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Entries in A to Z Challenge (118)

Saturday
Apr192014

When I (Almost) Quit Making Movies - The Query that Changed Everything #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

Once upon a time, an Australian filmmaker I met on MySpace (back when social networks were just starting to gain momentum) helped with the encoding of one of my short films and then asked me to tell him about the experiences making said movie.  What followed was a letter that detailed various aspects of the project – from my scriptwriting process, through production and all the way to my very first acceptance notice from a film festival. If it weren’t for his inquiry, I may have never taken the time to sit back and reflect on the journey of trying to make something from little to nothing; all that went well, all that went wrong and nearly everything in between.

His one, simple query led to what became my production notes – a filmmaking diary of sorts – which is something that I would have otherwise never even considered writing at the time. I underestimated the importance of production notes. They can be therapeutic by helping filmmakers get an overview of what the timeline and progress (or halt) of their project looks like.

Writing to Quito made me realize that I made lots of poor decisions in trying to get a project off of the ground. The letter also caused me to notice when and where I gave up on doing what’s best for my project, me and my long-term professional goals; the moments where I pulled through and the rewarding results that came out of less-than-ideal circumstances. Although you might not understand if you’ve never made a movie, I’m almost certain that you can still relate to the feeling of wanting to give up on something that you once thought you wanted more than anything in the world.

When you’re making a movie, it's easy to get off-course, especially if you don't have a clear idea of what you're aiming for. In that case, it helps to have an end goal and not rely on making it up as you go along. It's also easy to not notice all of the areas where you should've done something different -- especially if you're rushing and everything becomes a blur in the mad dash to get a film in the can.

It wasn't until I wrote my letter to this Australian filmmaker who I met on MySpace, that I realized how many mistakes I made trying to salvage something that wasn't working on so many levels. I also realized that I was delusional about what I could accomplish with the things that were available to me.

Has anyone ever asked YOU a question that led to deep reflection on an experience that YOU otherwise wouldn’t have given a second thought about?

Friday
Apr182014

How Motion Pictures Put the Power of Prestige in Play #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

l-r: Comedian/Actor Marlon Wayans takes a Selfie with the undefeated Boxing World Champion Floyd Mayweather at the L.A. premiere of the comedy horror film "A HAUNTED HOUSE 2." Photo courtesy of Le Studio Photography, Getty Image, HipHopWired.Prestige. Some independent film directors have it. Many others don’t -- myself included. Yet, I’m willing to bet that a lot of us wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to get it in a heartbeat. One may even seek it out, having put it on a pedestal among his or her career objectives. I was like that for a very long time.

I wanted to be a director who is considered to be on the same level as, say, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. Now, as I try to pinpoint what it’s worth, I wonder why I even sought it out in the first place.

What is Prestige, exactly and how do you quantify it?

For one thing, we know it sure as hell doesn't get you an Oscar...just ask Martin Scorsese. But maybe, just maybe it will get you an award of some sort.

Perhaps it could open up the right opportunities for you to land a job or meet people that can help you go places.
It might become a little easier for you to earn money for your work.
For, having Prestige may bring just the right amount of edge needed to put your name on the map.
That is, if you take advantage of it.

Prestige is what you make it.
It means nothing at all...until it does.
People start to pay more attention.
People began to take you seriously.
People give you a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
That is what Prestige means to me.

 

What does having Prestige mean to YOU?

Are there any film directors would YOU consider being Prestigious?

Thursday
Apr172014

One Filmmaker’s Observation on Getting our Opportunistic Ways in Order #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

My favorite film authors, Camille Landau and Tiare White, say a movie shouldn't be a means to an end; that it's an end in itself. There is a lot of activity in the independent film world, however, showing the contrary. A lot of directors make short films to get their feature films made, or they make a feature film to attract investors for a screenplay that they truly want to develop, or to get a job working under another director or to put them in the right circles where they fulfill other objectives.

These are illogical behaviors that waste time, money and resources because I figure, if you want to do that other thing you hope the current project you’re working on will lead you to, why not just do that other thing instead of spending your time going around it? I made that mistake years ago when completing one of my earlier movies; it was a project I pursued solely to help me make another film -- the movie that I really wanted to produce in the first place, at the time. All was not lost, as that sorta guinea pig project did bring me closer to learning more about film festivals and working with journalists and film critics and things of that nature.

Now, I can only wonder what would have become of my pet project that was shelved. There's no telling, as that time has passed and can be chalked up as a lesson learned.

Have YOU done any work for the sole purpose of getting an opportunity to do something else?

Are YOU an opportunistic person?

Do YOU think being opportunistic brings positive results, or negative results?