Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dealing With the Devil

After ten years of being a "company" in name only, Ningen Manga Productions, LLC has finally been incorporated. That's right, after years of talking about how we're all being swindled by "the man," I've become "the man." This means I can get rich walking over the dwindling middle class. Plus, I'll get away with it because the government thinks it's good for the economy. So let's bomb those fuckers and steal their oil! Yeah! More tax breaks for me!

"I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is me . . ."

Dear Goddess, what have I become?!?

In all seriousness, incorporating is a milestone for me and Ningen Manga Productions, not to mention more than practical on an independent project as ambitious as Women's Studies. The LLC not only protects Cindy and I financially, it legitimizes us and our vision in the eyes of the professional community. A small thing you may say, but when you're trying to get a good deal on a camera dolly, a little legitimacy can go a long way. And honestly, the only things that have really changed are the title and the fact that we're filing our taxes a bit differently. In scope and practice, Ningen Manga has been a business for well over a year now.

A long time ago (though maybe not as long as I'd like to admit), I was one of those pretentious assholes who railed against "the death of cinematic art" and the horror of "selling out." Then I realized that film by it's very nature is an "art form" married to business and has been since it's inception. The expense involved in supporting the cinematic creation process requires that money be a factor. There's no way around it. Does that mean latching on to a trend and trying only to create something that "sells?' Of course not. However, it does perhaps require the creators to find themes and elements in their vision that are universal enough to appeal to a wide audience.

The line between artistic integrity and commercial viability is a scary tightrope to walk, and I still get nervous looking down because there's no net, only a long drop into what suspiciously looks like a lake of fire. Still, I understand that show business is just that: show "business." So, I deal with the devil, compromise myself as little as possible, and try to do it in a way where I can still look at myself in the mirror because I believe in what I'm doing.

By the way, it's not about the money, not deep down in the secret place I don't show anyone else. The money is really only a means to an end. Do I want this effort to be financially worthwhile? Sure, but in the final outlook it's not what really matters. Anyone who's just in it for the money is doomed to failure from the starting line. However, that line of thinking doesn't get you very far with fundraising. So on some level, it has to be about the money. I can't just say that I think Women's Studies is marketable. I have to believe it, and I do.

And you know what? There's nothing wrong with trying to create something that lots of people will like. I mean, isn't that the point? To tap into those emotions and ideas in the human experience that are universal?

The scary flip side is that maybe greed is a universal emotion too. My biggest fear is that the money need may somehow overtake the creative need. If you prick your finger with the devil's quill pen, does the wound ever heal?

Wow. That kind of sounds like a pretentious asshole talking, doesn't it?

# # #

Just to make it official, the production blog will be updated every Tuesday. The next couple weeks should see some exciting announcements about cast and crew for Women's Studies. Also, when we launch our new website sometime in September, there will be a couple of very cool surprises, so keep checking back.

No comments: