 pages of the most amazing character concepts you can imagine. The shapes. The personalities. I just can’t tell you how awesome it was.
We had SUCH a productive week. I can’t wait to show you all more.

Friday, Tony Bancroft and I got our first peek at Carter Goodrich’s initial designs for Animal Crackers.

Over 30 pages of the most amazing character concepts you can imagine. The shapes. The personalities. I just can’t tell you how awesome it was.

We had SUCH a productive week. I can’t wait to show you all more.

A Triumph of the Human Spirit!"
“Brilliant!”
“The Greatest Screenplay I’ve ever read!

The reviews are in… and the Animal Crackers screenplay is a hit!

At least… with my two 11 year old sons and my wife.

So… there’s that.

I wanted to take a moment from production to talk about what an amazing experience it was to spend the last few months working with Dean Lorey on the script.

I’ve sung his praises a few weeks ago… so I won’t blather on about him again like that. I promise.

But, imagine it’s your first movie (like me) and you’ve written your first screenplay (also like me) and a major studio actually likes the script and wants to distribute your movie (again… me).

Now, imagine that you get to work with a professional screenwriter like Dean Lorey (or maybe… like me… ACTUALLY Dean Lorey) on a second draft of the script.

How would it play out in your mind?

Take a moment. Imagine this. You and Dean working on your screenplay…

Okay. That’s EXACTLY how it was!

I recently flew to Los Angeles to spend a week to put the final touches on the final draft of the Animal Crackers screenplay. Dean had just finished 8 weeks of rewrites on it and I was so eager to talk about it.

We spent 4 days going over every line, each character’s motivations, story arcs, humor, and more. It was amazing.

Because Dean had a place in Santa Monica, we took breaks on the beach, we ate red vines all day, and laughed at our own silly jokes. It was everything I could hope for.

But, here’s the crazy thing…

Dean has over 20 years of screenwriting experience. I have NONE.

Dean went to NYU to study Film.

Heck. I went to ART SCHOOL so I didn’t have to take classes like English or Writing. (Well… that and I was pretty good at drawing pictures)

I felt like I didn’t belong.

I didn’t deserve to be in that room.

I hadn’t earned that right.

Dean was a professional. Me? I’m a nobody.

I have no experience, no schooling, and no right to be sharing screenwriting credits with someone of Dean’s caliber.

Yet… here I was.

And… I had notes.

I had actually written NOTES on Dean’s pass of the script.

I questioned his thinking. I thought we should tweak a line or two.

Was I insane?

I read a few of my notes to Dean on the first day.

"This is good!" Dean replied (much to my surprise) and he quickly started changing the script to match my notes.

Then, I gave a few more. And more.

"That works so much better" he replied. Typing in the notes.

Something was wrong.

It’s a trick. I know it!

But it wasn’t, and after four days of this… something happened.

I felt like I belonged. Like I was “keeping up”.

We worked line by line to make the script funnier. Each throwing out the most absurd thoughts we could think of. And both of us agreeing on which to keep and which to throw away.

No arguments. No power plays. Just doing what was best for the script.

I didn’t have the credits. I didn’t have the experience, or the talent, or the years of hard work that Dean had. But Dean made it SO easy for me to “be myself” and he was so open to simply making the script better… that it became a true collaboration.

I felt like I belonged.

Now, this may sound absolutely silly. Juvenile even.

But it was an amazing experience for me.

It was empowering. It was exhilarating.

And honestly… I don’t know how to react to it.

I’m still waiting for the punchline. Or the other shoe to drop. But so far… Dean’s been genuine.

He’s got something up his sleeve. I know it.

Thank you Dean. For the experience. For the laughter. For the camaraderie. For your talents. For the red vines (no… wait… I paid for those). And especially for your friendship.

PRODUCTION ART!

So, I thought now would be a good time to start letting you all see some of the amazing production art we’ve got so far.

Our environment designer, Stefano Tsai has been hard at work on building the world we’re going to be playing in for Animal Crackers.

For those of you who don’t know Stefano… he’s the genius behind the world of The Dreamland Chronicles. I met Stefano 12 years ago when I asked him to come on board and design the environments for The Dreamland Chronicles.

We’ve been friends ever since.

Stefano and I have been talking about working on a movie together for at least 10 of the 12 years we’ve worked together. And now… we’re finally doing it.

We couldn’t be happier.

You can see more of his amazing work here..

http://stefanotsai.idv.tw/

I won’t get into detail as to what you’ll be seeing in the production art I post. I don’t want to give TOO much of the story away.

