Archive for 2009

Champions

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Right now the film industry is in a massive upheaval. Or so I hear. Movie stars aren’t getting paid what they used to, low-budget indies are raking in more than would-be blockbusters and the mainstay distribution model is about to sail into a shitstorm.

Now whether this impending distribution doomdom is the reason for the following observation or not, I can not tell for sure. This is because I’m relatively new at this sort of thing and don’t presume to know what is the norm. Regardless, the observation is as follows: There seem to be an awful lot of unqualified opportunistic hunters out there right now in the form of sales reps.

Briefly, a sales rep is an agent (requiring no qualifications other than to announce to you that s/he is a sales rep) who represents your film to distributors often in film market situations. I was once cautioned by a veteran film producer to avoid sales reps at all costs. Feeling ill equipped to handle my project on my own I ignored this advice and wound up flushing away a year’s worth of time by allowing someone even less equipped than myself to (mis)represent my project.

Taking what I could from a bad situation I now possess a weariness for this breed of huckster. And this weariness has served me well in recent times as a matter of fact. Beyond even the no-brainer deleted email solicitations. The time, for instance, a sales rep called me to tell me he’d see my film at a festival market and would love to represent it. Well, he said, I saw most of your film. Not all of it. But what I did see was really good. Remind me what it was about? I had to watch a lot of films at that market…

Another sale agent who had also seen my film (presumably) wanted to meet to discuss representing it. Skeptical as I’ve become I thought I’d test this campaigner by seeing how far she’d travel to meet with me. One block? Two blocks? Across town? As it turned out, not far enough. A simple test that told me exactly what I needed to know about this person’s level of interest and dedication.

Opportunists. The bad kind. These are people who don’t care about your project or about you. They care about having a roster of titles in their portfolio to justify their existence, their accreditation to film markets. If I’m going to hire someone to represent me, my work, then that person better love that work. They better be ready to fight for that work. And they sure as hell better be willing to cross the street for it.

In whatever new landscape the entertainment industry takes I think these opportunists are going to feast on the chaos for a while to come. So be vigilant! It’s flattering when someone tells you they want to represent you film but it’s not a good enough reason to let them do so. An agent is someone who acts on your behalf, your best interest, so accept nothing less than a champion of your work.

Hello, My Name is Tyler

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Went to a thing the other night. A shin dig of local film people. There were name tags involved. Little “Hello, My Name is…” stickers that allow you the rare freedom of gazing at women’s chests all night without fear of getting caught in a glance.

The stickers posed a bit of quandary for me. In addition to our names it was suggested that we write our profession on our tag. This was presumably so that others might introduce themselves if they thought we could be of some benefit to them. Being that I would probably have had to line up three tags one below the other in order to enumerate my list of recent positions I wasn’t sure what to write.

As a bit of a self-starter I tend to do a lot of writing since that’s where everything begins. But if I were to scribe “writer” on the tag at an industry party I may as well scribble “leper”. Next up would have been “director” but I’ve used that one in conversation before and it’s frightening how quickly the eyelashes start batting and the flirtation begins… And that’s just from the male actors. Then there’s “producer” but any conversation started on that postulation would be doomed to end in disappointment for the other person. I’m as much a producer as I am a professional lung operator; we all do what we have to to survive. What else? “Actor?” Well I kind of want to be taken somewhat seriously so that’s out. “Animator?” Yikes, see “leper” and add “with halitosis” to it. “Cinematographer”… Yeah, until someone asks me a technical question, then the jig is pretty much up.

In the end I went with “Tyler”. Except my lower-case “r” sort of came out looking like a “v”.

So, “Tylev”.

Yup. All that before I even got inside. I’m great at public gatherings.

We all do what we have to to survive.

Straightforward

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009


Little rough around the edges, but sometimes you just have to go out and shoot!
PS. I fixed my DVD player with a screwdriver and a little Google… Not sure how that fits into the whole metaphor but you can draw your own conclusions.
- T

Moving Parts

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

My DVD player is dead. Well, “dead”; let’s just say it appears to have come down with an acute debilitation that has made it as good as dead to me. I can hear it whirring, skidding, trying hard to spin into life but coming up short every time now. I’m not sure what to do. I tried everything that comes to mind when dealing with glitchy high-tech home entertainment machines; I’ve tried cursing, smacking it, blowing into it with varying intensities… Nothing has worked.

This wouldn’t bother me much beyond the usual inconvenience of having to go out and purchase a new soontobeobsolete devise if it weren’t such a fitting metaphor for the future of home entertainment as a whole and its inevitable evolution toward solid state, digital downloads, and the like.

Moving parts. We hardly knew ye. If I had any business savvy at all I’d be taking a good long look at what’s making it to people’s curbs these days.

Where Ideas Come From

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I’ve often gotten the question “where do you get your ideas?” and nothing insights more incoherent babbling from me. I’ve never had a good answer… Until now:

Ideas are born on the highway between Montreal and the Ottawa Valley.

I didn’t say it was a great answer. Probably not what the interviewer is looking for per se… But literally, I’ve come to realize, this is where I get my ideas.

I just got back from a 10 day writing retreat to the country. That was the plan anyway. In truth not much writing got done. More exploring, kayaking, mushroom hunting and television watching than anything else. I saw a beaver. Not on the TV either - in real life. Come to think of it, it was very much like one of these so called “vacations” that I’ve heard so much about. I can’t say I liked it much. I tend to be happier when I’m working. But you can’t get blood from a stone and I think that I was so jazzed about getting some writing done that I stalled my brain. In textbook irony it wasn’t until the drive home that things started percolating again.

Joke’s on you, Irony. I don’t have a day job, so I’ll still get to write now that I’m back!

I think it’s the monotony of driving. Compared to the usual cacophony of hat juggling I’m used to it’s a real change of pace for my grey matter. It tricks my brain into doing something else with its time. I suppose if you’re the opposite and your day to day is a little on the bland side you may need some action to generate those ideas. Like a mental backwash. If you’ve got a bit of the ol’ blockage just do the opposite of what your brain is used to.

Probably a little bit of an obvious tip but hey, it can’t hurt to remind ourselves that there’s no secret formula for inspiration. Just different ways of coping with the lack of it.