A call to arms...
I've never been big on asking for help. I don't beg and I never look for hand outs.
I've often, even when lost or most in need, found myself in the leader position which not only baffles me it scares the shit of me. I don't always know what I'm doing and have figured out most things I know or skills I have on the fly, baptism through fire or making mistakes. I'll get in it to win it, a scrappy-fighter and scruffier kat from Jersey who doesn't know when the last round's bell rings. I'm also very much a risk-taker but either there's always been some method to my madness or the charming madness of the method, and I've managed to pull through and make deadlines and overcome strange obstacles. I always managed to run in circles though, put in the fight and lick my wounds but end up in the same place I started if not five yards behind... stubbornness, pride and a lack of trust have always been my detractors in these situations. I want to put an end to that tradition this time.
So, I've put out an Indie-A-Go-Go donation site to aid with some pre-production costs during the financing period of "Things I Don't Understand". There are people that have and will run far better campaigns, breaking out the full bell and whistles of videos, artwork, graphics, sleep and hunger strikes, and everything under the sun.
I'm not that guy. Outgoing and creative as I can be, any charm or sway I have is best saved for dark bars, written words or random midnight conversations. I can only do what I find myself always doing, putting it out there open and honestly. No one can do anything alone.
You know, we're living in crazy times of transitions in the world, in technology, in the way we communicate across continents, economically and in all forms of entertainment industry... but if you look back isn't it always a time of transition, of craziness, of old guards falling and new traditions being formed. And yes, it's easy to be cynical and afraid of the looks of others during these tough times.
How dare you try and do these silly things?! There are bigger problems in the world right now! It's hard enough to get a real job these day! Do SOMETHING! STOP DREAMING!
I say I believe people need stories and storytellers now more than ever.
People need a reason to disappear for two hours from the stress and problems of their own lives, to get lost in new worlds and characters they can also relate to. They need to see actors, their avatars, pouring out their guts to evoke their greatest loves, fears, and anxieties. They need to laugh, to cry, to be afraid and get some kind of catharsis. They want to see a hero win or at least fight the battles they might not be able to in their own worlds. They need a reprieve from the elongated commercials, product placements and cross-promotional media in 3D Imax that makes up the majority of what they're forced to shell out 13.50 for...
So many of my contemporary artists are still out there right now, fighting and trying, achieving great things and building a community while doing it. Others have all the right ideas and energy, but lack the cohesion and are drowning in seas of misinformation and apathy, of lists and fads, of techno-babble and social-media dystopia...
That's why I'm reaching out now... being ridiculously honest with what I'm about to attempt, no glitter or deadpan masking the need and the desire of what I'm planning to do next...
A friend recently mentioned, after observing the work I've been doing and progress I've been making, he was glad to see I was "a doer and not just a talker". I'm a "tryer"... I've managed to "do" a lot of things I've tried, some of those being ridiculous feats of many mini-miracles and random dumbfuckluck(my weird, Copyright 2010)... but I've lost as many fights as I've won, if not more. But I'll always try... and this project, far more than something like "...Around" which always had the plan B of being tossed on a Viking funeral pyre of credit fraud, is completely out of my hands in the end. I will not stop, I will not leave a stone unturned, and I will work until my bones are ash without giving in to produce this film... but it will still be about other people saying "yes"... of someone unknown figures giving a chance to make it happen. What is in my control is taking the opportunities that come, doing the research and building the strategies, tirelessly moving forward and trying everything... even asking for some donation help from you out there who may believe and be a part of this project to see that it comes to fruition in the best possible way... I look at it now and truly see it's a unity and a creative collaboration on a different scale.
And that's the singular greatest reason I love film other than the ability to use sounds and moving images to tell a story and communicate feelings. Collaboration. Film is possibly the most collaborative of the arts. So many departments, so many contributing skills and talents all being lead by the conducting of a director who's shaped by the team of producers and creative individuals. It's a family and a home that transcends any kind of blood relation. It's a connection amongst those who DO. Those who CREATE. Those who dream and then spend every second of waking-life trying to translate and realize those dreams..... But it's more than just a new film I'm going to do or project as I carve out a career and filmography. Its not about me or any one person and vision... It's for all of us.
"Things I Don't Understand" is the beginning of a phase of my life I've given a lot of thought to, the next chapter and decade, the new fight. An open invitation to others to collaborate. To an old idea with a new spin... a collective:
Over the next five years I plan to create a company that will develop and collaborate with a number of local artists to help produce content (films, web, pilots, commercials) connection young story-tellers with actors and crew, marrying the artistic and creative realm with the business and commercials realms in a way that complements and pushes both sides to new heights. I will be using all of my own experiences and lessons learned, as well as those of others with far more skills and years behind them to cut a new path during these uncertain times, to take advantage of the unknown roads that lay ahead. There's an insane amount of talent here and it's a bout time there was a real conduit for it to meet and unite and create together, to nurture and support and grow. The only aesthetic and limitations will be of our own united and creative minds and skills.
The name of the company has some meaning to me. I've spent the better part of my twenty-seven years wandering, both metaphorically in a personal sense and quite literally all over the face of the earth and this great Gotham. I lost my way for a while in uncertainty, but I’ve come back because now more than ever I know I've found my place. I've found my home and I see my purpose. I know the fight and the journey, the rocks strewn about a dusty road littered with footprints of those who came before me and a pathway to those who will come after. I'm ready to begin walking it and lead those who want to come along, whatever lies ahead, and I'm asking not for help... but for support, for company and creative inspiration. Let's live and create big, fearlessly; work harder and realize the dreams that make us stare out the window, toss in our beds and searching and yearning for something more... To do what I've always loved in it's simplest form. To tell stories with my friends and family.
For the longest time, especially the last few years, I've been marked by the throwaway line and name of the INC. that owned the copyright to "...Around". Embrace the Fall... but some have misconstrued the original intent of the name. What that always meant to me wasn't to expect to fail or aim to fail... It was to take a chance and the responsibility of that chance, and if it doesn't work out to not fear the impact, to embrace it and learn from every scratch and dent you made, to feel alive with every drop of blood you gave and to get up and do it again...
"Wandering" has always suited me more. Maybe because I believe you can't really be found or find your way until you allow yourself to be completely lost.
So, "Things I Don't Understand" and a soon-to-be-mentioned TV/Web Series I'm developing will be the first of several projects of mine and others I'm actively popping off the ground for this collective and there's a fuck-ton of practicalities, paper work, paper clips, sleep deprivation and various other factors to plow through... but I will... I am... and I'm starting it... help us spread the word!
More later including some casting coups, financing realities(brief statements on the indie film world out there or what's left of it), what I've learned after reading some 500 pages this memorial day weekend on business plans, SI investments and owww my head hurts... And some behind the scene production info... same bat-time, same bat-channel.