So, just take it in… enjoy the view… and I’ll post more from week to week.

Hope you like.

Scott

"We Made It!"
Victory can come in so many ways. It can be as big as winning a Stanley Cup or Walking on the Moon, or as small as beating your older sister in ping-pong for the first time or getting that parking spot up front at the mall.
I’ve been blessed to have so many victories in my life. Big ones and small ones.
But, I think, the one I am most proud of is when we finally pulled ourselves out of near poverty…just 3 short years ago.
You see? Despite what some might think… being an artist isn’t all Champagne and Caviar like you see in the movies. Artists tend to die broke and alone…with their art only THEN having value… after they’ve died in a pool of their own misery and despair.
When the economic downturn hit about 6 years ago… we struggled to find work. Then we struggled to pay bills. Then… it got really bad.
We had gone into quite a bit of credit card debt during our publishing days with IDW… which was a financial bust.
When we couldn’t make our payments, the credit card companies sent us to collections. Then, my car got repossessed. Then, our house went into foreclosure.
I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever dealt with the thought of losing your home. If you haven’t… I pray you never do.
Soon… we were on Food Stamps. The government actually gives you a debit card (see the picture) you can use at grocery stores like an ATM.
This kept us fed for a year. It kept us alive.
The thing that I remember hurting me the most during this time? 
Family and Friends telling me "It’s time to stop being an artist and go and get a REAL job"
I know they meant well. And honestly, I know that’s the proper course of action when in this situation. So it made a LOT of sense.
But how does one simply STOP being an artist? It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s who I am.
This weighed on me heavily.
I decided to do it. I decided… “I’ll give up my comics, my writing, animation, painting, everything. I’ll go work at Fed-Ex or something. Learn a trade.”
It was the toughest decision I’d ever faced. To give up my identity. But for my family… I was willing to do it.
My WIFE, on the other hand, wasn’t.
"Give it one more year" she said. "I’ll go back to work."
And so she did. Donna believed in me enough to go work the docks at Target at 5am every other day. Unloading trucks for minimum wage.
This led to a temp job answering phones which led to full time work within 4 months.
She hated the work. She hated not being able to take the kids to school, be a part of the PTO, or pick them up in the afternoon.
But she did it. Because she believed in me. In us.
When she got a full time job (at $15/hour), we got off Food Stamps. We got our house back. And with the help of loans from family, we paid off all our debt.
We had made it.
Victory!
Now, just a few short years later, Donna is home again with the boys. Working with me on our first Feature Film.
We have money in the bank for once. We can buy our boys sneakers when they grow out of their old ones (something we couldn’t afford to do just a couple years ago). We can take them out to dinner every once and a while. And we can even afford a new car.
We made it.
Donna had the Food Stamp Card framed for me. It sits on my desk so I never forget where we were… and how far we’ve come.
Her sacrifice. Her faith in me. I don’t deserve it.I don’t deserve her.
Thank you for believing in me, Donna.
We made it.

"We Made It!"

Victory can come in so many ways. It can be as big as winning a Stanley Cup or Walking on the Moon, or as small as beating your older sister in ping-pong for the first time or getting that parking spot up front at the mall.

I’ve been blessed to have so many victories in my life. Big ones and small ones.

But, I think, the one I am most proud of is when we finally pulled ourselves out of near poverty…just 3 short years ago.

You see? Despite what some might think… being an artist isn’t all Champagne and Caviar like you see in the movies. Artists tend to die broke and alone…with their art only THEN having value… after they’ve died in a pool of their own misery and despair.

When the economic downturn hit about 6 years ago… we struggled to find work. Then we struggled to pay bills. Then… it got really bad.

We had gone into quite a bit of credit card debt during our publishing days with IDW… which was a financial bust.

When we couldn’t make our payments, the credit card companies sent us to collections. Then, my car got repossessed. Then, our house went into foreclosure.

I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever dealt with the thought of losing your home. If you haven’t… I pray you never do.

Soon… we were on Food Stamps. The government actually gives you a debit card (see the picture) you can use at grocery stores like an ATM.

This kept us fed for a year. It kept us alive.

The thing that I remember hurting me the most during this time?

Family and Friends telling me "It’s time to stop being an artist and go and get a REAL job"

I know they meant well. And honestly, I know that’s the proper course of action when in this situation. So it made a LOT of sense.

But how does one simply STOP being an artist? It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s who I am.

This weighed on me heavily.

