Recently we pitched for the Crazy8's Film Festival here in Vancouver. The idea behind this festival is to make a short film in 8 days with an $800 budget (plus an exorbitant amount of production services) and then to show the film at a screening in front of industry professionals and the public alike. This is meant to showcase new talent, and create a calling card film that can be submitted to the festival circuit, as well as on a demo reel. We did not get in. We did, however, attend the screening for the six films that made the cut. Five out of the six were comedies, and the one drama blew them all out of the water. "Mike Inc." created by Jose Pablo Gonzalez and Paal Wilhelm Nesset was an incredible feat, especially considering the time constraints.
We went into our pitch with a project called "Grocery Confessions" (which we will incidentally be shooting this summer. Tell your friends and rich uncles!!) Though we pitched it as a dark comedy, "Grocery Confessions" has a lot of dramatic elements and is not slapstick by any means. As our first major pitch, we felt pretty good about our efforts, and received some positive feedback from the jury, despite the outcome. I suppose if rejection felt like cookie dough ice cream and kitten snuggles it would be a very different world we live in. What I'm getting at is that after attending the screening, I felt better and a little worse.
Looking at the types of films that were chosen, it was apparent that comedy was a major theme throughout the chosen films. I don't mean comedy in the "Darjeeling Limited" or "Oh Brother Where Ary Thou" sense, we're talking knee-slapping, guffawing, SNL-type comedy. Some of which succeeded, and others that may do better on YouTube. This made me feel slightly better about our story, if only because I can now convince myself that they weren't looking for our brand of story, as opposed thinking that despite the positive feedback we may have botched the pitch.
I feel worse, because the guys who made "Mike Inc." are clearly well on their way to amazing careers in the film industry, and were able to buck the system and create a mini masterpiece within the constraints that were thrown at them. It is inspiring and discouraging to witness their success. That is the nature of the beast, the good the bad and the ugly all in one California Roll and dumped on a peice of lettuce. Chew on it! Coming out of the event, I have several new ideas to flesh out, and much more networking to do.
What I want to know is; when is it too early in your career to be picky about what you will and won't do? When are you allowed to avoid something that isn't up your alley, even if it may further your career in some way? Is there a right time to say "I will not compromise"? I ask because we could have pitched a comedy of the slapstick variety, and possibly made it into the festival, but we didn't. We chose to pitch a story we're passionate about, in a genre that we love, in a format we can get behind. Was this a bad move? I still say we did the right thing. Thoughts?
Also, since i was a delinquent on Logline Friday, perhaps I will try to achieve one line a day the rest of the week.
*disclaimer* I save all my best loglines for my idea log, in case someone decides to borrow the mediocre ones I post for their own gain. This exercise is merely to stir the molasses that is the right side of my brain. (On that note, if you've never done the right brain/left brain test, you should check it out. I ALWAYS see the dancer turning clockwise and it takes me forever to see it the other way - what do you see?)
Here is today's Logline:
A chef in the city is fired when he is wrongly accused of harassing his female co-workers. He exacts his revenge by paying customers to complain and send their food back.