Monday, November 30, 2009

Running out of time

December puts me into panic-mode. It's probably the end of year thing, there's a finality to it. We haven't found all the money that we need and the year is rushing towards the finish line. Well, not really, we decided a few months ago that February-March would be much more realistic and given that it's a winter shoot, I'm not worried that the Manitoba winter will suddenly turn into San Diego weather. We could probably shoot winter well into April.

But there is a stronger sense of urgency, compounded by the beginning of a new year. In a way, it has the potential of a new beginning and investors are likely to look at our project with fresh eyes.Then there's Dane, the Manitoba partner who's bringing in the tax credits and some equity. I will be traveling to Winnipeg December 11 to meet with him as well as Rachel, the Eh Channel executive and some other companies as well.

The trip also allows me to visit my 86-year old mother who lives in the town I was born in many decades ago. It will be a white Christmas most certainly for me, and a rush of nostalgia from my childhood which continues to inspire and motivate me, nearly 2000 miles away in California.

They say that the person you are at seven is the person you become. At seven, I was going to movies with my parents as often as I could. Not that there was much of a choice, we had one movie theater in town, a rebuilt church hall. By 8 I was going alone. So I am the person I was at seven and I think that's a good thing.

But what about Travel Day?

While it was Black Friday for America last week, the whole week was pretty bleak for me. The Thanksgiving holiday really started the week-end before and it was pretty much impossible to talk to anyone about our movie. Even the Europeans I had pitched didn't reply and, apart from friends, I had literally no contact with the movie industry.

Christmas is the same, it begins here around December 15 and doesn't start up until the 2nd week of January.

This week I have a few calls to make and at least one meeting and possibly more. The major event of the month will be my meeting with Dane in Winnipeg as this is where we  outline our separate entities, meaning what each of us brings to the table. The contradiction there is that Dane will bring the tax credits and a letter from a bank that indicates they will be able to advance us a loan of perhaps 90% of around $300,000 of tax credits on Manitoba labor. This money is in effect, first in, as they say.

By doing this, other investors get a stronger sense of security in Travel Day. Investors notoriously dislike being the first one in and this money even comes from a major bank so it's even more solid than the investors themselves.

My duty is to offer what I can in the way of confidence by having several elements in place at roughly the same time, these being;

  • A "star" name actor
  • At least half my side of the budget (around $200k)
  • Names of several of key creative crew (DP, Editor)
  • Distributor Interest

All of these will help, but the name actor and distributor are the hardest to get. I have my work cut out. It's times like this I wonder why the hell am I even trying, now being 8 months without any pay whatsover, spending my money and time, and Shirley offering her expertise in graphics, art, conversation and just being there.

But then, what else is there to do?

After all, I missed Stoogefest this week-end, I've attended for the last 5 years and this time didn't have the time to do my annual 3 Stooges festival with my friends. It's times like these I take comfort in a pie in the face or a poke in the eye.

Don't try this at home and wish me luck.


  1. The reality of your quest -to make an independent film - sinks in more fully, with every honest post as you reveals your frustrations, concerns, the patience required, and the sheer perseverance one needs to pursue a personal dream of this magnitude.

    I love that it brings screen magic to the common man's level.

    Don't get me wrong - it doesn't deter one bit from the wonderful escapist world of films, but it does make one feel a greater connection with everything that takes place in the background.

    Nothing truly worthwhile, ever comes easily... for any of us, regardless of what it is.

    To know that we all have this in common, gives hope to my own dreams.

    So thank-you for sharing the process...

  2. I had hoped early on that my posts would be real and honest and am glad that your own dreams might be just a little more possible, as are all of ours. You've given me another reason to keep going because nobody can do it alone.