Sunday, September 6, 2009


My name is David Rielly and I haven't pitched a movie in three weeks.

The legendary Duke Kahanamoku and his wife Nadine in 1966.
Photo taken by my dad Pete during his summer living and working in Waikiki.

In a way I'm disappointed that I couldn't see the Movie Pitch Project through, but I'm also pretty happy that I nearly made it to the six month mark. When I started it at the beginning of March, I had three pretty distinct goals in mind:
  1. showcase my creative ability in hopes of generating attention for me as a writer
  2. create a portfolio of taglines and pitches that would help me land film industry work
  3. energize my blog in such a way that people would get involved as commenters and contributors
My results were mixed.

In terms of number 1, it worked pretty well. Not only did I get a couple of nice write-ups, but it was a terrific portfolio piece for me when being considered for copywriting work. When I started it I was in a real fallow period work-wise, but after a few months things really started to pick up and I could see with my Sitemeter that the people hiring me had spent some time on this blog during the process. It was certainly a nice thing to talk about in interviews and meetings as well.

In terms of number 2, I feel like I wrote many taglines and pitches that I'm proud of. I also struggled mightily to find something at least marginally original/interesting on many many days. Nothing has come of it work-wise, but at least I can point to them with ease should an opportunity arise in the future.

In terms of number 3, I had glimpses that got me excited but otherwise feel I fell on my face here. A handful of designers enthusiastically submitted artwork for pitches, but the vast majority of people I contacted about contributing one-sheet or poster-style artwork never did. A maddening character flaw of mine that's plagued me over the years is my inability to manage expectations. I was overly excited about the possibilities of making this Project something special, and I was overly disappointed when other people weren't nearly as excited about it as I was.

The nail in the coffin of the Movie Pitch Project was, ironically, the best thing to happen to my career in years. On July 2, I started a full-time freelance copywriting job in Santa Monica. After years of commuting from my bed to my desk in 20 paces, I was suddenly spending two hours a day in the car. After years of considering 30 hours a week of freelance a damn good week, I was regularly cresting 60 hours a week and coming terrifyingly close to 70. I was traveling to Hawaii to work with some regularity too- I'll take my third trip there this coming Tuesday.

43 summers later, I was working in Hawaii too... marveling at the roosters and chickens of Kauai.

I'd been giving myself 30 minutes a day for each pitch, but suddenly I didn't have 30 minutes a day anymore. At the beginning of August I cut my sessions down to 20 minutes, but that seemed to add more stress to the process. Pitching wasn't any fun anymore, it was just an item on my to-do list.

I woke up Monday August 17 and stared at my monitor for a few minutes and knew I couldn't write even one more.

It was a tough call, but the right call. My work demands every iota of creativity and energy I have. There's no leftovers for blogging. Nothing.

But it was fun while it lasted...

The greatest silver lining about the entire process is the success that Mrs. Word Player's blog Art Design 3(6)5 has been enjoying, especially being named as one of How Magazine's Top 10 sites for designers for September 2009. I am so enormously proud of her work here, and she is enjoying a lot of what I'd hoped for in my blog. If the Movie Pitch Project becomes the footnote that led, however indirectly, to the birth of Art Design 3(6)5, then I will be one happy writer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009


25-year-old LYNN BANNISTER has spent the vast majority of her life suffering from guilt and depression over her role in the drowning death of younger brother ERIC when they were children playing on the beach in Cape Cod. When Eric's adult dead body is positively identified after washing ashore on the beach in the south of France, Lynn is thrown into a state of confusion- she was certain she saw his head go under the waves- and flies to France to solve the mystery of his death... and his inexplicable life the last 20 years.

"Whose memories am I remembering?"

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Placid OLIVER SMITH was never very much interested in himself- much to the displeasure of his HYPER-DRIVEN PARENTS he got pleasure from helping FRIENDS and even STRANGERS reach their goals. When Oliver drops out of college just shy of graduation to help his obnoxious blind classmate CARRIE LIN achieve her unlikely dream of climbing Mount Everest, the obstacles they face along the way (including ridicule at being a white Sherpa for a Chinese girl) force him to decide whether he's doing this for her or for his own glory.

"You cannot guide another until you know yourself."

Friday, August 14, 2009


GILBERT STILES thought he had it all... cool job (graphic designer), cool house (shabby-chic guesthouse in the hills), cool name (Gilbert Stiles), even COOL CHICKS that sought out his company! Cool turned quickly to cold when Gilbert's fellow HIPSTERS started turning up dead... and always less than an hour after seeing him. When Gilbert freaks out about this development (and really, who wouldn't) he loses all of his hipster cred... until his personal investigation of the crimes leads him closer to the badass version of himself that he'd always hoped was there.

"The only good hipsters are..."

