I have always loved and appreciated magic. Not in the supernatural 'rabbit and that hat' context but in a much more visceral meaning. Let me explain. I am, to some degree, in the movie business. I enjoy my time there because of the romantic notions of the creative artist. The tortured individual whose purpose is creating forms of entertainment, sometimes at the risk of himself. I believe that a true artist is a complex and tormented one. After all, where is the artist who doesn't not have such profound disputes within? This creative ebb and flow produces the magic that I speak of. This magic permeated through the golden age of the screen. The Paul Newmans, Bob Evans, Stanley Kubricks and Dustin Hoffmans not only possessed a magic but celebrated it along with the general public. It wasn't about the 'story' of how the film came to be. It wasn't about the URL. It wasn't about the EPK. It was about, simply, the film itself and it's profound nature. The piece, not the process was to be noted. Times have changed, though not entirely, yet...

With the birth of 'Indie Filmmaking' came it's tough but clever child 'Guerilla Filmmaking'. I have nothing against 'Guerilla Filmmaking', except for perhaps, it's whining underachieving offspring, the grandchild of 'Indie Filmmaking': 'Gimmick Filmmaking'. 'Guerilla Filmmaking' allowed me to be where I am today, whatever that may mean. I even implemented tactics that would evolve quickly into the system of "Gimmick Filmmaking'. I too am guilty. My feelings of pride and shame are mixed.

As access to money and budgets diminish at alarming rates so does the class and credibility of the worlds Indie Filmmaker despite their anti-money mentality. The present retarded elephant in everyones room, be him still functioning, is the economy which is the IV that the film world is hooked up to - and hooked on. With each passing day, it gets harder and harder to get your film made. Yes, technology has allowed every one and their sister to make a film and call themselves a filmmaker but at what price? I use three examples, and in no way mean to insult or belittle the people behind the examples and their achievements. I hope, truly, that they succeed in their careers in the film world. However, the means in which they are going about it embody precisely the slow retardation of the nature of Indie Film and the possible extinction of the cinematic 'magic'.

My Million Dollar Movie
I have had countless conversations about this project with people inside and outside of the film world. If you haven't heard, the idea is to get $10 off persons of the general public in exchange for a 'producer credit' on the film and a piece of memorabilia. I can imagine the very long list of producers in the ending credit scroll almost having a counter-productive effect. The idea, while clever - I admit, has one innate flaw. As I mentioned, I have had countless discussions about this endeavor and have yet to find out what the film is actually about. Now given I could dig deeper and inquire into the actual narrative and genre of the film, but the fact that the project itself hit my radar long before I could even be exposed to what the film itself was, I believe, kills that 'magic'.

How Many Days
Filmmaker Gavin Booth is on a mission. Whether it's to make a film or not, I'm not exactly sure. I spoke with him on the phone once, and he was a very nice fellow. We spoke of some potential collaborations that would never be. With a few shorts under his belt, and I believe a feature that is unreleased, he is trying to make his mark in the beast that is the film world. A long while after we spoke, his new endeavor would surface. It's ambitious and also clever and entertaining to say the least. The website that will eventually take the form of a documentary I would speculate, is of Gavin's quest to meet and greet the filmmakers that molded his style and serve as role models for him. I gather this venture is to make contacts, build a network and ultimately provide a level of exposure necessary to get that coveted first major feature film off the ground. Again, clever and resourceful. But again, where is the film 'magic'? Where is the film? Where is the surreal screenplay that every producer wants to produce and every actor wants to perform?

The Purchase Brothers
I can relate. Brother filmmaking team trying to get noticed. Been there. Still there. And these guys have shot their way out with sniper-like aim. A few years of producing short, shaky-cam action films and spec commercials provided them with the know how to take on something with more stature, more relevance and most importantly more inherent fan-base. They made a short film piece based on the wickedly popular "Half Life" video game. Duplicating the costumes, effects, sounds, imagery, perspectives and tone of the actual video game they succeeded in creating a very impressive live action version. But where is the originality? Where is the magic? After posting it on YouTube the interpretation would collect more than 2 million views in the first two or three weeks. No small feat. But, with immense numbers of people typing 'Half Life' into the search bar in Youtube every day, it's no surprise they had this level of viewership. Once Hollywood caught wind of this spectacle, they were hot on it for one reason and one reason only; these kids can generate 2,000,000+ hits but we, the All Good and All Powerful Omnipotent monster that is Hollywood, can't generate $2,000,000 at the box office. "The Purchase Brothers know something we don't" I picture the stiff suits contemplating in their frosted glass boardroom. I look forward to seeing what comes of this over-night phenom. Will they choke on Tinsel-Town sized budgets, will their visible lack of creativity be an achilles heel? Or will they step up? In any event, I still fail to see the artistic magic.

I congratulate the above artists on their achievements thus far, and the success they will surely receive. They are all fellow Canadians, and for that reason and reasons beyond, I am in their corner. But they do, in my humble and perverse opinion, lack the movie magic that I already miss. It has become more about the "How are we going to do it-" then "What and Why are we doing it-". And I repeat, I am guilty of such crimes as well. I paraded around Toronto International Film Festival with a shirt that read "I HAVE A FILM FOR SALE" and not only sold the film because of them, but got an Entertainment Tonight Exclusive as well. I benefited from the very tactics which are starting to erode my faith in the future of long-form cinematic entertainment. I had won and therefore lost.

I mean no offense, I am merely making my point. I look forward to seeing these projects and fighting the good fight together. We all dream together and hope to be the exception to the rule. But, as I grow I realize that we must dream to be the exception but plan to be the rule..

writing under the influence,