Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crossing the line from filmmaker w/ a work in progress to filmmaker w/ a good film in distribution

I crossed the line a couple of days ago, on Sat 5/13 in DC when I premiered Date Number One to about 100 people at Goethe-Institut. It's kind of like graduating, from high school, college, grad school, all at the same time. Now a record is being formed: in the minds of the audience members who've seen the film, in the minds of film reviewers, in the minds of media outlets that I advertise with, and in the minds of blog readers. In a very small way (and hopefully a much bigger way down the road) the film & I have become a part of US indie film history (whatever I do next or not do will be seen with Date Number One in mind).

It's all very interesting & satisfying when I have a moment to think about it. Getting a very positive audience response (they laughed a lot, very good reaction to a comedy) on Sat night made me feel very good, the two years of work was worth it. Also, my key investor who waited at least 6 years for me to make a decent film & have spent low thousands of dollars on my attempts to make a film that plays well with an audience is very happy, and that makes me happy. The excellent review from Chuck Tryon also helped in making me realize that I have entered a new territory in my filmmaking career (that was the best review I've ever gotten & the fact that it is from someone who spends most of his day thinking about film & media makes it even more special, also, the reception gotten from the audience on 5/13 was the best ever for any of my movies- this being the 4th movie in 14 years, the 2nd feature). And now when people ask me about what I do I will have a shiny silver disc to point to (which they will be able to get for $12), & maybe a newspaper ad or a review on a blog too, and if they ask on the right day I can point to a movie theater & say I'll see you there tonight when my movie plays there.

Also, the whole Date Number One project is one of many on-going tests of a process: can ultra-low budget DV filmmaking & ultra-low budget self-distribution be used to create a professional career? The verdict is YES so far.

The line that separates a filmmaker w/a work in progress and a filmmaker w/ a finished film that receives a good response has been crossed, life is simpler now, it's a whole new world.

- Sujewa

5 comments:

Blake Calhoun said...

Good post Sujewa.

My goal has been and continues to be to make narrative films full-time, as a career. I know I'm not alone. And I also know very few people ever achieve this especially from an indie point of view.

I consider myself rather fortunate though that I am a full-time filmmaker - just not one that makes narrative features full-time.
I produce, direct and edit corporate marketing videos, industrials, TV spots, and the ocassional music video. So, I get to work in "the business" on a full-time basis and hone my skills as a narrative filmmaker. I've done this since 1995, so I feel pretty good about that.

"Killing Down" is my third feature film and I hope this one will take me to the next level (of making features as a full-time career).

My investors too are very happy with the film and have already said they are ready to put money into my next project. That's a great feeling as well! :)

Keep up the good work and continued success on your DIY filmmaking path...

-Blake

Wyatt Ben Bernstein said...

congrats Sujewa. I'm curious, what was the budget for your film?

thanks,
Wyatt

Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

Hey Blake,

Glad to hear that your investors are happy. Yeah, making features full time is cool. I am glad to be making them at all, PT or part-part-part-time :) as long as good work gets done.

Wyatt,

the budget of the film (cash spent is what i mean here) was under $10K. i should have a more detailed budget later this month after i add up all the receipts.

talk to you guys soon, off to play seattle.

- sujewa

Aruneshwar A. Singh said...

Hey, I have linked to this blog from mine at finalz.blogspot.com

Anyway, being a student who is about to finish his degree in filmmaking it is good to hear that there is support for indie stuff. Especially now that we can purchase HDv or Dv cams for affordable prices and don't have to rely on people with large pockets to sell our soul to tell our stories.
I am already planning to shoot at least 2 features next year on a no-budget scale. But first starting with a no-budget serial on a pacific island.
What I am most freaked out about is the thought that I need to get a publicist to promote my stuff cos' I have found out that once the stuff is filmed and I have edited it I can't be bothered doing stuff with it. Like promoting it. So that's why I started my blog, just to let people in on what I was doing and would be doing over the next year onwards.
Anway I have 2 big months coming up where I am filming the next 60-70 pages of my feature which is going to be tough wiht working part time and school work.
I love fcp even the express version makes light work.
Thanks for having this blog. I hope to visit often.
Oh, my tutor is Patrick Winters, a very good friend of the Angry Filmmaker
cheers.
Aru

Aruneshwar A. Singh said...

Hey, I have linked to this blog from mine at finalz.blogspot.com

Anyway, being a student who is about to finish his degree in filmmaking it is good to hear that there is support for indie stuff. Especially now that we can purchase HDv or Dv cams for affordable prices and don't have to rely on people with large pockets to sell our soul to tell our stories.
I am already planning to shoot at least 2 features next year on a no-budget scale. But first starting with a no-budget serial on a pacific island.
What I am most freaked out about is the thought that I need to get a publicist to promote my stuff cos' I have found out that once the stuff is filmed and I have edited it I can't be bothered doing stuff with it. Like promoting it. So that's why I started my blog, just to let people in on what I was doing and would be doing over the next year onwards.
Anway I have 2 big months coming up where I am filming the next 60-70 pages of my feature which is going to be tough wiht working part time and school work.
I love fcp even the express version makes light work.
Thanks for having this blog. I hope to visit often.
Oh, my tutor is Patrick Winters, a very good friend of the Angry Filmmaker
cheers.
Aru