Friday, March 14, 2008

Time: Filmmaker Friend or Foe?

In Stu Maschwitz' excellent manual, The DV Rebel's Guide, he points out that the little movie guy has something the giant Hollywood studio does not: all the time in the world. The small player can utilize this resource by refining and polishing and tweaking ad nauseum. This is an advantage if you want to spend an eternity on each project, but what if you want to avoid burnout or attempt to make a living at this sort of thing?

In a recent Renart Films Podcast, host Daniel Schechter interviewed Josh Alexander, writer of Backseat. It was a good interview, but I find it alarming at the time it takes to get even a low budget film completed through traditional methods. Josh wrote his script in 2000, and the final product is just now getting a limited release in theaters. That's EIGHT YEARS for one film! Granted, it's not all Josh did in this time period, but wow.

I'm definitely an old school guy when it comes to movie making. I like good lighting and dolly shots. I like preparation and well thought-out sequences. I hate sloppy technique and lazy shortcuts. I'd rather go slow than fast, but never have that luxury if I want to get everything done on everyone else's donated time and resources.

I think the perfect model falls within a one year time frame. Take six months to complete your web series, or narrative, or whatever and document the whole process while you do it. Put those documents on the web ASAP, generating interest about your final product. Build some buzz via social networking or real world press however you can. Put a countdown timer on your blog or site showing the time remaining to your project's release, and make sure you do something cool when that timer hits zero.

Spend the next six months promoting the crap out of your widget. Focus on getting as many eyeballs on your movie and don't get distracted with another project.

Repeat.

I realize this isn't possible for everyone. It's not possible for me, either. Many of us have day jobs and families and lives we try to juggle in order to get those images out of our heads and onto a screen, no matter how small. I do think it is possible, and could be very rewarding and creatively expanding to be working on a new full-length whatever on a yearly basis. Take your time, but use your time wisely and get it done, so you can move on to the next challenge. It can be done (even by me).

Thoughts?

1 comment:

Joey Daoud said...

If you stick with the idea that you have all the time in the world, you'll never get anything done. Or at least not as much as you could.

I agree, set deadlines. A year is good. Six months is better.

Parkinson's Law - work expands to fill the time available for completion.