Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A New year is a new chance

Listen, I know what you are going through. The economy is shit, people aren’t fucking you right now, it cold as fuck in LA…and the prospect of filmmaking seems like years off…yeah, I feel you.

That’s why I’ve come up with Cooprdog’s 5 step plan to get you through this.

Step 1: Develop some sort of a substance abuse problem. You’re a lot more interesting and fundable if it looks like you have demons to hide. Take me for example.. I have a substance abuse problem and outstanding warrants…I’m a potential golden globe winner

Step 2: Date someone who is really interesting and kind of strange. Strippers, hookers, people acquitted of double murder are all great potential mates…and no one fucks you like a crazy person so that’s a two-fer.

Step 3: Drive something unusual. Look I know your Honda Accord gets great gas mileage, but it’s like hella safe (might as well be a Volvo). You want something that’s a little older, hopefully with a little rust. Bonus points if there are stains on the seats and somewhat of an odor (tell them the car was used in a bank robbery and a few of the perp’s got shot and killed…and you are keeping it authentic.

Step 5: Don’t live near the beaches. Listen… I really mean this…you have to immerse yourself around real people. Don’t get me wrong I’m the first person to assfuck a Santa Monica Chick…but you don’t want to live there. Makes them think you have money and if you have money you really don’t need money

Ok… once you get all that down then we can move on to the next major portion: Your attitude. You can’t walk around like a little boy who lost his puppy when you are looking for money. Did you see Swingers? “We got to act like we don’t need this shit…and then they give us this shit for free”. I’m totally fucking serious. It’s all about your attitude.
Yes I’m kind of cracking jokes (except for the thing about dating someone interesting – dating a single mom who lives in the valley is just not worth the miles you have to drive) but there is some truth to it. As filmmakers we are individuals…much more individualistic than other arts. This is something you must embrace and wear like a red Badge of courage. It is our singular individualism and our approach to constructing images that will release financing…not how good our scripts are.
Yes, I know you doubt that last statement….but let’s delve a little deeper shall we. If you were to sit down with any group of financiers of American Independent film…specifically those who fund first time feature directors there is one thing that you will hear echoed over and over again. They quest to work with people who have a tremendous amount of vision and who are somewhat uncompromising in the way this vision is executed.
When I’m pursuing investors (when am I not pursuing investors) I often tell the story of two directors who are both looking for funding. Director A lives in the valley, owns his home, is married, has two beautiful kids and is funny. The EP comes over with all the potential investors and this guy fires up the grill…starts his stand-up routine and generally lets everyone know that he’s a swell guy and he has a good film. When asked why they should make this film he responds “..because it will mean a lot to a great many people”. They really like him…but still are unsure if the risk they are assuming is worth the payoff. Then there is director B. He lives in a small apartment that’s kind of messy. The EP is somewhat reluctant to take the investors to meet him because he’s very eclectic. The EP’s become even more curious and literally demand to meet the guy. The EP says “are you sure?” He tells them to meet him at the corner of 5th & Alameda and to wear dark colors. He rendezvous with them and has them follow him to Director B’s apt. Once parked outside he gives them some instruction: “don’t ask him to turn on more lights…he likes it dark”; “Don’t ask him to speak up or to come closer…he’s a bit aloof and likes his space…he’ll come closer when he feels comfortable”; “…and whatever you do, do not…I repeat, do not ask about the stuffed dog!” The investors are scared and excited, they don’t know what to expect. After a few raps on the door the director opens it and lets the entourage in. His apartment is cluttered with DVD’s and movie posters. The guy looks like he just fell off of a fruit truck and when he speaks he seems to be talking to the universe. As strange as this situation is, the investor are captivated. One of them who is more daring than the rest of the lot dares to ask why they should make this film. The director responds “…because if we don’t make it someone could die”.
Yes, I am being a bit facetious…but I think you get my point. For those that don’t make film, for those that don’t write scripts…it’s a very sexy, mysterious business. This is what you need to sell. Now is not the time to pitch safe romantic comedies with a pg-13 rating. Now is the time to take a risk. None of us are really getting funded in this present credit environment…so, why not go for it?
The victory will mean a lot less to you if you play it safe and do exactly what they want.

Go for it, Bitches!

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