Ah how the wheel keeps turning. Your faithful narrator continues to plod on. Another year gone by and another birthday poker bash at the studio. I don’t really feel any older. My continual immaturity and inability to grow up refuses to let age dictate anything other than a number on a calendar.
In the past 60 days (less than actually), I have sent out 63 film festival submissions. Countries like New Zealand, Australia, France, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, England, Ireland, Japan, India, Yemen, and more that I can’t recall without bringing up the shipping lists. In the U.S., I’m hoping to premiere at one of the big festivals, but think my chances are so-so at best. I’ve never screened at any of the top 30 film festivals. If I can get into South by Southwest (aka SXSW), or Tribeca, or the Beverly Hills Film Festival, any one of these three would make an exceptional premiere, and exceed my wildest hopes.
ACCIDENTAL ART is currently a 6 minute short film, but it is the first 6 minutes of a future feature film as well. It’s the movie I wanted to follow up HORRORS OF WAR with, so for 5 years this has been lingering. I think HORRORS OF WAR shattered my confidence in some ways. I learned a lot, but I had set bars for myself that were not met. 2009 was spent applying what I learned as a filmmaker artistically, using more shallow focus, more ambitious ideas being tried on smaller scales, etc. But they were also scrimmages for the real game. I’m ready for the real game now.
I think I want to shoot this feature in August/September come hell or high water. If I have to do it on the shoe string budget and minimal crew on HDV with a 35mm adapter, so be it. If I have enough money to book the name talent and shoot on RED again, I’ll do it. I’m committing to this feature film. I’m committing to doing what my heart tells me is the right thing to do.
I am holding off on fund raising until I find out about some film festival acceptances. Whether I get into the big ones or not, I think mathematically, the odds are in my favor to get into SOME film festivals (63 entries, some of them smaller festivals). Armed with some laurel leaves and the words “Official Selection to the ______ film festival”, I can make effective pitches to some money people I already know and have been waiting to approach. I will use it as evidence that people want to see this movie, which it is. Unbiased 3rd parties validating the film by playing it at their festival goes a long way with showing investors there is an interest in this idea for a movie.
With the 6 minute short as is, I have screened it as a “work in progress” a few times now, and feedback is an interesting thing. In most cases, it’s shown to filmmakers. I liken this to being a magician trying to show magic tricks to other magicians. They aren’t the audience I’m trying to reach or tell stories to. The comments are always “that was predictable” or “I would have done it THIS way!” and when you show it to general audiences, it gets a very different, and real response. Even filmmakers, in a GROUP setting, react differently.
I make movies for the intended THEATRICAL experience. Sitting in a dark room with a group of strangers connecting to a story gets a completely different reaction than sitting by yourself in a well lit room staring at a tiny window on your computer. It’s a lot harder to connect to people like that. Most movies will suck if they are seen that way, at least if they do not have the memory of seeing the movie theatrically first. It’s amazing how subconsciously people are relating the love of a movie they see on the portable device (IE Ipod or Zune) because they saw it and liked it on the big screen before that. People don’t realize how much their own mind does to the perception of a movie.
Things are coming together this year. Next up, a short in February, then a webseries shoot in March, then Brandy’s documentary in April-June, then hopefully my next feature film in August or September, with post production going on until December. My year is spoken for, my dance card full, and a really good outlook.