In The Beginning…
I was told once by an academy award winning director, that I had been studying with, that the director is the captain of the ship.
I like that analogy. It brings on images of a rough and ready crew of men and women (my ship would have both) with permanent scowls, tattoos, missing appendages, and five o’clock shadows. It was an adventure of great risk and peril with no promise of success and riches. But other thoughts also invaded my brain. The captain is only as good as the crew that sails the ship. What if the crew is inexperienced or can’t handle the journey? Where is the ship going? Who is the owner of the ship and is the captain still in charge when they reach their destination? In truth, I can go on and on with this example. But for the sake of brevity, I will attempt to explain what directing means to me and what size boat I have and will be sailing (from a five foot row boat with oars to a Full-Rigged Tall Ship).
When I involve myself with any artistic endeavor, I find myself diving in head first with an obsession to immerse myself in that world. Not unlike, falling in love. There are many definitions for directors that have been written by much better directors than me. For me, a director’s job is to facilitate and communicate the visual aspects of the story about to be told. A director should have a clear and unwavering reason to shoot the film and be able to welcome collaboration from those that are part of the creative team. The director should have answers to questions asked of him or her. Of course, some directors go into a project not necessarily ready or knowing the story’s visual journey. Some directors either don’t want to collaborate because they think they know everything about the story and yet, some directors are easily swayed by everyones opinions of the visual story telling aspect. Some directors don’t have answers because they haven’t asked themselves the questions first.
I am guilty of all of these at some time in my career. So, where am I now?
Currently, I am involved in a project called, “Ten Films/Ten Countries: A Cinematic Journey”. A title that should cause fear and dread to any filmmaker who has ever attempted to make one film. Before I continue, I think a little perspective is needed. I have been writing and directing films all of my life. When I was a kid, I directed many action films. I didn’t write the story down or use a camera, but I volunteered my friends as actors and I directed them. Later as a young adult, I started a lot of scripts and films (this time I used a camera), but I never finished them. Fast forward to 2010 where me and two amazing filmmakers decided to work together and we came up with, “#: A Year of Filmmaking.” After that, I directed my first feature film on location in New Mexico. It was a period piece set in the 1860s and involved, wagons, horses, donkeys, wranglers, stunt men, armorers, and a full crew with my leads actors flown in from LA. The following year, I did the festival circuit in Europe winning awards for the film. Then I hit a snag. I attempted to shoot and release a web series, but shooting delays, scheduling conflicts, and lack of funds scuttled that project. There were a couple of more scripts and some more funding difficulties.
Finally it occurred to me that the only way I will have complete control over a project is to write, plan it, and shoot it whether the money was there or not. Thus was born, “Ten Films/Ten Countries: A Cinematic Journey”. This project involved me to shoot a feature film broken into ten episodes and shot in ten different countries. Did I have the money for this project? No. Did I have a script written and poured over for years and years? No. It would be an original new story based on a genre that I am not that familiar with spanning 4 continents. I figured if I give myself a deadline, all things would fall in place.
Join me on my journey through, “Ten Films/Ten Countries: A Cinematic Journey” and see where that leads us. I will chronicle this endeavor with all the things that go into such a project. The good, the bad, and the ugly will be revealed. Making this project work, or any for that matter, will take an undeniable faith, strength of perseverance, and never taking no for an answer. It time to do something epic no matter what the outcome. It’s like it always has been said, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. See you next time.