Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Getting Real or is it Reel?

I've been chomping at the bit to do another film. No surprise, but what? I've written several things and none seem viable, or even of interest, so I trudge along writing more material. I'm just basically just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. Some showed promise, and then fall apart. Other ideas never see the light of day.

What also gnaws at me is how I'll be able to do this. Money is short, and resources are limited. I've always been an advocate of paying people for their services, but in filmmaking a lot goes unsaid. In my late twenties I got sick and tired of hearing people complain about their money woes. I just wanted to get paid for my time. Many times I got promises or very little in monetary compensation. It soured my view on the production process. I promised myself I wouldn't do the same. Many projects that I worked on never saw the light of day. They eventually fell apart during post production, or just were simple forgotten when things got difficult. Of course this was way before the days of digital video.

It seems now everyone and their brother is making a film, and all are tauting themselves as the next Spielberg. Heck! there was even a show called "On the Lot" that was a competition between certain filmakers to make the best short. The winner got to go on to do their own film I think, so filmmaking has become a reality series. Anything for a buck right!

But reality has a way of hitting you in the face. How long do you pursue the dream? Do you give up, or do you keep on keeping on? I've always said filmmaking holds a special place for me. While many were getting into trouble, or just aimlessly drifting filmmaking held a fascination for me. I learned early it was a craft, and not for the lazy. You really had to work at filmmaking if you wanted to get good. My mistake was looking for fellow filmmakers to share the dream with. I never actually did find those filmmakers, because everyone has an agenda, and everyone else was interested in what you could do for them free of charge.

At first it was fun, but eventually reality sets in, and you become bitter. You want to know when do you get your chance, or even if you'll get the chance to do your own project. I don't want to sound bitter, but it's a hard road this filmmaking bug. Now in my 40's and a feature under my belt I find that it still isn't enough. The market has changed, and movie making is a lot different then it was when I was growing up or even when I was in college. I still want to do GOOD work, but it's hard when resources are strained, and real life interrupts. With today's gas prices you're budget for that film has gone up pretty dramatically unless your an animator, and it's only you and your creations. You animators I admire a lot, but I know how long it takes to get those shots, and how time consuming animation really is. I've even thought about doing it again. I loved stop-motion, and did a lot of it in my teens, but I love working with actors, and I really would like to do so again. Maybe it's the interaction between the artists that I love, but directing actors can be a frustrating yet rewarding experience.

Over at "The Bleeding Tree" blog Neil Sarver talks about indie serials that are produced for the web. One of those web shows is called "Star Trek: New Voyages". It is produced by some people in upstate New York, and it's production values and stories are quite good. How these talented folks do it with no money is simple amazing. The series makes no money, but it has attracted talent to the projects. It would be great to see the filmmakers who are involved in this get rewarded for their work, but I'm skeptical about the people who own the franchise would ever do it. Again it's the living off the good intentions of some enthusiastic and talent people that I despise. I wish the creators all the luck in the world, and hope to be proven wrong someday.

There are other serials too, which I think is a great idea in showcasing your teams talents, but making money off these ventures is still a tricky endeavor. Neil makes some good points in his blog. As for me I don't know. The Internet makes it easy to self distribute, but it's not a panacea. Maybe the answer is doing more shorts. Maybe that would be better since the net seems more designed for short attention spans. That quick fix works, and videos turn viral if their short enough and interesting enough.

In John Grogan's blog he talks about "Schlubs and their dreams " and points out to a USA Today article about a guy who worked in Home Depot now singing with the band "Boston". All because he caught the ear of Tom Scholz from an MP3 file the guy posted on his website. Maybe that's how the web works best. It allows people to do what they love and other people to hear or see it, and just maybe that someone will have the clout to make those dreams a reality. The Internet works best when it puts creative people with other creative people. Sometimes magic does strike, and careers are launched out of nowhere.

As for me the writing continues. Maybe something will come of it. There is always hope.

1 comment:

Pete Bauer said...

Something you write will finally click and you'll know you just have to make it. You'll start down the path and generate some momentum and then things will start to fall into place.

That's the way its worked for me almost every time. Just keep plugging away.