Q&A with Hardcore Indie Filmmaker David P. Baker – Part 2

Published On September 18, 2011 | By admin | Filmmaker, Independent Film, Q&A

 In Part 2 of our Filmmakers Notebook Q&A with David P. Baker we find out more about his plans for the remake of “Mission X” and some of his thoughts about financing, distribution and social media as well as the possibility of the filmmaker coming out here to Las Vegas in the future!

What changes are you planning for the remake of Mission X?

If I get the budget, many changes. The first MX was never meant to be any bigger than it was.  It was written as a £3000 movie, as a film student hangs about with these guys for 24 hours before an attack.  So a lot of people have said to me that it never looked as if I needed a budget, which is good, as that is what I intended, a small gritty character story with a little action at the end.

However, once I saw it I saw it as a bigger film too.  International accents could grab a global audience.  In the new script, it’s still a strong character film, but the attack on the city is much bigger, bloody, and has wild action. That part will look like a real life war, video game.

I also want to get all these multiple views from many characters in the film, and from witnesses in the city that you would capture these days on video, as everybody has broadcast videos on there phones. So quite simply, MX (MERCENARY) has a lot of potential for a budget remake. It also has strong characters that can attract names.

Now that you’ve been through the filmmaking cycle what lessons about financing or distribution would you like to share with other independent filmmakers?

This is the thing.  Everybody likes to advise these days in the film communities. I don’t have any. I could only share the route I am taking.  I might eventually have success with it, or not, but if I do, that does not mean it’s right for others. So, I always hesitate with advice.

If you asked me to conclude what I have learned, it’s simple.  Everybody is making films now.  Most are bad, some are very well polished, but still pretty dull.  Some are made by talented people, but they still don’t excite you when you see them.

A lot of filmmakers moan because they can’t make money.  I don’t really get any of that.  The directors who work in the industry never made money when they started out.  They never made and sold their films to try and earn a living on sales, they just tried to show their potential to get freelance gigs.

That can still work today, but most filmmakers and budding filmmakers are not very good, so of course they have to sell their own films, and in turn that’s a tough life.  If you are exceptional, or people see potential in you, you will work, and you can also grow a fan base.  Unfortunately I really struggle to see many people that excite me.

This is my 3rd film, and to be honest, I am just at a stage where I think I am beginning to learn what it takes to make a film, and post.  It took me years to become a better writer and it’s only now I feel I should go and look for investors.  Industry, private, both.

I have a couple of small films that are getting me noticed; I get meetings easier, so I have just been making calling cards to show my potential.  I would never burn away investors’ money on tiny films.

It’s a tough time if you make shit.  Well, we all need to lock ourselves in rooms and write stunning scripts, ideas, then make them for your precise audience, or blow the industry away with your work, ambition, drive.  Simple! Don’t peddle shit!

What are the easiest and the most complicated things about turning your film into a video game?

I have no idea.  That was never really my plan.  If  Hollywood funds me, it might be their plan though! :)

How would you advise other filmmakers who want to use social media to get the word out about their projects?

I think we have made all the mistakes, and social media is now saturated with filmmakers.  I personally think it has to kick into another level.  Nobody really gives a shit about our films.  Why would they?  Who cares about another perk DVD, or your name in the credits from another unknown?

I think people obviously support people.  So, I do believe that we have to see a lot more inspiring individuals who are reaching for higher bars.  They have to share their lives, ambitions, show the ups and downs, as I think people are looking to be inspired by others.

At the same time, in a world of celebrity nothingness, you better have the talent too.  If you are really talented, driven, have ambition, you evolve, innovate, and really create fresh exciting content, I do believe people will support YOU.

Sadly, I also see people that have talent posting all sorts of dull shit about their lives.  Sure, our lives are not exciting most of the time, but if I see another food, coffee cup, or “This is where I am located” post, I will lose the will to live.

The technology should be used better.  We do need to edit our lives, not share everything.  There’s no mystery at all anymore.  A lot of people are too sugary sweet with each other in communities.  There’s not enough tough love brutal honesty.  There’s too much brown nosing!

I think social media is such a great platform for story telling, and I don’t think that’s even been skimmed over yet.  Whatever we want to call it, Transmedia, multi-platform story telling, I can see so so many ways where we can use the web creatively, and that’s what I want to focus on with future funded projects.

If we don’t evolve with how we use all these, I do think most of the people that try to make their own films for a living will starve.  It’s too much work to keep doing it if you’re shit at it.  There will be a natural filtering process over the next few years, as most people will drift from career ambition, to hobby phone content creator.

Which might not be a bad thing if you just want to be an artist.  Gather a global fan base at 10 cents each, it could turn out as a living.  That might be me!  I could be happy with that too.

Are there elements of your crowdfunding campaigns you wish you’d done differently based on what you know now?

I always feel that way about everything.  I wish I had been more prepared on the $10,000 kickstarter campaign, even though it was a success. I  would have had many links to interviews, promo content, and fresh ideas.  That way you do less pleading for cash.

However, it all came together very fast, so we had to roll with it.  At the same time, to me, it makes no difference how many interviews you have to post out there, or how many fresh angles you come from, it still all comes down to one thing. I am looking for money, can you support me on this project.  You can only do a monkey dance so many ways!

I would like to work in the Industry and build a fan base for smaller projects too.  I think it’s more attractive to fund projects when you have your own mail list of people who might pre-buy your work, rather than having to go on time-lines on twitter and saturate to strangers.  I might have to do that one more time, but it’s not the way I want to keep doing it, as we all have to start earning from our content.

Tell me about the project you mentioned that you might be doing in Las Vegas.

I don’t want to say too much about it, but if I could only ever do one film ever again, this is the film.  It’s a small original film. If you take “The Wrestler”, “Taxi Driver”, it’s in that style.  It’s set in a world that has NEVER been done well in cinema, and the feature can also show the potential for a US TV series.

It’s a very strong character story but it will also be pretty wild, volatile.  I am determined to shoot it next spring in Las Vegas unless the MX remake gets a go first.  I also want to play a part in it, so I have 30lbs in fat to lose, 30lbs in muscle to put on. I also need to perfect the Vegas accent, or I won’t be casting myself.  I will be that tough on myself.  Vegas baby!

Follow David on Twitter @davidpbaker and in support his latest Indiegogo campaign at indiegogo.com/screen?a=16433.

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