Did you come up with the marketing before actually making Dickshark?
You make me very sad with this question. I didn’t know about marketing until last year. I had no idea that I could have vastly increased my sales if I had done even the most basic marketing. Yes, I did things for promotion, like going to horror conventions and answering interviews, but marketing is a different creature. I don’t mourn the sales that I could have had because I would have re-invested everything into my movies, but I regret that I couldn’t reach more people. I know that people who hate my work find it hard to believe that there are fans who love what I do. I receive letters every day from people who express immense appreciation and who wish they could have heard about me sooner. This makes me wonder if there is a way to reach other such kindred spirits without also bothering the people who despise me.
Since 2005 you’ve made around 3-4 movies a year, to what do you attribute your productivity with regards to filmmaking?
If I had a motto it would be “Make movies, not excuses.” When I first went to the CHUBB Institute, a training place for computers which condenses years of knowledge into six months, I learned about budgeting time. Going to classes, working full time, studying, having a radio show, taking martial arts — that would make you think that there is no time left for anything, but the school trained me to see time differently. There is a lot of free time in the day.
Another thing that helps me is to know that time will pass me by. I developed the discipline of doing things immediately. I don’t just talk about doing things — I am a man of action. Think about it. Successful people are not necessarily smarter than you are. They are just people who acted instead of merely dreamed.
“If I had a motto it would be ‘Make movies, not excuses.'”
Care to offer any technical tips when it comes to making lo-fi features?
You’re talking to a guy who is considered to be the most inept director of all time. I’ll share something I overheard when I was at B&H, a camera store in New York City. I went there with the same joy as going to a museum, I drooled over all the gear, and I asked questions. The staff don’t work on commission, so I absorb as much advice there as I can. A customer was comparing specs on a prosumer camera, and asked a rep which one had the sharpest image. The rep said, “You should be more focused on what you put in front of a camera rather than how sharp the image is.” It wasn’t said insultingly. But it’s true.
My attitude about the technical side has always been that if I get a budget, I will have experts in the technical things do those jobs. I only do that because I have to, and although I really do try to educate myself, I am not a pro. You said it yourself that one of the reasons why you like what I do is because of the honesty that comes through.
I could take more time to polish my footage, but I always have to ask, “Is the delay going to increase the viewer’s enjoyment in the end?”
I know peers who excel in the technical side, but they suck in all other aspects. I would rather have the flaw of being an amateur in the technical than to be an unoriginal thinker or someone without creativity.