Well my acolytes, ‘tis a dark night. The moon has passed into shadow, and the demons of the past arise. I speak of course about the fact that Kelsey Grammar has a new sitcom. When last I wrote, I spoke of the locally produced documentary COLUMBUS IN FOCUS, a doc about the local film scene and some of its filmmakers. The documentary spawned a single negative review, but several positive ones. In the maelstrom of postings about the Columbus film scene as it stands and where it has been – one thing cannot be denied. Columbus filmmakers like a good fight.

If you look at the last 7 years, it becomes abundantly clear that the people in our film scene invariably watch, participate, or comment on all the petty battles, both large and small. On OhioFilmandVideo.com, people you could watch the number of people viewing threads swell in great numbers whenever a tiff would occur. When the epic battles ensued, the views would go into the thousands. The same happens today. The only surge on that old site in the last year is when the moderators allowed people to bash anonymously and go crazy on some guy, although he deserved his licks; it was not the proudest moment.

After the bad review of COLUMBUS IN FOCUS appeared on the mighty [url=HTTP://WWW.KARMACRITIC.COM/USER/103]KARMACRITIC.COM[/url] site, no less than 7 filmmakers from Columbus joined the site and most of them participated in the discussion and flat out fighting about the views and opinions. I mentioned the [url=HTTP://WWW.KARMACRITIC.COM/USER/103]KARMACRITIC.COM[/url] site and its benefits on the Columbus forums many weeks ago. Only a single filmmaker joined the site after that. Someone posts the equivalent of screaming “Fight! Fight!” in a high school cafeteria, suddenly 7-10 filmmakers suddenly decide to join the site, ignore the benefits and community – just want to either take part in the fight or spectate with front row seats.

Now I love a good debate, but fighting is another matter. Stick to the issues, please. It’s not personal. I had a wonderful debate with Sean McHenry, Deep Blue Edit, and we never devolved into name calling or getting personal, no matter how heated our discussion got. At the end of the day, we can shake hands (literally and figuratively), so I feel like there’s some hope, even in our dark Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet and Grey stained hearts.

What was brought up once more was my alleged responsibility as a “leader” in this city’s film community. I’m not a leader. Perhaps I fancied such things 5 long years ago, but not any more. I want to make films. The End. I have no responsibility to do or say anything except make my movies and let people know about them. I find anyone who looks up to me or views me as a leader as foolish.
I’m just some yahoo making movies and I’m really only in this to make my movies. I help some people when the mood strikes me or if someone asks, but really I’m in this for me. I don’t pretend to be a saint or some philanthropist. In many ways, I’m sure I’m an ass to people, but who the hell said I had to be anything else? I don’t recall seeing a contract stating that by being a filmmaker I had any obligation to help or do anything for anyone. I do what little I do for other people because I feel compelled to. There isn’t anything deeper or more to it than that.

Let’s move on shall we? I brought the assistant editors together tonight for a pow-wow on how to best attack and start cutting The Derek’s movie ETERNAL. We have a game plan, and cutting starts tomorrow. I figure with 4-5 nights a week cutting, we can expect to get a lot done in less time. Much like GOODNIGHT CLEVELAND, my role will be more of a “Post Production Supervisor” until the assembly is done. Then I’ll step up to the plate and get more involved creatively and time-wise myself.

Things are moving slower on the mini-project shoot I did. Since the main deadline passed (hey, thanks Dennis!!! Just kidding), I am in less of a rush and I want to do a few things more professionally on this project. I will take my time and wait until I have tweaked and played around with it more. I’m working with John Whitney as an editor and it’s a different experience to collaborate on something I normally would do entirely myself – now working with someone else. I don’t mind the mixed schedules, it’s the creative control. I really don’t mind and that’s funny to me. I thought I’d freak out or just be itching to grab the footage and tinker. I really really don’t. I expect by early November, this will be public, at least some of it will be.

I have to re-edit and tweak one of my MOVIEMAKER TECHNIQUE videos for VIDEOMAKER MAGAZINE. I’m adapting one of the videos for my first article with them. I think it’s cool to be a freelance writer. I’m a professional writer again.

I have two feature films in mind for 2008. I have been debating for some time which one to go for first. The one with the lower budget seems to be winning out, less because of money and more because of how it will be shot. During my tenure tagging TV spots, I had one of those divine inspirations in terms of marketing, so that tipped the scales heavily in favor of the 2nd feature. My mind is rapidly coming to closure on the commitment. I have held off so that I can just feel what will be “right”. This idea looks like the most ripe and in a month it might be ready to fall off the tree and we’ll get married.

