Let me begin, not by introducing myself, but my tone and attitude toward filmmaking. I love it. Absolutely 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is probably the only thing in this world that gives me just the slightest bit of happiness. Though, proving someone wrong is a close second.
I call this site the Bitter Filmmaker, because over the last 20 years of independent, low, no, or micro budget films, music videos, commercials and corporate documentaries, I’ve become a bit…bitter.
A couple years ago I created a short series on YouTube called, “What Went Wrong,” where my partner in crime, Bradley Bates, and I vented about our bad experiences on set. The truth is, I did have quite a few laughs and I certainly learned a lot in my 20+ years of production. But my faith in humanity declined greatly. So as you read my posts, you may find a bit of that pessimism seeping in; sometimes it will come pouring in like a tidal wave of entitlement programs that can’t be paid for, that will eventually bankrupt the country causing ninety percent of the population to revert back to trading toilet paper and deodorant for seeds and live chickens.
Oh, I’m also conservative.
So with that out of the way, why in the world should you pay me any mind? Well, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve written, produced, directed and edited over 35 feature films, some of which have reached Blockbuster shelves and the Netflix Instant Queue. I’ve produced of 50 music videos over 100 commercials and too many industrial videos to count.
And all of these I did with little to no money. I don’t mean by Hollywood standards. I mean literally. A Dawg’s Life was produced for $62. Serial Rabbit 3 was produced for $300 out of pocket. Our period western, Bass Reeves, while the final figure varies, with legal fees and paying all of the talent, came in under $14,000. But that figure comes only after we received payment from our distributor and was able to pay the $9,000+ in actor’s deferments.
So while my films may not have been Oscar worthy, and they didn’t achieve greatness (but did achieve quite a few 1 stars ratings in the imdb and Amazon reviews), I know exactly what I did wrong, where I should have spent more time, how I should have dealt with people and which battles I should or shouldn’t have fought.
I am currently a professor of digital film and video production at the Art Institute of San Antonio, I hold three degrees and I have more industry awards I can shake a stick at; from writing to graphic design to video and film production. I was always limited by time, money and staff, but I always finished the projects.
Now, I’m here to share those stories with you. And perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.