Seems like forever since I’ve had the chance to bang out a new blog. Basically, because it has been. I know, we posted a gallery and the link to my acceptance speech from the Gasparilla International Film Festival, but since I got back it’s been pretty much non-stop.
A while back, it was pointed out to me that someone was pretty critical of my decisions regarding The Bunker. I didn’t much care, because after a while you just get tired of the lies and such and just shrug ’em off. Fact is, though, when I decided to stop listening to a sabateur within the ranks, cutting that cancer out of the project, word got out.
Well, I can’t deny, being on stage during closing night ceremonies, getting my hands on my first filmmaking piece of hardware? I couldn’t help but feel vindicated. Sure. Back in 2008 I pulled out of an opportunity to have my film used as the pilot for a European TV series. Then, the promise was, it would be distributed in North America, and there’d be money, and commercial revenue, and doors would open, and yada yada yada.
I didn’t like the way that was going, so I moved on. I got rid of the crappy content from my flick which would have associated it with that series, and got ripped for it. Now? Been three years. Still no air date I’m aware of. But The Bunker? It’s in the hands of a capable distributor with deals for both foreign and domestic distribution, and wide-release VoD and download capabilities, plus a streaming deal in place. Guess I made the right call not hanging around and waiting for the movie to air on some free-TV network overseas, huh?
It was claimed that I lost a deal with a distributor due to me changing a shot from the opening sequence. Strange, but I still talk to that distributor, and he’s never said a thing to me about the tracking shot or speaking to anyone at a film market about my property. In fact, that gentleman still helps me out when I have a question and need some advice, especially about upcoming projects. Yes, he was interested in the film. But there was never a deal on the table and until we actually had a real sound design (which never came until I separated myself from a particular albatross), and the film look was completed, few players were willing to make serious offers.
So, I trimmed out the flotsam from the footage, and the crew. Replaced amateurs with pros. Brought Adam and Charles back in because they were never the problem at all, despite what I’d been led to believe.
Since completing reshoots in early February, I’ve secured a distribution deal. I’ve been to my first international festival. I’m now officially an award-winning director. Thanks to my acceptance speech, three people/organizations have inquired about booking me as a motivational speaker for others with disabilities, people facing mental health issues, and oh yeah, filmmakers. My distribution rep is working out details for me to speak at FSU, one of the most recognizeable universities in the country. (More so if you’re a sports fan.)
Did I have any TV appearances prior to booting the 2nd editor (yeah, 2nd, Vince was the first guy I hired, but a network job in NY took him out of play), off my film? No. Did I have any festival invites? Not a one. Did the 2007 cut of the movie even get into the Arizona Horror Film Festival, where one of my long-time acquaintances was in charge of the selection process? Nope. Did I have any awards on the mantle thanks to the 2007 cut of the film, which was, quite frankly, embarrassing? Not a one.
I replaced the editor. Threw out the whopping five and a half scenes that had been cut and the rest of the ones that had been roughed together. I ditched the moronic double-credits sequence, the lousy film look and the music. I recut the film with a talented editor and began tracking down real bands with real recording contracts and a real pedigree to supply the songs I needed. I wrote my way out of a corner and got some of the original actors back together, reshaped an entire sequence of the film, and now, instead of a movie with an unrelated wraparound, like an episode of Tales from the Crypt, the movie is one, continuous whole. No wraparound. No disconnect in the narrative. A new twist. A new layer to the story. Hacker’s Source editor Frank Wales, whose opinion I trust, wasn’t the only guy who was lukewarm (at best) about the original cut of the film and the framing sequence. He understood why I’d done it-to make it fit with another property. But he never much cared for it, and how it distracted from the main story. Well, it was a bitch, but I fixed that, too.
Now, I have a spiffy trophy on my shelf that reminds me that despite how it appeared for a while, I definitely made the right decisions regarding my film. I’m hoping that when we select a California festival, I’ll have time to hang with Charles and Adam and Christa and Lisa, because my February trip was whirlwind. Jim and Veronique, too. Hopefully Ed and Mike G will come on out, and if I have to, I’ll drag Terry West’s busy ass out of SoCal for a night so we can celebrate together. Having those people on the team? Sound decisions, all of ’em. Closing night at Gasparilla during the awards ceremony convinced me that along the way, I’d only made one bad decision regarding The Bunker.
Just wish I’d corrected that mistake much, much sooner.
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Currently listening to: Opportunities by Pet Shop Boys
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