What's this thing people call "vision"? (Well, I wear glasses, but....) I'm coming to find that it means getting most, if not all, of your friends and family to get really, really mad at you; managing to have your phone shut off (twice); missing all of your medical and dental appointments; and cultivating several species of therapy fodder.
All of this happened to me during the making of "I'd Rather Be...Gone," but throughout it all, I kept thinking back to one thing: the tennis ball. Or, to be poetic about it, "small, round, fuzzy thing." (Some would use these words to describe the shape of my head. In fact, they are the irate friends and family I mentioned earlier).
When I was a kid, probably around 13 or 14, I bounced a tennis ball in the rather ramshackle edifice that passed for my family's garage. I bounced it for hours on end. And while it bounced, I thought up episodes: TV movies starring a young Matt Dillon and some unnamed blonde chick; sitcoms where members of my family uttered one-liners to raucous, overextended laugh tracks; and movies. These were feature films with prepubescent neighbors navigating the territory of sexuality and loss, or vagabond cowboys astray in the woods having sex with frontier women to a Billy Joel soundtrack.
We've heard it before, and I'll say it here: "I've always wanted to make a movie."
Now, with a little hard-earned money culled out of the Internet and burgeoning digital video opportunities, I can do just that. Or, I did just that. I never quite managed to work in the Billy Joel soundtrack, but we're pretty damn close.
The result is a feature-length digital film that took $10,000 and
about 9 weekends to shoot. Armed with a talented cast (the principals
being mostly friends, others mostly found through auditions), a
dedicated crew, a Canon XL-1, a script that took three months to
develop and write, and my own tendency toward making life as difficult
for myself as possible, we managed to put together a kind of tribute
to San Francisco, a city where the arts are seemingly being destroyed
by the dot-coms. Art doesn't die that easily. Mangling is a different
In the end, despite the long hours, heat, and
occasional hard fruit, I had a vision, if not a few good ideas. We
made my first movie. Pretty cool, since I don't have the tennis ball