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)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Storm Watch

A tornado of fire -- a terrifying phenomenon that has nothing at all to do with this post...

After the fire-storm of publicity Zach Braff and the Vernonica Mars productions generated in funding their commercial ventures through crowd-sourcing, the world at large is doubtless weary -- and justifiably leery -- of any further Kickstarter campaigns. Still, there’s a huge difference between multi-millionaire Hollywood celebrities begging for millions more to make their vanity features and a low-rent cry for help from an individual much further down the Hollywood food-chain. 
This post concerns one of the latter -- one of us, if you will -- so bear with me. 

You can be forgiven for thinking that a guy named “Scott Storm” might be a soap opera actor, porn star, or TV weatherman, but as usual, the easy assumption is way off target.  Scott Storm is a film maker -- a real filmmaker* --  who finished up school at Emerson College and NYU, then came to LA in 1996 to start at the bottom of the industry as a PA.  

These days he makes his living as an editor, all the while chasing his dream by directing and producing low budget indie features (including Burn and Ten 'til Noon), and an occasional documentary.

Check out his IMDB page. The man has done a lot, and he did it the hard way.
Scott’s Kickstarter campaign isn’t a quest to fund another live action indy feature or documentary, but simply to finish a no-budget passion project called The Apple Tree, an animated film he’s been working on for a long time now.  How he finds the time for this while raising a family, grinding out a living in the editing bay, producing/directing/animating feature films and working the film festival circuit is a mystery to me.
Christ, I have a hard enough time cranking out one lousy blog post a week, so I really don’t know how he does it.

After stumbling across this space, Scott sent me a DVD of a documentary he’d co-produced, done animation for, and -- drum roll, please -- starred in, called Official Rejectionchronicling the ups and downs of an exhaustive (and exhausting) tour of film festivals to promote his then-new feature Ten 'til Noon.

Official Rejection is just terrific, in equal measures funny, poignant, and instructive. Anyone who plans to try their luck in the film festival circus would be well-advised to see this film first. I liked it enough to devote an entire blog post to it a few years back, and have been following Scott’s progress ever since. Around that time he put together a web site to showcase past and future projects, which ought to be enough to convince any doubters out there that he truly is a committed film-maker. This guy very much wants to succeed, but he's not out to make a buck on his Kickstarter project -- he just wants to finish his film.  

I've never had a chance to meet Scott Storm, but we've exchanged enough e-mails over the years for me to believe in the guy. I plan to toss a little money into his Kickstarter pot -- not a lot, mind you (hey, I'm unemployed right now, and my show doesn't come back 'til September) -- but enough so I can look him in the eye if and when I finally do get to shake his hand.

Take a look at his Kickstarter page for The Apple Tree, where Scott explains what he's trying to do a lot better than I can.  The teaser is dark and moody, the way I like it -- and if you like that kind of thing too, maybe you can kick a few bucks in to help him out.  


* Forgive me, but this has always been a personal peeve of mine. Half the people in Hollywood call themselves “film-makers” simply because they work in some aspect of the industry. I won't second-guess their reasons for this, but I think it's ridiculous. When a plumber, sheet-rocker, or roofer helps build a home, we don't call them “home-builders,” but refer to them by their specific professional skill set. So why should a grip, juicer, or set-decorator be called a "film-maker?" I'm not denigrating anybody here (after three and a half decades in the business, I know damned well how demanding each of our jobs are), but if you handle sandbags and C-stands, cable and lamps, or move furniture on and off sets for a living, let's call a spade a spade. You’re a grip, juicer, or set decorator -- not a “film-maker.”


Anonymous said...

I was the location sound guy on "Ten 'til Noon" and I'll happily back up your call on Scott, he's the real deal and a pleasure to have worked with. And for the record, Ten 'til Noon was a well thought out script covered perfectly, making sense out of what could have been a confused mess what with all the different perspectives.
Jerry www

Anonymous said...

I've seen three of his films now and am quickly becoming a fan.

Michael Taylor said...

Bosko, Anonymous:

Glad to hear it -- I'll pass on both your comments to Scott. Thanks for tuning in...