Roundtable Discussion with Producers and Directors
Just do it. That was the theme of our great filmmaker’s panel we shot the other night at Jump Cut Café. In attendance were Richard Zelniker, Jesse Kove and Chris Montes (Mischief Night), Jeremy Cloe (Liars, Fires and Bears) Steven Kung and Jon Michael Kondrath (A Leading Man), Ian and Eshom Nelms (Lost on Purpose), Nick Loritish (Born and Raised) Bruce Gillies (Don Jon).
The spirit of indie filmmaking filled the room with enthusiasm and excitement. It was very contagious. The one thing I realized when sitting with this group was that if you are ever in a rut about the industry or mired in discontent of the state of filmmaking, sit around a group of filmmakers who just finished their project and listen. If you truly want to make films then I promise you that
Of course we discussed everything from distribution to craft service. What was very obvious was that in order to succeed in the indie world you must know a little bit about a lot. Kondrath said it best when he said you can’t assume the people you hired will do their job effectively. And how would you know if they weren’t, if you didn’t know how to do their job.
Zelniker’s insight into filmmaking was wonderful. He said his career has been filled with false starts. He knew if he was going to continue sitting around waiting for other people to say yes, then he was just saying no to his career. Afterall, its filmmaking, not filmwaitiing.
Telling a story is easy. Telling a story visually is difficult. To understand what goes into filmmaking one must first embrace the marriage between words and images. The bridge between these words and images is the director.
I am often flummoxed by the notion that a film is an actor’s medium. While they are certainly important, it is a director’s medium. Gillies said that the director should be the dumbest guy on the set. Surround yourself with people much smarter than you and the director’s job becomes much easier.
When asked what a producer does on an indie set it became clear to me that the answer was, “whatever he is asked to do.” There is no job too big or issue too small that a producer must deal with.
Loritsh explained that his objective was to just get it done by any means necessary. And that they did. These guys just did it!
That has been our attitude at NUHO. We understand that what we are creating is something new and original. Some people don’t want or understand why we are even trying an online festival. They are married to the old ways of doing business and that is fine. I wonder if Redford was faced with the same amount of confusion when he said he wanted to host a festival in the mountains of Utah.
Either way the process of launching something like this has allowed me to meet and talk to such wonderful fans of cinema like those on our panels. You can watch the panels in their entirety during our upcoming festival in February.