You never get to spike the football in the end zone when you make a movie; your success is made up of little victories. If you’re not a fan of little victories, you shouldn’t be making movies, because those are the pellets that you will feed on, small bits of good news that invigorate your heart and refill your spirit.
We had a pretty big victory today, as the IFP, the most-respected independent film organization in the country, picked The Pink House as one of thousands of movies submitted from around the globe to participate in the IFP Market Festival on September 26. What makes this all the more incredible is that they chose this year to discontinue their “narrative feature” portion of the event, and reduce the acceptance rate by 40% for new projects, which means only twenty movies got in from all the submissions. All this based on our 8-minute industry reel and the script.
Needless to say, it buoyed the mood of our production team immeasurably, and it means getting all kinds of connections en route to finishing funds and god willing, distribution. But moreover, it is the first time that a separate body – one that has nothing to do with people who worked on the movie, or friends or family looked at what we did last summer and said “hell fucking yes.” Coming after a very long, solipsistic soliloquy delivered to Tessa in which I bemoaned my state of wretched uselessness, it was a fresh slap in the face.
I finished the first draft of the script almost exactly three years ago this week. Since then, my patron saint has been a narcoleptic priest: I’m surely blessed, but there’s a long time between visits. The first victory came in the first reading of the script, when the crowd in California thought the jokes and personalities were fantastic. The second came months later in New York, where an enrapt crowd at the Atlantic Theater School cheered us out of the building and Patrick came on to produce. The third came over a year later, when Tessa took to the project. When Heather Matarazzo decided to take the role of Charlotte, and Zack Ward came on as the lead three days later, I knew we had a shot. And when I saw the film transfers of our DV, I knew that shooting on digital video wasn’t going to hinder us like it might have a few years ago.
Everything else has been a terrific struggle, including the shoot itself, and I’ve spent vast stretches of time feeling caked in shit – but between these little victories, and working with people like Rick Gradone, Todd Walker, and Liz Mann, slowly becoming a real part of the film community here in New York, I feel like we may be one of those little baby turtles that beats all the odds and makes it across the parched sands and into the ocean.
me and Tessa having no idea what we were getting into; leaving for the Pink House shoot. taken in Greenwich Village July 9, 2001