Monday, June 23, 2014

Back Against the Wall, Now WRITE

It's funny how sometimes it takes a moment where you're back is against the wall before you really have to make a change- or choice.

That was us, not very long ago.  Try as we might, we simply could not sustain a constant flow of work. Meaning we'd have a really great month then three where we were pinching penny's.  One month where filmmakers were coming to us will all sorts of ideas (and budgets) and we helped them making the ideas a reality. Then zilch.

Then a very unfortunate situation happened and a client we had been paid our first fee by, who had large ambitions but very little understanding of how the industry worked lost his gumption when he finally realized that he was not going to nail the A-list talent he wanted without throwing down serious cash. The film was abandoned and all the work we had prepared for vanished. Or rather, got filed on a shelf labeled "well that was interesting" to be pulled out an admired anytime we get too big for our britches.

So we're back to having our backs against the wall. Work trickles in or it pours in, there is no in between. Filmmaking is not the glamorous party every night that people imagine it to be.

Then, as if by lighting strike, we both decided that it was time to stop waiting for others to hire us and simply make our own work. Because that's how we started out. We made our own work.

There's been this film, a short that needs to be a much longer film by all accounts everywhere we've taken it. And it's been a few places. Festivals, private screenings, more festivals, and finally settled on IndieFlix where all 6 minutes of glory can be watched again and again for whomever wants to.

A steampunk western. A Short. That should be a feature. Well, alright Universe. Let's get cracking.

Here I am in Spokane, on a "writers retreat" working on the script. Next week I'll be in Rosalia learning how to shoot black powder rifles (think civil war era) and revisiting my horseback skills. But today, Writing.

I'll see you on the flip side.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

It's a Full Time J-O-B

My typical work day.
Let's get something straight.

What I do for a living is FUN. I enjoy it. If I did not I would work at a law firm and be the best damn office services manager you've ever met. I did that for a long time, working 40 hours a week in the corporate world while I came home and worked another 40 hours on film so that I could keep building my path towards the career I actually wanted.

When my daughter was born, I had to make a change. I didn't have 80 hours a week to devote to two jobs, because 75% of my time was consumed by family obligations. So I left the law firm and made a full-time commitment to working as a freelance filmmaker.

Some people say I'm crazy. How can you do that to your family? It's so unstable. You'll never make a living.

Location scouting on our anniversary with our daughter.
I actually do. It's not a luxury filled living. But it is a living.  I have set rates, and expectations to deliver certain product based on those rates. They vary slightly, from project to project because I'm not unreasonable. I understand that you are a small business just trying to build you brand, so I make an exception and tell you the bare minimum I can work for, typically my overhead cost for living that month. I mean even attorney's will work Pro Bono if the case is a good reflection of the lawyers morals (or it makes them look good to the public, but I digress).

My point is this. Filmmaking is not your typical "day-job." The hours fluctuate. The work is in constant evolution, and the likelihood that you will be booking the next gig while on vacation is high. Workaholic is a common label slapped on us, because we rarely turn off. And to be honest, my vacation is a day I haven't booked where I get to take my daughter to the zoo.

Filmmaking feeds my soul and feeds my family.  It might be a creative, but it's still a job. You wouldn't ask an architect to design you a new home for free. You couldn't justify asking a master carpenter to build you an ornate cabinet out of oak for free. You certainly wouldn't solicit a marketing firm - a HIGHLY CREATIVE JOB- to market your business for free.

So the next time you ask a filmmaker to work for you please consider this: This is not a hobby. This is my J-O-B.

Directing my actor on a short film.
Want to see what I do? Visit our website and take a  look. We make dreams come true.