I decided to do it. I decided… “I’ll give up my comics, my writing, animation, painting, everything. I’ll go work at Fed-Ex or something. Learn a trade.”

It was the toughest decision I’d ever faced. To give up my identity. But for my family… I was willing to do it.

My WIFE, on the other hand, wasn’t.

"Give it one more year" she said. "I’ll go back to work."

And so she did. Donna believed in me enough to go work the docks at Target at 5am every other day. Unloading trucks for minimum wage.

This led to a temp job answering phones which led to full time work within 4 months.

She hated the work. She hated not being able to take the kids to school, be a part of the PTO, or pick them up in the afternoon.

But she did it. Because she believed in me. In us.

When she got a full time job (at $15/hour), we got off Food Stamps. We got our house back. And with the help of loans from family, we paid off all our debt.

We had made it.

Victory!

Now, just a few short years later, Donna is home again with the boys. Working with me on our first Feature Film.

We have money in the bank for once. We can buy our boys sneakers when they grow out of their old ones (something we couldn’t afford to do just a couple years ago). We can take them out to dinner every once and a while. And we can even afford a new car.

We made it.

Donna had the Food Stamp Card framed for me. It sits on my desk so I never forget where we were… and how far we’ve come.

Her sacrifice. Her faith in me. I don’t deserve it.I don’t deserve her.

Thank you for believing in me, Donna.

We made it.

Team Meeting with Tony Bancroft, Jamie Thomason, Scott, and Mike Kunkel!

Team Meeting with Tony Bancroft, Jamie Thomason, Scott, and Mike Kunkel!

Meet the Team: Carter Goodrich

Question:

What do Shrek, Despicable Me, Brave, Finding Nemo, The Croods, Ratatouille, and Monsters Inc have in common with Animal Crackers?

Answer:

Carter Goodrich!

To put it mildly… Carter Goodrich is the PREMIERE Character Designer for pretty much every major animated feature film.

The BEST in the business.

How, you may ask, did I ever get Mr. Goodrich to come on board our film?

Funny Story…

I found myself saying "I really wish we could have designs like Monsters Inc, or Despicable Me" more than I care to admit.

So, one day… I thought "Let me see who actually designed these characters"

I went to IMDB and looked up my favorite movies. Then wrote down the names of the Character Designers.

Then… I googled.

Carter had this amazing blog of art…

http://cartergoodrich.com/

I fell in love instantly with his work.

I emailed him my link to the animated short and a small description of what I was attempting to do with the film.

A couple days later… he wrote back!

He loved the short and wanted to talk. WOW!

Next thing I know… we’re on the phone chatting away… he’s a totally “NORMAL” guy! Carter Goodrich… the guy who helped designed Merida and Groo and Sully was just a cool “fellow artist” who liked animation.

He asked me if he could read my script… so, of course I emailed it to him.

3 Days later… he emailed me back. He loved the script too!

*FAINT*

Next thing I know… Mr. Goodrich and I are talking contracts and I met him in person a few weeks later during one of my Los Angeles trips. 

Now we’re working together.

To say that I am thrilled is completely an understatement. Carter and I have been discussing movie posters and painting and other fun “artsy” things during our calls. It’s so much fun to just talk art with him.

He can work on ANY film he likes… and chose Animal Crackers.

For that, I’ll always be thankful. And I can’t wait for you all to see some of his designs.

I’ll post initial work this summer… so stay tuned!

Meet the Team: Dean Lorey

This week’s installment of “Meet the Team” (no… this actually won’t be an ongoing thing… but it sounds fun, doesn’t it?) will feature my pal Dean Lorey.

Dean is a writer. He’s an amazingly funny writer. He’s an amazingly funny guy.

Dean has written and produced some of the funniest movies and tv series around.

Arrested Development, My Wife and Kids, Major Payne, The Crazy Ones, and so much more…

But, for me, what sets Dean apart is his heart.

I met Dean about 7 years ago when he was brought on board by the studios to write a screenplay based on one of my books (Magic Carpet). We sat around in one of the meetings and he (unlike the producers in the room) instantly “got it”.

Dean knew storytelling. He knew kids. He knew funny.

I knew I wanted to work with him right there and then.

Years later… we had another chance (which also failed) for The Dreamland Chronicles.

And a couple years after that… I took up writing my first screenplay.

Dean (during production on Running Wilde and screenwriting for Arrested Development) would take time (on his 30-45 minute drives to the studio each day) to give me notes on my writing and encourage me to keep at it.

He had only really met me in person a handful of times. We had never actually worked together. I had no blackmail photos of him (that he knew of). And he surely didn’t owe me anything.

