Archive for 2010

2010, The Honour-Again/Off-Again Year That Was

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

My inbox is empty.

No, that’s really a rare thing. I tend to treat my inbox as a daily planner of reminders and to have it completely empty is truly unusual. But I’ve been slowly putting it to rest for the past month and it feels very good to finally have it vacant and awaiting a new year of correspondence and plans.

Twenty ten seems to have been a tumultuous year by most accounts. For some more than others. Reflecting on personal experience, 2010 has been all about honour.

From what little I know and have experienced in my short time on the outskirts of the entertainment industry, show business seems a little like a microcosm of society itself. This in that there are all sorts of people trying to make their way in it. There are talented people, opportunistic people, damaged people, scoundrels and saints. Some just want to belong to something, some just want to succeed at something, some are there because they choose to be but most are there because they are compelled - incapable of doing anything else. There is a class system, though it does appear to be penetrable by anyone with the right mix of skill and tenacity… And occasionally by those with neither. What I’ve learned about this year seems to be one of the the social mores of show business - if not a glue that holds things together, certainly it is a powerful resin.

Honour.

Honour simply means doing what you promised to do. That’s all. It seems simple enough yet to a few that I have crossed in the past while even that was too tall an order. Yet to others I’ve met or have known for years the concept of doing anything less is an impossible notion. Honour is simply a part of their character.

The latter are the people with whom you need to surround yourself. Leave no doubt about it. The honourable are those with confidence in their own abilities. Those who know what an asset you can be to them and they to you. They are those for whom you would vouch and can expect would vouch for you. Honourable people are the one’s you can depend on.

Honour.

Probably not the first word you’d think of to define an industry arguably driven by avarice, narcissism and envy but perhaps all the more important because of them.

So kudos to the movers and shakers and seppuku goes to the dupers and fakers.

Rest my fair inbox, for soon you shall be full once more.

The Holiday Catch Up

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Like christmas songs, seasonal movies seem like the ultimate bankable product. At least, they used to. Every year there’s new fare tossed onto the old yuletide fire hoping to burn brightest as a holiday classic for the ages.

Remember the good old days when the only movies you could find on tv leading up to the 25th of December were true christmas classics? Classics like Miracle on 34th Street… And Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Recently, however, the nog of programming has become somewhat diluted. This is no surprise however - with a world wide proliferation of content and the means to distribute and consume it - the entire entertainment industry is flooded with material.

That glut of content is why we need the holiday catch up. It’s a period of the year that falls under the pretense of making time to spend with loved ones and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. But really, it’s a chance to catch up on 2010 and get a head start on 2011. At least it is for many people who the average writer or indie filmmaker wants to court. So you’ve got to be ready for it.

Getting someone who is in the position to help advance your career to look at your work, consider a pitch or read your script is challenging at the best of times all year long. However, lining things up so that your proposal can become a part of their holiday catch up, can be a golden opportunity.

This little tip, I give to you to ponder, fair lowly show biz wasteland brethren. Of course, you’ve got about a year to ponder it, since I probably should have made this particular post about a month ago… But I’m doing a bit of catching up myself.

Yippy-kai-yay and a merry chirstmas.

The Pace

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

There’s a certain pace by which the world works. As a whole this pace has more dramatically increased in the past hundred years than throughout all of human history. This is largely due to a chain reaction of inventions starting with the printing press through to the combustion engine, the telephone, the microchip and the internet. The one thing standing in the way of this exponential acceleration in the pace of our daily lives is quite simply us.

There’s a pace to creativity too. In my experience, this pace varies somewhat from “artist” to artist. Mine tends to be in the turbo charged vicinity most of the time. And I’m not equating the pace of creativity to the quality of the creation, merely that I tend to work fast and often on a wide range of projects for better or worse. This was all well and good as a one man operation where I could incubate an idea and see it through to distribution all by myself. But upon entering the realm of doing things with others I discovered that my creative pace - perhaps any creative pace - is incongruous with the business side of show business.

