Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Collaborative Life is the Good Life

In this blog I plan on going through the critical aspects of making low budget movies (like writing a script to fit a budget, locations for cheap, casting, increasing production value, the crews you can afford, SAG and IATSE on super low budgets, post-production, etc). I hope this never turns into a vanity site, but just is practical, helpful, somewhat readable. I also intend to discuss business models that suit today’s independent film market realities, distribution options and pitfalls, etc. Again, hoping it comes off interesting and helpful.
Before I begin, however, I’d like to cover two things: collaboration and what a producer is. For today: Collaboration.
I feel that the first step to success in filmmaking (at every level) is to surround yourself with talented people. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are not only talented, but extremely talented. It is also important that you surround yourself with people who aren’t, well, jerks (another word comes to mind, but I choose to practice discretion in public). I find that jerks are not fairly common in this industry, despite the stereotype. Maybe I just never meet them. I certainly can’t offer much to the typical Hollywood sleazeball, so why would he bother showing himself to me? Anyway…
    Probably my favorite thing about working in film is working with amazingly talented, creative, passionate people everyday.
So, lesson for today:  find a community. Reach out to others. Make new friends. Don’t look for people who will be “yes people," but people who will challenge you, force you to learn. If someone is doing work you admire, tell them. Tell them you hope to work with them sometime. I do this and am amazed at how quickly it gets things moving.
I started young. In second grade I saw our school’s production of The Sound of Music. It was the first theatrical performance I ever saw. I was pretty much blown away. I was impressed with one of the Von Trapp family boys who was my age. I mean, this kid was in this play with all these big six graders! The next day on the playground I walked up to him and said, “Hi, can we be friends?” And we were, and are still. Josiah Polhemus is still acting and turns in great supporting performances in two of my movies, White on Rice and Surrogate Valentine. Later this year he’ll be starring in my directorial debut, Superpowerless.
Make networking about enriching your life. 

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