Continuum Pictures: The Search for Normal and the Knowing

Continuum Pictures Danny Torres and Jason Durdon

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many people. When you make movies, you meet more people who will never actually make one, versus those who do. If you get a film make that makes you rare. If you get a film financed that make you even rarer.

Along the way you hear people give many reasons for why it did not happen for them. The two reasons I think that are most notable, is one that is spoken and one that is heard. The spoken reason is the word normal applied to many situations. “I want to have a normal life.” “Normal business works this way.” “I want normal friends or relationships.” “This is not normal.” The funny thing is I do not think people understand the word normal. What is normal really. Well in truth it is failure. Most marriages fail, most relationships fail and most business fail as well. Filmmaking is NOT normal. If you want to make movies you have to know that normal will kill your dream. Failure really is not a problem. Most films fail (if you count indie), most people do not make it to their dream, but they do find a portion of their dream if they stick with it. So if you hear a business partner, director, actor or writer say or use the word normal in reference to filmmaking lifestyle, move on.

James Duval on Continuum Pictures horror film
The Absents

Now the unspoken reason is “They know something.” It is when you are trying to help someone get a film done, but they know how it really is done, or how the lights really are, or even the process. There are a million ways to get a movie done, some legal, some not, but almost always all insane. People who know something and have not actually done something they are your bane and will become your haters.

As a filmmaker you have to focus on people who just want to get the movie done. You want to be one of the few who actually manage to do it. I have seen many bad movies made by first time filmmakers. Hell I have even made some. In every circumstances when I see a film no matte how “bad” it is. I am amazed and the one thing I know, is if they did it once they can do it again. Everyone will make a bad movie. If you are lucky you get to burry your mistakes. For my part I like to show them. I want people to know the process. I want them to know it is possible to make great films eventually if they just keep doing it.

James Duval and Luis Villafranca on Mano a Mano

People you surround yourself with will either make you or break you or both. The best advice I can give is to know that every film is a unique experience shaped by the script and all those who are attempting to make it. Try not to “know” something and try to learn something new every shoot. Forget normal. You are not entitled to it if you want to make movies.

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