I Never Asked For Your Crutch, Now Don’t Ask For Mine

Earlier this week, I called a friend of mine to wish her a Happy Birthday. I caught up with her, and she recommended a bunch of movies I’ve already seen. As I was on the phone with her, she asked me how this project was coming.

I informed her that the script was in rewrites, and that I would be working on contacting people soon. Then she launched into this rant about how I should apply for grants because it’s going to cost me at least a million dollars to make this movie. For the record, I’m not necessarily against applying for a grant. My only gripe grants has to do with the duration of time it takes to receive it, and most of the time, you have to partner up with a non-profit in order to receive one. She got the million dollar budget quote from kid whose film she appeared in. According to her, his MBA from Keuka College designates him as an authority on these matters.

Flashback to last May. This friend of mine, as well as another close friend of mine, went out for Wing Night at Lloyd’s, a popular bar in Penn Yan. We ran into “Keuka MBA” (as I’ll call him) and his brother, who apparently has graduated from Wells College’s film program (I’ll call the brother “Wells Film Degree”), and she introduced me to them. She told them I was making a movie about the call center that we worked at, to which Keuka MBA commented,

“You’re going to need at least a half a million dollars plus a star to make it.”

Keuka MBA’s advice struck me as hopelessly naïve. More so, this kid was saying this with the utmost confidence! A few weeks later, I hosted a screening of Tiny Furniture at Milly’s Pantry, a community space near Lloyd’s. End of flashback.

I asked her, “Remember that movie I showed at Milly’s Pantry? Tiny Furniture?”

“Yes, there’s a way to do it on a shoestring. That girl cast her friends and her family in that film.” She continued on, citing that Kevin Smith made Clerks on a similar budget, and how I’m going to have to do rent equipment and stuff. It dawned on me. What kind of movie does this woman think I’m making?

There’s a reason why I’ve attend SXSW for three years. The money I’ve spent attending is perhaps money I could’ve spent making films. But it’s more than just a vacation for me. I’ve learned a lot about making movies that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else, except from reading Filmmaker magazine, maybe. I admit I haven’t seen any of Keuka MBA’s and Wells Film Degree’s shorts, but I’ve heard from more than one person that they’re fairly good at what they do. The problem I have with my friend taking these kids’ advice seriously is the same problem I had with Robert Piluso casting a USC Grad Student as an expert on Independent Film: they may have incredible talent and a ton of confidence, but without experience, I have a hard time taking them seriously. Neither of them have had a feature film on the festival circuit, and I’ve never seen them on a panel. I admit it bothers me when older people label my generation as narcissistic, but hearing Keuka MBA talk last May, sometimes I see what they mean.

Enough about that. The title of this post alludes to a Bob Dylan song, but for my clip, I’m going to post a completely different song. In addition to ongoing rewrites, I’m working on putting a tape together for potential music people who may become involved with my film. This mix includes a lot of 1970s post-Beatles guitar pop, like Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, Badfinger, Big Star, and Harry Nilsson among others. This clip that I’m posting is from that era, but not specifically the pop that I’ve been compiling for this mix. It’s a song I’ve been listening to a lot of while I’ve been doing rewrites. Since the person who created the video disabled embedding, I’m going to link to it below:

Genesis: “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”


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