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Television’s impressive artistic and commercial success is not a solely American phenomenon – it is not even an English language phenomenon. The case of the Danish series Borgen (2010-2013) is exemplary. Borgen brought together on average a 50% share in its home market and was shown all over the world to great acclaim. Much like The West Wing, it worked as a reminder that sincere idealism can still be part of politics, while at the same time giving a pretty nuanced idea of how politics work. Danish TV drama (shows like The Killing/Forbrydelsen of 2007-2012, The Bridge/Bron from 2010-2013, and most recently The Legacy/Arvingerne and soon-to-be-released 1864) began its revival about fifteen years ago – at the same time as its domestic film industry, and with the fiction department of the public channel DR as its driving force. [...]
1. There is very little development funding of scripts. Consequently directors are encouraged to develop their own material. Generally this encourages a focus on personal stories, stories based on experience, and thus we get character dramas first and foremost. [...]
Filmmakers, you’ve been lied to. Film school has taught you to pitch the WHAT about your project — WHAT is the story, WHAT is the cast, WHAT are the target group for the film etc — but the WHAT is not the most important element when it comes to crowdfunding. The WHY is! You see it comes down to your likability on camera. ‘But I’m cool and I’m a great filmmaker’ I hear you say. While that’s good for you, that’s not why people want to engage with your crowdfunding campaign. [...]
Currently, I’m crowdfunding on Kickstarter for The Quantified Self, an experimental story about a family that records and analyzes everything about themselves. It’s my third science-fiction film mainly because where I grew up science fiction represented hope for something better. Just twenty years ago I was a humble physics student at Kharkov State Polytechnic University in the former Soviet Union. When I came to the US I had to start from scratch like every immigrant. My first job was $4.75 an hour working at a hardware store on Coney Island. It took me 15 years to get a stable job in IT on Wall Street. It also took me 15 years to realize that I was moving away from myself. I felt depressed and confused. Having a job I didn’t like eroded me from inside and made me rather passive and ignorant about the world around me. Something was missing.
Crafting a brilliant script. That’s all it takes to get a project noticed and “green lit”. This was my single-minded approach when I got the bright idea to start skipping down the indie filmmaking road. It was all so clear; admittedly up hill but I saw no potholes or wreckage to avoid. Nope. Curious sights and comfortable, clean rest areas amply stocked with fresh toilet paper lined my highway. The horizon seemed practically at arms length. My first detour: I had as much interest in writing a screenplay as Hunter S. Thompson probably did with the idea of writing sober.
Four years after my original guest post “Navigating Rejection With Grace” (May 10, 2011) we’re still navigating plenty of rejection (c’mon, does that really ever end!?) but also proud to share some “wins” – seven years in-the-making! Our doc FINDING HILLYWOOD (www.findinghillywood.com) has screened at more than 60 festivals around the world, and is available on iTunes (and a myriad of other digital platforms) this month!
Bet you didn’t know I was responsible for this summer’s biggest box office hit. Yup. Guardians Of The Galaxy: I am responsible for that.
And if you were in Zurich for their film festival, you might have gotten some excellent advice on how to make award winning films. It may have seemed like Nicholas Chartier was giving the speech, but […]
In reviewing my book, Nick DeMartino captures a great deal of what I am feeling these days. I think we can move things forward and build it better together. Nick spots how my love of cinema drew us forward and then how that same love drew me away from a focus on project producing.
“At a certain point, living an […]