Life Tracker is as done as it will be for now. Odd, I know.
Don’t be alarmed, that’s the name of the indie game. The good news is that filmmaking is a collaborative effort. The bad news is that no one ever totally agrees on everything.
I’ve been known to get into pretty heated debates (arguments) with “indie” guys, who I believe are shooting themselves in their own feet by sticking so strongly to the idea that the only thing that matters is the “vision.” Yes, that matters. Of course it matters. But if you have a vision and no money to make the movie? What do you have? Nothing! If you have the vision and the money, but the audience isn’t interested, what do you have? Nothing! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all business either. You have to do it all. You have to be telling a story that has an audience who desires to hear it. You have to tell your story in a way that entertains and stimulates the audience – the Vision. And you have to do business (money, marketing, planning) to see it successful. It’s when all of these things come together that we get a great movie with staying power.
After writing and directing Life Tracker I don’t think I’ll ever watch a movie again and say “What was the director thinking!” or “That screenwriter is a hack!” Not everyone gets their way all the time, and everyone has to get their way sometime! And you don’t have many trump cards to play. I played one during the making of Life Tracker (don’t even ask, I’ll never say) and made huge waves. I got my way, but I had to release slack in other areas in order to stop people from jumping ship! Have you ever seen a great idea for a movie fail completely? Have you ever heard someone say “the movie isn’t that great, but the performance is amazing!” How about a brilliant book that turned into a crap flick? There are writers out there that are embarrassed that their names are on projects. Projects that if they had better directors, actors, editors, or whatever, could have been brilliant scripts! I hate when someone says I love the script for *Name of movie here* and they’ve never read the script! When you watch a movie you are seeing the lighting, hearing the music, listening to the actors, seeing special effects, experiencing all the art of all the people on the project. And TRUST ME, all those artists can make a great script terrible, and a terrible script fantastic.
Hundreds of artists come together to make a movie. And in the indie world they are coming together for far less pay than they deserve. The make up team is made of artists. The sound department is made of artists. The choreography. The producers. DPs. The casting directors. Actors. Art people. Editors. Publicists. Grips. Colorist. PA’s. And MANY MANY (many many) more. People don’t get into the film business (in what ever profession they choose) so that they can be cogs in a machine just doing what other people say. There is some of that, sure, but they get into it because of the overall art, and if you don’t let those artists do their art they will find another place to do it. So it’s a give and take. When it works it’s brilliant. When it fails its horrible. BUT I believe your odds are better if you lean towards everyone working together, rather than a dictatorship seizing control.
I am very happy with Life Tracker. I didn’t always get my way. In hind sight, there are some cases I’m HAPPY I didn’t get my way! But mostly I’m just a big believer in looking at those creative differences as YOUR WAY and MY WAY. Neither has to be right or wrong. Many times, both options are fine! Its just a matter of deciding which to go with for the over all direction of the movie. Yes, a director gets to make a lot of those calls, but if you are a make up artist, and you do make up as a career, and you study make up, then the director should damn well take that into MAJOR consideration because most likely they know far less about makeup! The same goes for any job on set. You have a cinematographer because he understands more how to use the cameras and lighting to effectively achieve your overall goal in the shot. Listen to them!
People are going to tell me “Well, Joe, you are the director so you should be directing these people to… blah blah blah.” No shit. But that’s the director’s job. The director’s job is not to choreograph the fight scenes, or color correct the picture lock. They are there to guide the team that they (and/or the producers) chose to help them tell a specific story in a specific way.
So, do you think I’m just rambling on? Well, I am. But here’s where I’m leading you.
Life Tracker is done. It is the collection of work of many artists and I’m very happy to be a part of the team.
But in many respects the journey is only beginning. We cut trailers (soon to be released), made a poster, have a cut of the movie, and are ready to attack. We will be submitting to sales agents and festivals in the coming months in the hopes for getting some sort of distribution. And even then the journey isn’t over. Who knows, at that point the distribution company could (and probably will) throw out the poster, make their own trailer, even re edit the movie, but you have to bend. I may lose battles, but I won’t lose the war.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If you make a movie and it isn’t seen by anyone, did you make a movie?
I want to make a sound.
Stay tuned for more blogging soon. Cast and Crew screening is August 29th!
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