Studio Session - with Caroline Koebel
Had useful session with my studio advisor Caroline K.
Making connections between theoretical and practical; considering genre:
Looking at the recent connections being made between the project in or genre: We talked at length how, although I have extensively studied the value of popular culture and genre and seeing its cultural uses and value, I think I still had residual resistance to genre as far as incorporating it in my own work.
As a younger artist I saw a strict divide between worthwhile 'art' and low popular forms and genre.
The more I see it now the connection between my work and the horse genre seems completely logical and also very practical as it allows me to structure the work using the existing generic vocabulary associated with the genre.
This is also informed by my own intense relationship with television as a young person – – a central influence. I "broke up" with the medium at the onset of the "golf war" and attack on the people of Iraq. Seeing the jingoistic patriotic coverage of the attack, I quit cold turkey and have never returned, although now the medium really no longer exists or has transformed and continues in fragmented ways across several other forms including Netflix, etc.
As a young artist, I kept strict divisions in mind about 'art films' at the art house and schlock at the Cineplex. These divisions I believe are not useful and say more about our classification/value systems than they do about the inherent value/worth of the objects under consideration.
Somehow some of this remained for me in ways I wasn't aware of; hoping to have the project be a true expression transcending genre was a limitation to seeing its logical connections with horror and from making practical use of its visual, narrative storehouse of constructive elements.
Production: casting; creating a 'pitch'
On the production front, we also spoke about potential actor identified from coincidental acquaintance with gentleman who is an artistic director/theater director in London. He suggested a method trained actor for a certain role, the good doctor. We also discussed how I may consider expanding the relationship with the artistic director to have him take on some producing role in the project, at least with respect to casting and perhaps some soliciting of funding.
Well the bulk of my attention has been on the steps outline --then script, something taking a bit longer than initially anticipated, I feel it is very important to generate a more condensed and practical "pitch"
Robert McKee, the author of 'Story' suggested that this is the best way to get practical feedback on a project – – and a visceral sense if overall project is "working" or not, something that can get lost in the larger forest of a complete narrative.
This pitch will also be essential if I am able to solicit some funding for the project at a later date.
I do have a basic organic "pitch" that I use simply to convey the basics of the project to people, but it is not structured in order to generate enthusiasm for funding. While my pitch in its present form does generate enthusiasm about the project, I could be better structured to be more efficient towards those practical ends.
(Caroline also suggested that my crit group could be a useful venue to get feedback on the 'pitch.')
Thinking about funding:
We also briefly spoke on the topic of funding:
In general I had initially envisioned the project to be structured in such a way so that I am not dependent at all on any outside funding.
At the same time it seems sensible to structure things in such a way that I could be able to take advantage of funding opportunities if they present themselves.
I mentioned how the artistic director might be able to assist with connecting me with possible funding sources – – this is something to continue to pursue with him.
Because of my geographical location as American abroad, it is a bit challenging but there may be some state based funding available. Caroline suggested looking at something from my state-based association with Nevada. She also suggested the Puffin foundation as potential source to explore.
We also spoke a bit about the possibility of using Kickstart at a later date for identified needs, and perhaps to serve as a convenient way to solicit funding from my own and extended network. Crowdfunding has been something that some significant filmmakers have recently started exploring to allow them greater independence and flexibility, namely Spike Lee.
Overall we both agreed that it felt a bit premature to look at mapping out funding right now as my mental resources are best directed to the immediate completion of the structure of the project. At the same time many of these funding sources have a very long 'gestation period' and would require planting seeds sooner than later.
One last note, back on the issue of casting, we spoke a bit about how it may be worthwhile after the structure is done, to look at creative ways to generate footage from cast, considering the examples of the filming process of Robert Rodriguez in Sin City with combining green screen footage of actors who never end up meeting each other during filming process, and also thinking about some of my initial Transmedia concepts of using radically different platforms to shift the story through. While I have bracketed off using those forms while I am writing structure, they could certainly be incorporated later after the structure is done. We also briefly considered the example of the Blumhouse produced film Unfriended (2014) which makes creative use of pedestrian desktop views, like Skype, to convey narrative.
We spoke briefly how I considered casting directly from artistic community community here but that would require filming in Spanish which would be adding on another significant --and unnecessary-- challenge to the project.