12-10-01 Pre-Production

    Daily journal? Yeah. Right. I tried that. It’s not that I don’t want to keep an accurate record of what’s happening. It’s that I haven’t got the time to do all the things that need to be done and journal about it. Every other day is as close as I can get. But, that doesn’t really pertain to this since this is a weekly journal and therefore well within the realm of feasibility.

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    So, last week. Let me check my calendar.

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    Monday, I had a call with Miles Maker and we talked about how international pre-sales work and what kinds of terms I’m willing to accept. Let me say it here: I’ve seen boiler-plate (read: generic) rights acquisition contracts for movies, scripts, etc, and I saw the term, “In perpetuity, throughout the universe”. No joke. In other words, they want the rights forever, everywhere. I won’t do that. So, the first issue was the term, meaning, how long I’d license the movie. I will not sell the rights to anyone, ever for any amount. I will license it for a period of time. I’ve heard too many horror stories.

    Second: I’m an independent filmmaker because I have a vision and I want that vision realized. I am very collaborative with the people with whom I’m working, but I get and keep final cut. Again, no amount of money will change that. If I was flexible on this issue, I’d be working with one of the studios. 

    Here’s the thing: either they want my movie or they don’t. If they want my movie but they want to edit it, then they don’t want my movie. They want something else, to which I say, feel free to go and buy or make something else on your own. I’m cool with that. It’s big beautiful world and there are lots of other creative people in it. Hire them, make what you want. Sell that. I’m not going through all this effort simply to have my dream torn apart by someone else.

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    Okay, that sounds much more like a rant than I intended it. The conversation with Miles went really well and we totally agree. Limited terms are good.

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    The second thing Miles and I talked about was licensing products. At first I wanted to use brand names with their logos, because that kind of thing adds a bit of credibility to a movie. And, if I’m really lucky, the company will pay me because, technically, it’s advertising for them. In order work on this Miles requested a complete list of the products appearing and a brief description of the scenes in which they appear. This turned into a 5 page documentary, taking me three days of work.

    In the middle of doing that, I realized that it might be more work than I care to send Miles’s way. So I started thinking about different solutions. We could cover up every single logo with some other logo, making it a sort of social hack, which fits perfectly with the theme. Again, Miles’s leveler head prevailed when he suggested that, yes, that’s an alternative, but we should at least try and approach the brands. Again, money. If not money, product. If not product, permission. If not permission, aforementioned social hack.

    So, yeah. Working with Miles is awesome!

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    Part of making THE ROOT KIT is raising the money. For me, since I refuse to give up any creative control, that means Kickstarter. I turned to my brother who owns an ad agency and we brainstormed. He gave me some ideas, but most of the projects he works on are much bigger budgets than I’ve got.

    Next, I turned to Lucas McNelly. He’s done a few Kickstarter campaigns himself. Now, he does a lot of consulting for other peoples’ campaigns. He had some great ideas. I can’t tell them to you because I want to it be a surprise… suffice it to say, they were really good ideas, even the date of the campaign is a bit of a hack.

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    Thursday. I don’t like the audition process. I think it’s an entirely different skill than acting and so watching someone in that environment isn’t at all the same way the would perform on set. For that reason, I don’t do auditions anymore. Instead, I watch reels online, or I attend actors’ showcases. At one of these I found the amazing Trent Tackbary. He has been in Los Angeles for a few years and just recently decided to pursue acting. He’s gifted. He’s got to be if he’s gonna fit in with the other actors in THE ROOT KIT.

    I sent Trent the script. He read it and then we for drinks to talk about the role and to see if we got along well. That’s a big thing for me. If someone’s a jerk, I don’t want to work with them. If they’ve got an attitude, or if they’re a flake, I don’t want to work with them. I want people who are the kind of people I would be friends with, even if we never worked together. Trent fit. He’s cast as one of the lead roles, Hash.

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    There are parts of making this movie that are just soul-wrenching. Coming up with successful Kickstarter campaign ideas is killing me. The days that I focus on that are really difficult.

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    But, there was a day last week, maybe the week before, where I was in the car with Miles, we were on the freeway. We were talking about his current projects and how his skills might work with what I need. As the freeway turned, I looked out the passenger’s side window and saw the Hollywood sign. I realized, as I have a few times recently, that I go to Los Angeles, the movie capital of the world, to make movies… that this is actually my life. Moments like that are beyond amazing. They are transcendent. During those times it feels like words aren’t enough and I just have to breathe and be in the moment.