fOR THE NEXT THREE BLOG POSTS THREE SOCKS MEDIA, LLC WILL HAVE A GUEST BLOGGER. JOHN IS A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.
No experience. No education. Yes, even the most successful film makers today began from that very spot. But what’s the difference between these amazing people and the ones who had good intentions, but now spend their lives sitting on their butts watching other people’s work? The successful group was willing to listen and learn. So if your inexperienced, but wanting a career in the entertainment industry I have two key pieces of advice: keep your mouth closed and your eyes open. In other words shut up and value the people around you. Watch what the experience team members are doing. Learn from them, and while you’re doing this, if we get stumped and you have an idea that could solve it, that’s a good time to open your mouth and say something. In my projects I always want newbies to know their worth and grow into leadership. Just remember, however, that there are rules and expectations that truly demonstrate your level of professionalism. For example, don’t ever approach people on the set of a movie asking for them to read your script. That is my biggest pet peeve! I don’t mind if you have fun but if you go to a talent or cast member and ask them to read your script you will be fired, NO QUESTIONS ASKED! They are there to do a job for me not be accessible to you or distracted by your script. Completely inexcusable! If you keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, you’ll learn rules like this and in time you’ll become the experienced team member that everyone wants to work with….ignore this wisdom and you’ll be just another nobody sitting in your living room watching the work of others.
FOR THE NEXT THREE BLOG POSTS THREE SOCKS MEDIA, LLC WILL HAVE A GUEST BLOGGER. JOHN IS TA SEASONED PROFESSIONAL IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.
Lynne and I have a passion for the Truanik project and we are riding on the adrenaline of being a part of this. Recently, we had a conversation about how we both got started in the movie industry and it reminded me of how much I love what I do and why. I love to create things and make things out of nothing. Whether the project is a reality show, a comedy, a documentary, T.V. series , feature film or whatever, I love to read the idea and form the vision in my head and get it out on camera. It doesn’t matter if the project is low budget or a high budget, I can make anything out of nothing; success is all depends on how much you want it and how you can work with what you have. This industry definitely has its challenges and I can tell you that I have certainly faced many during my career, but it’s never the challenges that matter. It is getting through them. Getting through them often means relying on your team. When the team is right, the project is right. Nothing else matters. So, for example, even right now as Traunik is wrapping up the paperwork with investors, Lynne and I are grateful to have each other to have leaned on while getting through this phase and I know that our cast and crew will work together to create one killer comedy. This is why I am in the movie business.
What opportunities have knocked on your door this week? Did you say yes or did you keep doing the same thing you do every week while complaining that nothing changes? Is it time for you to start saying YES to things in your life?
I am so thrilled at the people who have said YES to this project. Things are coming together well and moving ahead quickly now. A big thank you to our investors, people who believe in us and are ready to join this vision of a quality movie, an adventurous life, and a wonderful financial return! This is such an exciting project and is going to deliver FANTASTIC RETURNS, so I am thrilled that you have opted to be a part of this adventure with us. This project is a great example of saying yes to an opportunity that appears unexpectedly.
Great financial potential and a small window of opportunity--that's what we presented to investors. Some saw it. Some didn't. So my question to you as readers is what opportunities have you let slip by? What is the vision for your life and what will it take for you to be a part of something amazing? First and foremost, it will take saying YES to a vision, either yours or someone else's. Take a chance this week and say yes to helping someone. Yes to being a part of a project like TRAUNIK. Yes to a life changing experience.
These experiences are all around us. We sit at our desks day after day saying, "I wish things would change" but then we say no to everything presented to us and wonder why we're stuck.
ThreeSocks Media is planning an event here in Michigan. We hope you'll say yes to either making the trek out here or being a part of this online. More information will follow....it's time to say YES!
I hesitate to title this blog entry "mistakes" because I am a person who does not believe that such a thing exists. Unless someone dies or is irreparably harmed, then the situation can be changed and corrected. Life is about learning and as one of my favorite quotes says "Get busy living or get busy dying" (from Shawshank Redemption). While I do believe in making the most informed decisions possible, that is all they are--decisions. We can change them. We can (and should) learn from them. We can be bigger, better, and stronger with each new one that we make.
Recently several people who are interested in making movies have approached me regarding their own hopes and dreams, but noted that they had been paralyzed by their fear of making mistakes. If you find yourself paralyzed by fear, in any situation, my advice is always the same--find out what you don't know, get guidance from those who do know, and then precede one step at a time. I believe that fear is like a warning light. It shouldn't be ignored. Maybe you need more information. Maybe you need help. Maybe your mind just isn't ready yet for the venture you wish to embark upon. Take a moment. Breath. Learn. Get help. Then keep moving!
Our pathways in life should be exciting and exhilarating. Don't hesitate to get busy living...mistakes are just a part of the game.
As I continue to grow in my own role as producer, I have been spending some time getting to know the work of other female producers. In an article by Peter Hoare (which can be found here: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/01/10-female-movie-producers-you-need-to-know/ ) there is a marvelous list of woman who have been doing stellar work as producers. Knowing the work of these amazingly talented women is definitely worthwhile. Hoare begins his article by noting that producing used to be a boys' club and that women were not really welcome. I personally have long been a fan of Kathleen Kennedy and, in fact, she was my own inspiration for becoming a producer myself. She is a legend in the field and so talented! Some of the other names on Hoare's list are more recent entries into the world of producing, but all have proven that they have what it takes and then some to hold their own in this field.
Producing is a calling. It's not for everyone, but if it is for you, do not hesitate to step up no matter your gender, background, or past life. I am honored to be stepping up now and having such incredibly talented women to inspire me in my work.
