Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If a Film Falls In the Forest

But no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Maybe, but it certainly won't entertain anyone, nor get anyone paid, and certainly won't lead to more work for everyone who worked on it like it could have.

5 steps of film:

  1. development,
  2. preproduction,
  3. production,
  4. post-production,
  5. marketing/distribution.

Most of our acting lives are in the third, maybe bits of rehearsal in the second, or ADR in the fourth. But even as actors, we do press and such in the fifth, and in the first, our attachment can get the funding going. But, without marketing and distribution, it never gets seen. And that is not good. If you won't do the 5th, don't do any of it. Better to quit before starting. Otherwise, it's a waste of resources, time and heartache for something that will never see the light of day, something that won't really exist in a sense. Film without an audience is rehearsal.

We may not produce, but even if it is only when we self-tape an audition, we are making film. Improving our work is something I think we should always work to do. Not just the externals like figuring out better lighting for self-taped auditions (something I am gently working on), but also how we turn a phrase, pursue a goal, break down a scene or a speech, basically everything in how we act.

I was inspired to start writing this because a project (that I was not involved with) is not finding an audience. It had, and has, great potential. It is not fun to see so much held back by so little. It has completely ignored the final step. It had no plan for how to get seen, sold, or distributed. (note: if you think I'm referring to your project, let's just assume I'm not because you're awesome, I'm awesome, and I wouldn't do that.)

Witnessing this makes me want to cheer film people (including us actors) to get stuff done. Bring things to points of completion. Writing a script for a short/web series/feature/whatever? Get a draft into shareable condition. Working on a web series that doesn't yet have the footage it needs? Choose a day, book out with reps, and get that material shot. Have the footage but the edit and post is dragging on and on? Bring it to the finish line. Have a project that hasn't yet found an audience? Take the time, money and effort and get it out there. And if you don't know how, find out how.

Improve every day. There is a boundary between those 5 steps of film-making that is worth reaching. To do otherwise is to risk activity without accomplishment. I haven't done it as much as I'd like, but I'm getting better at it. Getting better at it is worth it. It isn't the end of your life if somehow something ends up abandoned. But as much as we can, let's avoiding sinking all sorts of time, money and energy into things that don't "go." Also good to mourn as effectively as possible if the wheels do come off, a project goes into turn around or free-fall. We'll have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and take the next bold step, whatever that is. Speaking of, I'm off to commit a scene from a film (teaser trailer) that has been rattling around in my head, to paper. Have a happy Wednesday!

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this posted by David August at 1:18 PM 

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