Friday, February 20, 2009

Declaration of independents

I have written a spec script for a low-budget film which I am attempting to put together myself. I plan to direct it, and I am currently casting it and beginning the process of raising the money to make it. I will keep a sort of journal of the process here, in case anyone is interested in how such things are done.

I have been involved in independent film production before, and it was neither an easy nor a pleasant experience. And while I don't expect that I can make this one easy, I will try to make it pleasant. My goal is to find young, talented actors and technicians and form them into a collaboration around the material which will enable all of us to work together as partners in the project. By that I mean, we will be active collaborators - I am not one of those ego-maniacal producers or directors who believes that only he has ideas or ought to have input - and that means that everyone on the project will be entitled to contribute ideas of his or her own.

Also, I'd like, ideally, to organize this shoot like sailing ships in the days of clippers and whaling; that is, each member of the crew will own a piece of the voyage. And this is a voyage upon which we are embarking, and since there will be very little money, and since I will have to ask that everyone work very hard, I would like to compensate my coworkers with at least a small part of ownership of the film that we will be creating together. Now this may be an idealistic and hopelessly naive way of organizing a feature film shoot, but that is a lesson I suppose I may have to learn through the process. I will let you know.

By the way, the film is about the idea that every human being ought to have to right to decide who and what he or she will be without interference from outside forces. It is also about identity, which is one of the oldest themes in Western literature. In this case, I am focusing on the question of sexual identity, but that is a metaphor for the larger point. The image I have in m head, and have had for some years, is of a little girl growing up in Iran who dreams of being an Olympic ice skater, but is told by bearded old men in turbans that, because of their interpretation of God's will, she is forbidden do so and will be punished if she tries. This is the most inhumane sort of behavior, and I have no tolerance for it, and I'd like to create a vehicle to denounce it. But I'd also like that vehicle to have artistic integrity, be provocative and entertaining, and make money so that I can repay my investors (whoever they prove to be) and reward my collaborators.

All this, of course, remains to be seen. I will endeavor to keep you posted.