Root Bound Goes Into Production
The Coeur d’Alene Chapter of the Idaho Writer’s League begins every meeting with introductions and then the big question, “Who wants to share some good news about your writing?" I’ve always yearned to share something big – like I finally wrote that book I’ve been working on for years. Well, that didn’t happen, but I do have big news!
The short screenplay I wrote for a screenplay contest in 2009 is finally going to be produced. Hooray! I originally wrote the piece, "Heading for the Big Time," as an entry for the 2009 Idaho Magazine Fiction Contest. The 30-page short story was awarded the Publisher’s Choice Award by Kitty Fleishmann. Later that year I changed the name of the piece to Root Bound and adapted it into a screenplay that met the criteria of the kNIFVES (Northwest Independent Film & Video Entertainment Society) contest.
The 17-page screenplay languished until July of 2010, when it was chosen for production by the kNIFVES board. Later that year the project was awarded a $3,000 Filmmaker’s Award Grant from the Idaho Film Office. Exciting, right?
But, who knew that the setbacks that cause projects in Hollywood to be postponed, interrupted, rescheduled, delayed, or heaven forbid, just plain cancelled; would happen right here in North Idaho? First came the rewrites – then came the scheduling, crew, location and logistic problems. The project was scheduled for production twice during the next two years, only to fall victim to final deferral when paying jobs interfered with this, pretty much, all volunteer project.
I learned a lot during the long wait – patience mostly – but working with kNIFVES president and director,
, was a valuable experience
for me and I mostly enjoyed the
process. Then 2013 rolled around. By now the grant had already been extended
twice and WJ was as busy as ever in Hollywood. I was ready to throw in the towel. WJ
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit.
There's no point in being a damn fool about it. -
Then, miracle of miracles: kNIFVES vice president Robynn Sleep resurrected Root Bound. She signed on kNIFVES members
as line producer and as Director of
Photography; and suggested we ask a few local directors if they would be
interested in the project. Within a few
Spokane agreed to direct. In 2012, Rebecca Cook Rebecca
directed The Birthday for the Inland Northwest’s 50 Hour Slam Film Festival. The 15-minute film won both the “Hip Clip”
Audience Award and the "Slammy" Online Viral Award.
That did it! Root Bound was officially in preproduction. As of today a full crew of experienced filmmakers has been put together and auditions for the cast will be held soon. In conjunction with the workforce training focus of kNIFVES, a workshop will be held in May and filming will take place the first three weekends in
June, ending with an exciting day at the Big Back-In Lawnmower Race in Spirit Lake, Idaho. With a new director on board, I’ve been busy doing
a few minor rewrites and scouting locations - what fun.
If you are interested in screenwriting or any aspect of filmmaking, kNIFVES is a super local networking group. Find out more about kNIFVES and the upcoming production workshop at www.knifves.org.
A personal crisis arises for an up-and-coming newscaster after he follows the advice of media consultants to deny his
roots in order to advance his career and take a spot on the national news scene. Idaho
“Script fun yet with much depth”. – Idaho Film Office
Root Bound Pitch
One criteria for the kNIFVES short screenplay contest was that the film had to be about the state of
. So I decided to write a positive story about Idaho that dealt with
the idea of choosing to live your life with integrity. I chose this storyline because I’ve never
forgotten the pain a friend of mine felt when she was asked to deny her roots in
order to move forward with her career. Idaho
Those of us who live in
Idaho know it’s not much of a stretch to believe there
are times we would be better off to deny our ties.
Our good reputation doesn’t extend much beyond our border. Recent national news about “The Citadel,” a
compound a group of gun activists want to build in North Idaho, recently caused
yet another round of Idaho Idaho bashing.
This screenplay turns all that negativity around. It highlights
Idaho in a positive light with
likable characters, lots of Northwest flavor and some great jokes.
Why didn’t Idaho
want her daughter to marry the famous newscaster? Because he was a common-tater! Mrs.
Root Bound can be produced at minimal expense – a snap for the KNIFVE’s production team with easy to find locations, few scene changes, and even fewer props – all great reasons to produce Root Bound – an entertaining short film with a positive message about Idaho and family ties.
Root Bound Synopsis
Root Bound offers a humorous look at a serious subject. Denying something about oneself in order to move forward in life is a fairly common occurrence – and so is the damage that can cause to one’s personal integrity and sense of self-worth – and that’s exactly what happens to Idaho native Brad Spencer after he agrees to say he is from Seattle in order to get a job for a major television network news show.
Brad’s first dilemma is facing his parents, both third-generation Idahoans, with the news that he has agreed to deny he is from Idaho due to the bad press that usually arises on the national news scene whenever the state of Idaho is mentioned – you know – white supremacy groups, Randy Weaver, Senator Craig’s infamous visit to the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport’s men’s room.
Buoyed by positive advice from his childhood friend,
Brad stammers out his decision on the
last day of his visit before his big move to .
He can tell his parents are disappointed in him, but they don’t let him
down; and the three of them get through the moment somehow. Later that day, New York Brad
sets off to his new life in ,
his excitement dimmed, but not extinguished, by his knowledge that he has
somehow lost a piece of himself. New York
, sporting a polished new look, New York Brad jumps right
in, introducing himself to co-workers at his first meeting. Their friendly acceptance allows Brad’s confidence to grow and he begins his first
meeting with composure and self-assurance.
Ted Burns Brad’s boss, gets right to work,
introduces Brad then asks for story
shares an idea about an Idaho inventor, then
somehow later finds himself defending
when co-workers make misstatements. His
words lead a fellow co-worker to ask him why he is such a cheerleader for Idaho . Idaho
Ted asks for someone to cover the State of for their Amazing
States Series. Idaho Brad
slumps in his seat as Ted says they had
before, but all they heard was potato and Idaho Senator jokes. He struggles inwardly as he fights the urge
to tell the positive things about his beloved home state. Craig
Brad loses the battle. His enthusiasm returns as he regains his confidence. “Did you know that Sacajawea, Lana Turner, Picaboo
are all from Sarah Palin ?
Did you know that Edgar Rice Burroughs
wrote the first draft of Tarzan while working at a stationary store in Idaho Pocatello or that 14-year old
invented television while tilling a potato field in Philo Farnsworth ?” He ends with “ Rigby, Idaho is not just about potatoes.” There is surprise all around. Idaho
In the final scene,
Brad is back to his roots and comfortable and competent as the Northwest correspondent for the national network. He introduces a segment on The Big Back-In, a
lawnmower race held in every Father’s Day. He builds up the excitement of the event then
roars down Spirit Lake,
Idaho Main Street
on a lawnmower himself. At the finish
line stand his parents and his friend Jake. He’s home. (For more information about The Big Back-In: www.bigbackin.com)