Keeping The Dream Alive

There’s so much in everyday life to get a person down. And yet, there’s so many things to give a person hope and keep them pushing forward. The funny thing about a dream is, it usually happens to one person and others can’t always understand or see the dream (at least not right away). This means that the dreamer has to stand alone and fight for the vision at the beginning, (against all odds) and contrary to the popular opinion or ‘normal’ way of doing things.
It makes me think of Steve Jobs. He had a vision and dreams that just did not fit into the norm, what others could understand. And his dreams certainly did not fit into the way business is run. He had such an uphill battle – even with his early successes, that was not enough to garner respect and trust that he was a visionary.
Of course, once the dust settles and the crazy turns into success, then everyone called him a hero. Now we’re back to square one again: Who’s going to take a chance on the next ‘crazy’ person, the next absurd idea!?
Most investors and financiers only want to put money in a sure thing, a guaranteed money-maker. This makes sense logically: You can’t have a successful business if you lose money. Period.
So how do we get to the next plateau?
I guess it’s up to the dreamers and artists. I’m guilty of focusing too much on ROI and not staying focused on the craft, on the art, and allowing those around me to decide dictate value and/or monetary worth.
The masses have been swayed by great marketing techniques, but when all is said and done, the masses will always flock toward what is intriguing, creative and innovative.
Even though I get tired and depressed during the process of creating, I realize I get caught up in the desire to have make things happen too quickly – my own unreasonable expectations – and that takes my energy away from the moment and the task at hand. When I really look at each moment, everything is just fine and what is happening is usually perfect timing. But once that moment is gone, I lose focus again and project too much into the future or into the past. It’s a neverending cycle. But this process helps me articulate my definition of success. Instead of just focusing on monetary gain, my success is built on my vision and seeing the vision through to the end, in spite of all the obstacles and defeatists that surround me.
Advancement in technology has an upheaval of current business practices and art forms, but it also opens up for dreamers to be on the same playing field as the proven systems and corporations. These are exciting times for the 70% of unseen artists to get their voice heard – as long as we think outside the box and use technology to gain awareness beyond the mass marketing. This will which keeps us in the same art forms and business practices.
These are not times for the lazy brain to just fall in line. This is our moment to ignite the minds and spirits of the dreamers to go and do!
Don’t stop believin’,
Jon

When the Lights Go Out…

I’m just coming to the end of the first part of a 5 month run of film festivals, and I’m not sure what day or month it is right now.
It’s hard to explain the exhilaration of the highs and depression of the lows. But the one thing that is unmatchable to any other profession I’ve been in, is the bonding friendships that are formed on this journey. Artists all over the world are so much the same and so amazing in their process and desires. I guess that’s why I believe you can’t teach someone to be an artist – you just have it in you, all the way down to your soul!

This is no life for anyone with a thin skin or anyone who wants a more comfortable existence. It seems there’s always a challenge or plans are being changed at every plateau. In the last few years, I’ve seen an incredible resistance for new and groundbreaking projects and art forms to be given a chance. The main money funnels toward the ‘sure thing’. Even the festival circuit has changed; it’s more a platform for independent filmmakers to show their projects to specific audiences, then it is a place to find sales and distribution. This is neither good or bad, it’s just the trend of the market today in which an artist has to adapt. My intuition was that with the Internet as a viable force within everyone’s grasp, there would be a lot more available distribution channels and a lot more artists emerging and finding a place for their specific voice.
It seems the desire with film production is to only shoot for the billion dollar box office return and taking any small chance on a story without big returns, just won’t see the light of day.
I believe the heart of artists will always persist. And when technology changes and known avenues close down, we find a way to keep our hearts beating. I feel that the viewers will eventually get tired of being fed the same cookie cutter entertainment and start seeking out the ‘underground’ stories and new art forms, and then we’ll have a new avenue in which to get our voices heard. This seems to happen again and again throughout history, so I have hope for the future, and I will push toward the next project, no matter the uphill battle!

Jon

What’s a Film Purist to Do in This Digital World?

The most recent conversation I had was about being a purist in the world of film. We had an endless dialogue about what the real essence truly was.

I don’t really want to take a stand on this subject, but I do have a lot of experience and I’m aware of my preference. My background comes from extensive use of manual Nikon cameras and E-6 film (slide film). So, in that sense I am a purist when it comes to captivating the absolute best picture possible. I don’t think a negative does justice to a photograph. I like the look of pure positive film–it almost makes the image come alive. In fact, it is a living image, not a digital representation. This is beautiful.

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To Our Dear Prince

I wasn’t going to write about the passing of Prince, especially when it’s so close to Bowie. But as the last 24 hours have come and gone, I found myself shed a few tears.  I was listening to the decades of music that has so greatly not only influenced my life, but has transformed aspects of my growth and has had an overwhelming effect on my personality and art.
Growing up in the Minneapolis area, Prince was more like a king than a musician on Tv. He gave us artists hope and inspired us to find our own path. He encouraged us to be unapologetic for who we are, and to kick butt while doing it! He was one of those artists who, even if you didn’t like his music, you couldn’t hate because of the commitment he had for his art and his exquisite music.

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What it Was Like to Win at Worldfest Houston!

Wow!

We just wrapped up in Houston…and it was an amazing trip! We were able to join other incredible filmmakers who had robust stories and absolutely top-notch production value. It was a humbling, intimidating, and surreal experience that I would not trade for the world.

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Here’s How To Push Your Independent Film

I’m somewhere above New Mexico or entering Texas air space right about now as I write. 30,000 ft above the ground. A great time to blog, right? It’s almost apropos since this is similar to my life the last few years, up and down. I’m in upward momentum right now! And that’s not to say that any part of pushing our movie and setting up the next project, is easy or smooth. This is truly our moment…

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The Independent Artist & Entrepreneurship

OK…so a little more about entrepreneurship!
This spirit is necessary and alive in the independent artist. Without a calling for being a true entrepreneur, there is no independent artist. It requires the ultimate self-sacrifice and self denial.
Nothing ever really goes as planned, so there must be the ability to pivot at every moment in another direction. Sometimes this pivot is much better than anything that could be planned by a hundred people. And sometimes, the pivot is not as good. But at the end of the project, there’s that satisfaction of accomplishment, of over-coming all obstacles, that compares to nothing else that I’ve experienced!

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The Los Angeles Premiere of “Living Lost”

It’s a day before the Los Angeles premiere of our movie, Living Lost, and I thought I’d feel more excitement. That’s not to say I’m not excited, but it takes so much work to put on a show and get all the pieces in place, (especially when you’re independent) that there’s very little time to partake in an outpour of emotion. I have just enough time to put on the next hat and keep the train rolling.

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