Introducing Cinema Dreams Founder Don Stewart Baldwin – Part 1
A little while ago I did a blog post about a new state of the art crowdfunding studio that wants to help produce and create meaningful and socially relevant films called Cinema Dreams and I mentioned there’d be more about it coming soon along with information about their first project “The Flying Boy”. So, now Filmmakers Notebook brings you the first part of a Q&A interview with Cinema Dreams founder Don Stewart Baldwin. For those of you unfamiliar with Don, he has almost 40 years experience in the entertainment industry and has studied with icons such as George Cukor, Billy Wilder and Lee Strasberg. For the past 20 years he has been a script doctor for several notable Hollywood screenwriters in addition to writing 30 of his own scripts.
How did you come up with the idea for Cinema Dreams?
I thought up Cinema Dreams in July. I had just finished writing, producing and directing my first feature film using the new digital camera equipment. I was amazed at how low the actual costs to film making had dropped in my 12 year retirement from the business. This changed everything for me, the last barrier had fallen. For someone who really knew what they were doing, a feature film was within reach of an educated artist. I decided and found the courage to make my dream film, “The Flying Boy Film”. For this project I would need quite a bit more than the $16,000 I used (out of pocket) to make my first feature. I had been looking at crowdfunding sites over the past year and didn’t understand why anyone would want to invest. $50.00 for a DVD. It didn’t seem like a good investment to me. I just figured it was family and friends helping out a dreamer. I grew up in the film business and knew full well how people would do anything to get near a film set, let alone work on one. Then it dawned on me, create a crowdfunding site where everyone’s dreams could come true. From Authors to Actors to Editors, most really talented people in this business go without work or a chance at their dream. So I put together a unique formula for artists to get their films made and audiences can pick the films they want to see (get made). I knew Gary Sanders was well versed in crowdfunding so I invited him to help me figure it out.
What is your role in the company and with the film “The Flying Boy” and who are the other principals involved?
I am the CEO / owner of Cinema Dreams. The other partners in “The Flying Boy Film” are Gary Sanders producer, Joan Farber artistic director, John Lee producer, Jeff Eget producer, Jack Miller producer/music director. Cinema Dreams is the funding company and each film or music project that we run through CD will be its own separate company.
What made you decide to do “The Flying Boy” and what first attracted you to the story?
I have been working on The Flying Boy for over 20 years. One of my dreams, I’ve been working on for 20 years is to make “The Flying Boy” into a film. It’s been heartbreaking yet this wonderful project has changed my life for the better. A friend handed me the book in the early ’90s and I couldn’t put it down. Literaly. At one point I was in my car steering with one hand, reading with the other and peering over the book at the road, crying. I told my friends, “This book is amazing. It has to be made into a movie.” So I wrote the script, and put a company together . . .a great team quickly fell into place including my friend, Sven Nykvist, the triple Oscar-winning cinematographer and director and Academy Award winners, Martin Sheen and Tess Harper. They loved my script and committed to play the father and mother, but we couldn’t get it made.
The first distributor went belly up and the next one shot the budget to $14 million. Then we lost the original investors. It was up, it was down for four-and-a-half tenacious years trying to get it made. It finally went belly up for the sixth time. . . . . . But I never gave up.
Now, with the changes in filmmaking technology and crowdfunding, we don’t have to fight the Hollywood studio suits and accountants anymore. That’s why we formed Cinema Dreams: To bring meaningful films for the people by the people to the people.
Cinema Dreams is a fantastic group of talent as you will see on our website. Everyone shares our passion and belief in “The Flying Boy.” And – it’s a true story . . .
In the old days, great film sets had experienced artisans working with younger enthusiastic people. In my 20s, I was helping one of my mentors, the legendary theater director and acting teacher, Clyde Ventura, stage “The Rocky Horror Show” in Hollywood– it was being staged to match the upcoming movie – I asked him: “Everything you do is magic. How do you make magic happen?” He gave it some thought, then said, “Well, Don. You can’t make magic happen, but if you create a space for magic to happen, it will always come.”
In my life, it has. That’s why at Cinema Dreams we’ve created our own “apprenticeship learning program.” Because that combination – experienced craftsmen working with enthusiastic beginners, mentoring them in a craft – is one of the ways magic happens . . .
. . . “The Flying Boy” seeks what we all seek in life. That’s why we believe in it with such passion . . .“The Flying Boy” is a story that needs to be told. It brings you to a place where everything is possible. Who doesn’t want to be part of a miracle? And for the million or so people that have read the book, you can help us bring it to life on the silver screen.
. . . Now, thanks to IndieGoGo, we can all come together. It’s time we make “The Flying Boy” so people can see what it really takes to have the relationships you want in your life. I would like to invite you to come work with us on the film, tell your friends about it and participate in any way you can. So, if you can help us with our dream, we’re more than willing to help you with yours. Thank you very much . . .
We’ll have more about both Cinema Dreams and “The Flying Boy” in Part 2 with Don Stewart Baldwin. In the meantime to find out more about both visit his website at http://www.cinemadreamworks.com/.