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Friday, March 19, 2010

Indie filmmakers: The Kind Side

I know we're in show business, but is it so bad to just want to work with genuinely nice people, too? It reminds me of the question Dr. Wayne Dyer proposed, when contemplating something you have to do, ask yourself this, "Is it going to be easy or hard?" If you aren't 100% certain it'll be hard, just choose easy!! The situation might surprise you (I know it has me!).

I feel that way about working with nice people. If I have a choice - I'm going to choose nice (not to be confused with people who let others run all over them!). None of us can afford to do that in this biz. ;)

For example, have you ever had a less than desirable situation arise and been surprised at how someone responded or handled it with grace, style, and respect? And then had a similar situation occur where someone responded defensively and nasty? As Dyer also suggests - Whatever is inside, is what comes out.

Do you respond out of fear, or anxiety?

We've all been guilty of this on occasion.. we've all been insecure.. but I think there's no better time than the present to learn from it, grow, and quite frankly - grow up.

No better time than to take the high road.

I thought about this for a while yesterday, since I've recently experienced certain 'attitudes,' differences of opinions, had to adapt to changes, and see our producer, Lorie make some tough decisions, too.

Let me preface this (long post!) by saying that I don't expect to be good friends with everyone I do business with. Now, I welcome new, genuine friendships always, and understand that some business friends might turn out to be my best friends! But some I will simply adore/respect while we're working together on set, and others are just synergistic connections to get the job done - nothing wrong with that! It works both ways, btw! I'm not trying to befriend every actor/filmmaker I come across, hoping they'll be in my picture or like me. Networking is great and fine, (I know, a must, a must!) but I don't have the energy to pretend anything or to accompany manipulation of any kind.

There's a lot of talented folk (I know because I work with them everyday!) who are just good, honestly nice, easy people to get along with and those are who I want to surround myself with - always. And I find myself wondering, is this something to base a BIG decision off of? Well, I look at the Duplass Brothers (if you read my blog you know I'm a long-time fan of theirs) as a perfect example. I knew Jay 15 years ago, and although we've only worked on one little short film (way back when), I could still email him today and get a warm response. That's what I'm talking about - nice!!! And Kat Candler, another fellow filmmaker of mine, is simply the kindest person I've ever met. This is how I want to operate in this vast, crazy business, and never forget/underestimate the beauty of. This business is hard enough, without the cold (unnecessary) drama, egos, or big attitudes.

I'll never forget meeting Kat one day to ask her about something (film-related) and offering to buy her a coffee... she declined, saying she only wanted my 'friendship.' That was an honest, special moment for me, realizing that this business, too, can be what we make it - real, genuine, and gratifying.

Just because you're not a shark, doesn't mean you're a minno (so yeah, I kinda stole that from Grey's but it so applies here!).

And while I'm talking about sharks, what's up with various people wanting producer's credit when they haven't done anything? It blows my mind, and seems really egotistical, no? I'm not naive to the fact that it happens, especially when films can't pay a lot, and I'm really not easily offended, so I struggle with not being offended with this one. :)

I recently read a q&a with an indie filmmaker who worked with Andy Garcia.. he said that sometimes actors will ask for additional credit (i.e. producer, executive producer, etc.) without wanting to 'do' anything. But he said Andy was different.. helping produce everything! Cool! I remember meeting an indie producer last time I was in LA who was venting about her friend wanting to be an associate producer. She was going on about how she didn't think he knew the amount of work it took to deserve that title and it frustrated her. Having worked on helping produce Lost In Sunshine for the last 2 years now, I can finally say (as Leonardo Dicaprio in Catch Me If You Can) "I concur!"

Producers do everything. They are the mother's and father's of sometimes 30+ unruly big kids. When something's not working, they have to emotionally 'deal with it.' Sometimes they have to step in and be the 'bad cop.' They have to be competent, diligent, ambitious, committed, (for sometimes next to no $) tough, smart, informed, a good sales person, and know how to juggle, and speak 10 languages that aren't in the dictionary. RESPECT, Lorie - respect!!!

AND, it doesn't matter what size project you're working on, it's not cool or nice to ask for a specific 'credit' unless you are prepared to walk the walk.

If anyone feels differently, please, feel free to chime in!

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our additional Lost In Sunshine filmmaking blogs, too!

Peace and love,

ps. for all you Celebrity Fit Club fans out there! An oldie but goodie!

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