Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Old Stuff: End of Dogwalker Theatrical Distribution (2006)

Well, as of last Thursday, Oct. 5th, 2006 our commercial theatrical run of "The Dogwalker" is complete. Whew! You have no idea how much it takes out of you while you're deep in it. But it hit me when it was over and it's taking me a few days to recover. What a great experience on many levels, but most importantly for my filmmaking community, it was an amazing learning experience - the fruits of which I will share with you over time.

Now that the dust is settling, however, there are two over-riding feelings coming up for me. One is appreciation, of which I wrote in last month's eblast. And the other, now that I am recharging, is suddenly rising up powerfully - something I can only define as determination. Not only determination to see that "The Dogwalker" reaches its widest possible audience in its next phase of release (DVD), but determination to help establish a system/infrastructure of production-distribution-exhibition that will allow all truly independent films to reach their widest possible audience.

The current "system" clearly does not support this because "systems" are antithetical to truly independent cinema, and mainstream media and traditional commercial exhibition are, of course, beholden to protect the "system" - to the detriment or dismissal of truly independent cinema. But that's fine because mainstream media and traditional commercial exhibition are part of an irrelevant paradigm for us. What we need is a structure, not a system, with accessible information and resources, along with a network of mutually benefitting independent partners.

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But we'll talk in more detail about all of that in future blogs. For now, I just want to return to this feeling of determination - which is much different than a want, desire or even a need. Determination is like want, desire and need sharpened into an effective tool. It's more action-oriented and therefore extraordinarily empowering. Determination for me is part passion, part ambition, part persistence, part obsession, part blind foolishness and ultimately a refusal to settle for what's dished out to me (or what I dish out to myself). Determination is an amazing tool and an essential part of any indie filmmaker worth their salt. But like any tool, it works best in service of focused and meaningful goals - especially if these goals are present at the very outset of a film project and carry all the way through from idea development to final release (DVD, VOD, whatever). Determination can then attach itself to every goal of every step in the process.

Sometimes, something challenging, daunting or humbling is just what is needed to turn on the faucet of our determination. At least, that's what's doing it for me. But however it comes up in you, I urge you to tap it and let it flow through you unrestrained. Be determined to make your film (or the next one). Better yet, be determined to make a film that reaches the highest level of your creative potential and expresses your unique talent and voice. And our shared determination will see to it that it reaches the widest possible audience - one that is most assuredly waiting for it.

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