Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Awakening Moron

The hardest thing in any production that does not have a budget is managing to bring together a number of talented people within a time frame that makes a shoot a steady affair as opposed to a long drawn out process that might endanger the life being sucked out of the material.
Originally I had intended on shooting the Booker's World web-series over three days. After talking to more experienced people than me, five now seems like a more realistic goal.
I've been working on breaking down the 50-page script and trying to gauge shooting dates around busy schedules and it now seems the latter part of June is a more realistic goal than the early part.
Producing is a necessary evil at the moment, but it makes me think more and more how it might be impacting on the directing end of things. Anyone who's ever produced anything in Ireland, be it a CD, a film or a theater production will know the days sometimes make their way into dreamland and switching off when involved in pre-production is nothing but a nice idea.

The main cast has a meeting last Sunday week and we read through the script. It's almost there. Everyone is anxious to get going with it. I hopefully will have remaining cast and crew lined up towards the end of the week and those shooting days sorted out.

This week the Arts Journal has a series of screenings. Last night The Pint Bar on Eden Quay played host to a cast and crew screening. Slight glitch with the projection which didn't do justice to the visual work but it seemed to go down well.
Tonight we show in Kiely's Bar in Trim, a chance to thank John Kiely who supported the cast and crew throughout the three day shoot last year. And tomorrow The Underground Cinema play host to it on their monthly program.

I used to spend a lot of time on a Film-making forum over the years. I don't contribute much to it any longer as, if I'm honest, any would-be or wannabe filmmaker in Ireland would quickly run a mile given the level of hostility there at times. The critic and the filmmaker doing work without budgets were mainly scorned which I always felt was counter-productive to what the forum was set up to do. It may have changed since.
These days I take an interest in other filmmakers in Ireland, talented guys who struggle and struggle just to get lift off on anything while development money is given from the taxpayers purse for projects that never see the light of day.
Then, like an awakening moron it came to me that all that lark was just the same way Ireland is run. 100k for ten minute shorts? I'd love to know what filmmakers like Jason Mehlhorn, Terry McMahon or Frank Kelly would do with that sort of money. These are filmmakers I look up to because they do it outside that safety net of support available to all filmmakers, but only granted to a few.

I strongly believe film-making in Ireland needs a new approach, a more radical one where enterprise is forefront of it as a new funding model, where we take the tax-payer leg up out of the equation or use that to build a more inclusive film-making culture in the country.
Funding of the Arts is very important to any culture, but in lean times that money needs to go further and there has to be something to show for it. When the re-mit is make the country look good, then the work is false. Art in my own opinion should not be shackled by going against its own grain. Like the country itself, film-making needs a new fix. Many frown on the digital/Internet age, preferring to bask in the past. There's always room for sentimentality and an honouring of where we've been, but being the evolution beings we are, its maybe time to move on, play a little catch up, or heaven forbid, even show the way at times.

I think all involved in the web-series are happy to roll with this first one as a collaboration and hopefully play around with a few things that might swing a budget or two our way in the future. Without them or a new approach by the powers that be it's just going to be the same-old, same-old. Opportunity is nothing if missed. But it's even worse if it's not given to you at all.

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