producing

back on my very first short film, like my very very very first one, the one i don't tell people about because of how amateur it was - i made a film with my friends, but i didn't have a producer. my editor suggested someone we went to school with who knew the group. she and i had our disagreements in film school and i wasn't keen on the idea, but i said fuck it why not, bring her on. mistake #1. instead of getting the locations of my dreams and whatever, i was told "this is all we can get, make do." and we did. but that of course would be the last time we'd work together - ever. i have even to yet work with anyone from that crew aside from my VFX guy. 

my second film 'homesick' i brought on a fella by the name of luke barlow. an ad who wanted to produce produce produce. i found him through craigslist and met up with him and vibed well with him. he taught me a little bit about producing and working for free, which was something i was open to anyway because i don't believe that you cant create great art without getting paid. so, he came on board and worked on my film. introduced me to a ton of crew, but he left a lot of things up to me. i worried about locations while he did crew and paperwork, and in the end i ended up doing most of the paperwork anyway, which is fine. but i would have worked with him again.

fresh off half producing a film for myself, i was asked if i would be part of the film 'entertainment' it was right on the heels of creating a film production company for myself called 'indien summer', a boutique film production group where i would just produce stuff, projects i wanted to work on with people i wanted to work with - and grow my experiences. entertainment was interesting. i was treated like shit daily by the people who were funding the film, essentially my bosses. first i wanted it to be a co-production, to which they said no. i offered to buy into it because i wanted to be part of it, to which they said no. i eventually backed off my morals and said okay anyway, to build my experience and network a bit. mistake #2. the film did well, it got into cannes and screened with telefilm. 

immediately after, like the next weekend we shot entertainment we shot 'flash'. the directing duo came to me and asked me to help, and this is what i wanted out of my experience. to collaborate and make a film. the script, when i read it, oozed potential. we had so many meetings to talk about ideas and i pushed and pushed for this film to be more than it was while still holding on to the message. i brought on people i trusted to work in the crew, and at the end of the day for whatever reason, for them it didn't work out and for me, it didn't work out the way i was hoping. mistake #3. i expected an experience and didn't get it. i expected relationships to build and i didn't get it. i was simply 'hired' because i was free, maybe.

later, when i sent luke the script to 'wool' he was honest and open and up front about it. "i don't like it, i don't get it." fair enough. i decided i would produce this film on my own. i had a few films under my belt, i did want to eventually become self sustaining so i wouldn't have to worry about ever needing or finding someone else. i'm very proud of wool. for what we did, how we did it and what it has achieved. 

out of the blue i was asked to produce a film, vehicular romanticide. i followed a guy on twitter for a bit and he hit me up asking me if i would help him do his film, and i read the script and thought 'okay sure', why not. this guy has passion, could be a good collaboration.. but once i signed on i learned there was to be no collaborating. i was there to just do as i was told and make things happen. i actually wasn't too keen on this and didn't want to be part of the film. but my production company was on it, my name was on it, i had to physically CREATE a company that costs me money, to make this film (because we got a grant) and it wasn't worth it. taking on debt for film that isn't even my own and not be appreciated. no thanks. i brought on a friend to take it over while i worked on my feature. she did a good job, she deserves all of the credit for producing the film, and on her behalf i'm actually pretty choked. you see, this short was to springboard a feature for him and we were just a step so he can move on without us. now, sure, whatever i didn't want to be part of the film at a point, but for her, fuck man she bent over backwards and bought into this guys film and now she's not part of your feature? that sucks man. she would have killed it and done a great job. ugh, anyway. *EDIT* so i talked to her about it, if she was even asked. she said no - but she wasn't upset about it. the film shoots in newfoundland, and she has never been there so on her accord, she'd be 'useless out there'. so fair enough. i hope they work together on more shorts because she's a good producer and made his film happen for him. 

between entertainment, flash, and vehicular romanticide i realized i didn't get what i wanted out of my producing experience. so i said fuck it, said goodbye to the prodco i created and started a new. it doesn't matter to me now i don't need to work on films. it doesn't serve me at all. i'm in it for me now. i put me first. i will now only work on films i give a shit about for a small circle of people who appreciate the role as i do. i've done my networking, i have my people. i'll always work for free but you have to appreciate me, at the very least. you know?

this website is the product of just that. we have two films currently listed. lower plenty was my second collaboration with adrian (director of entertainment) and the experience was significantly better. and then you have my film, the feature. i produced the thing entirely up until we had to do some re-shoots. i've brought on my pal aaron and he's getting shit done. this is what i've wanted out of a producer for a long time. i hope we build the relationship that has failed to develop over all of the other productions. i'm cautiously optimistic of course, but i've got my fingers cross. if it doesn't work out - oh well, if you want something done right you do it yourself. 

cody bownComment