Thursday, February 17, 2011

So...."Why?" and a lot of other questions...

You've probably heard, THE SAVING is going feature. And yes, its totally INSANE, exciting, challenging, and really really really kinda cool but feel free to ask the next question that pops into your head; WHY?

THE SAVING was a good short. Standing on its own two feet, it was a good short, good characters, good camera work, good acting, good editing, good score. I'm down with good, but I'm even more down with AWESOME. We're going to make THE SAVING feature film, awesome. Its that simple but then again, its not. You know what excites me even more, the challenge, taking characters that rocked out 9:57 seconds and make them work for 60+ minutes. That is nuts. I have no qualms about that. I also have no qualms about my level of experience. I've made one legit short. There, I said it, doesn't exactly bathe me in accolades given out by the filmmaking gods. 

People also keep asking, "MJ why don't you do more short films first?"Stop the presses! Guess what, I am :D

Actually working on two right now, "Memory Lane Goes Walking" which I plan on shooting at the end of March and a stylized 80s short in the process of being written called "Burnout" One is a romantic comedy, the other a drama.

I think a few things need clarification as well. THE SAVING feature length version will not be directed by me. The reason? Because I know I'm not mature enough to handle that. I don't even have a problem admitting it. I need more experience on set, working with different people, gaining more understanding about all the facets of the production process before I'm ready to helm something that big. I've brought on the DP/Editor of THE SAVING short Timi Brennan to direct this thing. I have absolute faith in him that he'll rock this storyline the way it deserves. We're going to co-write together.

Now you're probably wondering what my job is going to be. Co-writer, PMD (Producer of Marketing and Distribution) and First AD (Assistant Director). So basically Timi won't be able to sneeze without me knowing :-) Call me a control freak. I know where I need to meddle and where I need to learn. He has leadership skills and an understanding of how things operate, be it the actors or others on set. Things I don't get, not yet. I need to learn from him. While THE SAVING short was basically my crash course on the world of filmmaking, the feature will be my fully submerged intensive course on making awesome stuff happen. I have a vision for the feature. I have since we started hashing out characters for The S. Mattheus Sessions. The trailer for the short said "An film by MJ Slide" which does translate to the feature also but in way a that that's very different from the short. And different is definitely not bad. Like all good projects, this one is now about the essence of collaboration. A meld of two creative beings.

The real question that's burning in the back of my head (and led to many a sleepless night in the past few weeks) is, am I scared? Scared of letting go of the characters, of moving onto another storyline? After wrestling with these issues and leaving a lot of people around me annoyed because I've walked around like a temperamental rain cloud I've concluded, no.

A lot of you don't know this, but for the past week or so Timi and I have been debating back and forth if we should do feature Saving or another feature script in our arsenal. Obviously there are a lot of strings attached to this decision but I got to a point where I sat back, put the ball squarely in his court and said something to the effect of "I'm with you either way. "Epic Saving" or some other story. I'm in the business of making good movies, telling good stories." It was last night that I let go. Don't get me wrong, I made my argument strongly in favor of Epic Saving (you would have too if read the storyline we came up with together) but that wasn't really it for me. I want to make awesome films. Timi and I work well together, in a way that's almost uncanny considering our age gap and different backgrounds. I trust him as an artist. I've read his other stuff. I love his other stuff. I want to work with him again. That's what it came down to. Finding a storyline we can both get behind, pour all our passion and creativity into (and our insanity) and make some epic stuff. To borrow a phrase from filmmaker Gregory Bayne,we're gonna "Go Make Cool Sh**"

I plan on doing a lot of learning during this whole process. About myself, film, people, and just life. Its gonna be hard, probably the hardest thing I'll face in the near future and  I don't say that flippantly.

Am I scared of messing up?

Will I let that fear stop me from doing the things I love? 
Certainly not! 

Will I mess up?

Will I be able to get over it? 
With the help others, most definitely. 

Will this grow me as a filmmaker? 
You better believe it! 

Am I prepared to take all this on? I have a feeling, not really. But isn't that the allure, stepping out into the unknown, surrounded by people who support you and are brilliant artists/creators in their own right, ready to take on something so much bigger then just them. Doing hard stuff.

Making magic, with words, people, and a camera. Impacting lives, changing people. Making a difference. Telling the stories my heart commands me to tell. The stories I WANT to to tell. Loving it all. The pain, the late nights, the misunderstandings, the arguments, the blow ups, the renewed caffeine addiction. I know it's going to sound weird (or maybe it won't, who knows) but I'm looking forward to every part of it, even the messy things. Because that's what filmmaking is. And I'm a filmmaker.

So MJ Slide, the filmmakers says, Lets Make Movie Yo!

PS. Pardon the ramble fest. Blogging helps my organize my thoughts. 


  1. Congratulations, MJ.

    Taking a step in any direction isn't easy and you've proven again and again you're willing to take the risks associated with each step.

    Break a leg! =D

  2. Way to go, MJ! I'm excited for you!