Age is meaningless. Passion matters.

I turned fifty a few months back. Yep, one half of a century old. What’s more is that over the last year I’ve found my passion – filmmaking. The weird thing is, it was there all along – I just didn’t see it; a forest for the trees kind of situation if you will.

I wish I could tell you that when I was a small boy the first time I walked into a movie theatre I fell in love with cinema. I can’t. That would be a lie.

The first time I went to a theatre it was the Capital on the Lake Shore in New Toronto. I was six or seven I think. I saw a Godzilla flick and when a three-headed monster hatched from a giant egg, I freaked out. I started crying and yelling to go home. So, one of the older kids took me home and he was seriously pissed off.

I’ve loved film for a long time, but it was writing that ultimately gave me the push in the movie-making direction. I’ve always been a storyteller and realized that those stories were pictures in my mind. I wrote a lot of what I saw. Mini-movies in my mind. From there my writing turned to screenplays and that’s when the realization of the ‘system’ took hold.

Sometimes passion is just not enough.

The film industry has always had gatekeepers. Those people whose job it is to filter through what they believe is or isn’t right for the industry. I’m sure they use a checklist of key words like ‘marketable’ and ‘demographics’ and ‘revenues’ in their decision making. No matter my passion regarding a project, it never seemed to be good enough. Oh, there was a lot of ‘this is fantastic’ and ‘love it’ and ‘let’s get this made’ but it was truly smoke and mirrors. Really what they were saying was ‘no’. And, I’d much rather have heard that than the crap they peddled; I’m a rip the bandage off quickly kind of guy.

So what is a fifty year old guy, living far from Hollywood, not connected to anyone in the ‘biz’, to do?

What are you waiting for?

I chose to make my films myself. The journey from writing scripts to having a feature on the big screen is one taken in small steps over a long period of time. Age be damned, passion is what matters. And believe me when I say, I have many fears to face and will die trying to get that feature made.

One step at a time.

I’ve got a few short films under my belt now and it’s abundantly clear to me that my strength is in the writing. I feel so damned good when an actor or producer or anyone for that matter, tells me how much they like my work. I’m open to having my work critiqued since correcting the mistakes I make certainly makes me a stronger writer but, positives always give a welcomed boost. Writing  wouldn’t be a problem for my next film.

I realized quickly that I needed a director or photography, someone who knows the nuances of the gear they use or the gear I can provide. I wanted a particular look for my next film and now I know it’ll look as good on the screen as it does in my head. My passion for the project has to drive my decision making; what’s best for this film is paramount. This is not about me, it’s all about the end product – the film.

Add great actors willing to give their time and talent along with a crew that works with the same passion and you’ve got the makings of a great film.

Passion is essential but so is coin!

It truly is the best time to be an indie filmmaker. One of the reasons is crowdfunding. I get to reach out to people and talk about my film – my passion. This is the best way I can think of to get people interested in my film. No longer do people read about an upcoming film and line up to see it. They are part of the passion, they’re part of my passion – they’re in my passion network! We all get to be involved in making a great film. I get goose bumps when I think about it.

This is an exciting time for me and I needed to share that. I’ve written Rock and a Hard Place and will direct it. I’ve met wonderful people who share my passion. I’ll be reaching out to hundreds of people to share my passion.

The hell with my age, let my passion flow.

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Perks

I ask myself what would get me to help a film get made? Great perks. But what perks. I thought hard about this and I think this would be a good perk at $25. What do you think?

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$25
Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)
She’s new, but man is she dedicated. She’s just like you, wanting to squeeze everything there is out of the evidence. For that, we give you a Special Thank You in the closing credits of the film plus a .pdf file of the shooting script emailed to you. You’ll get regular updates from behind the scenes.

Crowdfunding?

ImageConsidering the fact that I will be crowdfunding my next short film, I wanted to give those unfamiliar with it, a definition.

What is Crowdfunding?

It is the pooling of funds from people who are passionate about a film to help bring it to life. Essentially, it’s shared enthusiasm. I will set a budget for the film and with the help of contributors, try to reach that goal. There will be different levels for contributors; anything from a dollar to $5, $10, $25 and up. Each level will offer the contributor different perks like a thank you on the film’s Facebook  page, a digital copy of the film, a DVD of the film, signed movie poster and more.

Where once you would buy a ticket to see the finished film, now you are given an opportunity to be part of the process of making that film. It’s an exciting prospect and one that will be happening soon. Please stay tuned.

Progress

I’m thrilled that my short film, Rock and a Hard Place has been well received by those who’ve read the script. To hear such good actors praise the script feels wonderful. There are now four actors who’ve committed to the project and I couldn’t be happier.

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Peter Campbell was the lead in my last short film, Upon Reflection. I look forward to seeing his portrayal of this new character. I know he’ll be great.

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Stacey Iseman is an accomplished actress whom I saw as a perfect fit for this project. Luckily she said yes and I couldn’t be happier.

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I had Aieron Munro’s face in my mind as I wrote one of the parts of this film. Of course he wasn’t quite so handsome and happy in my vision. I was thrilled when he agreed to be part of the production.

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I watched a lot of footage of Tyler Parr and knew pretty early on that he was perfect for this project. Best part of all is that he accepted the challenge and I can’t wait to see this man bring that character to life.

There is still a long way to go before we get on set, not the least of which is filling out the final role and landing a Director of Photography. Then there’s the little matter of crowdfunding this project which will be no easy task. Am I excited? Damn right I am. These are incredibly talented people that will make this film amazing and will help me be a better director. I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled at the progress of this project.

Stay tuned.

What’s In A Name?

It’s a big deal, the title of a film, short or feature. How many times have you picked up a book because you liked the title? Think of how often you hear a title of a film and your ears perk up with curiosity or excitement. Think of what happens when you hear or see a title that has the opposite affect. It’s my first opportunity to connect with an audience and it’s one I take very seriously.

My decision made on my next film, it’s time to edit and rewrite that script until it shines. I was going through it again last night and suddenly realized that I didn’t like the working title, Injustice For All. It’s a negative, it’s formal and it really doesn’t say what’s at the core of the film. So, I kept editing and it hit me. It was clear and made sense and was familiar to people. I turned back to the title page of the script and wrote, Rock And A Hard Place.

ImageThe name not only describes the dilemma facing every character in the film, it’s also easy to digest. It speaks to the heart of the film.

Our justice system doesn’t always seem to work, at least not from where most of us sit, on the outside of it. We see people getting slaps on the wrist for what are serious crimes and it’s upsetting. I’ve written several pieces, both fiction and non, that address this issue. This is the one piece that I feel opens a discussion on justice or the lack of it and also entertains people with a gritty story.

A couple experienced a terrifying home invasion years ago and arrive home to find the man responsible for that crime tied up in their basement. What do they do?

Rock And A Hard Place. Yes?