Yet… he made time for me. He encouraged me. He helped me develop the skills I needed to get where I am now (making a movie).

This last December (2013) I was finally able to hand him the first of (I hope) many checks where we can work together.

I got to spend 2 days talking about Animal Crackers with Dean. We discussed every facet of the story. Refining the characters. Strengthening the plot. Laughing and writing the whole time.

It was everything I had hoped working with Dean would be.

As Dean puts the finishing touches on the latest draft… I’m already excited for the next time we get together and write. I learn so much every time. And the ease of which Dean is able to give of his knowledge and experience is something that is absolutely UNSEEN in this world (much less Hollywood) these days.

Thank you, Dean, for believing in me, and encouraging me to keep writing.

I can’t wait for the world to see what we’ve put together.

It’s gonna be magic!

On the road again…

I was not built for travel.

I envy those who can wake up, drink a gallon of coffee, eat a full pancake, eggs, and bacon breakfast at the airport, and then be totally fine on the plane.

I’m not that guy.

I get a nervous stomach when traveling. I barely eat when away from home.

With all my travels for the film, Valencia, Spain…San Francisco… Los Angeles… France… I wish I could enjoy all of the foods and experiences like others would.

I guess it’s another part of being a producer that I have to try to learn.

But this hobbit still loves the comfort of his hobbit hole.

Meet the Team: Tony Bancroft

As we begin our next phase of production on the film… I thought it would be fun to introduce everyone to the team.

This week, I would very much like to introduce you to my good friend, and our Animation Supervisor, Tony Bancroft!

Now, Tony and I have known each other for probably a decade now. We’re old like that.

We’ve worked on several small projects together over the years… but this is our first film together. We’re both so excited (Tony more so than me… right Tony?).

:)

For those of you poor unfortunate souls who don’t know Tony’s pedigree…

He was the lead animator on Cogsworth for Beauty and the Beast.

image

He was the lead for Pumbaa in The Lion King

image

Same for Kronk in Emperor’s New Groove

image

Oh… and he co-directed a little movie called MULAN!

image

How cool is that?

Pretty cool.

Now, because Tony is going to oversee all animation for Animal Crackers, I know that this film will be amazing.

I trust Tony with my little film not because of our friendship, but because of his work ethic. His professionalism. And his passion for animation.

Now if we can only get it through his “thick skull” that TRADITIONAL ANIMATION is dead (Long live CGI Animation!), maybe there might be some peace around here.

What do you say Tony? Ready to give up Walt Disney’s ghost on this one?

No?

I didn’t think so.

I guess if I could draw like you… I wouldn’t give up on traditional animation either.

Thanks for being my friend, Tony. And thank you for helping make Animal Crackers a reality.

Making movies is a funny thing…
When I first wrote Animal Crackers back in 2010… I wrote it for kids.
So, of course, it STARRED a kid.
But when you make a movie…the studios want you to “age it up” so that a Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler type actor can play the leading role.
I understand this. I really do. So I changed the script. I adapted it to what was “needed” to sell more tickets.
But, when Tara Strong and James Arnold Taylor (who are two of the top Voice talents in the business) auditioned for the proof of concept… I KNEW they had to be in the film.
What SUCKS is that the distributors and studios would NEVER allow “mere voice actors” to headline an animated feature film that would go into theaters around the world (seriously… I think they believe the world would implode).
What sucks even MORE is that James, Tara, and all the other amazingly talented voice actors and actresses in the business KNOW this. They know it because it happens all the time.
They’re actually USED to it. Used to being looked over for roles they would totally OWN… just because their “star meter” isn’t as high as whoever is on the cover of People Magazine right now.
Well, I got to meet James and Tara this last week and I can’t see making a movie WITHOUT them. I just can’t.
Two more talented actors, you will never meet.
And the nicest and most gracious humans I’ve met in a long time.
So… what to do?
I’m writing roles JUST for them. Characters that do funny voices, impressions, and are generally the comedic center of the film.
These characters will focus on what James and Tara do best.
I can’t wait to show you all more.
In the coming months… we’ll be in the studio with the actors and I’ll post video and pictures of the studio sessions.
I’ll upload photos of designs of the characters. It should be a blast.
And whoever we cast as the “big Hollywood stars” to lead the film (and I’m sure they’re going to be amazing, too)… I’m so proud that we have James and Tara as the cornerstone of the film. With them at the center… there’s nothing this little film can’t do.

Thanks Tara and thanks James!

