I was/am a huge Queer as Folk fan. The music supervision was sick! The photography was beautiful every episode. The actors as an ensemble were pretty brilliant. The writing occasionally made me nutz, but for being the first gay soap, the first dramatic series primarily about gay people, it was pretty damn good.
Aside from all the new musical artists I discovered through the show, the one big takeaway that I continue to use is the concept of the triangle of expectation. Folks usually look at me like I’m crazy when I mention it, but it’s a concept that I really relate to as a filmmaker.
The idea is that in most endeavors are subject to three basic conditions.
Cheap, Fast and Good. By in large, you can only have two of the three points in the triangle.
You can have good and fast, but it won’t be cheap.
You can have good and cheap, but it won’t be fast.
You can have fast and cheap, but it won’t be good.
Only in idyllic circumstances does anyone get all three. My default has always been to go with #2. Most of us simply have more time than anything else. So I have learned to lean on that, make it part of the equation when I’m trying to figure out how to make things happen.
On my first feature, I saved a bucket o’ cash to throw at the project, which soon was got eaten due to unforeseen variables and frankly rookie mistakes. Plus we had a break built into the principle photography schedule; I just didn’t think we would already be out of money by the time the break happened. So I decided to let time be on my side. Nibble at the movie bit by bit until we were done.
And that actually worked out! The Road to Sundance was a pretty good indie film. It tells a story I’d never seen before and generated some lovely shining moments for our cast and crew to have for their reels.
While telling a great story is still my main motivation, I know Better Half will make money. There is an audience for this kind of film; it’s time for this kind of film. But like any investment, you need capital to begin. I didn’t want to shoot Better Half the same way I did Sundance. I always believe this story is more importance, that it deserves a certain level of treatment and production values.
But finding significant funding for an inde film with “celebrity talent” attached it impossible. And with LGBT parenting story lines become increasingly en vogue, filming as soon as possible has become more importance – we’re running out of time to be the first to tell this story this way. Thus, the choice emerged between getting started and hoping momentum would carry us until we finished, or waiting for their fairy godmother to eventually appear with the dough we needed to make the movie has to be made. Ultimately, once my cast committed to staying on until the project was done – I gave us a year – I decided to pull the trigger. It would be another bit-by-bit project.
According to my triangle, I still get two points. Shooting piece meal does not mean that the quality has to suffer. There’s more time to find the perfect location, thrice, so when the first tells me NO, I still have two more shots at it. There’s all this time to find backers and corral the attention of our target audience. And my cast and crew are top notch: no loss in quality there.
The unforeseen variable this month: my March backer has gone MIA. I was counting on him to get us through shooting with our baby co-star Avie. So things are a little tense for our Cinderella film project, because now I only have one point in my triangle. But not entirely… we’ve still got some time, about three weeks.
A lot can happen in three weeks… Stay tuned.