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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Before The Storm

Rule 1: Don't ever get frustrated about not being able to get somewhere when you haven't really decided where it is you're going. True. First things first. Decide on the destination. Pick your goal. Then go for it.

Example. I decided on a particular course of action for my indie film THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. I decided that we would try for this one particular process. And it doesn't appear to be working out. Which brings me to the next rule.

Rule 2: When you decide on the goal, everything that is the exact opposite of that will come into your existence. True.

Example: Every time I try to jump off my roof top in an attempt to "fly". Gravity comes into existence. Fucking gravity. And I've done this many many times. Same thing with watching movie previews. Right when I aim to enjoy a good trailer, Joel Schumacher's name pops up. Fucking Bat nipples.

This is how it's done. You aim for the goal, you shoot for the goal, something has to make you miss. Why? It's the law of opposites. One cannot exist without the other. You cannot possibly experience achieving the goal if one hasn't experienced NOT having the goal. How am I supposed to fly if I don't first know what it's like to not fly? How can I possibly love Batman Begins as much as I do without having first experienced Batman and Robin? Actually I think we all would've been just fine without Batman and Robin.

But without the opposite of what you want, what you want cannot exist in your reality, yet. Yet.

Now this is going to happen a bunch of times in a bunch of different ways. Things are going to have to suck. Things are going to have to get rough. But the best way to perceive all this is in training. Yes that's right, training. What you think is just the world crapping on you, is just the world getting you prepared for the inevitable, which is SHIT HAPPENS. And the best way to prepare for shit happening is to experience the shit happening. Ok this is sounding gross.

Point is with The Midnight Special, I knew from previous experience and training that the first few swings at the bat for distribution weren't going to work out all that well. If it did great. But chances are our first few offers were probably going to be too good to be true, or just plain fall apart. Which I'm no saying has completely happened, but I'm smart enough to know when the boats about to sink. Which brings me to the next rule.

Rule 3: Always have a lifeboat.*

Call it what you want. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Forewarned is forearmed (Thank you Peter Vincent). Knowing is half the battle. You know what I mean. Have a plan. Don't get your hopes on one prospect. Send out many ships and one of them is bound to return through the shit storm.

With the movie I had a three part plan that included the expectation of the shit storm. And guess what? Everything is going according to plan. Shit storm is weathered. Actually there isn't really a shit storm, but I see one on the horizon and I've already got other ships out in different directions all of them scotch guarded and armed with three ply umbrellas. And Fabreeze, lots of Fabreeze.

Rule 4: Always use Fabreeze. Lysol just ends up landing on my tongue somehow.

Anyhoo.

The advantage nowadays is that it is not impossible to get distribution for your Independent film as long as it's good. You've got options like filmbaby.com, customflix.com, indieflix.com, and lulu.com. And if it's not good it better have some sex and violence. Sad but true.

Rule 5: Have a plan for your plan.

I'm probably going to put The Midnight Special on DVD soon through one of the above outlets, mainly cuz I hate disappointing these folks that keep emailing me. I really want people to see this movie. But I'm not stopping there. Just because you decide to self distribute doesn't mean your options are over. This is just the beginning and as far as my plan goes, we're only on part A of plan 1. Oh man we're just getting started here. But I've got part B of the plan in motion and I'm ever so slightly curious as to what would happen if I combined it with parts of plan 2, and some of part D of plan 6. You follow me? No. Me either.

All in all I've got plan upon plan. Like a safety net of sorts. One of my safety nets is the emergency fund. Our plan now is that before me or my wife set off to do anything else that costs money that isn't bills, we have to have an emergency fund. Not too much, just a thousand bucks put away in a money market account. I'm trying not to do anything too extravagant until that emergency fund is built up. Ya have to be prepared for the shit storm cuz it happens.

People get sick, get layed off, the car breaks, the computer crashes. Kinda hard to aim for those bigger goals in life when shit like that happens. With an emergency fund those things become more of a minor hassle than a major setback. And before we embark on anything else, I've got to make sure that fund is built back up. Gotta make sure that safety net is secure if it's going to catch us. And I've been lifting many weights and eating a whole lot more, so it has to be secure. With our plan for our plan in place, we're ready for anything. Which brings me to ...

Rule 6: You're never really ready for anything.

You cannot predict what your obstacle is going to be. You can foresee what some of them are, and perhaps even many of them. But not all of them. Honestly, was Indy really expecting for his father to be shot at the end of Last Crusade? Was Hip Hop really expecting Vanilla Ice? I don't think so. Otherwise the experience of the law of opposites would be void. And it isn't. So expect the unexpected. Ya know, like Ninjas.

