Someone asked me the other day what filmmakers I admire. It’s a short list. Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard), Sidney Lumet (Fail Safe), Alfred Hitchcock (North by Northwest), George Pal (The Time Machine), Ron Howard (Angels & Demons) and Brian Singer (X Men). But the one filmmaker I admire the most is James Cameron.
For Cameron he just doesn’t produce, direct and write great motion pictures – he markets them. His passion for storytelling is simply evident in the box office receipts of Terminator, Aliens, Avatar and my favorite Titanic. It’s pretty clear that it’s never a wrap on a James Cameron film. In fact, when the last scene is shot I suspect that’s when the “reel” work begins.
The business itself of filmmaking is, by its own design, complicated. And to quote Stephan Paternot of Slated.com, “It’s a very inefficient industry.” The same thing could easily be said about the magazine publishing industry that I worked in for over a decade. Inefficiency in magazine distribution is legendary. To this day, I believe the eventual success I had in print was because I just kept marketing by testing new areas of distribution and customer acquisition. Yes, I hit some real potholes (aka cash losses) but I also struck oil more than once (speaking of which, I’m looking forward to the return of Dallas on TNT). I’ll also be honest. I’m pushy. I make no apologies for it either. If I’m not going to push my own projects who will?
When I set out to produce First World a few years ago and Justice Is Mind last year, my hope was to produce short films that represent the essence of the features I would love to produce. Of course, the challenges with most filmmakers (me included) is limited resources. However, I believe it’s those limits that drive us the most – how do we turn $100 into $1,000 on screen? But the one thing most of us have is a phone, a computer and an email address. With those three items in hand, real progress is possible. As I’ve often said, the worse someone can say is no. But sometimes a long shot can translate into a yes.
For First World, that yes was when First World was the only film selected to screen in India at their First Ever National Discussion on Science Fiction. For Justice Is Mind, that yes was when the Strand Theatre agreed to screen Justice Is Mind: Evidence after J. Edgar.
As I wait to hear from a Chinese production company about First World, I am already starting to prep for the next screening of Justice Is Mind: Evidence at Balticon on May 25. But before that screening, there are the handful of investors and production companies considering the feature film version of Justice Is Mind and there will be more pitches along the way. The two things all of us creative types require are perseverance and patience.
I leave you today with a quote from C. Hope Clark who is the editor and founder of FundsforWriters.com who, after many years of hard work, had her mystery book Lowcountry Bribe published earlier this year. “You don’t see success coming. It just shows up one day, asking you to let it in . . . unless you quit along the way. Then it goes and knocks on somebody else’s door.”
I wonder if that was what James Cameron was thinking when he produced his first short sci-film Xenogenesis back in the 1970s?
Words to “lens” by.
P.S. The official trailer for Justice Is Mind: Evidence has been entered into the International Movie Trailer Festival. When you have a chance, please follow this link to vote. It’s quick, free and you can use your Facebook login if you’d like.