Almost Halfway There – Or What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

Almost 6 months to the day, we thought about finally getting our act together, taking things a bit more seriously perhaps. We always had an interest in film and writing, but couldn’t quite get it off the ground. Life got in the way.

We had to make ends meet, we weren’t quite ready for the critique yet, confidence fluctuated, ideas came and then became blurry. Time flew by. The latter continues to keep going at an increasing pace – backing my firm belief in how life is proportionate. For those that don’t know, its the whole theory that when you’re 10, a year is 10% of your life and thus seems like quite a long time (even summer breaks took a while).  Where as when you are 33, each year is just over 3% and things become a bit more blurry.  When 50, this drops down to 2% and so on.

However, that’s perhaps best reserved for another post. This is more for Dead Red Eyes, which was started in late October 2012. For some background, its probably no shock that I’ve always been inspired by writing, inspired by film. At least I used to be. The last few years were not the case, and very little was written once other immediate requirements occupied my life. So perhaps this is about putting that effort, making it count this time.  Only problem is some things haven’t changed since my early 20’s, other than I can actually pay my rent and not have to crash around and move all the time, yeah that’s probably a plus! I may have gained experience work-wise in a completely different industry, thus my writing and film knowledge has receded – or has it. Perhaps more experience in any manner of life helps, if you have the time to harness it.

Several things inspired these last six months for me.  While I can’t fully speak for everyone else, here’s what I think kicked things off.

Motivation and People. I’m glad to be working on this with people who are motivated (somehow managing to squeeze in acting on stage, filming, writing and multiple jobs), especially when I might not be at times (my day job takes up the biggest cut of my time, but there are other factors too – whether personal or creative) and need to keep things on track, or at least a reminder. Props to all those that can go it alone, however I’ve recently realized I am not one of them. Especially nowadays, when other aspects of your life are fighting for time, you need to manage things as well as you can.

Unfortunately, if its not as pressing, you push things back. That’s why I think we’re all grateful for the collaboration element. Sometimes you need others to push things forward. Back in October, I was able to help Justin finish off a screenplay he had been working on for a while, but perhaps wasn’t quite ready to let go of.  Later on in the year, Bryan and Justin were able to collaborate on getting a couple of short scripts and film them in very quick succession with the help of some great actors and people overall. The least I could do was help out where possible with the scripts and the soundtracks to them (as per my other current push with music, which I also couldn’t do by myself, as much as I used to once think so). Have also had a hand in getting the word out there, whether with this site, or by testing the waters of various film festival events.  Pushing the name is certainly something I want to be able to dedicate more resource in the coming months too.

So far we’ve fared ok. Nothing spectacular, but a start. We’ve submitted the two short films – “Alphabet Soup” & “The Torment” to just a few festivals, however its a slow turnaround, and some of these are several months away still – so I guess we’re in suspense for the most part.  Going against the unwritten rules, we’ve also been rejected a couple of times.  Of course, we’ve also pushed the screenplay, in this case “The Havenots”.  It’s early days, and we’d be naïve to think we’re going to rack up awards from the get go – and so some of it is to build a bit of a portfolio.  We had some positive feedback including The Havenots making it as a finalist (but missing the cut on the top 10) at the Richmond Film Festival, which was a nice tease for the first stage perhaps.  A few years ago it might have hit home a bit more, but instead it felt like we finally shook off the rust and could improve on it – and thus we’re working on a few different screenplays, some of which I’m pretty much narrating how the process goes for, as per my recent obsession with outlines for instance.

Without sounding too cheesy, that’s the main lesson we’ve learned. It takes a while to establish oneself, and we’ve only just begun. That said, we’re looking forward to turning things up a notch in the next six months, and then likely realizing 6 months later that we still have a ways to go.  But we’ll get there.

P.S: Other miscellaneous learnings include:

– Over 1,100 visitors have been on this site, which might not be saying much, as I’ve worked on sites that get way more.  But considering we had nothing a few months ago, its a start.

– Feb was our biggest month for overall visits, which is when the films went live on site too I think.  Though April has already brought more search traffic than any other previous month.

– 90% of them are from the US, 4% from the UK, then its pretty evenly split with one or two visit each amongst 19 other countries

– We get a fair bit of search traffic for “baseball movies 2013

– Twitter brings us more traffic than Facebook

– We made 32 posts in 26 weeks

– There are two short films on the site, though more people went to the trailer page than the full length

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