I have not been as productive with film and filmmaking lately, as in a really long time. Almost a year since I’ve done something creative for myself. To say I’ve been in a lull is an understatement.
Currently, my health has considerably declined. I was bitten by a spider last month and this has compromised my immune system. Today I visited Ye Olde Emergency Room yet again because the infection has spread and now appears to be affecting more than my epidermal layer. Vital organs go next. Facing my mortality isn’t as scary as I thought it would be, even without a partner in life anymore. I digress, as I do not want to vent about my previous relationship or wallow in my own misery of bodily failure. I want to vent and discuss a fallow time from a few years ago, when I was at what may have been my lowest point in over 20 years.
After making my first feature film, I went through the typical phases of First Time Feature Filmmaker Syndrome, wherein I was invincible with the greatest film ever made. As time and distance progressed, as did objectivity and it wasn’t the most amazing film. It did not succeed as I had intended, both because of the quality of what I did as a co-writer and co-director, but also in how the film was sold and marketed. Trying to sell the movie as a million dollar action film with a fancy DVD cover failed miserably, and with it went many of my ambitions.
I took over 18 months to market the film myself with an aggressive web campaign, film festivals, horror movie conventions, working on IN THE TRENCHES OF AN INDIE FILM (a vastly superior story with a comprehensible through plot), and the screening tour across the country. It didn’t seem “right” to pursue a 2nd feature film with investors until I had done all I could on the first film. I was being rather draconian about the ethics of filmmaking investments, as I should have never stopped making feature films and pushed through.
After this time, I started to get the itch to make movies again. I had been submitting the old Sonnyboo catalog of short films to the ever growing list of websites that were growing to feed the need for video content. One of which was Sony’s CRACKLE. After talking with the webmasters and content managers, they approached me with creating original content for them. I pitched them an idea that they loved and told me to make it the best I could possibly make because it could lead to something big, for them and me.
I wrote a script, put my crew together and my dream team cast. And almost immediately, it all turned to the fecal matter of a Cervus canadensis. My confidence was already shaken, and the actors were disrespectful and defiant. One of them brought his buddy in without asking me if that was okay, not just to watch but to be on camera as talent. Another actor was a no-show at all because of an Ohio State football game. The camerawork and lighting were so sub-par the piece is something of an embarrassment.
This short film could have been a crown jewel, furthered my career, and in the end it was a nail in a coffin that kept me from directing or producing another film for over a year. It was a miserable experience in every way.
Did I not convey the importance of quality to everyone? Was it simply disrespect because I didn’t deliver on the feature film? Was it just that I was not worthy of respect or courtesy?
To be honest I have no idea. I try not to work with anyone from that short anymore. I’m in a similar place mentally now. I want to crack the ice around me and get back to creating things again.
I need to warm up a little before tackling ACCIDENTAL ART as a feature film. It’s a great script and I want to shoot sooner rather than later. Let’s say the health stuff is motivating me to get ‘er done ASAP.