I can't shake this idea of being a failure. The July 23rd event is still profoundly poignant in my mind. I've publicly rebranded the initial launch as a soft-launch, but that was for publicity. It's more spin than truth. I really did hope that it would generate enough sales to fund future distribution methods. It did not.
As such, when I went to London, it wasn't with the idea of "Hey, I'm in England." It was, "Please, let something positive happen here that lets my career move forward, the sale of ALGORITHM to a distribution company or maybe someone recognizing my talent and offering me money to make my next movie. Of course, those things didn't happen…
I was sitting and chatting with Nathalie, one of 44CON's organizers. Andy, one of her friends came and sat by me. He's in the marketing department for a Swedish tech company. We got to talking and I told him I was looking for distribution. I mentioned Sony. Sony is pretty gnarly when it comes to copyrights. But, they're also one of the really good distributors because, according to Phillip Matarrese, they cover deliverables.
(Deliverables are the things you have to deliver to a distributor to help them distribute the movie. They include ProRes versions of the movie, including sound mixed in 5.1, production stills, behind-the-scenes footage, etc. There are two distributors who cover that. Sony and Fox Searchlight. So, I'm targeting them.)
Andy got really excited about that because a lot of Sony execs are the board of his company. He said he would put in a good word for me. I don't know if anything will happen, but as I've been saying, it's about sowing seeds. I have no idea what will grow and what won't. But, if I plant enough, something will grow…
* * *
I'm on a hill, climbing, struggling with each step, over branches, between trees. There are maintenance guys, hopping around me. One's got a lawn mower and he's leaping past me as though the climb were nothing to him, like he's some kind of hyper wood elf.
He stops in mid-stride and turns and looks behind me. He's stunned. Behind me is a cougar. It leaps on me and begins attacking me, claws, teeth. Pain. I start kicking at it and then I hear Memi screech.
I was asleep. It was a dream. I kick in my dreams. Memi has learned to move quickly because I guess it's something I do a lot.
The intensity of the dream stayed with me. I feel inadequate. I feel like the people around me are hopping past me with ease. I feel like something big is coming to kill me.
(I have a theory about how the subconscious isn't nearly as separate a thing as many psychologists would have us believe, but is, instead, simply another part of our brains that works much faster than our standard conscious selves we normally mean when we say, "I." But, that's a different post.)
It's the failure of 07/23, but it's more than that. It stems from a time when I was three years old. My older brother and the neighbor kids were playing in a large dumpster someone had rented and filled with remodel garbage. They were bouncing and having fun and I wanted to join them. The problem is, when I was born, I had tubes in my ears because of infections. Those tubes damaged my hearing for a while and also seriously messed with my equilibrium. It had some other fascinating long-term effects as well. But, it means something in this story too. It made it difficult for me to tell where I was in space, more importantly, how close my hands were to the ladder leading to the top of the dumpster.
I was about five feet off the ground when I fell. I landed on my head. I remember all of that clearly. I remember where the dumpster was. I remember the shape of and angle of the driveway, that there was a sidewalk, the color of the dumpster, that there was a small grassy area in front of my front door. I remember the layout of that house. I remember the feeling of just barely missing the rung.
The stories I hear from people is that my personality changed. I don't know what aspects of it changed or how severely. What I do know is that ever since that incident, I've always felt like I was not quite good enough. That I wouldn't be able to keep up or achieve. It's where I get almost all my fears.
These fears aren't something new. They have lived with me, often crippled me from doing things because of an intense fear of failure. And, every single time I analyze it, with or without help from a counselor, it leads back to that fall from the dumpster.
I didn't have the confidence to make ALGORITHM until my friend and early reader Matt Wallace told me it was good. I then felt confident to share it with Sean Hackett and then the Matarreses. After they were all on-board, I knew I had something good.
* * *
The failing of 07/23 brought it all right back… the fear. I couldn't get back to sleep. I was crying and I wanted to cling to Memi for comfort. But, the fact is she's just a person. She's an amazing person, but she's not a panacea for all my psychological woes. And, it would be wrong for me to expect that much from her. It's too much for any single person.
So, I lay with them, my fears. And I had a strange insight. I thought to myself I'm not 3 years old anymore. Why am I letting the failures of a 3 year old cripple me when I'm so much stronger and capable now than I was then. My friends are college professors, computer scientists, doctors, genetic researchers and world-class physicists. I feel like I fit in when I talk to people at Google, or with Ph.Ds. I'm very smart and capable. I'm not a 3 year old. I'm an adult.
I woke up and started Googling distributors, how to contact them, what to expect, how that side of the business really works. I made a list of the distributors I want to contact, including Sony Pictures Classic and Fox Searchlight. I'm compiling the list, and it's got 43 distributors. I'm going to find phone numbers and email addresses and specific people in each company to contact. I'm going to research each one of them. And then, when I'm fully armed, I'm going to reach out and contact them. I'm going to sell ALGORITHM.
Because I'm not that broken 3 year old who fell of the dumpster. I'm a grown man. I've made an amazing movie and now it's time to do business!