I was speaking with a local player recently who put it this way: “The less they say ‘yes’ to, the longer they keep their jobs.” The ‘they’ is the business dudes. The “non-creatives” - sorry, business dudes, it’s true. The people who keep the wheels of the entertainment industry turning albeit at a snail’s pace. Without them we’d just be a bunch of creative lightning bolts jutting out in all directions until we starved to death. With them we’re a controlled, slow moving current that’s more likely to die of boredom than starvation. And ’saying yes’ refers to these executives and bureaucrats actually acting on any of the creative energy that’s constantly being hurled in their direction. Backing a script, approving a budget, acquiring a film; these may be the bottlenecks of creativity but they are the sword of Damocles for the executive.

So what does that give you?

Impetuous enthusiasm smothered by fear, laziness and an acceptance of mediocrity. The human pace. And the pace at which things move regardless of how instantaneous ideas can now be typed into a computer and beamed around the world.

The Once & Future Projects

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

So there I am with the gun in my mouth when the phone rings.

It’s amazing what a week can do, isn’t it?

The sub-heading of this here bllllaaawwwg is “the once and future projects” but I’ve learned over the past couple years that it’s much easier to talk about the past in this business than the future or even the present. This is for the simple reason that it’s amazing what a week can do.

The higher the stakes the less you want to make too early an announcement about anything. At least five or ten years ago when I was just a schmuck doing my own thing I could prattle on about whatever whim I was having that day and at the end of the month I probably had a new cartoon to show for it. But now… With other people involved… With lawyers… NDAs… Pending deals… It’s not as easy.

Sounds more dramatic than it really is. And by next week the gun might be back in my mouth, again waiting for the phone to ring. So I’m trying to take it in stride.

What I realized today, fair weblog reader, is that I’m kind of giving you the short end of the stick. You come here for the dillio on the latest dazzling Tyler Gibb coming attractions and all I give you are half-baked musings because I can rarely speak about what I’m truly up to. What have I become? The internet is supposed to be a consequence-free venue for shameless self-promotion and I’m treating it like a virtual soap-box for obnoxious opinionation. Tsk!

So how about - for the sake of egomaniacal self-indulgence - I give you an out of context run-on sentence of updates on what I am currently working on? Or more aptly put: Waiting on. Just this once, until something real happens and I can once again thrill you with tales from the outskirts of show business. Here goes:

Just wrote a new script; I write one every two months so please hold your applause, also a script that I posted about earlier this year seems to finally be gathering some momentum toward production financing while another script which was submitted somewhere nearly three years ago has finally been read and may be on its way - yup, three years so never lose hope - and I’m talking to someone else about directing a project that is not my own which is exciting in a whole other way plus this other thing that I can’t talk about at all and another one that I don’t wanna talk about just yet.

VoilĂ . The future projects.

Thank goddess the holidays are just around the corner.

Support vs Trying

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I heard an interesting tidbit* a while back. It was off-hand and I don’t know if it’s entirely true but it made for good reinforcement for the way I was feeling that day which was good enough for me: It went, the USA and the UK are the only two countries that don’t received cultural support from their governments. Consequently, where do (arguably) the most renown movies and music come from?

Hm.

Is it possible that forcing a people to suffer and fight for their passions causes the results of those efforts to be greater than coddling and supporting them with handouts?

As a self-made producer for ten years as well as a recent recipient of such a handout I’m pleading ambivalence at the moment but I thought that this was an interesting observation.

Does survival of the fittest (or more entertaining, as the case may be) rear a better product and thus a healthier industry giving rise to a self-sustaining class of entertainment professionals? Or, put differently, does supporting that class of professionals with grants foster a measure of mediocrity in the final product that holds the entire industry to a limitation? Not to mention enforce a certain sense of unspoken (perhaps unintentional) control over those same professionals ever criticizing the system in which they are attempting to exist for fear of being denied future handouts.

Maybe I’m too close to it to see the truth. Maybe I’m just not brash enough to outright poop where I eat. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just time to have this conversation. We can have a conversation can’t we?

*tidbit: I just noticed that the word “tidbit”- if in the right font - is a visual palindrome. Cool. Also just looked up the term “visual palindrome” which has 1430 results on Google.