A response to Christopher Wong:Show hidden content
Chris, in an effort to procrastinate from further fundraising activities, i read your entire proposal for your "dream doc".
*Thanks, Christopher! I'm glad you decided to procrastinate with my nutty idea. I know there's a lot to swallow there, so you have my sincere gratitude. I'm going to respond point-by-point to your response (starred):
i can safely say that you're CRAZY! having said that, i think it's a good kind of crazy, and the shared gene that most of us aspiring and established docmakers possess. plenty of people have been told their projects have absolutely no chance – and a fortunate few have actually persevered and finished their projects with great success.
*That's been my approach to this whole thing all along. I've gone into it from the start knowing that it is absurd and that it would be ridiculous to have any realistic expectation of being taken seriously. I figured if there was some way to convince people I deserved to be taken seriously, I might have a shot. That's why I loaded the presentation with supporting material that would perhaps make me look a little less insane.
however, i would really challenge you to re-evaluate WHY you are doing this project. at the same time, i would challenge you to think about why you are not doing a DIFFERENT documentary project. To me, this project seems too frivolous and insubstantial for someone like you, who admits to admiring the direct cinema and verite work of masters like Maysles, Kopple, James, etc... i'm no psychoanalyst, but you seem like you might have a more "worthy" doc in you to produce. by "worthy", i don't mean that it has to be intensely depressing or socially conscious – it can have humor and spontaneity and whatever else fits your personality – but it has to have something at its core that inspires you.
*Thank you for the compliment. Trust me, I have wrestled with the "Why?" question for a long time. Simply put, I want to do this BECAUSE I think it would be a good movie. I tried to explain the reasons WHY I think it'd be good, but if that's still unclear, I have more work to do. Others have suggested that I do a different movie (many have suggested a movie like My Date With Drew where I film my struggle to make this movie. To me, that film has already been made and doesn't interest me). As I said, I don't want a career as a documentary filmmaker. In the same way I appreciate fine art, I have no desire to have a career in painting. I'm far more interested in the final result than the process of filmmaking – the technical stuff, the financing, etc. There are people out there who love that stuff and I would want them to collaborate.
*I have to disagree with the notion that this is "frivolous". When you think about it, most art has an element of frivolity. None of it is essential to our physical survival. Don't get me wrong. A world without art would be a bleak place I wouldn't want to live in, but it's not like air or water. Now, there's no doubt the content is not making an obvious social statement. However, I think issues of fame and celebrity are prevalent and entirely relevant to modern society. We have created such an artificial divide between "them" and "us" that I think it's definitely worth 90 minutes of film to see what happens when that division is temporarily removed. I AM inspired by this and if I failed to express that, allow me to right now.
*I think one could make a great doc along the same lines in which 3 multi-millionaires go and spend two days with someone on welfare. I hope someone makes that film one day. I'm not sure how many people would see it, but I would. With my idea, I think the inclusion of female celebrity heightens the chance that LOTS of people would see it. I also trust myself to be a good counterpart to them as well as a good steward of whatever success I garnered if the film were ever made.
The "impossibility" of making something is not reason enough to try. You need to combine "impossible" with "irresistible" to really have a film worth making. if you write a proposal that convinces everyone why you "can't NOT make this film", then you actually might have a chance. right now, i read your proposal, and just see a guy who says "why not make this film"? there's a big difference.
*Well, I suppose my "pitch" differs depending on who I'm talking to. If it's a "money" person like a potential investor or Exec. Producer, I'd say, "You can't NOT make this movie because it's bound to make you a lot of money and give you a great return on your investment." To the actresses, I'd say, "You can't NOT make this movie because it's a chance to challenge yourself and see what comes from putting yourself in a more vulnerable position than any other role you've had. Plus, you could make a lot of money and be a lot of fun without taking up much of your time." To a director, I'd say, "You can't NOT make this film because it's a chance to push the boundaries of filmmaking and really explore uncharted waters. It's an opportunity to show how brave you are, without committing a ton of your time. Plus, you could make a lot of money." I know I repeated the money thing and I don't want to sound hung up on it. I'm just trying to be realistic (ha!) and recognize that these are people who make movies as a career and want to be compensated.
i don't want to discourage you, just refocus you... btw, if i didn't think you had it in you to actually make a doc film, i wouldn't have wasted my time writing this reply. good luck!
*Thanks again, Christopher! Your points make a lot of sense and were very constructive. I hope I don't come off as argumentative or defensive. It's just that I've given every aspect of this a great deal of thought. Whenever someone new reads it, I look at it as a chance to re-evaluate and make sure there is a reason I'm doing what I am. If you have more thoughts, please send them to my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org