Tuesday, June 5, 2012
"Hey! Are you a 'film maker'?"
Something has been on my mind for a while now, so I'm gonna rant--at what point exactly does a person qualify as a "film maker"?? I'm asking this because apparently my definition varies wildly from some peoples'. I thought the stuff I review, defend and support was "independent" film. Furthermore, I thought that people who actually made films were film makers. About a year ago, I was at a convention and met someone who's advice changed my whole outlook--ducking away from the commotion, this man asked what I was doing at the fest, I explained that I was sharing a table with two film makers, we had all made short films that year and released them together on one DVD--and we had sold out of them! I then remarked to this person that "I almost felt like I was among my peers for a second there" to which he replied "young man, did you have a vision of the story you wanted to tell, and then, did you translate that story onto the screen using everything you had available?", when I answered "yes", he told me "then you could be in a room with Coppola, Scorcese and Spielberg and you'd be among your peers--don't ever sell yourself short, there's plenty of people in this business to do that for you". With that in mind, I'll lay out a few things that sort of chap my ass about indie horror films (and the people that make them) and clarify my positions and opinions.
JUST BECAUSE YOU WENT TO (OR FLUNKED OUT OF) FILM SCHOOL DOES NOT MAKE YOU ANY MORE "LEGIT".
Seriously, some of the best indie films were made by people with a rudimentary knowledge (at best) of the process--the key to an entertaining film, horror or otherwise, is storytelling! And that, friends, can't be taught in any school--you either have it, or you don't. Film making is kind of like a great guitar solo--you can have all the chops in the world, but if you ain't feeling it, it's gonna be as entertaining as watching someone do long division. Passion for the story will shine through a mountain of technical glitches.
"MY CAMERA AND EQUIPMENT COST 10x WHAT THAT GARBAGE YOU'RE USING COST!"
Really?? So you used a RED camera and still made a boring, sterile, shitty film that pales in comparison to one shot on a VHS cam-corder, circa 1992? I'd demand your money back if I was you!! Or better yet, go on social media and rail about how people are morons because they hate your pristine, hi-def masterpiece (it's a whole lot cheaper than sending out fliers!). Maybe if chicks at film fests overhear you discussing your geek-gasm collection of gear, you'll get laid more. Hey, it could work...
"BACKYARD FILM HACKS" ARE NOT TAKING YOUR FUNDING AWAY!
If I hear one more self important fuck-bag whine about how Indie Go Go and Kickstarter are too flooded with half-assed projects that no one will fund a decent film anymore, I'm gonna fucking retch!! Browse those sites for 5 minutes--go ahead--if you can't separate the shit from the Shinola by reading the proposals in that amount of time, you should probably list something other than English as your primary fucking language!! If you've made a decent film with no funding, people will hear about it (Hell, I spend most of my free time making sure people will hear about it) and funding will come. The old adage "the cream always rises" is true in a lot of things, especially film. If you have a great script/idea/concept, and you have the right people behind it--it will work. Look at what people like Brandon Slagle, JimmyO Burril, and Jason Liquori (to name a few) have done with micro-budgets---see what I mean? I made a film for $40, edited and scored it myself and got festival play and DVD sales with it. Derek Huey has built a sizable and fiercely loyal following for "The League of Science" while spending, like, 5 bucks an episode. A budget will not make a ranconteur out of a boring douchebag--that's just unconscious knowledge!
YOUR "WELL IF HE HIRED 'REAL' ACTORS/CAMERAMEN/EDITORS ETC. HIS FILMS WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER" LOGIC JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
FACT:"Real" actors cost money. FACT: Money is usually something up and coming indie auteurs have little of. While excellent acting can make or break a film, often people making their first, second, or even third film are using their savings, kid's college fund, or whatever they can scrape together to simply complete the film, and then possibly make enough money to make the next one even better. Precious few directors in the indie world are making a "living" at this godless endeavor, so if they can con "amateur actors" in their circle of friends to act int heir films--don't bag on them because they didn't hire you--root them on, maybe they'll be able to afford you next time. It worked for Romero!
So, yeah, guys & gals, STOP WHINING!!! Trust me, if you're passionate about what you're doing--it shows!! And I can say this with some conviction because I almost certainly have watched more indie/low budget/no budget/I'll-pay-YOU-to-watch-this films in the last 3 or 4 years than 95% of the people reading this have. And, as always, SUPPORT INDEPENDENT CINEMA!!
Oh, and the guy I spoke to at that film fest, that was none other than Lloyd Kaufman--so take his advice, and go "make your own damn movie"!!!
I'm Tom--I'll be here all week!