Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Orphan Posts - Volume 1

"Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every afternoon."
-Raymond Chandler on rewriting

Maybe I'm over-thinking - that would be nothing new - but there are a number of blog posts that I've started recently that have gone nowhere. There was something in all of them, but none of them deserved a full post.

Full disclosure. My next series is on a film called Town Diary, which I co-wrote and produced with two dear friends. From writing to completion spanned over two years, and, because it involved so many friends, it was the most emotional journey in my career. Of course, that is why I am procrastinating starting it.

In this mode, I have tried to get out a few posts that have been in the germination stage for some time. Whenever I  approach a broad subject, I try to make sure I haven't covered it somewhere else. Often, I found that I have, but not completely. My last post on mentors is one example. I had talked about my dad, Stan and Kevin elsewhere, but never in that context. That post worked for me.

Others, not so much.

For the most part, I've avoided trying to "instruct" here directly, rather letting it filter through the stories of different gigs. This was also one of the points of the last post. However, some things do keep coming up.

I have certainly talked a lot about what a line producer does, about preparing budgets, about the real-life application of theory. Still, I see folks who don't get what a line producer does, and I want to put it in one place. Then, I Google around, and it's been done.

I may do a "So You Want to Be a Line Producer" post one day where I just clear up the misconceptions.  (If you posted an ad on Craigslist that started your job description for line producer with "you will be responsible for catering", watch out. I will find you and make you read that post.) I recently had a "producer" who wanted me to line produce and report to a local "UPM". That's backwards.

However, if you want a good clarification, you can find an excellent one at the site Stephen Marinaccio, who created the site, is excellent at breaking down the experience while being informative and easy-to-understand. He has resources galore. I've had the pleasure of both emailing and speaking with Stephen, and he is as nice as he is smart. If it's instruction you seek, this is an excellent place to start.

Of course, Stephen works on budgets that are higher than those I usually work on. There are plenty of sites that talk about "guerilla" or "no-budget" filmmaking. Frankly, that is not my bag, as we used to say.I don't particularly enjoy it, nor am I an expert at it, so I will leave that talk to others. I know I have some excellent horror film bloggers as followers, and they can be much more instructive than I can in this area - among them, the always entertaining and informative blogs of Mr. Kangas.

My realm has, for the most part, been the area in-between, the films that fall in the SAG indie contract arena. A full description of these are at I am working on a series on producing on the SAG Modified Low Contract, one of the trickiest because you have a foot in both worlds, with not enough money to be a big film, but enough invested that you need to sell like a big film, with budgets from $200K to $625K (and up, with what is referred to as the Minority Exception.) That series I will do, but likely after the series on Town Diary, since I will have covered much of it there.

Then, there are other posts, which, as I look at them, are more rants than anything else, and I'll spare you those, or at least only spoon them out a little at a time in mini-rants within other posts.

I am working on a series about the line producer/First AD relationship, but will likely ask one or more ADs I know to chime in on that one.

There they are;  the orphan posts, as I call them. Some of them will likely become part of other posts, others, like screenplay ideas that don't pan out, will likely die a natural death. I started thinking of them as "where stories go to die," and, in Googling found this very funny story about a Washington journalist having a very bad few days.

While blogs are often stream of consciousness, I think it important that if you are good enough to take the time to check these pages, they should be worth your time.

This is what I am working on. Feedback on any of the above, and what you might like to read about, always welcomed.

1 comment:

Kangas said...

Thanks for the shout-out! And all my teaching seems to fall along the "Don't do what I did, because I did it wrong" kind of stuff. :)

Looking forward to the SAG posts--it's an area I've never really ventured into, but have long looked at.