The Void

James Duvall and coffee cupThere is a void in all of us and around all of that sucks in every negative thought, action and belief that is said to us about us from others or ourselves. This is rough. How do you separate what is negative from what is truthful and needs to be fixed. The hardest part in building our team of filmmakers, has been watching this void devour hopes, dreams and finally actions.

I see it daily in actors, writers, directors, and people just trying to finance a movie. Constantly battling the void, trying to make their movies better or present their films better. It often seems like laying twigs over a hole and throwing dirt on it, then praying no one steps on it and finds the hole again.

Part of the problem is that, imaginary problems. Imaginary problems require imaginary solutions. The problem is you cannot solve an imaginary problem so the imaginary solutions devour all you time. And it is time, not talent, or brilliance that will lead to success. All those other elements that people think are important are not, unless there exist time to put them in action.

James Duval on Mano a Mano

We have all met talented people who are constantly putting time into their boyfriends, girlfriends or both. People who you know could make it. Their relationships become their excuse. Then there those who just run out without prepping for their meetings, with a first draft of a script, or the first pass on a film (this is the twig covered hole) and only feed the void with the on going rejections.

Time is for intelligent thought out action. It is a mathematical formula that surrounds all of our lives and endeavors. Applying it to our hopes, dreams and more importantly actions. What if you knew for a fact this was your only life, that there was no afterlife. How would you treat your time, your dreams and hopes? Your passion would hopefully become the important part in your life.

Appetite is the void. I need this. I need this hour, this moment. What if you needed your success and you found joy in your dream and the efforts to make the dream happen. If you are not finding joy in your dream, maybe its not what you are looking for. I am not talking about the moments of frustration or self-doubt. I am talking about in the moment of when you are doing them.

Cropped Jim CIMG1444Have you ever met a writer who hates writing? Probably will not be successful. Athletes enjoy the pain of training. Professional athletes train a lot. Be a professional. Acknowledge the void; try to feed it as little as possible. Enjoy the good and the bad moments of your dream. Let the bad moments drive you to moments of success.

If at all possible avoid people who will push you into the void or worse encourage you to walk into the void yourself. The successful writers I know, and some of them have had major films, get up every day and write. Just as an athlete will train or exercise daily. This advice works at every level for every creative or action motivator in a project.

To put it simply, those who work for their dreams and work daily are more likely to achieve their dreams. Don’t feed or be feed to the void.

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Surviving as a Director and Where Do You Go

With the Killers Mask from Cider Springs Slaughter

With the Killers Mask from Cider Springs Slaughter

As a kid I remember dreaming of being on the set. The actions inside my head took place in dolly moves and crane shots. I did not grow up to be a director. I did grow up with a love for film and those who make them. I also feel I have gained a little bit of an understanding o what makes filmmakers tick.

Making a movie is always a mixed bag of emotions and agendas. Directors pin their hopes on a film and what it might do for them. Good directors usually can manage both and keep their focus on the film itself.

Continuum Motion Pictures The Team

Continuum Motion Pictures

It’s the agenda I want to focus on. I am making a basic assumption here, that the director wishes to make another film, make a bigger film and hopefully someday have a shot at making the big films.

I will share with you a bit of history I know. I have a friend who has directed a couple of big movies. He even went number 1 in the box office twice. His secret before he got to direct his first almost major film, he had directed probably a good 15 to 20 short films. With the digital world being what it is and the fact that all the filmmaking tools are now in the hands of almost anyone who wants to make a movie. Make movies. Make a lot of them. Set some rules so that if one of them gets attention it can go some where. Rules as I mentioned before about music and logos. Be working every chance you get.

The Worst Movie Ever and it is seen every where.

The Worst Movie Ever and it is seen every where.

I have had the chance to talk to many filmmakers around the world. Those that set their minds to it and take action make movies. Not always the best movies but they make them.  That has been our approach. Stay in production. Along the way you meet others that want to make movies as well. Work with them. Build a team.

