Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I spend entire days researching, writing, and promoting projects. Every time I turn around, there's a new detail to add. Setting up and posting on blogs is easy enough, but now there's a demand for favicons (still working on that), widgets, and other Web gewgaws. These require some knowledge of HTML and I admit, mine is a bit rusty, but I do what it takes to keep on top of today's ever-changing information technology. Just how far does the learning curve go?

I deal with writers, producers, actors--some Hollywood veterans--and many are lost when it comes to understanding and using the Internet and social networking. It's time consuming to learn and manage websites, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other applications necessary to keep in the loop and develop/promote projects. Some are able to afford hired help or have their computer savvy kids do it. Others can take on interns for the project. For many of us, we're it when it comes managing our Web biz. 

My caveat is: LEARN IT, USE IT, HUG-'N-KISS IT. If you're a writer, publishers want to see Web presence. If you're a filmmaker or performer, all the more so! If you're intimidated by it, take a class and learn by doing. Yes, frustrations with this stuff abound, but once you achieve one Web task, others come easy!

I managed to insert both these widgets! Perhaps tomorrow, I'll tackle favicons. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I often feel as though I were running for office for all the hustling and campaigning I do to raise interest and money for indie film projects. As galling as the endless supplicating is to the artistic temperament, it is the way of the competitive market-conscious world (especially when you don't have an agent).

Fundraising is a Herculean feat that demands constant research and innovation. How does the screenwriter/filmmaker go about obtaining the means to finance projects? Networking at Chamber of Commerce and Counntry Club events is one way to try and tap into the "monied" people, but if you don't present your case in the language of business, your pitch will go over like a lead balloon. Attending pitch events with producers and agents might get you some notice, but the comeptition is stiff and the cost of attending such events can be prohibitive when you don't have the resources. The other option is to tap into the Internet's vast sea of social networking sites, but time spent on creating accounts and updating posts is all-consuming. If you have a team to fervently pass on news and links, your campaign can take off. But will it raise funds? It can through crowd funding.

There are two dominant crwod funding sites: Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com where you can set up an account for free and post your project. Each cyber venue gives you 45 - 60 days to run your campaign. Kickstarter will only pay out if the financial goal you set is met, while IndieGoGo pays out (htrough your PayPal account) as monies come in. Each takes a small percentage of proceeds raised. 

I have two projects currently running on IndieGoGo.com. Both deal with important social issues through very creative presentation. The first is SORE LOSER, about violence and abuse in the deaf community. My ambition is to produce a very short film based on a vision I had while taking a walk along a rocky beach in Maine 5 years ago! The project story and details can be seen here: http://igg.me/p/31356?a=167618&i=shlk 

The second concerns wounded and traumatized war veterans and is based on one of the many nightmares I've suffered. (I make bad dreams work for me by turning them into projects.) This one is called THE ADVENTURES OF ZOMBIEMAN. It is a comic book/animation series with potential for a feature film. More information about this project can be seen here: http://igg.me/p/33693?a=199985&i=shlk

The point is this: take a look at my projects along with others on both IndieGoGo and Kickstarter to get an idea of what sorts of projects get posted and how they are pitched and promoted.

I have learned one important lesson in this business: you can't go it alone. Creative minds, as much as they crave isolation and total absorption in the process of creating, cannot succeed in a vacuum. The artist must network, inspire others, and garner support to survive. This can prove more challenging than answering the call of creativity. 

As an in-class screenwriting/fiction instructor and online horror writing instructor (http://vu.ksurf.net/catalog/3112.html), the one prevealing concern I see expressed by my students is the fear of promoting their work. They worry about their ideas being ripped off, rejected, or worse, ridiculed. These are risks every writer, indie filmmaker, and artist must take to follow their dreams. Even with copyright protection and non-disclosure caveats attached to the manuscript, parasites in mainstream media will find a way to infringe. Even so, I teach this: Your vision is still your vision. Stick to it and promote it! Damn all torpedoes! Full steam ahead! You never the know the amount of support you can find for your project once you put it out there.

As this blog progresses, I will address the power of dreams, the process of manifestation, and the hard realities of the marketplace. I'll also share tips and stories about the trials, tribulations, and lessons learned in the indie film production process. 

Questions, comments, and feedback are always welcome here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ups and Downs and Ups

"It's not the destination that matters. It's the journey," someone once said. Wish I had the time to research this quote but as a magazine editor, writer, and media producer, I can hardly find a free moment to gather my thoughts. And now, I'm adding onto the pile of projects this blog, "Production Notes." Who'll read it? Probably few to none as I suspect it will get swamped in a sea of cyber commentary. Yet, I feel it is important to pass on my modicum of knowledge and experience as an author and media producer.

I have called this first installment "Ups and Downs and Ups" because that is how the going has been in the field of publishing and media production. Any artist, author, actor, director will tell you that in this business you have to roll with the punches, that what goes up must come down, but stick with it as it often comes right back up again. My Hollywood producer friends always tell me, "You can only fail if you quit." I have considered quitting more often than not, but I always remind myself that the upswing is just around the bend.

I am hoping that this blog about being a writer and producer will inspire and motivate everyone who reads it to not be disheartened by the frustrations and flops they encounter in show business. Perhaps through sharing my excruciating experiences with success and failure other might find strength and motivation to persevere. 

Let me end here with a teaser for my next blog entry: "Manifesting your dreams is easy. Maintaining them is as hard as climbing Everest without an oxygen tank."