Another thing that cinched it was the shoot I just did. If I can use aspects of what went right as a model, then this is do-able, shooting on weekends with my limited budget already available to me. I won’t have to quit my job, and work around it. I can continue to make money and not give up my whole life as I did before with [url=HTTP://WWW.AMAZON.COM/DP/B000UTOKKM?TAG=BMOVIEMAN-20&CAMP=14573&CREATIVE=327641&LINKCODE=AS1&CREATIVEASIN=B000UTOKKM&ADID=1W9TBQWWAE7VTGRTSXZ2&]HORRORS OF WAR[/url]. This will be a less ambitious project, but with more control with me, especially where the marketing and selling will be concerned. Had I had this idea, I would have made this before [url=HTTP://WWW.AMAZON.COM/DP/B000UTOKKM?TAG=BMOVIEMAN-20&CAMP=14573&CREATIVE=327641&LINKCODE=AS1&CREATIVEASIN=B000UTOKKM&ADID=1W9TBQWWAE7VTGRTSXZ2&]HORRORS OF WAR[/url], but sadly it was conceived of much later. In this case, I will also take a solid 6 months or more to post it. Post production often gets mishandled due to deadlines. I’m a self motivator (no really), and so it will be finished, but I need to let it take its natural course. In many ways, even in the case of a comedy, perhaps even more so with a comedy, you need to find the movie inside what you shoot, and chisel away in editing and re-examine what works and what doesn’t over and over again.

That’s basically where I’m at. Work is work. I’m burning out, but it’s not so bad. I looked at my bank account today, and I’m not dying. I’m not rich by any stretch, but I don’t struggle have the dry spells that occasionally plague freelancers.

One last thing. I’m still fascinated with the crazy people who obsess over your faithful narrator. I guess it’s because I don’t view myself as someone worthy of much attention. These blogs are really just mini-journals for my own edification and for a few friends. I find it fascinating to look at my webstats and see so many repeat readers. Some individuals read the same blogs dozens of times in one day. I think I’ve re-read my blogs maybe 3-4 times. I’m not that obsessed with me, and I am my own #1 fan! Maybe I’m not and I don’t realize it.

I am fascinated with obsessions over someone like me, who hasn’t really done anything that spectacular or original. I set modest, obtainable goals. When I achieve them, I definitely pat myself on the back, but I don’t think that’s arrogant. I am proud of my achievements, but they are admittedly small. Is that really so wrong? I’m not doing it to seek the accolades; I do it for business reasons.

It is very true that projecting an image of success will result in other people seeing you in that light. It’s hardly a deception, as I am not lying or saying I’m doing something that I am not doing, IE winning awards, getting distribution, etc. What it comes down to is the pessimist versus optimist argument that plagues humanity through all its days. Some people will look at these little accomplishments and say, “These aren’t very significant!” and other people will view the same things and go, “Congratulations! That’s great!” Which one are you and why? I have found in my own quest to be a filmmaker, there are more optimists in the actual film industry and more pessimists in the local film community. Which one should matter more to me? <>

I dislike experimental films. I don’t detest them, but they aren’t really original and they are full of clichés. In 2001, using all the underexposed film from the original black & white BITTER OLD MAN shoot, I hobbled together a spoof of an avant garde, experimental film. Originally I called it THE Bitter Old man. Seeing a temporary gap in Sonnyboo Entertainment, also known as “BOO-TAINMENT ™”, I digitized my only copy of this atrocity and put it online on a few sites. I trimmed about :45 seconds out of it and changed the title to “THE [url=HTTP://CRACKLE.COM/C/SHORTS/THE_DEATH_OF_SONNYBOO/2043245]DEATH OF SONNYBOO[/url] ” since I thought the title would be provocative and the footage shows my little ginger-bread man mascot committing suicide off a bridge.

Strangely, many people gave it genuine reviews. On [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBp-4z1h99w]YouTube[/url], I have over a 125 views in less than a day. On Sony Pictures’ [url=HTTP://CRACKLE.COM/C/SHORTS/THE_DEATH_OF_SONNYBOO/2043245]CRACKLE.COM[/url], I even won the EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD for today October 1st. How’s that for an unexpected surprise? That makes my awards count on their site at 40, as in 4-0, double digits. The views are in the 20+ millions. If anyone wants to make a competition out of short films, that’s 40 awards, and 20+ million views. Does that really make me a better filmmaker than anyone else? Does that somehow make the movies themselves “better”? I think not. You can excel in filmmaking without having an antagonist. Not everyone can, apparently, but it is possible. I wasn’t even trying to get this fake short in a contest, and yet I won an award today. Funny. I hate competition, yet I won.

The world is a wacky place. No two ways about it. WACKY

Peace to the acolytes, and gentle curses to the wierdos

– Peter John Ross

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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