It was 15 years ago this month that I sat at lunch with an unknown actress named Eva Longoria as we debriefed our recent shared experience on her first / my third indie feature film. I write this not to name drop but to point out no one ever knows who is going where in this crazy business. Focus, talent, preparation, luck, timing, networking and some cosmic something all come in to play. For every Eva, I have known dozens of actors I thought were absolute sure things who had it all…. yet have since gone home or gone on to new lives that did not include fame or acting. They tried it, they invested time and effort, and at some point they knew it was time to move on. Or not… some still labor at the game, decades invested, with no real fruit.
As for Eva, when I saw her a year later, she was a regular on Y&R; she then did a couple indies, and a short I shot with her, then while driving down Sunset Boulevard in 2003 I saw her familiar face on a billboard proclaiming “Desperate Housewives”, whatever that was to be. The rest is of course is history.
High profile successes in film, TV and music belie the reality of workaday creative people, who have no Ferrari, hit franchise or fan club, but still crank out quality work for love or money and if they are lucky, both.
Someone said that if you can make a living in this business, it’s a miracle, and that was never truer since the maturing of the internet and the mass access to digital film making resources. Where once was a profitable field for film creatives called independent cinema, there is now a remnant that is mostly very rough, DIY material created without the benefit, or discipline, of a budget.
Low budget projects need not be poor quality, but it is a special team that can transcend budgetary restraints and deliver truly quality entertainment. The mass access to cheap, high quality film making tools has little to do with it; there still needs to be a developed story, charismatic, talented actors, and a vision guiding the balanced execution of the technical and artistic within the opportunities or confines of whatever commerce is involved.
Stay tuned. I am just getting started 😉