Saturday, February 9, 2008

Indie film is like a box of chocolates...

You never know when someone has eaten most of them and left the empty wrappers when you weren't paying attention.

Which makes it a bit of a challenge when you want to put a demo reel together, and the four principal on-camera gigs you did in your former hometown were as such:
  1. A no-budget Japanese-monster-movie homage, feature length, of which you know you have a VHS copy somewhere but have no idea where. If you did, you could capture it and try to salvage the very muddy sound in a couple of your scenes. Because you actually rather liked the character you played, and while the guy who made it might have been a little eccentric, he paid you and paid you promptly.
  2. A short that got screened in a mini-festival of local film, in which you improvised a marathon sob story that ended up being used almost in its entirety, got some nice comments at the meet'n'greet after, and promptly never saw or heard from the director again, nor got a copy of the film.
  3. A short in which you played the title character, had a great time, were very impressed by the professionalism of the entire production (dude, anyone in Columbus who actually hires a script supervisor automatically wins), and again were paid and promptly. And then there was some sort of falling out you don't want to know about, and two years later you find out that the finished film is in fact screening at a festival in Columbus, but the director only has a VHS copy due to the aforementioned falling out you don't want to know about. So you borrow the VHS copy from her and capture the video, and at least have that, but since the thing was shot on DV a clean copy would be awfully nice to have. (Edit: First country heard back from. No dice. As near as I've been able to determine, there is no longer a DV copy in existence. *boggle*)
  4. A feature, in which you had a nice supporting role, that was perhaps a bit too ambitious for those making it, but which nonetheless successfully wrapped a few months before you moved to Chicago. At which time the challenge seemed to be finding a way to get the footage from the DV tapes (shot on a rented camera) into the computer intended for the editing process. And then the director, as you read between the lines of his blog posts and the FAQ on his webcomic, kinda just lost interest. (Edit: Second country heard back from! Previous attempts to contact them vanished into the ether, but this one got through! Yayz!)
As of this morning, I have successfully tracked down SOME form of contact information for people who can hopefully get me copies of all of the above. Now all I can do is wait and hope I hear from them.

Memo to filmmakers: When we work our butts off for you, it matters quite a lot that we have tangible evidence of that work. The paycheck is nice, but it's not going to get me another gig. I realize your focus is on the project as a whole, and there are a million reasons why you might not want to release and/or finish it. But we still need that footage, and tracking you down for it years later is Just No Fun. Adding "private investigator" to the list of hats an actor already has to wear is not going to endear you to anyone.

We already know we're the most disposable of commodities in this business. It doesn't take much to avoid rubbing that in. So if either of the stills accompanying this post is from your movie? Drop me a line. I promise not to bite. (Edit: And now they both have. And I didn't. Yay communication!)

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