Rule 7: When faced with Ninjas, act like a bear. They hate that. It'll either freak them out or annoy them, either way they'll just leave. And if they don't leave then you have to stand and fight. But becareful, if you fight a Ninja you're going to have to ...

Rule 8: Trust your instincts.

Instinct is like when your spirit or energy or inner mind, whatever, has experienced many different versions of the future, and is coming back to give you data on the situation. How many times have you tried something, failed, and then said, "I knew I should've done it the other way." How did you know? You're instincts told you. but what did you do? You listened to logic.

And hey, I'm not slamming logic. Logic is great. It's the exact measurement of process. Use it, gather all of the facts. But just because you know the wall is a foot higher than you're use to, doesn't mean you don't have it in you to scale it. A high percentage of a lot of things in your life are going to be because of you, what you can do, and what you believe in your heart you can do. If you know you can, then you can. Don't let them tell you that you can't. You decide for yourself. Which brings me to the most important rule ...

Rule 9: You can't

Just kidding.

Rule 9: There are no rules.


"When did Noah build The Ark? Before the storm. Before the storm."
- Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in SPY GAME

Yvonne De Carlo

Rest in peace. And thank you so much for the memories.

Yvonne

Learn more about Yvonne De Carlo at Brian's Drive In Theatre.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hang The Code

I spend alot of time working on short films, writing, shooting, editing, etc. But usually when I'm stuck on something or if my mind needs a break, I have to wrap my brain around something else. Origami, piano, and most often sleight of hand. The first thing that comes up is usually a card trick or two. I love sleight of hand. I find the mechanics of the actual trick to be magical. The process in which one makes a card disappear, or how a paper rose floats in mid air is quite fascinating to me even when I already know the secret.

I remember when I was a kid and I was desperate to learn magic. I knew of sleight of hand and misdirection, but didn't know how to do it. I needed someone to show me the secret. I checked out books on the subject from the local library, but none of them were any help. They usually explained how to do the most moronic tricks no one would ever want to see let alone perform. Honestly, who cares if I can make it look like a butter knife is stuck to my hand.

I wanted the real stuff. Making a card disappear, I mean really disappear. Or how to pull one from the air with my sleeves rolled up. There was only one magic shop in the next town over, but they were no help. If I wanted to learn a trick I needed to trade for it or pay for it. I had no other tricks to trade, and the money they were asking for was insane. I would go and ask other magicians I would see perform at theme parks or Six Flags, but none of them would let me in. I would always hear tell of "The Code" and how a good magician never reveals his secrets.

Finally I met a magician in a very small shop in a flea market, he felt for me and decided to show me two things. How to make a card disappear, and how to turn a dollar bill into a hundred and back again. This was my first step into understanding how other tricks worked. I learned about practice and showmanship and I learned about the code.

The code basically said that you should never give the secret of a trick away. Ruins the magic. If everyone knew how it was done, then no one would have any fun watching it. I took this to heart. And as I got older, and as I performed more tricks for people, kids would always ask me to show them how to do something, anything. And then I in turn would tell them about the code, and how I could never reveal my secrets. There was one kid in particular who just would not leave me alone. He begged me and pleaded with me. All he wanted to know was how to do one trick. How did I turn that 1 dollar bill into a 50. (I wasn't making much at the time, I didn't have a 100). I felt bad for him. But I stuck to my guns and told him I just couldn't do it.

I remembered this recently. I remembered how disappointed he was. And now looking back on it I feel even worse, because I remember how badly I wanted to learn magic. Something, anything. I remember how all those magicians would snub me and wave me away everytime I begged them for knowledge. I remember how "The Code" was shoved in my face over and over.

I understand the code. I understand and respect how certain things should never be revealed to hold on to that entertaining illusion. And I'm not one to just spill my guts about every trick in the book. But what about those kids that wanna know something to get them started. Like that one kid that one day that I just wouldn't give it up. Nowadays it's little easier. There are a number of magic sites you can go to to purchase the secret of any trick you wanna start practicing. But I still feel a little bad about that kid.

So this ones for you kid. And for all you others out there who are broke and need a place to start working on your craft. Here's a little gem for ya. Here's a video that reveals the secret of turning one bill into another. No sound, black and white, pure and simple demonstration. And it's the only trick I'll give up on video. And as for "The Code". I say with this one, hang the code and hang the rules. They're more like guidelines anyway.

Plus I'm cheating a little here since I know of two other different ways to do this, but hey, at least I'm giving something up.



Dollar Bill Trick Revealed - video powered by Metacafe

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