Friday, March 16, 2012

He Make Movies

Along about the time I started this blog (1/1/08) I was transitioning from an acting career into writing. I didn't know at the time why I lost interest in acting, though it's clearer to me now. I'd been working in Hollywood, in small parts on television. At first it was exciting--let's face it, it's fun to be on TV and it's an honor, too, because there's a lot of competition. But I found myself playing the same parts over and over again.

When you work in the Hollywood entertainment industry, unless you're a mogul you're always working for one--serving someone else's vision, supporting someone else's story, making someone else's dream come true. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you've ever wondered why even famous actors sometimes perform live theater for free, perhaps this makes it clear. Hollywood's not about art, it's about money. That's why you see remakes, why "blockbuster" films feel formulaic. They are.

Not so independent films. Their makers don't hold the big purse strings, but like self-publishing authors they are finding ways to make movies. Smaller movies. Different movies. Often better movies.

Which brings me to my husband, John. He's an independent filmmaker--a self-published filmmaker, if you will, "independent" isn't exactly the word. John's part of a collective called We Make Movies. I told you about We Make Movies when John and I went to a screening a few months ago. WMM was formed by indie filmmakers to help each other make their movies by sharing resources and working together. It started out as a couple of people. Now they have more than 500 members: actors, writers, producers and other film artists.

John produced a video for WMM's Kickstarter spring funding effort (other members shot, edited and participated, as you'll see). You could watch this video. You could even kick in a buck or two if you are so inclined. (It won't make you a mogul, but there are no moguls here, which is kind of the idea.) In the video, John explains (in fewer words than I've used here) why independent filmmaking is important. You get to see him in action! Sort of! (Well, he sits and talks, and he's wearing the same t-shirt in the video as in this photo!)

And if WMM reaches their fundraising goal you'll get to see John's short film, because his script was selected for funding this time around.

19 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Informative post,Petrea... Congrats to your hubby.. I read your other post and Carefully Descending looks awful familiar- the male actor looks familiar but can't place where ... either that or he just has that face.

Virginia said...

GO John GO! Best of luck.
V

Petrea Burchard said...

"Carefully Descending" is one of the great achievements of the confluence of We Make Movies and three of its members who make up Superfreako Productions, Kalei. You may have seen it at a festival, or some such. Like "Ruby Booby" and "How I Got Lost" (both WMM features), it's been on the festival circuit.

Thanks, V!

youmustbefromaway.com said...

Do I also get one of those folding chairs with my name of the back..?

Katie said...

This looks like a great project! John is involved in some very cool stuff. This weekend I'll have time to watch all the videos and I'm sure I'll be convinced to help fund this worthy venture. Kickstarter is really a great way for those of who want to support the arts to feel like they can make a difference. And you don't have to be a dot-com gazillionaire to feel like an angel investor. I've funded projects in photography, film, and general artistic endeavors and it's such fun to keep track of the projects. Can't wait to add We Make Movies to my list!

Petrea Burchard said...

JB, depending upon how much you donate there are premiums. I don't think there are any chairs, though, sorry.

Thanks, Katie! I have, too. I've backed plays and other art projects with small donations. You feel like you're part of something creative and fun, because you actually are.

TheChieftess said...

Coooool!!!!

Bellis said...

John looks good with his directorial cap (or is it T shirt?) on. I'm always deterred by being asked to donate, because I can't spare a lot (after that windstorm), and I feel my donation will be laughed at unless it's for $100 or more. So I'm glad to see that there are even premiums for donations of just one dollar. Every little helps, and lots of individual dollars can add up. Good luck, John.

Petrea Burchard said...

Yeeeaaah, Chieftess!

I'm the same way, Bellis. It has not been an easy few years for--well, for pretty much everyone I know. (That's one reason why I said "if you are so inclined.") This is why I like kickstarter and crowdsourcing so much. What a great way for everyone to pitch in even a tiny bit and make something happen.

I've seen the same kinds of efforts for artists, scientists, inventors, etc. I like the idea of grassroots creativity. Why should being wealthy dictate who gets to be creative?

Cafe Pasadena said...

Very interesting. Still, the bottom line, or your bottom sentence, is it's still all about funding and money.

Wish y'all well. And I hope the husbands film career strikes a chord with the audience and makes a lot of money!

Petrea Burchard said...

You are correct, Cafe. Everything costs money. But I saw a We Make Movies feature last fall, produced for $7,000, that rivaled most films I've seen lately that cost a hundred times as much.

Susan Campisi said...

WMM is inspiring. I have no doubt John's film will get made. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it does. Congrats and good luck, John.

You have a very talented family, Petrea, including Boz.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Susan. I think you saw a recent showing of their films. I think they're inspiring, too.

youmustbefromaway.com said...

The excellent thing about Kickstarter is that your pledge only turns into a line on your credit card statement if the funding goal is achieved. (You might want to mention that for the risk-averse among your readers).
XL, please - hold for collection in August.

Petrea Burchard said...

JB! I'm so moved. Thank you. John is still snoozing but he'll thank you too, when he wakes. He's got meetings today and more this week. They're all working hard. I'm excited to see him so energized over this project.

Irina said...

Good luck to John. Good luck to all us to see more real movies, not the bubble gum type.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hear here, Irina! If a movie John makes gets shown in Moscow, I'll come to the screening!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Has John looked into Freewaves?

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't think he has, but I just found it and I'll send him the link.