Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Friday, March 18, 2016


                    What kind of janitor is this, anyway?

A post on Friday?  WTF?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the clock ticking -- five days and counting as I type this -- time is running out on Scott Storm's latest venture into animation. Following up on the astonishing success of his multi-award winning film The Apple Tree, Scott is making a new film called Custodian (uh, no, it's not about a janitor), and to fund the project, has returned for another sip from the community cup of crowd-sourcing.

Yeah, I know -- every last one of you is sick and tired of being sandblasted by pleas to support this or that eminently worthy project on Kickstarter.  Me too, believe me... but this one's different. For one thing, it's not a Kickstarter campaign, but rather an effort through Seed and Spark, which concentrates on funding films rather than whatever interesting project happens to roll in the door. Perhaps that seems  like a distinction without a difference, but given the specialization of Seed and Spark, just imagine how many wannabe filmmakers try to get in their door?

In a perfect world, every filmmaker would get what he/she needs to complete their passion project, and I really wish we lived in that world… but we don't.  Instead, ours is a Darwinian realm of zero-sum accounting, which means some method of triage must be utilized to separate the wheat from chaff -- and that's what Seed and Spark represents. Any project they take on must first be vetted on many levels -- and Custodian made the cut.  This comes as no surprise to me, because Scott Storm is the Real Deal. I've seen some of his films, and they're really good. He's not some kid fresh out of film school trying build a demo reel on the back of your wallet, but rather an industry veteran committed to to his craft. Scott works as a film editor here in Hollywood to support his wife and two children (which would be a heavy enough load for most people), and somehow finds the time and energy to keep making films. All that work over the past twenty-plus years has honed his animation skills to a fine edge -- check out the trailer for The Apple Tree to see what he can do.

We live in strange times. Coming into our living rooms every night via the television is an increasingly bloody world that seems to be going up in flames, the madness of an election circus right out of Alice in Wonderland, and political/social institutions that no longer function here at home or abroad. The sad thing is, there really doesn't seem to be much we as individuals can do about it. Sure, you can get hopping mad and buy one of those "Make America Great" hats from Donald Trump, but that'll cost you twenty five bucks without doing a damned thing to make our country or the world a better place. Quite the opposite, actually. The only thing I know that really can help raise our collective spirits is art, be it a fine painting, a great song, or a book that manages to pierce our increasingly hard hearts by appealing to "the better angels of our nature."*

A good film can do that too, and in the process, give us hope -- an increasingly rare and valuable commodity these days. Where there's life, theres hope, where there's hope, there's art, and where there's art, there's life. It's all connected. So don't send that twenty-five dollars to Donald Fucking Trump… make our world a better place by sending whatever you can Seed and Spark, and help Scott finish this film.**

As the late, great Wilford Brimley used to say, "It's the right thing to do."

*To steal a perfectly wonderful quote… 

** Putting my own money where my mouth is, I kicked in enough to buy two of The Donald's caps -- not that I'd ever wear one, mind you...

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