Monday, 14 May 2012

Brother, can you spare a lifetime?

Just to be clear, from the start; the title of this blog does not refer to money. I came late to filmmaking as a vocation, but over the past 3 years, I've made 14 short films with the Brighton Filmmakers Coalition and been involved in a dozen more in one capacity or another. Most of these films have cost almost literally nothing and none of them have made me (or anyone else, as far as I know) any money. That's not what it's about, of course. To do this sort of thing the passion has to be there first - and I would guess that even for those involved in spending or being paid millions of dollars, the passion is what keeps them going, not the paycheck. (Maybe I'm naive.) And those of us who do it for no financial gain - what do we have except the passion? If guerilla filmmakers do often dream of mega-budgets or directing film stars, what lies at the root of that vision is surely a love of the process, the medium?

Bob Dylan said success is getting up in the morning and going to bed at night and in between, doing what you want. I spent my birthday two years ago up on a hillside directing the final scene of a film, and in some ways it was the happiest birthday I've ever had, simply because I didn't have a moment to think about whether I wanted to be anywhere else, or doing anything different. Happiness is absorption, someone else said.

It's a sad fact that money drives our civilisation and dictates so many of our life decisions, but the only thing money is really good for is getting you to the point where you can forget about its existence and just do what you want to do. The measure of how much you love something is how often you do it for no money - and how hard you'll work under those circumstances. It's beyond lovely to get paid for something you enjoy, but if it's a real passion you won't think about pay - only whether the work interests you.

All of which pseudo-philosophical rambling is really only a preface to this:

With my half-century looming, this year I decided to give myself something to celebrate, a solid, considerable achievement - a big target to aim at. So I decided to make a feature-length film for no money. Not that the complete lack of funds was a matter of choice. More accurately, I decided to make a feature-length film even though I had no money to do it.

Five months into the year, the project could hardly be described as being firmly on track, but it limps along. It is my constant companion, my greatest preoccupation and my most reliable source of stress. This blog is intended as a diary of sorts, charting the progress of the production. Since I've started this account rather late in the day, some sort of review of events to date would seem to be in order. It has been a bumpy ride.

But that's for next time.


  1. I'm rooting for you!! This a great post and a great mission. I can relate to many of the sentiments that you have expressed here. I'm glad I am not the only the only one that is obsessed with a personal project or two. You can do it!! Keep up the good fight :-)