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Guest Blogger: Barry Layne

We are pleased to present the following article from industry veteran, Barry Layne.  Barry is a is producer, executive, consultant and marketer who has been involved in the ideation, development, production and/or distribution of about 35 features and multiples of that in terms of TV hours and/or episodes. He partners with creators, producers and financiers to turn common goals and vision into reality.

FILMMAKING 101:  Q: Why did you make that independent film?   A:  I had no choice.

OK, class, today we’re gonna talk about why — as in why in the world did you make this movie?

Here are some answers, almost verbatim, that I have received over the years:
– Why? Why what? What’ s wrong with it? (the paranoid; fearful that s/he/it won’ t be liked)
– I have worked my whole life to be able to see my name and company on screen in the opening credits. (the rich, vain dilettante, who must become your best friend for you to survive…but also the one thinking.: did anything happen after my really cool animated logo was on screen?)
– I know. I tried. But you know how it is; _____________ has all the power. (the beaten dog…could be talking about investors, agents, lawyers, studio executives, distributors, insurance companies, talent…anyone but them)
– I had to (the independent filmmaker, already thinking about the next project)
Filmmaking, writ large, is fundamentally frustrating and rewarding; an infuriating, emotional roller-coaster. But independent filmmaking is more; it’ s a calling. It’ s like crossing the Oceans to find a new route to India and wind up in an altogether different place. No protection. No ability to turn back. It is going to happen. It has to happen.
You are impotent over its draw and ultimately relent, surrendering to its personal, professional and spiritual fulfillment..
I mean, sure, you could not do it — but then you’d spend every day of the rest of your life wondering: why did I make that decision? Why didn’ t I do it?
On the other hand, you can follow your journey; along the way exhausting every element of body, mind and spirit…and feeling glorious for it.
If you are reading this, my assumption is: you, like a relatively small handful of others, are compelled to enter the realm of independent film and understand that you are powerless and simply must endure the process and people who are more interested in control than outcome. You welcome defeat, development, more defeat, investors, even more defeats, buyers and sellers of talent, movies and services, humiliation and ever more defeats.
In short, you just gotta do it.
If so, every book, program, conference and article about ‘how to do it’ is both meaningful and meaningless. You need to absorb, understand, share and learn from other’ s success and failure. But you also have to know that you will suffer unique headaches, problems, interference, liers, cheaters, actors, flakes and other distractions — and that’ s if everything is happening the way it should. Sometimes its worse.
And people around you — generally who think they are doing the right thing — will question and raise doubts…directly to you…about your decisions; unable to really grasp your commitment and calling. They will, not so gently, suggest that you channel your spirit in a new, different direction.
The bottom line has two entries: they think they are doing you a favor, and, you know they don’ t get it.
Few lawyers are “called” to it. Accountants are rarely born; they are made ( kinda like tin cans or bundt cakes). So-called hair stylists — barbers for men and women — like what they do, but would do almost anything else if they could make more money and deal with fewer people. Salespeople may have no other skills; but that’ s not the same thing as a spiritual draw, it’ s a ‘my family’ s gotta eat’ justification for misery.   In Los Angeles and New York, at least, bartenders and waiters are often actors and writers and the like, so we’re gonna give them a pass in this discussion.
True independent filmmakers have a flame that cannot be extinguished simply by wishing it would go out. You’ve tried. But in the end, you finally give in and embrace the ‘ gotta do it’ and ‘I have no choice’ of it all.
If you don’ t have that intrinsic, soul-burning reality check, do yourself and everyone around you a favor and do something else. Almost anything else. Graduate school entrance exams are always a couple of months away, and the world needs more attorneys and financial managers and MBA’ s.
Oh, wait!
No, the world absolutely does not need more of them…it needs more of you — personally, uniquely, passionately, you.
Barry Layne

 

 

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Stephanie & Wayne

About Stephanie & Wayne

Stephanie is a journalist, writer, editor, and has had several hundred articles published in various newspapers and magazines, many of which still are available online under “Stephanie Lyons Schultz”. She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist. She currently is a professor of psychology at WCSU and NVCC in Connecticut. Wayne is an Emmy-Award winning writer, producer, and director. He has produced many programs and documentaries that have appeared on television, and have been distributed to schools, libraries, and home video. Wayne also is a practicing attorney with a Masters degree in Law from NYU. In addition, he is a professor of communications at WCSU. Together, this recently wed couple write, produce, and direct as many of their stage, screen, and TV projects as they can with a full house -- their combined brood of seven! Some of their work has been featured this summer and fall off off Broadway; other work currently is under option. They hope to continue to promote more of their projects in the coming months! Feel free to write whatever comments you like! We want your feedback!