COLOR ME CYAN
Filmmaker‘s blog, which we are having fun doing, hasn’t either ascended or descended, according to your point of view, into the realm of the purely personal yet. I have to say, while most of my favorite blogs are either link-oriented (like the great Greencine Daily) or else a mixture of links and commentary (like my favorite political blog, the Whisky Bar), I do admire those who lay their lives out on the web, updating the world on their business and/or personal adventures.
There aren’t a huge number of working filmmakers who are doing this, but there are a few. Writer/director Roger Avary is one, and I have heard that his diligent blogging has ruffled studio feathers from time to time — like when he posted about his meeting to direct Dawn of the Dead, spawning a fanboy frenzy. And then there’s potential A-lister, potential poseur Rance, whose blog seems to have inspired some kind of new media frenzy. (Is he George Clooney?! Is he Luke Wilson?!)
Re the latter, I’ll admit to not quite getting it. Rance has a kind of engaging “I don’t really give a fuck tone,” but his overheard conversations at Hollywood hotspots or tales of meeting suburban dominatrices haven’t yet excited me enough to add him to my “Favorites” bar. (I do like his “guest blog” idea, where he posts a question — “What would you do if you ran Fox Studios?” is a current one — and posts reader replies; maybe we’ll do that soon.)
But one site I check in with from time to time is the Cyan Pictures site. When they started in New York a couple of years ago, the company announced big plans to produce and finance a number of movies. And, company head Josh Newman is a religious blogger. You have to parse out the puffery, promotion and excess optimism from his writings, but if you do, his web archives are an interesting chronicle of a newbie entering the motion picture business.
One thing Newman does which, frankly, I’d feel nervous doing if I regularly blogged my film production activities, is not only build up anticipation for upcoming releases but actually set targets and deadlines for “breaking good news.” Of course, as anyone in this business knows, there’s an element of pure chance to all of this. Sometimes, as they say, “good things only come to those who wait.” If you work in film, I’d add a “and wait and wait and wait” to the end of that.
Anyway, if you’ve been reading the Cyan site you’ll have followed the saga of Adam Goldberg’s debut film I Love Your Work, which Cyan produced along with Chris Hanley and Muse, himself another out-there internet poster (check out the Muse mailroom, in which Hanley reprints scathing business emails he’s sent and received from the likes of Vincent Gallo and Don Murphy). The film debuted at Toronto to generally mixed notices, but the site breathlessly reported distributor interest and important meetings. Then, according to the site, “technical problems” prevented the film from being screened again until almost six months later at SXSW, at which it was one of the “much anticipated” titles. Then, the site posted that a distribution deal was imminent and would be announced at Cannes. With Cannes come and gone, Newman has turned philosophical and appears to be shifting Cyan from the “picture by picture” model embraced by most newer or younger production companies to the “slate” model:
“Despite our initial feeling that everything on I Love Your Work took ages longer to move ahead than we would have liked, we’ve since come to realize we were actually spoiled by the relatively fast pace of progress on that film.
Making movies seems to be a process of herding cats, of aligning the many moons necessary to launch projects into production. As a result, our internal model has slowly changed, from trying to push through one film at a time, to simultaneously pushing ahead an array of projects, all of which we’re excited about, all of which continue to crank ahead, and any of which might switch from planning to shooting at moments notice.”
I’ve spent months searching for a distribution deal too — in two cases even distributing the film myself — so I know what Newman is going through. But, like I said, I’m just not up to putting it all up on the web yet…