Buster Keaton Cameraman

Conversation With An “Artist” — So What Are You Going To Do With Your Film?

Published On June 16, 2013 | By Mike Carroll | Filmmakers

(When you read this (if you read this), imagine the voice of the curmudgeon in the tone of Peter Falk.)

“I’m artistic! I need to create! I need to create and share with others!”

“Okay. But are you sure that these other people will want it?”

“What do you mean? I have a great screenplay that I know will make a great film!”

“Well, that’s really great isn’t it. But, right now I’m looking for a chair for my living room.”

“What do you mean?”

“My living room needs a chair. Do you think you could design a chair for me?”

“Oh, I don’t know anything about chairs.”

“You mean you’ve never made one before?”

“No.”

“Have you ever made a film before?”

“No.”

“So how do you know that you’d know how to make a great film?”

At this point the “Artist” is looking at me like a deer in headlights. I proceed.

“Okay, let me put it this way. You’ve seen a lot of movies, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So you think you know what a good movie is?”

“Well, I’d like to think so.”

“Okay, well, do you have any chairs?”

“What?”

“In your home—in your house or your apartment or the room where you live—do you have any chairs?”

“Well, yes, of course. Everybody has chairs.”

“Exactly! There’s a need for them. People need chairs. Right?”

“Right.”

“Where do you get chairs.”

“What? I don’t understand.”

“Where do you buy your chairs?”

“Well, I’ve bought chairs at Target. I’ve bought them at IKEA.”

“IKEA?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Those Swedes. Now they know how to make a chair.”

“Uh, yeah. I guess so.”

“And you can just walk right into the store and buy ‘em.”

“Uh, yeah . . . that’s right.”

“Those Swedes. They’ve made a few good movies, too. The Seventh Seal, The Wild Strawberries . . . Now, those were films. Those were movies that made you think. Made you think about your life, your meaning, your time on earth. You couldn’t watch those movies without thinking about who you are and what you’ve accomplished–and what you haven’t. Those movies you couldn’t escape from. They compelled you. They were funny, too. And those faces—you’d see them once and they’d stay with you for the rest of your life. Those faces were like a window into your soul.”

“Oh, I used to love Soul Train.

“You ever seen any of those movies?”

“No.”

“What have you seen? What’s the last movie you saw? What are some of the movies on your shelf?”

“Well, there’s Hangover III, Paranormal Activity, The Hobbit, Ironman III.”

“Hmm . . . What did those movies show you?”

“What?”

“What did those movies show you about life? What did they tell you about your life?”

“I don’t understand.”

“So why do I need your film?”

“What? I don’t follow?”

“Why should I need your film?”

“Well, I . . . ”

“And where am I going to be able to get your movie?”

“Well, it’s playing this Saturday at The Crest—”

“No, no, no, no. I don’t like to leave the house. Going out to movies—I don’t like to deal with the parking. So how can I see your movie?”

“Well, it’s playing in the festival—”

“No, again with the parking. I don’t do that anymore. So how do I get your movie? Buy it? Watch it? When is it going to be out?”

“You mean in stores?”

“Stores—yes—stores would be nice.”

“Well, we didn’t make it for stores.”

“Why not? Didn’t it cost you money?”

“Yes.”

“Your money?”

“My money? No, we got investors.”

“Ah. Are you going to pay ‘em back?”

“Well, it’s not that kind of a film.”

“People give you money to make your film and you don’t have to pay them the money back? I’ve gotta get in on this. I need to get a chair, maybe if I do what you do I won’t have to  shell out a penny for it.”

“No, we have contributors.”

“Uh-huh, yeah. Same thing. So you make a movie and now nobody gets to see it. Is it going to be out on DVD? Is it going to be online? Can I watch it on YouTube or iTunes or one of these places?”

“Well, we may look into that. We haven’t gotten that far.”

“You mean you got up enough money to make the film, but you didn’t figure out what to do with it? How to get people to see it? How did you see these other movies? These Hangover Activities and The Iron Hobknob?

“Well, at the theater. And on DVD. And you can watch them online.”

“That’s what I mean. They made those movies easy for people to see them. Did you think of that before you made your film?”

“Well, it’s not that kind of a movie.”

“You don’t want people to see your movie?”

“It’s a special movie.”

“ ‘A special movie.’ Y’know, that’s what people say about their kids. ‘He’s special.’ ‘She has special needs.’ ‘He goes to a special school.’ What—is your film retarded?”

“What?”

“Hey, I got nothing against the retarded—I mean, the ‘special’ people. I’ve even got the DVD of Rainman.”

“No, my film—”

“Tell me something. Did you ever stop to think about how people were ever going to see your retarded—sorry, I mean your ‘special’ movie before you started to make it?”

“Well, that’s not how movies are done.”

“Oh, I forgot. You’re the person who knows so much about movies because you never made one before. Well, I wish you luck getting people to see your ‘special’ film. Me, I need a chair.”

 

 

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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