Making movies is a funny thing…

When I first wrote Animal Crackers back in 2010… I wrote it for kids.

So, of course, it STARRED a kid.

But when you make a movie…the studios want you to “age it up” so that a Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler type actor can play the leading role.

I understand this. I really do. So I changed the script. I adapted it to what was “needed” to sell more tickets.

But, when Tara Strong and James Arnold Taylor (who are two of the top Voice talents in the business) auditioned for the proof of concept… I KNEW they had to be in the film.

What SUCKS is that the distributors and studios would NEVER allow “mere voice actors” to headline an animated feature film that would go into theaters around the world (seriously… I think they believe the world would implode).

What sucks even MORE is that James, Tara, and all the other amazingly talented voice actors and actresses in the business KNOW this. They know it because it happens all the time.

They’re actually USED to it. Used to being looked over for roles they would totally OWN… just because their “star meter” isn’t as high as whoever is on the cover of People Magazine right now.

Well, I got to meet James and Tara this last week and I can’t see making a movie WITHOUT them. I just can’t.

Two more talented actors, you will never meet.

And the nicest and most gracious humans I’ve met in a long time.

So… what to do?

I’m writing roles JUST for them. Characters that do funny voices, impressions, and are generally the comedic center of the film.

These characters will focus on what James and Tara do best.

I can’t wait to show you all more.

In the coming months… we’ll be in the studio with the actors and I’ll post video and pictures of the studio sessions.

I’ll upload photos of designs of the characters. It should be a blast.

And whoever we cast as the “big Hollywood stars” to lead the film (and I’m sure they’re going to be amazing, too)… I’m so proud that we have James and Tara as the cornerstone of the film. With them at the center… there’s nothing this little film can’t do.

Thanks Tara and thanks James!

Just because I’m cheap, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun!

Traveling back and forth from Nashville to Los Angeles twice a month can get really expensive. 

Because our film isn’t a major studio film with $150 million budget, I’ve got to try and find ways to “pinch pennies” everywhere I can. Especially for travel. 

To keep our costs low, I’ve been flying coach (honestly, I’ve never been in first class. So I don’t know what I’m missing) and I’m staying at my co-producers house. 

Now, the RENTAL CAR was where I had a problem. Hundreds of dollars being flushed away every couple of weeks. It adds up over a 2 year production. 

So, I asked my cousin (a mechanic in Los Angeles who restores old cars) to find me a used car to drive around. 

Something cheap. 

The next few weeks were spent looking at Hondas and Toyotas and other “dependable and sensible” cars. 

Until I asked “what about something cool?”

"What about something with some style?"

Then, the fun began. 

We scoured craigslist and eBay and autotrader. My cousin drove all over the LA area looking at old clunkers with “good bones” he could work on for me. 

Then we found this baby. A 67 Mercury Cougar. 

Hideaway headlights. V8 engine. Nice rims. Nice interior (for a car older than me). 

My cousin haggled with the owner. Got him down to a ridiculous price. And when I flew in to LA two days ago… He picked me up in our new company car. 

Not only do we save about $20,000 in car rental expenses… I get to cruise from meeting to meeting in this sweet ride. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another meeting to race to.

Just because I’m cheap, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun!

Traveling back and forth from Nashville to Los Angeles twice a month can get really expensive.

Because our film isn’t a major studio film with $150 million budget, I’ve got to try and find ways to “pinch pennies” everywhere I can. Especially for travel.

To keep our costs low, I’ve been flying coach (honestly, I’ve never been in first class. So I don’t know what I’m missing) and I’m staying at my co-producers house.

Now, the RENTAL CAR was where I had a problem. Hundreds of dollars being flushed away every couple of weeks. It adds up over a 2 year production.

So, I asked my cousin (a mechanic in Los Angeles who restores old cars) to find me a used car to drive around.

Something cheap.

The next few weeks were spent looking at Hondas and Toyotas and other “dependable and sensible” cars.

Until I asked “what about something cool?”

"What about something with some style?"

Then, the fun began.

We scoured craigslist and eBay and autotrader. My cousin drove all over the LA area looking at old clunkers with “good bones” he could work on for me.

Then we found this baby. A 67 Mercury Cougar.

Hideaway headlights. V8 engine. Nice rims. Nice interior (for a car older than me).

My cousin haggled with the owner. Got him down to a ridiculous price. And when I flew in to LA two days ago… He picked me up in our new company car.

Not only do we save about $20,000 in car rental expenses… I get to cruise from meeting to meeting in this sweet ride.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another meeting to race to.