Gary King on Dreaming vs. Doing
It is with great pleasure that I introduce today Gary King‘s weekly series ‘Dreaming vs. Doing‘.
I discovered Gary’s work a few years ago, during the L.A. test screening of his musical drama ‘How Do You Write a Schermann Song‘. We didn’t actually meet that night, but I started following his career and soon realized that Gary was, in that order: a) extremely kind (never underestimate the power of kindness), b) extremely passionate about filmmaking, c) extremely productive (6 features in 4 years!) and d) extremely generous with the knowledge he was gathering to help him grow as a filmmaker (hence this).
I offered him to share his knowledge with us, which he generously accepted. As such, starting today, Gary is going to be with us every Friday, sharing his experience of how he went from dreaming about making films, to actually doing it.
There is nothing better than hearing it from one of us, indie filmmakers. Enjoy the ride:
Dreaming vs. Doing Part 1: Don’t Wait. Don’t Stop.
I’m honored to be contributing to one of my favorite filmmaking blogs. If you’re a regular reader here, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new to this site, welcome and definitely explore Mentorless.com. I’m constantly learning and being inspired from Mentorless articles. Cinephilia and Beyond and this site are pretty much all you need to start making movies. Seriously. Take a look around at their myriad of posts and you’ll see I’m not kidding. Filmmaking is discussed at length — from both in front of and behind the camera and from the perspective of both filmmakers and cinephiles.
I’ve been asked to write a series of posts on how I make movies. Not necessarily just about my filmmaking techniques, but also how it is as an independent filmmaker struggling to get a film made in today’s climate. The truth is, I feel that my big toe is just starting to creep in the door of where I’d like to be career-wise, therefore I’m truly humbled to be able to contribute my learning lessons along the way. I am no way an expert in the field as I have a long way to go, so it is my hope that some of my experiences simply help inspire, motivate or trigger you towards your filmmaking goals.
I’ve been very fortunate to be able to have made 6 feature films since 2009 and I’m hoping to film my seventh this year. I’m very proud of the fact of when I set out to make a movie, that’s what happens, by any means necessary. I’m currently in post-production for “Unnerved” (horror/thriller) and my previous film is an award-winning musical/drama titled “How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song”. I mention these films because it took me about 10 years to get to this point. I’ve made four other feature films that did not find as much traction or success as these two. I could’ve stopped after making my first short film, or first feature, when they didn’t find the “success” as I’d hoped. But I didn’t stop.
For me, the bottom line is it all comes down to Dreaming vs. Doing. Many people dream of making films, but it takes a lot of conviction, time and perseverance to actually do it. My philosophy is to get it done no matter the roadblock – and there are a lot of them. But I can’t see myself doing anything else.
the difference in having an idea for a film & actually making it is discipline. Simply wanting to make one is not enough. Dreaming vs. doing
— Gary King (@grking) June 24, 2012
This UK report (courtesy of Filmmaker Magazine) surprisingly shows that a lot of filmmakers never make it past their first feature film. Although there are many reasons for this, it definitely is a statistic that shows some people gave up after their first try. It’s that plain and simple. They stopped. They didn’t make a follow up movie. Some may have lost the taste for filmmaking after experiencing the first one, but it’s sad to think of many wanting to make another movie but just aren’t able to do so.
This is my basic philosophy in making films.
Don’t wait. Make your film. Have projects on every scale. Can’t make the more expensive one? Shoot the smaller scale one instead. Don’t stop
— Gary King (@grking) August 5, 2012
I’m pretty sure we can all agree funding (or lack thereof) is one of the major roadblocks to filmmaking. However, what if I told you that I shot my second feature “What’s Up Lovely” for only $2000 over 3 weeks and a main crew of 2 (just the DP Jason Varner and me – I’d hold the boom mic). I didn’t have a lot of money so I created something that could be shot cheaply around New York City because I wanted to grow as an artist. I wanted to create, make mistakes and learn. They only way to do this is to make films. Here’s a video on my process of making the film.
I met someone a few years ago who told me he was hoping to make his first feature film soon, but wouldn’t do it for anything less than a budget of $7 million. He had no eggs in other baskets. Needless to say, this person is still waiting to make a movie. So while that’s great to have a big budget film in the works (in fact, it’d be smart to have one), my approach is to have projects in development at various levels. Be able to move forward with any of them should there be a bite.
This isn’t to say I haven’t started a few projects that stalled along the way. There are projects that were very close to filming and unplugged at the last minute. I’ve even shot a film where about half-way through I realized it wasn’t going to work out and halted it before getting in too deep. This is Doing vs. Dreaming. Being able to try things. Learning. Failing. Succeeding. It’s all part of filmmaking.
There are ways around whatever roadblocks you think are in the way. People can make movies or they can make excuses. There’s never just one way to make a film, or just one path for a filmmaker. In my upcoming posts, I’d like to share my journey and learning lessons in hope it may inspire someone to create and make their first, or second film!
In my years of successes and failures, this is what I hold close to me:
Have an idea. Take action. Don’t wait. Surround yourself with amazing friends who believe in you. Network. Be nice. Create. There will be roadblocks. Find the detour. Don’t stop. Ever.
Bio: Gary King is an award-winning filmmaker whose work is known for powerful performances with an emphasis on a strong, visual style. He has written, directed and produced several critically acclaimed feature films.
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