Buck Stopping

So my foray into the radio world was definitely a learning experience.  As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I appeared on the Boo & Petie, Too show this past Saturday morning.  Boo & Petie are fun and funny ladies who have been entertaining Madison with their radio program for the past 15 years.  I definitely had butterflies fluttering around my stomach going into the show, but I think/hope I was able to form a coherent sentence or two.   And the graciousness of the two co-hosts definitely made it easier.

Boo and Petie structured the segment around filmmaking in Wisconsin, so a documentary filmmaker, Bob Left, was featured on the show as well.  Bob has made a number of Wisconsin-based documentaries, and he was able to ruminate on his experiences producing movies.  When asked to offer advice to a first-time filmmaker like myself, Bob emphasized the importance of maintaining two key qualities: passion and persistence.

I don’t know if it was the reality of sitting in front of a microphone and discussing “my film,” but truth be told, the weekend in Madison was pretty stressful.  While there were great lunches (thanks Alicia & Amy!), cocktails (thanks, Melissa!), dinners (thanks, Shannon!) and dance parties (thanks CeCe & Neala!), many conversations revolved around the BIG ASK.

The BIG ASK = $$$

We all know that the benefit of being an independent filmmaker is that there is no studio to answer to when it comes to creative decisions.  No infuriating layer of middle management weighing in with “feedback” only to have their boss swoop in with totally contradictory feedback.  No, you, independent filmmaker, get the final word.  You get to call all the shots.  You get to execute your vision.  At long last (and to take the declarative clichés further), THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

It's Good to be King...right?

Ah, yes…THE BUCK.  The elusive buck.  Because the reality is, independent filmmaker, the buck may stop with you…but it also STARTS with you.  And often you are seeking it from family and friends…and their network of family and friends.  Which creates a lot of pressure…for everyone.

So at the end of this weekend, I found myself sort of amazed that people even embark upon, let alone accomplish, this independent filmmaking thing.  There’s so much going against you from the start.  The bleak statistics, pessimistic opinions, precarious components…is it really worth all of the stress and strained relationships?  Good God, why even bother?

But then I think of the indie filmmakers I admire who clearly stuck to it and persevered.  Aren’t we lucky that Todd Fields hung in there and made the beautiful film In the Bedroom?  And John Carney moved us with Once?  And Kelly Reichardt offered the poignant Wendy & Lucy?  I sure think so.

So I will continue to channel my passion and persistence, realizing there may be times when I have to dig deep into the reservoir for it. (And I’ll also try to diffuse any strained relationships as best I can!)

NEXT UP: The Final Cut.

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