I've been dabbling in film in some way or another for the last 16 years, ever since I bought a word processor (couldn't afford a computer at the time) and picked up my first screenwriting book to start teaching myself proper screenplay formatting. In that time I've learned a lot, but I'll admit that quite a bit of it was never going to apply to me at the level I was at. And for the types of stories I wanted to tell, it probably never would.
Now that it's 2010 what would I tell the me of 1994-1995? That me that wanted to be part of the indie film boom?
I'd tell him that the boom he's seeing in the 1990s will soon reveal itself as a mixed bag of good, bad and horrible, of truth and myth, of wishful thinking and missed opportunity. I'd tell him that technology is going to widen the playing field, but not radically change the rules to allow radically more players on the field.
What I would tell myself most though, is that you're going spend way too many years sitting on your ass waiting for someone else to tap you on the shoulder and say you're in. I'd tell him to expand his definition of what's possible.
In that vein, I'm excited that via my day job at Atlanta Film Festival 365 we've partnered with Sheri Candler, a specialist in indie film marketing and publicity, and Mark Bell of Film Threat to create Film in 140. A bi-monthly panel via twitter, the goals of Film in 140 is multi-fold, among them to expand definitions, to create an outlet that's accessible to filmmakers where ever they be, and hopefully to give voice to the folks who are successfully pioneering new models but aren't on the traditional invite lists or indie film radar. A huge one though, is to delve into the topics that can empower filmmakers.
The first Film in 140 will September 29, 9-10pm and the topic should be a heated one: "Film Piracy: Does it Hurt or Help?". You can follow @filmin140panel for more info and the official hashtag is #filmin140. You can also read Sheri's post about Film in 140 here, and Mark's on Film Threat (he gives a bit more on the evolution of the idea).
By the way, from the time Sheri suggested that we should do an online panel yesterday, to the launch of this initiative, it took us about seven hours. And the actual time spent on it was a few tweets and DMs, about 25 minutes on a conference call nailing down specifics, and maybe six or seven additional emails.
It's taken me nearly 20 years to get to a point to just do it, whatever the hell it maybe. I'm hoping Film in 140 will encourage filmmakers under 25 to just do it, again whatever the hell it maybe.