Core Audience, Where Art Thou?

Is this the opening night crowd for "The Young Invincibles"? Could be! Will you be there?

Aaron: So, like most….well, I was going to say indies but, in truth, like most films that aren’t directed by James Cameron or starring Johnny Depp, we are in the process of securing funding. And, from what I have read, even the Oscar winning film “The Hurt Locker” had a hard time getting its initial funding. So, clearly money and quality are not always connected. (Side note: Sarah and I got to meet the director of “The Hurt Locker” at a screening in NYC a year ago and actually talked with her about this project. Very nice lady.) However, a certain amount of green is required to give any film a certain level of quality. And, those with green generally have a list of questions the filmmaker needs to answer in order to get said green. The number one question (after the question does it star Johnny or is it directed by James) is “Who is going to see your movie?” This is a truly fair and often unanswered question by filmmakers. It is as my lovely wife talked about “The Business of Art.”

Who wants to see your film? Or, in other words, who is your core audience? Who would give their green to see your movie? Well, for us it is this. Our film is a touching, sometimes funny, character driven story about vivacious young adults living with cancer. It hopes to shed some light on a growing population. A population that, although we often hear about from celebrities and too often know in our friends and families, we rarely see in our cinema. So, first off, our audience is those that want to see an honest look at a growing population. Second, our audience is those that enjoy subtle story telling with great acting performances. People that enjoy a film that gives you time to understand the depths of another human being and the world they live in. “Once,” “Rachel Getting Married” and “Things We Lost in the Fire” are high-profile types of these films and proof that this audience is widely prevalent. Heck, a look at Netflix users shows that over time movie watchers taste changes and lean more towards these smaller indie films. Some smaller films in this vein like “Medicine for Melancholy,” “Ballast” and “Quality of Life” show that even without studio backing these films can find their audience. In its most crude and simplistic form, this audience is generally people in their 20’s & 30’s with a college education living in urban areas or people in their 50’s & 60’s with the time and palate for such films.

So that, in short, is the answer for us of “Who wants to see  The Young Invincibles?”  If this sounds like you or you would be interested in seeing our film made, please subscribe to this blog. Seriously, that little action will help greatly. It helps us have a more concrete demonstration of who the audience will be for the film. And, it helps the money men feel better about the green they will put into it.

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The Business of Art

Sarah: As we switch gears from the writing to the production of The Young Invincibles we are quickly realizing how much of a business the film world really is. I mean, it is called film business for a reason, isn’t it? And so, as we embark on this phase of the journey, we have been mapping out our plan for production, funding, marketing and distribution. I think we have a solid little outline which we have aptly named “The Diabolical Plan” and which we will keep under wraps for now. We can’t give away all our secrets to success just yet now can we? But, interestingly enough, one of our biggest hurdles so far has been one of a moral dilemma. Is our artistic integrity or our professional success more important?

Our initial motivation in starting this project was our desire to express ourselves creatively and feel a sense of empowerment by using our artistic voices. Due to personal experiences, we discovered the material for our story and it inspired us to take that leap and create a platform for expression that is truly our own. It has been wonderful to use our creative skills and find our voice. The possibility of affecting others through our work is almost an addictive experience. And, the idea that we might actually be able to help others by telling this story is extremely rewarding.

Now, as we work on turning our words on a page into a living piece of art, we find ourselves faced with the reality that we must put on our business hats and enter the world of consumerism. The film must attain some level of success if our hopes of sharing our vision is to be realized. This means we have to aim high and play with the big boys in the film industry. We have to market ourselves and the movie and show that we can produce. There is some level of scheming and manipulation involved that feels a bit cold and calculating. If anything, it does not feel artistic. And, it is an uncomfortable adjustment for us to make.

Whether it is society or our own judging natures, there is this image we hold in our minds of what it means to be an artist. A real artist is one who starves and suffers if they are truly talented. Picasso, Warhol, Chagall, Dali, and Pollock come to mind. And, making money through your art? Well, that seems like some sort of betrayal. As if we would be selling out somehow. However, there is also this voice inside of me that says in order to be considered a “professional artist” you must earn a living through your work. Otherwise, you are just an “aspiring artist.” I myself have experienced what it is like to struggle and, let me tell you, while I have learned a lot through my journey, it is not very glamorous.

