Sunday, August 02, 2009

DIY - Philadelphia (Part 1)

So yesterday the heavens stayed clear, and we even got some sun out of the deal, and what do I do but spend it in a lecture hall. But all was good. TheDIY - Philadelphia conference went on at the University of the Arts downtown in Philly, and there was a good turn-out of people.

Why did I go to a DIY - conference when I already did it myself? Well to put it simple one film is not enough, and as the DIY mantra is: Fund, Create, Distribute, Sustain. There were some interesting individuals who gave some interesting lectures. Esther Robinson of Arthome gave an interesting lecture on Clarity & fearlessness. In her lecture she told it like it is, and that credit can be a GOOD thing. An interesting statement she said was "build your future & don't deny your existence." I think it was something like that. Lance Weiler was there too talking about his experiences, and what he's doing. Mr. Weiler had some interesting thoughts, and he seemed to be running the show as well, so he as a busy guy.

Douglas Rushkoff also gave a fantastic key-note address, and it made me think about how we tell stories in general. Nina Paley was also there and she gave us a breakdown on her film "Sita Sings the Blues" where she released the film FREE. Yep! That's right she released a film free, and strangely enough is making money off it. I swear Ms Paley I'll buy a DVD next paycheck.

I'll probably blog a bit more about all this since I have a lot of material from the conference, and I'm still digesting it all. I kind of stayed in the background and just listened. I did have some DVD's of my film, but I didn't see a point. I know the realities of DIY, and though I think it's great I do think you need to have $$$$ in the first place to launch your film. The reality is that there is so much out there and a film like mine seems to have a hard time competing with everything out there. Maybe it's because I don't yell loud enough or often enough, but as one speaker said yesterday it's hard to stretch yourself. Between the day gig, family and other things it's difficult to stay on top of what you need to do for your project. So that's my problem in a nut shell.

Yet I was still jazzed at seeing other filmmakers like myself at the conference. I mean there's a whole lot of us, and that's important to know. I do have a problem with the insular way these types of groups form. I know that it was an academic facility that was hosting the conference, but I wanted more DIY grunts as I call them. People doing their own thing from outside of academia. There are a lot of artists who are doing it, but the problem is that we are isolated in our art. Esther Robinson said it in her lecture that it is "dangerous to work as a project by project culture". I whole heartily agree. Such realities as rent, health insurance, mortgages for some, and the daily grinds of everyday life can be disheartening to an artist and can take the wind out of any creative persons sails.

That's why I would have liked a bit more everyday reality projected into the conference. Hey but maybe some other time. I still think it's a good foot forward idea, and it's great to see and hear other creative people coming together and talking to each other. Can't wait to do it again.

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