The Accidental Film Producer

Hallelujah, Baby! The DVDs are DONE! I can hardly believe it.

A little over a year ago, blithely, I said, “well, as long as we are going to record the new CD live, why don’t we make a video, too?” HA HA HA

Little did I know what that comment could imply, what JOURNEY (OMG I hate that word – perhaps PILGRIMAGE would do) that would take me on, HOW STEEP the learning curve would be, JUST HOW MANY things you can DO to a video AND HOW MUCH THEY COST, how to establish working relationships and share information. AND ALL THE POSSIBLE THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG.

YES, I have survived ALL THIS! 🙂

Yesterday, I picked up the finished DVD’s from a highly competent Bay Area manufacturer, Isomedia. My contacts there, Greg and Charmaine, had been immensely patient with the production calendar, a barrage of questions and requests, changes, and even a petite freak out (mine) just the other day. They are HEROS! As well as their technical associate, Kevin Lu.

Also heroic have been my Editors at InVision Productions in San Rafael. Andy Neddermeyer and Elaine Trotter have really put all their creativity, technical knowledge and research into creating the best possible product at the highest quality, putting me also in touch with Acme Posts and DVD authoring guru Dave Smith, bringing in resources of many kinds (including the amazing Vince De Quattro, who helped design the main motion menu, when I didn’t even know what that was), and teaching me the ropes of how a DVD is constructed.

In this process, I could not have succeeded without the creative and unbelievably responsive Paige Smith, who not only did a fabulous job of creating our branding graphic, the CD cover and the DVD cover, but ALSO (who knew we’d need this?) created graphics for the menus and the splash page of the DVD.

At a certain point, our Director Lawrence Jordan, who has really become a mentor to me through this whole process (did HE know what he was in for??) said, “who is going to do the Q & C?”  “Duh, what’s that?” responded I, and he told me it stands for Quality and Control. You need a super-techie to do this, a person who has the equivalent of X-Ray vision and hearing, to look at and listen to the product and make sure that the best possible technical specs are in place. Where was I going to get somebody like that? This isn’t Hollywood. That person was none other than my Music Director Jason Martineau, who is an equally fabulous geek.

And when we needed extra footage of this, or a cameraman for that, or research on such-and-such, my partner Hamilton Everts was there, as Technical Producer of the live recording event, as cameraman for the interview that became the philosophical structure for the project, and in so many other ways.

And who has kept me sane throughout this process that can drive anyone insane? Candace Forest, my co-producer, who, even through the months she was back east caring for her mother, kept up on the dramas and trials of my video production saga, all through the summer. When she came back to the Bay Area in the fall, it was just in time to hold my hand on final decisions, help me get the Premiere venue nailed down, and help to spearhead PR.

Talk about “it takes a village.” And I, in the process, have become an Accidental Film Producer, learning every single thing the hard way, as I always seem to, but at least surrounded by teachers. When we decided that it was going to premiere in a movie theater instead of showing excerpts at a live performance, I finally got it that I had — with a team of dozens — created an independent – dare I say it? film.

Next challenge: how do I sell this thing?

Picking up the DVDs yesterday; I couldn’t believe it!


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