Risk and Reward

To do anything is to risk failure. To do nothing is to guarantee it.  And so we risk. We’ve hardly begun this initiative, and yet we’ve already made many decisions that have set us upon a course that will at the least affect the next few years of our lives. That much would be true of any feature film production. But, if this movie is just half of what we envision it to be, it will surely make a permanent imprint upon our personal and professional lives. Why? The story.

It’s a very different story we’re telling this time, and it’s one worth telling. Now that producer-actor G. and I have been on this earth for (let’s just say) more than four decades each, and have made several movies, there is not much pride in simply being able to say that we made a movie, or even in saying that we made a movie that made a profit.

By this, please understand that I’m not saying that we have come to underestimate the challenge of moviemaking, nor am I saying that we have lost interest in profitability. I’m saying that the kinds of movies we make and the kind of influences we hope to have on viewers have become primary influences, affecting what movies we choose to make and, I hope, even how we make them, such that they more closely reflect our principles and beliefs. I suspect too that, if we create a movie worth watching with a story that is both compelling and thought-provoking, satisfied investors will be a natural byproduct.

As anyone who has been heavily involved in independent feature-length movie production can tell you, it is inevitably a difficult undertaking, even if exhilarating. Although most of us involved foundationally in this production have had a good deal of independent feature film experience, I suspect we will find this production not only uniquely and thoroughly challenging, but considerably more rewarding than any past endeavor because of the story we are telling, the scope of the production, and the likely reactions we can expect from viewers.

In many ways, the risks and challenges of the process of independent productions are unique. Certainly big-budget studio films have their own challenges, but consider the words of Edward Dmytryk who, in describing the business of feature film directing said, “It’s a hell of a life but not a bad living.” Of course, nearly all of his experience was within the realm of major studio productions.  The first part of his quote — “It’s a hell of a life…” surely applies to independent feature production. But the latter part — “...but it’s not a bad living” — is often not true for the independent filmmaker, as it can also be a difficult way to make a living. 🙂 Because of this, I think one cannot hope to achieve much success in independent feature production unless that person gets their kicks from the process as much as the product.

In making movies, as with all things, I contend that success has less to do with luck than with unbridled determination. To my experience, the great white stallion of success rarely makes its gallant entry until after the mule train of hardship and desperation has been driven hard, and usually uphill. With Liberty in the Fires, will be driving a very different mule train, knowing that we are telling a story that we are excited to tell, which should make the process of creating it all the more satisfying, no matter the difficulties.  

So, yes, to do anything is to risk failure. But, since doing nothing is to guarantee it, we risk. We undertake this great task, motivated by both the exciting challenge of creating a feature-length movie and more so by the story it will tell. Both are worth the risk.

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