Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Here we go again...

I'm an idiot. Plain and simple. Still dreaming dreams that have no chance of succeeding and willing to toss aside any plans I made in hopes that this time, after all the times those dreams have come crashing down around me, this time it'll succeed. It's ludicrous...and the mark of insanity, as I understand. Not that I ever made claim to being of sound mind...or body. Hell, just read some of my writing; I'm friggin' psychotic.

Story behind this little rant? A gentleman who owes me more than $6000 called me in the middle of the day to say he almost had everything in line to begin making some training films -- he's buying a few cameras (what he described sounded like Reds but I couldn't find out from him if they were) and they'll be idle between shoots, so he's also just about got the funding AND distribution together to start making micro-budget films for rental or cable or overseas consumption or whatever and wants me to both provide some of my own scripts (I only have one that really fits his parameters) and shift some books that he has the rights to into scripts. He also wants me to come help him with them.

So...I'm thinking, "This is a way to get back to business..." and it's come at the perfect time because I need to let my landlord know if I'm renewing my lease...but then I remember something. My promise to Brendan. This means jettisoning it, and he is not at all happy about that. And that's when I start looking at the situation as it truly is.

This guy can't even pay me the money he owes me now, yet he's talking about buying $20-30K in equipment to shoot these training videos (and what sort of training they're for, I don't want to know) and the money's gonna roll in and there's nothing specific being discussed. And what does that remind me of? A certain son-of-a-bitch I joined with to make a movie 18 years ago. I wrote a fucking great script! It was the first time my characters took over and lead me places and had he shot it like it was written, it would have kicked ass.

Instead, he blew half his budget on buying an editing suite...and didn't come to the set prepared...and fired an experienced DP three days before shooting began...and...dumb shit that I was...I kept thinking, "It'll all work out." It didn't. I damned near lost a couple of friends over it, and I think the experience drove a very talented actor out of the business. And then the SOB blamed me for writing a script that was "too queer," even though he rewrote it and made it into such a racist piece of trash, I'd have killed him if could have found him, the day I learned about it. And here I am, still wanting to fall for the same bullshit.

You know, film really is a sickness. It infects you and manipulates your dreams and makes you think if you just hang on long enough, everything'll turn around. Then it kicks you in the teeth any chance it gets and says, "What else did you expect, dumbass? You think I give a shit about you? Oh, and by the way -- break every promise you ever made so you can keep begging me to pay attention to you." wonder I freak out around alcoholics and junkies; I know deep down I'm an enabler to the nth degree...and actually fell into that trap twice in my life...and it was hell getting away from it, both times. writing done tonight. Brendan's sulking. And he has every right to. I'm proving to be a flighty steward of his life. You know, an intelligent man learns from his mistakes...but me? I'm an idiot, plain and simple.


Brad Rushing said...

While I certainly respect your hurt feelings over your bad experiences I don't think it's fair for you to generalize that the film industry is such a vicious, bad thing.

To be honest the two people you talk about fucking you over, Tony and this guy in Austin are NOT part of the film industry. They're wannabes!!

Wannabes have no power and more often than not, no potential. I learned to stay far away from them.

Relationships in the film industry are just like friendships. You have to know, really know the people you are dealing with before "getting into bed with them." And I think that intimate phrase is very apropo because you really are making yourself very vulnerable to your partners.

There are plenty of really good people in the business and I have had the pleasure of doing business with quite a few.

There are also plenty of shit heads, who I have done a pretty good job of staying away from.

It sucks that you have had some bad experiences. But I think it only fair to keep it in perspective and especially to realize that these guys you have specifically indicted only WISH they were actually in the film business.

I think you are wise to steer far clear of this punk in Austin. If he had any integrity at all he would have paid you your $6000 BEFORE he started popping his mouth off about having money for lame-ass micro budget productions. What an insult!

And anyway, stay away from "micro-budget" productions. That means "we can't afford real actors"/"We can't afford a real director"/"We can't afford real crew or decent equipment"/"Our projects are gonna be shit"

If he insists on pursuing you, you should counter propose to him that he pay you off the $6000, then hire you to write and direct that short you want to do and that he put up the $10k to do it. You should reserve the right to hire the cast and crew. I doubt he would go for that since it takes his power away. But hey, instead of telling him to fuck off you might get something you want in the bargain.

Anyway, good luck. You are a towering talent and I hope you find the venue to shine your light, be it publishing or film making or both. You certainly deserve it. I love your writing!

JamTheCat said...

Thanks for your well-thought-out comment, Brad.