Thursday, August 13, 2009


4th grader KATIE and her 2nd grader brother BUDDY are convinced that their new house is possessed... that the STRESS MONSTER has been fighting their PARENTS at night... and sometimes possessing them and making them do bad things. When a storm comes and knocks out the power the Stress Monster is let loose, Katie and Buddy's parents disappear, and they desperately seek the help of the WEIRD KID at the end of the street for help finding superpowers of their own to somehow rescue their family.

"We want our parents back!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yes, it's time for another faux-documentary. 21 year-old documentarian JOANNA HOPP was born just before midnight of 1990, barely dipping her toe in the 80s, but practically her whole life she's been obsessed with the music and style of the decade. Joanna fixates on finding the reclusive FINN BAXTER, the much-reviled fashion iconoclast who brought acid wash jeans into the spotlight in the 80s, and along her journey she interviews 80s FASHION VICTIMS and FASHION SURVIVORS as she tries to uncover the lesser-seen, uglier and true heart of the decade.

"A Sort of Homecoming."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Despite knowing that his PARENTS died when he was only a child, KIKO grew up happy and full of love, raised by several FAMILIES on the sparsely populated Hawaiian Island of Molokai. On the cusp of his 18th birthday, his UNCLE TAMATOA explains that Kiko is not a human but a spirit, a descendant of the volcano goddess PELE. Kiko reacts in disbelief, but when he travels to the other islands to meet his BROTHER and SISTER spirits he understand why he was awakened after so many centuries- to protect the islands from the god KAMAPUA'A whose goal is to extinguish the volcanic fires of Pele that are the spiritual lifeblood of the islands.

"Defending paradise."

Monday, August 10, 2009


By most outward appearances pharmaceutical salesman TONY HANDLER has led a successful life so far... I mean look at all that stuff, right? After a particularly indulgent New Year's Eve, Tony decides to quit smoking... and it feels good. Soon red meat is gone... and then poker, then he sells his memorabilia collection. At first his girlfriend VALERIE is happy to see the changes, but when Tony decides to give up television and the gym and couches and sex she starts to get worried. When Valerie arranges for Tony to meet his new idol, the ascetic guru and bestselling author SUMEET, her hopes of have some sense talked to him about a well-balanced life are dashed when Sumeet recruits Tony to be the poster boy for the joy of ultimate self-denial.

"If less is more, then what is nothing?"

Sunday, August 9, 2009


MIKE has never been in love, even after years of trying to force himself to move beyond "deep like" for his sweet, adoring and newly ex-girlfriend ALICE. Then lightning struck.... and kept striking. After a session with a new ACUPUNCTURIST, Mike is introduced to KATY and is smitten harder than he's ever been, um, smote. While daydreaming of Katy, Mike runs his bike into another cyclist, VIRGINIA, and instantly falls in love with her too. When he sees Alice moving her stuff out of their apartment and instantly feels the kind of love for her that he could never find before, he knows something has gone terribly wrong... or is that terribly right?

"Love is involuntary."

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Prompted by the basement discovery of a crystal bauble with his name and the names of several of his ANCESTORS etched into it, REESE HAHN started digging into his family's past. Much to the chagrin of his WIFE and five-year-old SON, Reese's hobby becomes an obsession... to the point where he's certain he's seeing young versions of his deceased FATHER and GRANDFATHER on the streets of Seattle. When Reese catches a much older version of HIMSELF searching through the basement, he triggers a time paradox that finds him waking up back one generation in his family every morning... first seeing through the eyes of his father in 1971, then seeing through the eyes of his grandfather in 1945... and so on as he struggles to unlock his family's secret before he disappears into the mists of the past.

"Reese Hahn is a chip off a very unusual block."

Friday, August 7, 2009


From the outside, VINCENT MULLANY is the definition of the unflappable buttoned-up banker. Inside... well, there's a lot of flapping. After a particularly devastating meeting, Vincent pays a visit to his sister KERRIE's house and is invited by his nephew JOHN to play a game of ping pong on their new table... and something snaps. All John wants to do... all he can think of... is play ping pong. He quits his job, sells his house, divorces his wife of 20 years ALLYSON and moves to the beach where he leads an uncharacteristically bacchanalian life playing ping pong with a group of CRISPY LOCALS. When John begins entering ping pong competitions, a familiar dread rises back inside of him and he must choose whether to reintegrate himself back into his old life or forge ahead and devote everything to defeating his pong nemesis IRVING "PING" LONG.

"Either you paddle life or life paddles you."

Thursday, August 6, 2009


ZAN HALSEY was living a low-grade life, replete with dead end job, questionable FRIENDS, self-destructive habits. The only pleasure he got was from ripping people and their successes on the comment boards, a habit that grew into more and more face-to-face confrontations with PEOPLE Zan didn't deem worthy of their happiness. After an explosive back-and-forth with notorious author and provocateur SYLVIA FOVER, Zan's reputation as a hater extraordinaire suddenly explodes and soon he's making the rounds on late night talk shows and interview blogs. When Sylvia takes him as her lover, the community of HATERS quickly turns on him... with ONE in particular eager, it seems, to teach him the ultimate lesson about turning your back on where you came from.