Ultimately, I want to continue doing my art for as long as I possibly can and I want to be seen as a professional. So, that means I must attain some level of success. And that will only happen if people see my work. Somehow I have to learn how to combine my artistic abilities with the business of art so that they co-exist and work off of each other seamlessly. And, any moral issues I struggle with in the process? Well, I hope that is just a part of growing as an artist. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Post Oscars Reflection

Sarah: Every year, for a day or two after the Academy Awards, I always feel a little melancholy. I don’t like competition in general and I hate the notion of pitting artists against each other to determine a winner. How can you judge which film is better when doing so is purely subjective? So, I make every effort to avoid watching the show. There is too much hoopla and superficial glitz and glam. And, don’t get me started about the nominees. Most of the time, only those films with tremendous financial backing tend to get nominated. This leaves out all those struggling artists, like myself, who don’t have deep pockets. So, money equals winning. I start to feel disillusioned about the film industry and what it is I love to do.

Yet, every year, as much as I try, I find myself tuning in to find out who won. It is a thrill to see how the winners will react when their names are called. And, I want to see what they will say in their acceptances speeches. Will they cry? Will they forget what to say and stand there shaking nervously? Oh, the pressure. It must be insane. And then, there are those rare instances when a winner is able to infuse their speech with emotion and humor and heart. Well, that’s brilliant, don’t you think? This year, I cheered for Sandra Bullock during her charming and heartfelt speech. And, I think she looked truly amazing in her dress and flawless makeup. And, then there was Kathryn Bigelow who won for Best Director and Best Feature. Being the first woman to win both awards is pretty amazing. It made me proud to be a woman. I wonder how she feels having beat her ex-husband, James Cameron, in both categories. I hope a little part of her relished it.

But, my favorite winner of the night had to be Michael Giacchino who won for Best Music (Original Score) for the film UP. In his acceptance speech, he encouraged those that want to do something creative to get out there and do it. He insisted that being creative is not a waste of time. At this once in a lifetime moment, Michael didn’t thank God or a long list of film executives. Rather, he took the opportunity to inspire others. Well, I’m a fan!

I guess the Oscars make me reflect on my own journey as an artist. The abyss standing between me and that red carpet is only exemplified as I watch all the designer dresses slink past the cameras while I sit like a couch potato in a pair of old sweats and a t-shirt. I’ll admit it, I imagine myself at the Academy Awards and I wonder what it will feel like to win one of those golden trophies. And, when that happens, Aaron and I will be angling to win for Best Director. We plan to be the first husband and wife team to win the award. And, what will we say in our acceptance speech? Well, you’ll just have to tune in to find out.

Time For Some Techno Babble

Aaron: I am not sure if everyone knows this but apparently you need a camera (or two) to make a movie.  So, I have begun the process of figuring out the best one for The Young Invincibles. In the grand old days, film was shot on well … film. Then, the revolution came along that it was televised in digital! Digital film gave to the masses the ability to make an indie film cost effectively (i.e. cheaply). So, for us, digital is the way to go.  Psstt….don’t tell old school Hollywood but many big budget films are going digital. VIVA LE REVOLUTION!!!

So, the digital camera that has my crank turning right now are these new DLSR cameras. Specifically, the Cannon  EOS-1D Mark IV which just came out in Oct of ’09. It look like this.  Yes, it looks like a traditional photo camera.  And that’s because it is.  However, it also just happens to have video capacity which looks like this (seriously look at that link).  The picture quality is just insane.  It blows away everything else I have seen in digital.  Hell, Robert Rodriguez (the guy behind “Desperado” & “Spy Kids”)  just shot a music video with a DLSR camera.  So they are pretty sick.

So, here is the techno number side of these cameras.  It shoots in 1080 HD.  Also, it shoots in 24p (technically 23.976), unlike earlier models, which mean it can mirror the 24 frames per second of film. VERY SEXY INDEED.  Then, there is the other cool thing. It sees in low light spaces better than the naked human eye (I told you to watch that video link. It was all shot at night with available light!). That will do! That will do indeed. So, technically, shooting with this camera is more like shooting with old film cameras.  It has  a large single sensor (traditional digital cameras have 3 smaller censors, film camera have one big one), you have to record your sound separately (welcome back clap boards), and you get to shoot with a shallow depth of field (trust me this is a very good thing).   The shape is kind of weird for making a movie but you can add stuff like this to make it more movie making friendly.  Kinda cool.

Alright, that’s enough geeking out for now but trust me there will be more.  However, if you got questions, comments, or ideas about cameras please leave a comment or send me an email and I will get back to you.  And, don’t forget to subscribe so you can follow The Young Invincibles journey from this website to a theater near you.