Good morning, Vietnam!
That’s what Robin Williams said (shouted/sung) every morning on his radio show in the Barry Levinson film.
Williams plays a radio DJ sent to Vietnam during the war. He uses his own brand of humor to shake things up, reading news on the air that was supposed to be censored. He was trying to shed some light on all the atrocities that were happening during the war, and bring a little bit of humanity to the group of G.I.’s that were spilling blood and shedding tears while they were fighting over there.
Because, sometimes you have to shake things up.
That’s what we’re trying to here, anyway.
I started Gorilla Film School because I wanted to shake up the independent filmmaking industry. Because I know that trying to learn about this industry can sometimes feel like you’re marching off to war.
I’ve seen it–the info out there is either too much theory, or too technical, locked up by people that want to keep the “secrets” for themselves, or sometimes it’s just a plain ole’ steaming pile of crap.
NOBODY out there is teaching you about the mindset–how you need to think in order to be successful in a creative endeavor like film.
That’s what these emails and podcasts are all about. Teaching you the mindset.
Because when you master that, the rest of the stuff is easy.
So let’s shake things up!
I know it’s been a while–I needed a break.
Anthony Bourdain hit me like a pile of bricks, as I felt my own sense of overwhelm creeping up.
It’s amazing how quickly and stealthily this can happen. Even when it seems like everything is great (because believe me, I know that I have a pretty awesome life).
Sometimes shaking things up means taking on a lot of different things.
It’s good to shake things up. And it’s good to take on seemingly impossible dreams.
But in an industry where every move means going from film to film, and from project to project, it’s important to recognize when you’re trying to juggle too many balls at one time.
Fortunately for me, I have an amazing and supportive partner that loves me, and could see what having all these balls in the air was doing to me.
She could see the overwhelm creeping up on me, and gave me some tough love.
So I took a break.
I did some soul searching.
I suffered my very own personal mid-life crisis (minus the sports car and young girlfriend).
And I was honestly up in the air about my next steps until yesterday afternoon.
Sometimes, things happen in life, and you know they’re for a reason.
And then, suddenly, everything clicks. It becomes crystal clear.
And now I have no doubts about what needs to happen.
So…cards on the table–here is what I have planned for the coming months:
* Cleveland 48 Hour Film Project * getting the Gorilla Film School membership program up and running (it’s close)–think of it as your own personal Netflix for learning real skills in filmmaking and acting * producing/directing my first short film (over a weekend and for under $200) * private consulting–this could be one on one acting coaching, script consultation, actually walking you through the steps of getting your film produced, helping you with a personal project, whatever…my goal is to help as many people as humanly possible. I’m really good at this stuff. I’ll ask you for some money, but it will be a fair price based on how involved I am and how much you can afford. I’m not interested in taking your money, folks. But my time, and your time, and everyone’s time, is valuable. And the truth is, you probably won’t take real action unless you have some skin in the game. So make me an offer I can’t refuse. (Hint: I have $xx.xx to spend, what can we do with this much? is a good starting point). * planning for a real brick & mortar home for Gorilla Film School in Cleveland. This is not a plan I’ve shared with a lot of people, but something that has been a dream of mine for a long time. Well, it’s happening. I’m not sure how yet, but this is going to happen. I have a great location in mind, which is very exciting. More on this to come, but imagine this…a space where filmmakers, actors, and creatives can come to every day to connect and work. Access to a production studio & gear, editing suite, audition rooms, and meeting rooms. A base camp for your next film project. A lounge where filmmakers, producers, actors, agents, and creative types meet each other and make projects happen. And a space for screening your films–not a theatre, mind you, but a screening space that’s better than your family room or man cave. And of course, space to hold workshops, film panels, and auditions. A place like this does not yet exist in Cleveland. I am going to make it happen. Because this film community needs this, and frankly, we deserve it. * podcast, radio, TV, and news interviews to get the word out about what is happening here at GFS–I have some pretty awesome plans, and I’m ready for the world to hear about them. So, if you work in media or know someone that does, and think they may be interested in what we’re doing here, put them in touch with me. Here’s an interview I did earlier this week on Madd Mundayz for Urbancityunplugged.com, if you want to check it out (interview starts about 11 minutes in): https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=850773311782500&id=100005495179470 ( el2.convertkit-mail2.com/c/e5udvvgo7xb7hw56zr/e0hph0/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZmFjZWJvb2suY29tL3Blcm1hbGluay5waHA_c3RvcnlfZmJpZD04NTA3NzMzMTE3ODI1MDAmaWQ9MTAwMDA1NDk1MTc5NDcw )
* Cleveland 48HFP Horror Project
So, my plate is full. But it’s all exciting stuff.
To wrap up this very long “Welcome back, Kotter” message, I want to leave you with this–
I learned a very important lesson yesterday. One that will serve you well for life in general, but as someone who is interested in working in film, know that this message will particularly apply to you:
Never forget that you are the sole person responsible for your own success.
Most people won’t understand what it is that you’re trying to do, or why it is that you need to do this.
Just accept this as fact and move on.
You should collaborate and network and feed off of the creative energy of as many people as you can, because it will make you better and stronger as an artist, as it will them. And it will make you a bigger linchpin in your own arts community.
But YOU need to be the person to take action.
You steer the ship.
If things aren’t going the way you expected, or wanted, it is up to you to make the change that is needed.
That could mean that you end up shooting your first movie on your iPhone, because you have no equipment and no crew.
That could mean that you personally reach out to every director that you know to find out who is making a movie, and how you can be a part of it.
Whatever it means to you, just know that if you want to do this, you’re going to have to forge your own path.
I can guide you, but you need to be the person to take action.
So decide that for yourself right now.
And then let’s shake things up together.
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P.S. Want to be part of a community of filmmakers and actors that are excited to learn more? Join our FREE facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/GorillaFilmSchool ( el2.convertkit-mail2.com/c/e5udvvgo7xb7hw56zr/o2ikhw/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZmFjZWJvb2suY29tL2dyb3Vwcy9Hb3JpbGxhRmlsbVNjaG9vbA== ).
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Good morning, Vietnam!