In honor of Women's History Month (March) someone sent me a link to an article about female movie directors. Women in film making have had quite the challenges going from just being some sort of eye candy on the screen to being blockbuster producers, directors, writers, and bona fide stars (in roles of substance). The article noted that 2015 was a big step forward for women in film making and shared a list of the top 10 movies directed (and in many cases written) by women.
There was no mention of females as producers in this article, but I suspect that 2015 saw some big jumps in that regard as well. I myself am always looking for the best in people and have no reason to say that I have encountered a bias against me as an executive producer. However, I can say that twice in the past year I was asked if I had any business partners and then the investors added, "you know, some experienced men." When I asked what they meant they very quickly changed that "experienced people" but the point was already out there and well noted.
Personally, I don't care. I am proud to say that I have a vision and that nothing is going to deter me from that. Anyone who narrows his/her professional associations to a specific gender, race, culture, etc. is doing just that--narrowing. If limited options are the way that you want to live your life, by all means that is your prerogative. But if you want to live life to the fullest and be a part of amazing things.....well, being narrow just isn't going to serve you well.
If you want to read the article, you can find it at: http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/the-10-best-women-directed-films-of-2015-20151215
The most common question I have been asked recently by aspiring filmmakers is where to find money to make a movie. The answer is both very complex and very simple. The simple answer is passion. I’ve written about passion in other blog posts and I return to it here because it is not uncommon to encounter people who will tell you cannot do your project and it is only through passion that a person has the strength to push forward and insist that the project be a success. Trust me. You will never get your movie made without this element not only because it makes you persist in the face of negativity, but it is also the ingredient that investors look for first and foremost. If you aren’t completely in love with your project then why should they be?
The complex answer is a matter of budgets, guts, and research. Depending on how much you need you can turn to anything from crowdfunding to banks to angel investors. My budget for Traunik is slightly higher than crowdfunding allows, but yet a bit small for most of the major banking institutions that do movies. I have turned to angel investors.
To find an angel investor, do research. Then you when you think you are all set, do more research. And then do even more. Once you have your research, put together your pitch, your production packet, and your legal foundation. (You’ll want an attorney for the last item here.)
The final ingredient is having a team of people you trust who are knowledgeable so that you have someone to be the objective eyes when you think you have found the right investors. Investors are your partners and together you must balance creativity with business and that is not always a simple thing, but it can be done. And that is how the magic happens.
One of the greatest things any human being could hope for is to have passion in his/her life. Passion makes us alive and I make no apologies for called it great. I have been blessed to find a great passion and people with whom to share that passion in my writing and now my development of a movie. In fact, I am devoting this blog to post to those people who have made my life absolutely amazing in the past year as I have pursued this passion.
One thing passion does is to make time fly. I’m sure you know the old saying of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While I would be lying if I said that I haven’t hit some bumps in the road this past year following my passion, I can honestly say that every moment has been beyond words. And so it is that I sit down to write this blog both amazed at my life and the wonderful people in it and apologetic that I have let this blog slip into oblivion.
I can see us completing this project, attending film festivals and making a huge splash. This is going to be a successful project, and I thank you for joining me on this journey.
Welcome to 2016! Last year was absolutely amazing for us and Three Socks Media is even more excited about what the new year will bring. We are still actively involved in preproduction with plans to begin actual filming in April or May at the latest--this will depend on weather and the schedule of our cast and crew. The project director, John Gerds, and I have been very busy planning out scenes and with each meeting we get more excited about this great production.
Some of our current tasks include continuing to map out settings, attending to the legal aspects of creating a movie, and juggling schedules. The latter is a huge issue as many of the people involved are in great demand including our director and your truly. :-).
Thank you for your continued support of us. I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to meet so many new people in this field who are supportive of this project and many of my own friends, family, and colleagues from my life as a writer/teacher who have lent their support. This is going to be a fabulous year. PLEASE JOIN US AND CONTINUE COMMENTING AND EMAILING US YOUR SUPPORT.
Since beginning my journey as an executive producer I've learned many things. First of all, to put it bluntly, I've learned that an executive producer "is the money." My number one job is to find the financing for this project and my number two job is to work with my partners to complete the project on time and staying under budget. Fortunately, I am working with great people and I know that this second part of my job will be an incredible adventure....no doubt learning much more as well. So what about this first part, finding financing for a movie? I've been approached by several people recently who want to make their own movie and have asked me how this is accomplished.
The best answer to this question can be summarized in one word for me: passion. I have a passion for my project and every time I am speaking with potential investment partners I do so with complete confidence that this is not a question of IF my project will be completed, but simply WHEN my project will be completed. The word "no" has zero meaning in my life, because those who are not ready to share in my success are not even on my radar.
Passion is contagious and people want to be a part of something fueled by it, but as my partners in this venture will tell you, passion not only means being focused and determined, but also being willing to learn. In my determination to see my vision fulfilled, sometimes I just need to shut up, listen and learn. My partners are business people, very successful business people, and there is much that I can and have learned from them. I have learned about ROI, sustainable business models, and big production budget issues. As I share my creative vision with them, I eagerly look forward to expanding my business horizons. Ultimately my creative vision is now a business, a big business, and so when I am fulfilling my role as executive producer I take that aspect very seriously.
Come back to this blog soon because we have a big announcement pending. For now, I thank you for joining me on this adventure and I especially thank all of my partners for sharing my passion and their knowledge
Lynne M. Smelser is an executive producer and scriptwriter. For more than 20 years she has been an active writer who has won many national awards. She also holds a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University.