What I Saw at the Launch Party
You've heard this advice many times before, but good advice bears repeating: If you really want to do something, stop making up excuses not to do it and do it.
That's how it was with me when I enrolled in film school in Humber College in Toronto. I'd spent so much of my life making up excuses not to be a filmmaker that I was in danger of not letting my dream happen. Finally, late one night in the middle of January, 2012, I forced myself to face the facts: I was 40 and my life wasn't going the way I wanted it to. When you're middle-aged and working in low-paid, semi-skilled jobs, it's time to stop being comfortable and start taking risks. I enrolled in Film and TV Production at Humber, staking my all on being one of the lucky hundred or so to gain a spot on the program amid thousands of applicants. So now, four years later and with nearly all of my credits done, I can testify to the benefits of ignoring those voices that tell you that, whatever it is, you shouldn't do it.
Not only is this true for networking (read last week's post), but it will do for pretty much everything else about filmmaking as well. I mention this because I just attended the launch party for Kino T.O., the Toronto chapter of a worldwide filmmaking movement that began in Montreal in 1999 and now has 60 chapters on all the continents, including Australia. At the risk of making this sound like a paid ad (it isn't, I swear!), the Kino movement exists, in a word, to bring filmmaking to the masses, no matter what their experience or level of instruction might be.
I and maybe 80 or so strangers (I mean friends I hadn't met yet -- and I will now get off my pro-networking soapbox) gathered at the Social Capital Theatre -- which turned out to be a music and comedy venue on the second floor of a bar on the Danforth near the Broadview subway station in Toronto -- for what we were told would be a typical Kino T.O, meeting: a screening of several short films produced by members of the Kino movement, followed by drinking, schmoozing and networking. The evening's organizers, Karl, Mylène and Genevieve (Gen), divided us up by our avocations, whether producer, director, actor or writer, and then went among the various groups thus created, picking out people to form still other groups, so that at the end of the process there were four groups of people with a range of interests (i.e. each group had complements of actors, writers, producers and directors).
Now came the interesting part. Each group member was to get to know the others and the group as a whole was to discuss a project which was to be produced in time for a screening at the end of the summer. Producers, writers and directors who were interested in coming to that screening (which might well be the follow-up meeting to this one!) were to sign up with their contact info so that a meeting could be arranged between them and Kino's leaders to discuss the projects. To cut the story short, my group got sidetracked in our discussion and didn't come up with an idea for a project. Still, we got to know each other. While our group didn't necessarily get it done (which shows how easily you can get sidetracked!), we appreciated the concept behind the get-together.
Well, I signed up with my contact info as a director. I signed up as a writer, too, Mylène got my contact information from me even after her speech about how everyone who signed up could expect a call to arrange a meeting. So I have only myself to blame: I need to come up with a project.
Well, it's going to be summer soon and short sleeves will be coming back into fashion. Just about time too, with all the sweating I'm going to be doing.