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Wednesday
Apr232014

The Truth is, We’re Shooting for That Theatrical Treatment #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

A movie screening during the Tiradentes Film Festival in Brazil.After all of the long days spent on a set or location filming one’s latest work,

When you’ve spent months analyzing scene after scene, and then cutting frame by frame from a story that has been years in the making,

Just to bring a concept to life,

Following the moments full of stress, doubt and anxiousness about the constant limitations, closed doors and rejections met…

The lights go down and the screen lights up.

A group of strangers, friends, lovers, couples, neighbors and peers are engaged with the imagery and sounds moving along before them.

Some of them have been anxious to get a glimpse of what’s next while others are in the room out of sheer curiosity.

All of a sudden, people start laughing.

Or somebody in the room gasps.

Or somebody begins to cry in his or her seat.

Or somebody screams, out of shock.

It is the moment that makes this turbulent, uncertain and unpredictable path of independent filmmaking not seem so detrimental, in retrospect.

When your name or work is displayed on the marquee.

When that work has a showtime – or two, or three, or more -- playing at a theater near other living beings.

When these living beings respond to that work, in their shared experience of watching it presented on a larger scale – literally.

THAT is one of the most rewarding reasons to make movies!

Are YOU quiet or are YOU vocal while watching movies at theaters?

Tuesday
Apr222014

Searching for Satisfaction Through the Silver Screen #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

“You gotta Satisfy your Soul, people!” – Akil Dupont

l-r: actors Mykel Shannon Jenkins and Tamara Goodwin during production of "SILHOUETTES" directed by Akil DuPont.Some people make movies for the sheer joy of creating something from nothing. I am not one of those people. I don't want to make movies in my basement that I show to myself in my basement while I get ready for my next shift at the nearby poultry plant (as described in the book "WHAT THEY DON'T TEACH YOU AT FILM SCHOOL").

Some filmmakers also believe that one has to start here – as in, you have to make the movies that you want to make and tell the kind of stories that matter to you. Otherwise, you sabotage your ability to obtain success in film -- whatever that looks like to you. This is the kind of standpoint I can get behind. It doesn't just apply to being satisfied with creating a work; it can be useful in most, if not all, areas that make us reach for the final frame.

As the song "RYDER MUSIC" by 50 Cent goes, you’re better off chasing what's going to open up more doors for you, than going after the byproduct of a larger gain. 

I don't make movies for the sake of making movies. I did, however, make “ABYSS: THE GREATEST PROPOSAL EVER” because something needed to be done. So in a sense, I had to start from aiming for the satisfaction of doing something, which led me to finishing a project, which then created an opportunity for me to get some of the things that I actually want out of this movie making madness.

It all clicks. 

The short film "35 Year Old Man" directed by Amir Motlagh is available to watch online.I asked film director Amir Motlagh what makes him satisfied with his films enough that there isn’t an urge to continue tweaking them. He points out how an endless search for satisfaction in one’s work leaves you with nothing to show. “As Steve Jobs once said, ‘real artists ship.’ In 2014, it's telling that the quote that makes most sense is coming from a tech genius, and not a figure like Goethe,” says Motlagh.

The next time you feel unsatisfied, consider taking a closer look at what you want and figuring out if pulling back a bit -- to start from you’re current position -- will help you get there, or at least, assist you in getting closer to the vicinity of what your aiming for.

When the New Year arrived in 2014, I looked on my wall and was surprised (and happy) to realize that I reached all most of my goals for making this movie, that were written down in 2012 and 2013. How many of us have made New Year's Resolutions that we let fall by the wayside?

How many broken promises of change or growth have YOU made to yourself?

Make sure to read yesterday's post about The Rush that People Get When Making Movies.

Monday
Apr212014

Running on that Movie-Making High - The Rush #atozchallenge #MondayMovieMeme #IndieFilm 

“The most expensive habit in the world is celluloid, not heroin, and I need a fix every two years.” – Steven Spielberg

Production slate during filming of NEWLYWEEDS directed by Shaka King.During a film podcast from 2013, Shaka King, director of the stoner comedy drama “NEWLYWEEDS” talks about how making movies caused him to wonder if he can take care of himself and be a filmmaker at the same time.

King, an Independent Spirit Award winner indicated that making this feature film debut threw his life out of balance.

“NEWLYWEEDS” is a Sundance hit that later played in theaters and is currently available on demand, DVD and iTunes. In between these milestones, however, King described being broke and feeling like his body was falling apart; concerned about the toll that filmmaking has taken on his health. Yet, despite these highs and lows, he’s eager to make the next one.

Shaka King‘s enthusiasm for making movies – even with all of the madness it brings, got me wondering if we’re all borderline crazy. Must we get a little crazy to be artists? After all, who in their right mind would willingly sign up for a second and third go 'round of the stress and debt that filmmaking brings?! It's like a drug -- trying to get that "high" again so bad that you'll do anything it takes, even if it makes your life more difficult in the process.

So with that in mind....

The theme for this week’s Monday Movie Meme is based on the topic at hand: Adrenaline Rush.

Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies featuring people who are thrill seekers. Here are my selections, which are basically the first movies that came to mind when thinking about what would fit the bill for this week’s Adrenaline Rush theme.

Twister

It’s understandable that Jo was passionate about helping people get ahead of tornadoes as best as they could, in this adventure/disaster film. Some of her crew members, however, appeared to take great pleasure in being within seconds of danger, swept up in Mother Nature’s destructive, merciless, and potentially deadly storms.

Clockwork Orange

The group of friends in this movie get off on being delinquents; Hmm. Maybe they need a hug. Or, some jail time.

When was the last time YOU were excited to repeat an activity that previously caused chaos in your life?

Do YOU think art requires one to be crazy in order to pursue it, create it and/or deal with the rollercoaster of emotions that it brings?

What movies come to YOUR mind when you think about thrill seekers?