About a year ago, as I was just finishing up at Disney on Kim Possible, I got a call from my agent to see if I was available to "punch up" a script. I was reluctant since I was really looking forward to having some down-time to work on some of my own projects -- but it's hard to turn down work. So I took the meeting.
Too much sweetness... can't go on... must look away...
So, I read the script, and I have to say that it was... um...
I'm by no means a great writer, but from what I could tell it needed more than a "punch-up". There was no time to start over with it, so I had about a week to rework the entire thing, however I had to keep their original story. So I scrambled through a draft as fast as I could, and despite my lack of knowledge with the Care Bears and their world (I got their genders all messed up -- yes, Care Bears do have different genders - don't think about that too much though) SD and American Greetings (who owns the Care Bears) were happy with my draft. So it moved forward and on into production. That was a year ago.
Flash forward to August 4th - the Care Bears film "Oopys Does it" is released in selected theatres across the US. Well, any chance to see something you've written on the big screen is an event, so Emily and I picked a Saturday to see it.
Oh, if it were only that easy...
As I said, Care Bears was playing in only select theatres. So we had to sniff it out and see where it was playing. And the closest location to me was out in Rancho Cucamonga (about a 50 mile drive from my house in the Valley). It was showing at 10:30 in morning, so we got to the theatre at about 10am.
There were plenty of kids and their parents headed toward the theatre when we got there. Emily wanted to get a picture of me next to the poster for the movie. Trouble was... there was no poster for Care Bears outside the theatre... nor any mention of it on the marquee... not even any sort of sign or leaflet posted in the ticket booth!
When I inquired about Care Bears to the person in the ticket booth, they knew nothing about it. Emily insisted that they'd advertised it the paper. So the booth person asked around and eventually came back and said that "yes" they were showing "Care Bears". I bought two tickets. And then Emily noticed a stack of post-card sized fliers tucked off to the side in the ticket booth and asked the booth person for a bunch of them. This person seemed utterly astonished to see the fliers, as if he'd never before seen bits of paper stacked in such a fashion. He gave us a two of them. I guess that constitutes "a bunch".
Well, the tough part's over. All we have to do is get to our seats and watch the movie. And we had our pick of any seat we wanted, because theatre four was completely EMPTY!
So we took the prime seats in the middle. A few minutes later, a young mother with her little boy came in and sat down. So now there were four of us!
The previews started. I was actually getting a little excited about seeing the completed film - and on the big screen no less! The previews weren't really what I would consider appropriate for a young, G Rated audience before a film with pre-school sensibilities... but they were all trailers I'd seen on TV. Oh well, the theatre must show the same trailers in each of their theatres... must be automated or so I figured.
And then... IT happened.
What we all thought was just another movie trailer turned out to not be. It was the film Hot Rod and it was just starting. Within the first 30 seconds the words "ass" and "shit" tumbled out from the speakers, which prompted the mother to jump up, scramble to grab her little boy and get out of the theatre fast.
At this point I couldn't help but be amused at how incompetent this theatre had been, and I was pretty much ready to give up trying to see the movie. But Emily marched out into the lobby and she and the mother tracked down a manager. Apparently the theatre didn't realise anyone was there to see the Care Bears movie. But they agreed to stop Hot Rod, and start up Oopsy Does It.
And so... a few minutes later the movie began.
And then IT happened again! (okay, not the same "it" but a different "it).
In the middle of the movie, all the lights came on in the theatre. The movie kept rolling, but the lights remained on. This lasted for about 6 or 8 minutes, and then FWOMP, the lights suddenly went out again. Emily and I just shook our heads at how crappy this movie going experience has been.
The movie ends. It was fun, despite all the difficulties, I really liked getting to see it on the screen. I wish there'd been an audience to see it with. The one little boy with his mother seemed to enjoy it. He did appear to get a little frightened when the villain, Grizzle captures a couple of the bears (Oopsy and Cheer). Which made me happy. Not that he was frightened, but that he a reaction to the film. Okay, maybe I was a little happy he was frightened, he probably deserved it.
After the movie there was time for a little Q & A with the audience.
I've got no pithy or clever way to end this post, so I'll just throw in a plug for what I'm currently working on:
I continue to story edit and write on the 2-D animated Care Bears series that will be on CBS this fall.