The failure is rarely in the production values or technique, people just want to hear and see a good story. Take a moment on your stories. Work on a couple of ideas at the same time. Try and work with many writers or people who are trying to be writers. The number of drafts is what is important on a script. By definition a first draft no matter how good it is, is bad. Work out the stories so they make sense. And if you are making a movie that does not make sense intentionally embrace it and people will notice.

To quote World War Z when Brad Pitts character is talking to the Latino family: Those that keep moving live, those that stay die. There is truth to that in filmmaking. Keep moving and keep filming.

The End of the World as We Know It-If Only: James Duval Continuum Motion Pictures

The End of the World As We Know It. If only.

James Duval Continuum Motion Pictures: Today the world was supposed to end by many peoples interpretation of the Mayan Calendar, and well as many of you noticed, it did not happen. So like us you are stuck with some assholes out there who do nothing but try to make your life worse. Maybe they are bill collectors, or neighbors, for us in the film business it’s the guy you met and you thought was cool.

James Duval 4th grade

James Duval 4th grade

Over the years we have helped many people get their first projects done. We have often taken great pride in this. Yet at times events occur that make you go, “do I want to know anyone else.” Often there is a reason people have not made it before. The problem is you discover why somewhere in production or post. Now, this is not to say that some people have legitimate frustrations, post can take a long time. Every movie is different. You just can’t edit it. You have to find the right editor and the right vision, and that is just the reality of postproduction. Anne Hall and Pulp Fiction are films that well took great editors.  On the indie side of things, it is just a long journey in finding a good editor. Some get this, other do not. The ones, who get it, sit quietly for the most part. Oh, they will yell at you or whisper in your ear their frustration and doubts, but they get it. Others on the other hand will see it as a betrayal, failure to do, etc… And they will not sit quietly as their film reaches the best conclusion, even though they have never done this before. No they will speak, write and chatter to the world like dying birds, squawking their mothers lies.

Near My Home in Alaska

Near My Home in Alaska

Now we have had to deal with this many times, and if you are making it in the film industry so have you. Actors you have replaced will write shit and say shit on the Internet. Directors you have tried to help will some how make you responsible for their dream, even though since working with you they have done nothing. Yet somehow the movie they messed up, and you are trying to fix will be your fault.

Being a producer, you volunteer for the abuse, this is why Producers probably get Best Picture in various awards shows. If you are making it as a producer and climbing out of the indie world, just know that other producer get it when people say something about you.

Continuum Pictures Logo Now, in our modern age, and please note a Mayan Apocalypse would have cured this, there is a definite no responsibility for what you post issue. Even with the latest tragedy in Connecticut, people abused the Internet and the suffering of those victims families and community. The Internet is like a loaded gun handed to every child and every childish adult. They can say things because well supposedly the constitution says they can.

James Duval letting it fly by

James Duval letting it fly by

My Company and I have had our share of stalkers and crap talkers. We even know their names. They should not check their email at the same location they post crap. Now we can pursue or we can create and leave them behind. This is the choice for many of you. Yes some people will believe the crap written or worse get scared and make coward’s choices. But in the end you have to believe in what you are doing.  We have a stack of movies and three films coming out in theaters that prove we know what we are doing. What do they have, just what they write.  You must never give power to those who would black mail you and besmirch your name. You must create and show the world you can do it.

We live in an age where what people post often drive the victims of their posting to harm themselves. We have seen this in the news also. It is tragic. It often seems we live in a world of fools. I have lost, “friends” because of what others say, but I have gained more.

In 2013 we march forward and I will blame my Mayan calendar for the idiots, stalkers and fools that still trail our success.  I am proud of my team, and those who don’t get it sadden me. Making movies is not easy. It is hard at the studio level and harder on the indie level.

I hope in 2013 we will still feel the bravery it takes to work with new people and to help them with their first projects. I look forward to creating and making the world better.

James Duval
Producer
Continuum Motion Pictures

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James Duval Senior, the man who taught me to forgive every one.

James Duval Senior, the man who taught me to forgive every one.