Award, decisions & more…

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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