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My Next Wave: Bringing My Ideas to Life 2.0

July 6, 2007

I must be crazy. . .

This piece is in lieu of an introduction still percolating in the recesses of my mind. It isn’t so much that I am uncomfortable revealing “the who” part of who I am, but for now it’s “the how” aspect that remains elusive.

Late last year, I wrapped my first of three nights of shooting on a short film to help support a friend of mine who was Director of Photography on the project. I went to lend a hand, and ended up contributing on a number of key elements, including Gaffer, Grip, and putting on the old Assistant Director’s cap once again. Next thing I know, I am back for a round of pick-up shots, and as it is my professional need, I finished what I started.

Flash forward to the present and I am currently involved in another short film, this time serving in a Producer’s capacity. Once again, I am working with that same friend and colleague, only this time he’s directing. We would be in the latter stages of Pre-production, with plans to go out in August, but of course, until you are on-set doing the work, you’re constantly in a state of “waiting for the work to materialize”. Whether I continue to write on about work on that short film remains to be seen.

Prior to the two short films, a significant amount of my time has been spent working with colleagues and supporting the development of what will shortly be a major motion picture. I will be glad to see that finally come to life, not just for the opportunities which may or may not present themselves, but once again, it’s seeing something through to its completion.

Along the way, I have taken stabs at my own work, but I have always managed to find some reason not to fully support my own work. My hunger continues to grow to get back to what I love doing best, doing it full time and earning what I deserve. That, after all is probably one of the single greatest achievements in this business, second only to longevity. I’m comfortable enough in the knowledge of my abilities to say I am damn good working behind the camera. Filmmaking comes as second nature to me, but I am also not so arrogant to think that there isn’t still much to be learned.

I’ve been thinking and observing film, filmmakers, and filmic thought for almost as many years as I have been alive. Everytime I immerse myself in the work, I know, this is what I am supposed to be doing. I have also been blessed with people who have told me the same thing.

But, so what? An artist is nothing if he doesn’t have his ideas and a way to bring them to life. And of course in this business, that is a challenge that isn’t usually accomplished alone. Thankfully, I am not alone.

This blog is one of those ideas. A record of my process, career and a voice which seeks colleagues and collaborators. Insight for those aspiring down similar artistic and career goals. And in media world full of noise, hopefully a positive and growing signal. . .

Top Priority of the Year: Dad’s Day

You’ll be reading more about this one very soon. Dad’s Day is a short film which can be described as:

“A day in the life of a young boy as he waits for his father to show up for a weekend together, and the memories he relives during his wait.”

A colleague of mine told me not to pursue “the short film”. Not because of the qualities of the project, but because of the fact that the process of making short films is sometimes as difficult to tackle as a feature film. In certain ways, it’s more difficult. I stand prepared and undeterred.

Of course, a short film is a calling card for any aspiring filmmaker, and I feel it’s necessary to have. While revenue may not often support doing most short films in this day and age, there is an increasing interest in the short form, as well as numerous venues which cater to short films and similar types of content. Quite frankly, I also feel that an adventurous and dedicated spirit will find ways of deriving a worthwhile result from such a project.

Dad’s Day is a personal project, but more importantly, the story is something that I feel needs to be shared and seen by many. Those who have read the script agree that it’s a story that needs to be told, and I’m ready to move forward.

Next Priority: Project DT

Project DT is a leading-edge web project that ties into both filmed entertainment and web interactivity. No, this sort of thing is not brand new, but the methodology I am developing is something I believe to have freshness and exciting possibility.

Things are just starting to happen where entertainment projects are being produced for the web while driving revenue at the same time. It’s still early for the type of project I am trying to put forth, but just barely. Getting this project right in its concept will mean the difference between success & longevity or just another passing fad. Its success can mean the difference between franchise and just another cool concept.

I have a company that I work with that is creating the web infrastructure to eventually run this type of project and a projects similar to it, even in as little as three to six months. I also have potential lines toward production capital, but like every other producer, those lines are speculative until the check has cleared. I am currently in talks with two possible production partners.

This is a project I’ll probably be fairly tight-lipped about until more is in place. But at the right time, there will be plenty of room for involvement from talented creators of all types.

Ongoing Priority: Music Documentary Project

I’ve been sitting on a number of concepts for a documentary feature that is near and dear to my heart. Last year, I had a number of conversations with an individual who represents the estate of a talented musician who is no longer with us. The conversations went well, and I was given the go ahead to continue to pursue the concepts with the estate.

I chickened out. Not because there wasn’t ample opportunity to pursue the project, but I definitely developed nervousness about finding the resources to mount the project in such a way that would would be creatively vital and do the project justice.

I have every confidence that I am the right voice to tell the story, and I know deep down that both the music and this musician’s story must be shared. The project will be a labor of love, but with a chance to do something really special. Probably make a buck or two in the process. One way or another, I intend to pursue this project to completion.

In the Writing Stages. . .

For anyone who intends to pursue a career in feature films coming off the imagined success of a short film, they simply can’t go out into the film market with out at least one screenplay ready for the market.

I have two feature film screenplays underway. The first is a Neo-noir thriller set in present day South America; currently in it’s second draft. This one’s the “fat kid” that I recently took an editorial “butcher knife” to, and I am pleased to say that the kid is looking a whole lot healthier.

The second feature is a Romantic Comedy. . . And Romantic Comedy is not really something that I thought I would ever end up writing. However, there is one thing that I do not want to do in my career, and that’s be predictable.

Initially, the inspiration for this feature came from a dream, and has been one of the easiest things I have ever written. I woke up and wrote the treatment in about two hours, and followed up with a solid beat structure not too long after. I have set the editing process aside for a bit, to focus on the Noir piece, which has been the bigger nut to crack.

I am blessed by the fact that ideas have never really eluded me. There’s plenty in my professional and creative life that has eluded me. But ultimately, these things boil down to a journey of learning and exploration, where tools are earned along the way. Defeats do lead to opportunities with the right amount of perserverence, creativity and stamina. Recently, an opportunity to be mentored in a Producer’s capacity which I fought long and hard to earn, failed to materialize. Now, I find myself learning the process as a Line Producer supporting one short film, and putting together Dad’s Day.

The trick in this business is like learning to spin as many plates as possible, all the while assembling the people and resources to bring the next project to life. And the next project is not always the one you’re expecting.

Like any other profession, you just better love what it is that you do. The work really never seems to end, and there is always just one more thing to be done. The good news is I’ve got plenty of ideas to keep me busy, and have penciled in retirement for the week after I die.

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