Reduce

Dan Baker —  January 18, 2016

Earlier I wrote about my need to re-think the New Year’s Resolution thing.

Today I want to explain a little more about what I meant by Reduce and Reboot.

The other day I was calculating the effort it would require to move to a new house, and instantly I felt sick just thinking about all the “stuff” I have up in the attic… and in the spare bedroom… and in the shed behind the house… and the closet under the carport.

Almost all of it is “stuff” I’ve accumulated over the years, most of which has been quietly collecting dust.

In order to move to a new house, I have to pack up all that “stuff” and physically move it across town. The thought of doing that discourages me from even starting.

This “stuff” has become an obstacle to me moving forward; it’s dead weight anchoring me where I’m at.

What I need to do is purge.

Did you know our brains have limited resources to work with? It’s true! They’ve done studies. There are only so many things your brain can cope with before it becomes overwhelmed.

I’ve been working to develop my filmmaking career over the last 10 years, and just like my house, I’ve acquired a psyche-load of useless and unhelpful clutter in the form of ideas, obligations, and projects that I feel compelled to work on.

Note I said “work on” not “finish.” The sort of busyness I described in my previous post demands work, not results.

Step Two of Moving Forward is to Reduce the clutter that’s anchoring us in our rut.

Reducing may look different to you than it does to me, but here’s my process:

I took stock of my long-term goal (to support my family by directing feature films), and anything that didn’t take me closer to that goal got the axe.

So far I’ve:

  • Sold lighting equipment I no longer use, freeing up storage space and capital for things I need.
  • Bowed out of projects where my time and effort weren’t valued.
  • Stopped hosting websites for friends. I’m generally happy to do this, but looking forward I realized that once my film is funded I won’t have time to maintain a dozen websites.
  • Gave away or deleted websites and social media accounts that I wasn’t using anymore.
  • Backburnered a whole bunch of projects that are ‘cool,’ but didn’t really serve any immediate purpose.

Over the next couple of week I’m going to continue purging, the goal being to strip myself down to a point where I’m agile and free to move again. If you’re following along, shoot me a message and let me know what you’re letting go of.

And stay tuned for…the Reboot.

New Year. No Resolutions.

Dan Baker —  January 1, 2016

Eighteen and a half hours of my 2016 have already slipped by.

Last year I hung a dry erase board next to my front door so I would see it every time I left my house. I filled that dry erase board with a glut of to-dos and goals. At first it charged me with electricity, but it was soon forgotten (or perhaps, ignored).

As the year dragged on it began to fill me with a sense of dread, as if it were the Ghost of New Years Future, come to testify that I was doomed to tread water until my dying breath.

I certainly spent 2015 treading water.

I turned 35 this past year. I’m nearly 40, and I’ve yet to direct a feature film, or even a short film that I’m not entirely embarrassed of. I try to keep that quiet despair to myself, but we all walk through life with secret dread hanging around our necks, right?

We use busyness as a security blanket. It makes us feel important and useful. But the more we do, the less we accomplish. The less we accomplish, the less important and useful we feel, the more inclined we are to seek busyness, etc…

It’s a vicious circle, and circles don’t move you forward; you just keep going around and around and around.

It’s addiction.

Step One of Moving Forward is to admit we are not in control, and that our lives aren’t sustainable.

I’ve decided not to set a resolution this year. Instead, I want to set a philosophy; a new rubric to guide my decision-making process.

This year I’m choosing to Reduce and Reboot. What will that look like? Stick around for a short series of blog posts (and if time allows, videos) as I explore and apply this idea.

And If you’re like me, if you’re tired of treading water, don’t just observe, join me.

More to come.

I was invited recently to join the talented Melissa Sweazy, Joann Self Selvidge, and Sara Kaye Larson in sharing our experiences and thoughts on crowdfunding, be it Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or some other flavor. Enjoy, and check below for a handy-dandy index of topics covered, plus links to the campaigns and resources mentioned in this video.

A huge thank you to Crosstown Arts and Indie Memphis for organizing Shoot and Splice. Their investment into the Memphis film community will pay dividends for years to come.

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Creatio Ex Nihilo

Dan Baker —  June 30, 2014

When I’m writing a screenplay the blank page scares me. Why? If my screenplay is a reflection of what’s inside of me, then a blank page reveals that inside of me is nothing. At least that’s how it feels.

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Meet the Cast of ARV–3

Dan Baker —  June 27, 2014

I once asked a film school professor what should be done if you can’t find the right cast for you film. His response shocked me…

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Timid Monster is going post-apocalyptic.

Timid Monster is proud to announce a post apocalyptic project. After visiting John Gray’s Victorian house and Avarice’s treacherous world of fantasy, we’re ready for a little dirt and grime in a crumbling society.

It’s perfect timing to team up with best selling paranormal/fantasy author, Cameo Renae, to bring you a short film based on her most recent book, ARV-3.

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Work.

Hard work.

Nothing else will do.

I’ll admit, I’m an ill-tempered, insecure, wannabe filmmaker with no real success, but I get so tired of all the people who pop up overnight with a DSLR calling themselves producers and directors. They’re usually the ones bitching about the lack of state tax incentives and an un-supportive community. Many of them can’t tell a c-stand from a pancake.

I’ve styled the title of this post after the recent influx of “one simple trick” and “you’ll never believe what happens next” links I’ve seen on Facebook. I get it. We’re all tired, burned out, and desperate for a break. If you’re looking for shortcuts to the top, I have three words for you:

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This is the tale of how I met a vampire.

Ok, we’ve all been there. Rewinding and rewatching all the good parts with Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At least, all of us who are completely hooked on that show. Even ten years after it originally aired, I still do it. I make my confession, like many others I’m sure, I’m a big Spike fan girl. And I’m sure, like many others, that fandom grew into being a fan of James Marsters and his work. Continue Reading…

You heard right! Our pokey little film, Avarice, will be kicking off this year’s Indie Memphis Film Festival in Memphis, TN, screening right along side the much talked about Escape from Tomorrow. We’re beyond honored, and so excited to be invited to screen at such an event.

You can purchase tickets for the opening night gala here.

And, if you’ve been living under a rock, allow us to introduce you to Escape from Tomorrow:

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Yup! We produced a book trailer. Crazy, right? Well, when we screened Avarice at UtopYA Con this summer we bumped into author Inger Iversen and saw a great win-win opportunity for both of us. The resulting cross-mojo-magic is the book trailer you see before you now. Check it out and read on for more behind the scenes tidbits.

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