Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cinema Manifesto!

Two posts in two days no less. I'd like to get a little personal here and explain the man behind this blog. I've been restless these past few months, and it seems as though it's gotten worse as I near my birthday. The older I get the more I would like to do, but I know full well what it takes to do make a film. Gone are the days when I'd call my friends up, and say "hey gang let's make a movie". Back then it was all fantastic, fun, and a bit unique. We do a sci-fi film one week, and a monster flick the next. No challenge was too hard, and no subject was forbidden. We tried to imitate what we saw on TV and in the movies, and sometimes we manage to get it right. Creating miniature sets, directing the pretty girl on the block to fight for her life against the alien horde, and just plain telling a story was fun. In my teens it provided a outlet to express myself, and it steered me away from the normal adolescence problems of drugs, violence, and apathy.

Throughout my younger years I submerged myself in the doing of making a film, and even worked on several productions. Somehow between then and now I lost something. Maybe I became more and more jaded about film production as I saw more and more shit happening that had nothing to do with filmmaking and everything to do with glory whoring. A true filmmaker will always tell you that filmmaking isn't about the glamour or the prestige, but about the film itself. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that filmmaking is far from glamorous. The long hours, the pushy producers, the dictatorial directors all wear you down. You curse them and begin to despise the craft that you so much love. I had always said jokingly that on my job applications I would put the word "film" under religion, but in essence filmmaking has always held a special place in my heart, so maybe the joke was on me.

I have always wanted to find fellow film enthusiasts who share my love for the cinema. I would dream of how the new wave started in the 50's in France, and would hope that I could be part of such a movement, but I found no one. It was only after I invested in myself that I had the confidence to go it alone, and even there much of the credit can go to my wife. If you don't believe in yourself how can others? So that drove me to make a feature, and to do it as Spike Lee said "by any means necessary". It took some time, but I finished, and I've gotten compliments in doing so. One of the main actresses of my film has really inspired me, and it is her compliments that I really relished. Through making and finishing the film I have fed that demon within me, but it has taken a lot out of me. The reality of filmmaking is one where you come out exhausted. I know now why some projects take so long to ferment, and sometimes they are never completed.

I have no problem telling stories. There are stories aching to be told, but are they worth a significant part of my time and effort? That's the question. Doing it alone is an all or nothing scenario. There is only you at first, and you need to generate "heat" for the project, but in order to generate this "heat" you need to be committed to it. That's the crux of my problem. A film takes a lot of your time, and time is what I don't have. Time is finite, and I only have so much of it. I see my boys grow older, and I don't want to miss that. I see people growing older and passing from our lives and I want to spend more and more time with them because I know time is running out. Plus I need to earn a living, and that takes time. You see where a film can get lost in the shuffle.

Yet my love of the cinema hasn't dwindled. I still hold it up high, and relish a good film. I still get the same feeling in a movie theater as I did when I was in my early teens. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. I've written a script, and seem hyper critical on it. I know it can be better, and sometimes when adding other creative souls into the mix a mediocre script can be a better script when the right people work on it. So it brings me to why I've been doing more talking and less doing. The film that I hope to eventually make has to mean something to me, and say something. Yeah I know I can make a film now I've proven that, but can I make a meaningful film?

Of course all the hardships of the first film will be the same as for the second film. How do I promote it? How do I get it seen?, and why should anyone see this film? The market for films has changed radically since I went to school, but the one thing that hasn't changed is that quality still matters, and that means the story is the thing. It always has, and always will. I don't know if this all sounds too snooty & high and mighty, but I promise it wasn't suppose to be sounding that way. It's just that I've done so much crap in the past, and as time moves on I want to do something that resonates with the viewer. Maybe that's too lofty a goal, but man I really want to be remembered for being a good filmmaker, and story teller.

So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the lofty. When I started this blog all I wanted to do was communicate with like minded people. I had nothing really to sell but my enthusiasm. After completing my first film I know now that filmmaking for me is more then a business. Foolish I guess, but still heartfelt. You see I still want to capture that idealism, and wonder of when I first projected my films to my friends and family when I was in my teens, and I still believe in taking cinema to another plateau. Lofty yeah, but then again the dreamer never really died. He just was hibernating.

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