So…What’s Your Film About?

Michelle:  Whether at a high-profile meeting or at a laid back cocktail party, the creators of most art forms are perpetually prompted to describe their idea by likening it to existing, well-known pieces in order to gain legitimacy and respect from their peers. The results usually end up in very absurd territory. Example?

Boy at a Party: You should check out my band sometime. Our sound is a Flaming Lips/Guns and Roses love child that was raised by Ani DiFranco.

Potentially Interested Girl: (giggle) Wow, that sounds…pretty neat actually. Tell me more!

Humans like categorizing. It helps us make sense of the world around us, especially the parts of the world containing different and unfamiliar ideas. While some artists shun this practice for fear of labeling their omg totally original art, it’s a necessary evil in generating any interest or curiosity about a project. The film industry is rife with this sort of quick referencing.

Random Human: So…what’s your film about?

James Cameron: Well, Avatar is kinda like Dances with Wolves in space.

Random Human: Oh, okay. I guess that makes sense…Wait, what?

 

We are not making this shit up. Read all about it here and here.

It’s also been said that Titanic = Romeo and Juliet on a boat. Which goes to show that even after you’ve made two of the highest grossing films in history an artist must still quip cheesy-ass pigeonholing references to make potential audiences, investors, and critics feel just enough familiarity but with its own creative spin.

A couple of other delightful examples:

St. Elmo’s Fire group dynamic meets a Hackers universe = The Social Network.

Monty Python tomfoolery + witty Sherlock Holmes whodunit = Clue.

There are obvious pros and cons to this sort of labeling. Comparisons to glory may give off an inflated sense of ego, but mass recognition referencing undeniably garners a nodding, “Oh, I think I get it” type of reaction. A reaction that hopefully contains the magical mixture of comfortable recognition and show-worthy appeal.

Random Human: So…what’s your film about?

The YI: The Young Invincibles is an independent fictional story (not a documentary!) in Traffic-style storytelling with Reality Bites characters.

Get it? Good. Sound appealing? We sure hope so!

F*ck Cancer and F*cking With Cancer

Michelle: October means mulled wine, spiced cider, piles of golden leaves, and pumpkin flavored…everything! Perhaps you already know that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, but did you know it is also National Family Sex Education month?

Whimsical, refreshing, glycerin & paraben-free!

We bring this up because sex and boobies are two very important things in life that cannot be neglected despite the generally sombering affects of cancer. Organizations such as Save the Ta-Tas bring a provocative and flirty edge to cancer awareness and early detection for young females, reminding gals that having cancer doesn’t mean losing their sexiness and sexuality. Taking it a step further is the wondrous Babeland, a female-owned sex toy shop (based in Seattle!), and the all-natural lubricant developer Squlid. Together they’ve created a tasty Pink Lemonade flavored lube in honor of October awareness/research causes, and also the gentle reminder that getting it on promotes health and wellness! Proceeds go to the Young Survival Coalition.

Next in shaking up awareness: Fuck Cancer. Their mission is explained best on their homepage as “a movement to change the way cancer is perceived and diagnosed in our society, and how cancer survivors perceive themselves. It’s about early detection and treatment. It’s about fighting back and regaining control. It’s about sharing your story and spreading the word.”

The Young Invincibles applaud this mission, and love seeing how the attention to cancer awareness is changing over the last 25 years. We are excited that our film will be adding such vivid dimension to the voice of the young adult cancer community.

 

The Facts (Part II): Organizations that Help

Michelle: Imagine you are a 20-year-old university student. Or maybe you’re 25 with a steady job, or perhaps 32 and just laid off after being with the same company for 7 years. An annual exam finds cancer and you think:

– Will I have to quit school?

– Will my meager medical insurance be enough?

– What will my girlfriend think?

– How do I even bring this up to the boy I’ve only been dating for 2 months?

– What will my boss say?

– What if I can’t get pregnant?

– Holy crap, I have midterms coming up.

– This is going to scare the bejeezus out of my parents.

– My sister is going to freak the eff out.

– What if I can’t work 40 hours a week anymore? Will my company fire me?

– Why now? I can’t afford to skip out on job interviews because of hospital tests.

– Will anyone even want to hire someone with cancer?

Young adults with cancer are a very unique group. Even the term “young adult” a state of transition into being a real Grown Up, whether it be school, career, or love life. Many at this age are still figuring things out, are newly financially independent, don’t necessarily have long-term partners or solid support networks. The student loans are still fresh. Settling down is either in the works or being purposely avoided.

Who wants to hire, or even help a 20 or 30-something with cancer in this flailing economy?

Many doctors and cancer treatment organizations are either unaware or simply don’t take the time to share information specifically catered to young adults with cancer. Thankfully, there are many wonderful resources out there that will gladly take on that important task! For example…

I’m Too Young For This was founded by young adult cancer survivors, and their mission is to aid, support, connect, and give a voice to this largely neglected community. i2y.com has a plethora of coping information exclusive to young adults with cancer, and links to both online and local support groups (there are even chapters in the UK, Canada, and Australia!).

With everything from social networking events to advocacy, peer counseling, even scholarships & financial aid, I’m Too Young for This is a great place to learn about community events and retreats, or find solace in other forms of media such as internet forums or related books and movies.

There’s also Seventy K, which especially advocates the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Bill of Rights. Check out the YouTube video about Seventy K below, or click here.

More awesome resource links:

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.