Thursday, April 6, 2006

Long Time, No Posts

So it's obviously been waaay too long since my last entry. As I pointed out before, I've got all theses balls in the air and I'm trying not to drop any, but alas, I let the blog hit the floor for a month to focus on finishing the book and lining up things to complete the video podcast and the guerrilla DVD. I also dipped down to the Miami Film Festival for my man, Pete Chatmon's film, "Premium". (I'll be writing more about that project in the near future.)

So the new release date for "Down and Dirty DV - Vol. 1: Documentaries" is April 28th. I was really busting ass to get it out by April 15th, but I ultimately realized that I would've compromised some of the content. I've seen some self-publishing efforts that I thought were a little shabby and half-assed and I definitely don't want anyone to put my book in that category., so I've spent most of the last month just really focusing on quality control: new graphic illustrations, better photo illustrations, fact-checking, a chart of the latest cameras, tweaking the cover, etc. After a very difficult time finding someone that could work with my tight guerilla timeline I just secured a book editor, Darren Hackett.

Darren is one of my best friends going all the way back to 2nd grade. No joke. He's a talented screenwriter and has been copy writing for a long time now. Part of my end game to this whole Down and Dirty DV effort is to produce his screenplay, "Growing Up Thirteen", which is a drama loosely based on our crew back in the day at Woodlawn Highschool in Baltimore, MD.

Darren is actually the whole reason I got into filmmaking. Growing up the idea that I even could make film and television completely eluded me. It just seemed like some magical inaccessible process, until the Darren came back home from Boston University and showed me his first film. Then it clicked instantly.

I immediately signed up for my first film class at U.M.B.C. (Univ. Maryland Baltimor County) which is an excellent affordable little school in the U.M. system. After I took my first film class and spent a semester in a work fellowship/filmmaking seminar at Disney World I was completely hooked and transfered to NYU's film program and never looked back and the rest is Down and Dirty history. So thanks, D-Money, for putting a brotha down!

The idea that guys like us could actually make films simply blew my mind. It was just never presented to me at Career Day or anywhere else. Once it became my passsion, I had the revelation that kids, especially kids of color, simply weren't being educated about opportunities in this field, let alone encouraged. So while I was still in college, I began speaking at school career days and organizing little workshops for kids. I've always been interested in teaching, but knew I couldn't deal with teacher's pay and lack of growth opportunity, so teaching video was a perfect melding of passions which all lead to Down and Dirty DV.

I can't wait to get the whole thing out to the public. I truly think that this project will democratize filmmaking even further. So many people in this business are about putting up barriers and coveting in formation and guarding their "secrets". I think that's just some insecure bullshit by insecure people in an industry that is run on fear.

I'm all about sharing information and opening doors and I've never regreted it and made a lot of allies in the process. I'm not afraid that I will help people become "more successful" than me. I hope I will. It's all blessings to me. I don't know everything about digital filmmaking (not even close), but everything I do know I'm gonna share through the Down and Dirty DV project, so that others can avoid the same mistakes that I've made in the past, many of which were expensive and painful.

The whole Hollywood system is based on "paying dues" which I do believe in, but there's a fine line between making sure people have paid their dues and making things unnecessarily difficult just because you had a tough time finding your way or nobody helped you. Shit! I'm still having a tough time, but somebody has to break this cycle of self-defeating idiocy. I'm about doing all I can to make it easier for those after me.

If you get to the top before me I think that's great. Then, I've got another friend that can give me a hand. And if somebody doesn't reach back, that's cool too, because it's all about karma, Baby. Everything I've ever done in life, good or bad, has come back to me whether from the original source or not. We all have ambitions and this is a crazy competitive business, but we've gotta be in this together. So don't be stingy with knowledge. Don't covet helpful information. Tell everybody how you pulled off that cool shot. Point out when you see another filmmaker making a fatal mistake. Volunteer some time for the next generation of filmmakers... it always comes back in ways you never imagined. And that's my soapbox rant for today,kids.

'Til next time, peace, love and video y'all.