"It's easier to tear down than to build up."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


BOY meets GIRL. Boy falls in love with girl, only to discover that girl is involved in MASTERMIND's scheme to seduce and blackmail a MEMBER of the Board of Directors of a global energy concern. Boy decides if you can't beat 'em, join 'em and uses his own connections to facilitate the successful scheme. Boy becomes fall guy, but still can't shake love for girl, even from jail. Boy emerges years later and when he discovers that Girl and Mastermind have married, happily plots his own scheme to seduce and blackmail Girl.. and force her to love him the way he loves her.

"Boy meets girl. Girl destroys boy's life. Boy doesn't mind."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


JACK PEELER has discovered something very interesting about himself- the unhappier he is in his waking life, the more wonderful his dream life becomes. During his happy childhood he was constantly plagued by nightmares, but now that he's reached adulthood... an unfulfilling, lonely drudgery-filled adulthood... his dreams have become more and more fantastic, unspooling a heroic pleasure-filled narrative that gets better and better every night. Jack is faced with a dilemma when he meets lovely LOTTI CAMERON and starts falling for her- should he risk ruining eight hours of heaven every night for a shot at waking life happiness?

"Can you really sleepwalk through life?"

Monday, August 3, 2009


Pale, workaholic software developer ROB JARAMILLO's small COMPANY has been working on a new program called "Journaling" that reaches into your computer's and handheld's memory and creates straightforward, old-fashioned journal entries about the user's day-to-day activity, so you can read about your past activities as if you'd been making journal entries all the way. When Rob releases the software to beta testing, USERS begin to see a strange, unplanned wrinkle in their journal entries: their COMPUTERS and DEVICES have developed feelings for their users over time- both positive and negative- and the Journaling software has somehow unlocked these emotions and allowed them to be communicated. Rob has to take action when the Journaling computers begin turning criminal users in to the police, breaking up marriages, and, in his case, encouraging him to get a life by setting him up with MINDY, another Journaling beta tester.

"Computers gone wild!"

Sunday, August 2, 2009


ROY SONDERMAN's love of math, love of people and love of statistical puzzles combined to make him one of the happiest accountants the world has ever known. After "crunching the numbers" on whether or not to propose to his longtime girlfriend ERIN KNAPP, he narrowly decides to go through with it... and within seconds dies of a massive stroke. Roy wakes up in Heaven, and is told by the Angel NINETTO that he has been called to serve in GOD's accounting office. Roy's job is to help God tally people's sins vs their good deeds when they are near to death and determine whether they're going to be sent to Heaven or Hell (there is no Limbo). When Roy is assigned Erin's case, he sees that Erin went to pieces after Roy died and attempts to correct his own destiny while saving Erin's life and eternal soul.

"In the course of a lifetime, one deed can tip the scales."

Saturday, August 1, 2009


EDWARD (formerly known as "E.Dee") MILLIOT escaped the violent world of gang-banging that dominated his youth in L.A. and completely scrubbed his life... and past... clean when he moved to Seattle to pursue a career as a writer. When he's hired by notoriously tough, Japanese-owned Interactive Marketing and Technology firm Alpha Agency, he struggles to stay afloat in their fast-paced jargon-heavy office atmosphere. Just as he finds some sort of comfort level Creative Director SVEN JONSSON whisks him and other RECENT HIRES away to a corporate RETREAT where he's given the assignment to "demote" FRED KWON, who stands accused of violating his NDA, "maximally." Edward has only a few hours to determine if this is a test of his mettle or an order to kill one more time... this time with major career perks attached.

"How much Kool-Aid can one man drink?"

Friday, July 31, 2009


Widowed and penniless RANDOLPH ADAMS is over it, but he's not quite able to pull the trigger when it comes to suicide. When Randolph decides to go for the next best thing- seeking out a fatal accident- he has enough consecutive and darkly humorous near misses that he enlists the help of goth ghostwriter MARIA X to blog about it anonymously before he tries again... and unwittingly becomes the pied piper of X-Games style assisted suicide.

"How to go out in a blaze of glory in three easy steps."

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Delicate and petite San Francisco graphic designer ANDI MOODY has an impetuous, out-of-character, and extremely hot weekend tryst with a Russian sailor she knows only as TUPO. When he breaks what was going to be their final date before he left port, Andi's FRIENDS tell her to let it go and enjoy it for what it was, but instead she spends everything she has to hire a YACHT piloted by slightly seedy RICH BARMING. The closer Andi comes to following Tupo's path based on the clues she remembers from their passionate conversations, the more she questions whether or not she's acting the fool by chasing a crush and whether or not she's developing feelings for Rich.

"Forget your heart, love is all in your head."