When I last left you, it was after giving a brief tour of my brain a few days before the premiere of our film “Holy Ghost People.” Insecurity, Freudian dreams and anxiety were your ticket to my SXSW 2013 blog that will cover the premiere of our film which is this Sunday (HolyShit!HolyShit!HolyShit!). Before I continue, I just wanted to say thanks for linking and retweeting the first blog and for refraining from calling me a huge sissy. I really, really appreciate it. But, the purpose of that blog wasn’t just to reveal that I suffer from night terrors and sometimes crippling anxiety and that these things should cause you to pity me or be nice to our film. Rather, it was to set the scene for how I became a producer on the film and subsequently had one of the best experiences of my life, all against my better judgment. Or better, against the judgment of the evil a*****e demon that resides inside my brain who tells me I can never accomplish anything. I hate that dick.
After the success (yes, it was a success) of “The Violent Kind” I had quit my 9-5 job in order to do freelance work and look for more film projects to work on. I made “Worst in Show” and then “Holy Ghost People” came along and I wanted in. Well, sort of. No sooner had I convinced producer Jeff Allard as well as Mitch, Phil, Joe Egender and his buddy, the playwright Kevin Artigue (who all produced the film with me, the latter 4 also wrote the beast) that I could really bring a lot to the production, I started trying to think of reasons not to go. Afterall, I had quit my day job just in case an opportunity like this should arise and now, here it was. I better run away and hide. But, why?
Well first off, the film was going to shoot for a month in rural Tennessee. That’s a whole month away from my family and my freelancing gig. A whole month!! Second, I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing and everyone would know that the second I set foot on-set. Third, my lack of experience and doofy demeanor would make everyone from top-end actor to lowly intern hate me. I’d probably be sent packing after a week but not before being beaten to a pulp in front of the townspeople who lived near set. They’d probably help with the beating. I wasn’t going to do it. Then, I had a revelation.
Rather than let every stinging bit of silly insecurity and every morsel of pointless anxiety keep me from a job that I secretly knew I could do well, I would use this month away from “the everyday me” to try and be the person I wanted to be: a competent, confident filmmaker. While constantly suffering from nearly debilitating self-doubt, I would not only never say no to a challenge presented to me or our film, I would kick it’s f*****g teeth in. Whatever my inner-self said I couldn’t do, I’d use that as a sign to do it, no matter how scary it might feel. So, I told the boys I wanted in and before I knew it, we were underway in Tennessee. No sooner had I arrived then I knew I made the right choice and that was mostly due to the cast and crew assembled for the film and the material itself.
I can only speak for myself, but I liked each and every one of our cast and crew instantly. I think they liked me or, they knew I was A PRODUCER so they had better act like they liked me. I wish I could go through and name all the people on-set that helped us make this film but that would take too long. We have an IMDB Page…it’s those people listed there.These people not only became my support system in terms of getting things done but were also the group I wanted to impress and inspire. They inspired me by being intelligent, tireless, professional and badass so why not try and return the favor?
When I helped produce “The Violent Kind” I wasn’t able to be on-set everyday and now, I was living on-set and I loved it. We were filming a majority of the film at a summer camp for girls that was closed for the off-season and it was a beautiful place to be. Myself and the core crew arrived early and each day new people trickled in like a gang of vagabonds. Having grown up as a sports fan, I began to see production as a sort of football game or some kind of war. We slowly assembled the team and put people where we knew they could help. Everyday we had a goal to reach and everyone played a part in reaching that goal. I took my role to be find out what Mitch (the director) wanted and stop at nothing to get it done. Then, I’d enlist whoever could help the cause and get it done.
One of the first days of filming we were shooting at a bar, a rare set that wasn’t at our camp. In the parking lot was a car that we needed moved in order to stage a fight scene but when we asked to get the car out of the way, the owner started to laugh. “Son, that car hasn’t moved in a year. It won’t start and we aren’t even sure who owns it” I was told. Now, that’s weird in and of itself but in most cases, I would have accepted that and moved on to idea number two, whatever that may be. But since this was the “new improved” me, the first plan stayed in place as you can see by the photo. That’s my fat a*s right at the hood pushing the dead car out of the way with my brothers in Holy Ghost arms. We actually ended up lifting it as a team and placing it out of frame. Everyday was a new challenge and I almost couldn’t wait to see what that challenge might be. Sure, a few times I was unable to win but it was just so awesome to be trying. To be trying to help others succeed while bringing to life an exciting and unique film. But nothing prepared me for my biggest challenge: finding a car for our main character “Wayne” to drive.