Boy, 29, living in Colorado by way of Chicago. I try to write things. I always watch things. Movies raised me.
I focused on art pretty much from 4th grade through High School (painting, film, media) in the suburbs of Chicago (Schaumburg), and decided to try and "be normal" by entering the University of Illinois as a Marketing major. But I had previously bought a miniDV camera after watching American Beauty, and taught myself iMovie and FCP for editing throughout High School. I still have about 20 miniDV tapes from those days I plan on converting and re-editing soon.
After about 3 weeks in my business courses, I looked around my at peers, scanned all my syllabi, and said "fuck that!". I was already enrolled in Intro to Film as a gen ed and absolutely loved how small the class size was, how passionate the professors and even TAs were and decided to take as many film courses as possible.
I ended up officially changing my major after my second year Undergrad. I began hanging out with people who worked at Illini Media (radio station and student newspaper folk), and based on being able to carry on a conversation entirely in movie quotes and my ability to small talk about nothing other than film, I was asked to run a blog for the student paper and also cover premieres and live events like Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival we put on every year.
Through those opportunities, I was able to meet more like minded people, some from up in Chicago with their own indie production companies and basically networked my butt off. Had a weird hotel room experience with Joe Pantaliano, met Bordwell, Rufus Sewell and Ken Brannagh one awesome Ebertfest year. Couple that with my fanatic reading of all of my required textbooks and some books from classes I wasn't even enrolled in (sorry to the kid that wasn't able to buy books that semester), I just put it out there that my life is film and people gravitated towards that.
I met a local indie filmmaker in the corn fields of IL and we had a drink at an after party even and he asked if I wanted to come work for him while I was in school, so I got my first production internship in a really small company and learned more editing and directing skills mentoring a megalomaniac big shot in a small town type guys. I learned a few things that are pretty standard on most sets, do not talk to actors, basically keep your mouth shut at all times and do the one job you were assigned to do. But I also learned that there are so many things in film that are DIY or trial and error. I taught myself how to build props and edit trailers basically by watching Internet vids and reading a massive amount of opinions and choosing which ones best fit my idea of film's purpose.
When I graduated, I moved to the city and found a job as an intern in an underground comedy club that doubled as a production office for comedic films. We did a few SNL type movies with the cast and writers and a few comedies from the creator of Meet the Parents and some other small items (Harold, and a weird movie with Danny DeVito). It was a huge step up from using B and C list actors in college.
I learned how to write copy (financial offering memorandums for financing, budgets sheets, casting sheets, LLC creation), essentially the Producer role stuff. I just showed a huge initiative and stayed over nights in the comedy club working on the business end and even got to sit in on a few Comedy Central pitch meetings. I was an intern for about a week before I was promoted to intern coordinator and associate producer on everything we touched.
That's why us Midwesterners do so well in LA, we work are asses off for nothing else then to be a part of the process.
In my spare time, I was also being mentored by Jerry Cleaver, a Northwestern Writing professor in his "The Loft" classes which really taught me a lot about story. I was the only young guy in a room full of bored housewives which really put all the attention on me. I was in this for a reason and not out of boredom. I then read Robert McKee's Story and everything by Syd Field. THESE ARE THE ONLY BOOKS YOU NEED. I know because I have read everything else- On Writing by King, Elements of Style, and checked out every book from three different libraries on writing- most of them are ways to make a failed fiction writer income. The Tony Robbins' of literature.
Soon we found out the managing producer was funneling money from our budget and everything kind of collapsed, leaving me without a job and a way to pay rent. I moved to Colorado where my sister had a spare room and began working for TiVo. It's a shitty call center, but I have found call centers and bars are where the creative types make their way as they work on stuff in their spare time.
Just based on being me, I became the "movie guy" in the office and soon everyone wanted to talk to me and know what I was up to and what my plans were. I managed to find a group of about 5 people that has at least a passion for film and to make them, but very little training and understanding of the process.
I set out last year to gain as much knowledge about independent filmmaking as I could so that I could quickly bring everyone up to speed. I searched blogs, message boards, print magazines and started buying up equipment. We soon were testing and producing our own small items, but nothing I would ever show or really be that proud of... even right now.
Original Green Hornet TV show theme album, yes please… #greenhornet #tv #soundtrack #brucelee
Timestamp: Monday 2013/04/22 7:37:10
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