What Is So Bad About Feeling Good About Making Your Indie Feature?

 
What’s So Bad About Feeling Good About

Making Your Indie Feature?

Justin Fielding

Filmmaker/Blogger

I recently started a blog called ‘Tell Me About Your Movie’ where indie filmmakers tell the stories of creating their feature-length films. Here’s why.

Your whole life, you dreamed about making a movie, a feature film.

One day—and for hundreds of days that followed—you steeled up the commitment to do it. Inspiration met perspiration, and finally it came to be.

Your friends, family, and fellow filmmakers have just one question: "Did you get into Sundance?"

When you make the best painting you can, do people reflexively ask "Is this going in the Louvre?" and "Are you going to sell it for a million dollars?" Yet, that’s how we think about movies.

Go to most any indie film site. How long before the dazzle of the film world’s winners catches your eye?

I just went to Indiewire.com, and the most-recent item there was about James Bond, and the most-popular item was about the Academy Awards. Indie magic at its small-is-beautiful best!

Even less-glitzy sites are often chockablock with stories about award winners, top-fest invitees, tips on winning the distribution game, and not infrequently news and reviews about multi-million dollar "indies" with household names attached.

Getting into festivals and, even better, winning awards is a boon for many indie filmmakers. I’ve had a little luck in that regard and would welcome more.

So, why quibble? Because the fixation on winning can crowd out the good feelings we ought to have about the accomplishment of making the best movie we can.

In youth soccer, they give you a trophy just for being a "participant." Perhaps we could treat our fellow feature-filmmakers and ourselves at least as respectfully?

Last month, I completed my second low-budget indie feature, an irreverent slacker comedy called Inventory (www.inventorymovie.com).  I hope it becomes a big, huge, fat winner; a cult classic raking in a bazillion dollars, with too many award insignias to fit on the package.

‘Inventory’

But I also want to stop and smell the roses and remember why I made the film, which wasn’t really about all that.

A movie is both a journey and a destination.

If you make or watch indie films, stories about those journeys are fascinating, whether or not the resulting film is a decorated winner or even something you’d personally enjoy.

I’d like to post your recollections of how and why you made your DIY feature film;what went right, what went wrong, and whatever else you’d like to share about the process and the product.

To be featured on Tell Me About Your Movie (www.tmaym.com) your film needs to be at least 45 minutes long, to be completed or at least in post-production, and to have an embeddable trailer online.

 

Congratulations on making your feature film! Please tell me about it, at justin@castparty.com, and we’ll put up your story for other indie filmmakers and supporters of indie cinema to read.

Award winners are welcome. And so is everyone else who made the best movie they could.

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Independent filmmaker Justin Fielding has directed two feature-length films and more than twenty short films with Castparty Productions. He is a graduate of NYU’s film workshop and ImprovAsylum’s improv-training program, and he was Director of Film and Sketch with The Tribe, a Boston-based performing arts collective. His article on using improv as a scriptwriting tool will be appearing soon on www.masteringfilm.com.