Truth be told, today is my 7th month of working on another film, one that has been paying my bills! It's a work for hire, and something I am kinda doing for love, although I get paid to do it. It takes up most of my days but I always spend a little time on the Thomas Chapin film project to keep the fires (ie. red blossoms) burning. It's actually more like fanning embers as I spend most of my time working on the paying project. I have been joining jazz forums on LinkedIn, becoming a follower of jazz groups on Twittter, maintaining my film's fan page on Facebook, joining jazz groups on their websites, i.e. learning about jazz and building the fan base for my jazz film. Some pretty special jazz connections have been made, but I will save that for another blog. Main thing these days is finishing the editing on the work for hire documentary.
But that's what filmmakers do. They have to find ways to support themselves while they make their dream projects. The reality of independent filmmaking, ie, where no one pays you to be a filmmaker, is you have to find ways to survive so that your dream can survive. So I am very thankful that I have this paying work to support me and my Thomas Chapin film dream. That work for hire project will be completed by and shown on Sept. 22, and then I move on. To what? Ah, that is the question. Stay tuned for what work will show up to take me further and help pay my bills.
I have been making films since 1988. My first film, a co-production with PBS Hawaii, took me 5 years to make at a cost of $500,000 -- all of which I had to raise. And which I did in 4 years. Record time, believe it or not. That was what I was told by other filmmakers; they say documentaries normally take 8 to 10 years to fund and make. I remember thinking naively that I could make my film in a year. What did I know back then? I quit my newspaper job to make my film; I had $10,000 in the bank to help support myself. PBS Hawaii was helping, giving me a part-time salary to work on the film, and I had the will, a very strong will, to get this done. I put in full-time hours to raise the money -- writing letters and making phone calls every day for four years. In the end, the final monies came in, a large grant from the state of Hawaii, and I was on my way to making my film. SIMPLE COURAGE, my first-ever attempted film, aired on PBS stations across the country and won a prestigious EMMY Award.
In those four years, when my $10,000 savings was exhausted, the help of friends and other backers and grantors came in to help me survive. Without that help, it would have taken me more than five years. I could focus, because of this help. And focus, plus perserverance, are the keys to finishing, and finishing in record time.
So I'm giving a shout out to this paying work I have! It's sustained me for going on 8 months now, and as I worked to launch the Thomas Chapin film project in March. And it has allowed me to create something very special in the process. Those that gave me the work had no idea I would be doing both, not cheating either. They will be very happy to receive and present on Sept. 22 the finished film, GRACE AND BEAUTY: 150 YEARS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN HAWAII. It is a beautiful history, and I am so proud to tell this story for my church. So happy to have received this help to keep going.
Say AMEN with me!