The last couple weeks have been a very interesting time. There are a lot of exciting things going on with our projects – I’m shopping around my feature film script Conclave, we’re progressing nicely in putting together our materials so we’re ready to pitch our reality TV show Bigfoot Psychic to television networks after the first of the year, we have a screening of our film The Worst Movie EVER! coming up, I’m talking with potential producers who are showing interest in trying to get money raised to shoot Conclave, and many other things.
In addition to all of these things, for some reason in the last couple weeks people have been coming out of the woodwork to tell me that I’m doing everything wrong. People who have never run a production company are telling me I don’t know how to run my production company. People who have never made a TV show are telling me I’m clueless when it comes to making a TV show. People who have never made a film are haranguing me about how inept I am at making films. People are even telling me I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to setting up Facebook and Twitter pages.
At first these comments were annoying, but they’ve now become comical. It’s a simple fact of our society that there are plenty of people out there who are rude or nosy or a know-it-all or whatever. One of the easiest ways to see this is to read the comments posted on YouTube. There are a lot of negative people out there who appear to have accomplished nothing in the film or TV world, yet they are the experts on films and trailers, and they are all too eager to let me (and I’m sure thousands of other filmmakers and people in the arts) know that I have no idea how to make a film or write a script or write a book or whatever. There are millions of people out there who want to tear you down, but don’t let them! Believe in yourself, believe in your vision. Don’t let the haters beat you down. Don’t let the know-it-alls convince you that you’re an idiot, because apparently that’s their goal.
If someone offers polite, insightful advice, use it. This advice will typically come from one of your confidants who has your goals in mind and is honestly trying to help you on your journey. But when it comes to all the other chatter and suggestions, let all of that roll off you like water rolls of a duck’s back.
Follow your dreams! Don’t let the small minds and people with self-esteem issues derail you from your journey!
Recently I completed a script titled Conclave that’s a satire of the papacy. The script is funny, somewhat blasphemous, and maybe a bit scandalous. It’s generating a lot of attention in many different quarters.
As an independent filmmaker, not many people in Hollywood approach me about my projects, and if you’re an indie filmmaker as well, you probably know what I’m talking about. So when those Hollywood bread crumbs get tossed your way, gobble them up. But make sure you use good manners while gobbling.
For example, a week and a half ago it became apparent that I needed to contact actor Kane Hodder’s management team. So I sent a friendly (always be friendly and polite in all your emails to everyone in the film biz – it makes their life, and yours, much nicer) email to his manager. A few emails later, she asked me to give her a call, and I not only soon had Kane Hodder attached to the script, but she had signed on her legendary clients Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman to be in Conclave as well. But that might not be the best part of this new relationship.
A couple days ago I sent this woman (who has been nothing but incredibly wonderful, friendly, and helpful) a short email to let her know that I’ve gotten a distribution deal in place for Conclave. In the email I also mentioned to her that I still hadn’t officially gotten a producer signed on to the film (Conclave will probably take about $2 million to make, so I certainly won’t be financing it out of pocket as I always have before with my films), but that I would soon be meeting with one who’s just breaking into the business. This wonderful woman emailed me right back and said she knows a veteran producer out in L.A. (I’m based in Denver) who’s looking to take on a new project, and could she have him get hold of me. To that I said, “Heck, yeah!”
While nothing is set in stone yet with this producer, we’ll hopefully be talking this week, and this is mainly due to the fact that I’ve been friendly and polite to this fantastic woman in all of our correspondence and phone calls (and she’s been every bit as nice and polite as well). You never know where that next piece of great news might come from or who might be in a position to help you out with your next or current project, so always be nice to those people you work with, just as I’m sure you would hope they would be nice to you. And even if that film person you’ve just pleasantly emailed or chatted with isn’t in a position to help you out, you at least made their day a little nicer.
As some of you know, besides being a filmmaker, I have also written quite a few books. While my best selling book is The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000, I’ve also had some poetry published as well as a novel. The novel is titled Two Loves, and it started out as a romantic comedy script. From there it grew into a novel.
Today I received a review for Two Loves, and the reviewer gave the book 5 stars! Among other things she said, “Most of all, I applaud Berggoetz for beautifully telling a sensitive love story from a man’s point of view. From start to finish Two Loves is truly a satisfying read.”
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you can buy if off Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Two-Loves-Glenn-Berggoetz/dp/1478181818/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381795208&sr=1-1&keywords=glenn+berggoetz. The book is available in paperback for $9.49, or you can buy the Kindle version for $1.99.
I’ve just completed a feature film script titled Conclave that’s a scathing satire of the papacy. Already great things are happening with it.
Conclave would require millions of dollars to shoot, so there’s no chance I’ll be doing this film on my own. I began to contact people about is last week, and already I’ve had the agent for Monty Python legend Terry Gilliam request the script, and I’ve spoken with Michael Jackson’s former publicist about the script. I’ve also found out that Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th fame and I have a mutual friend who’s gotten the script into Kane’s hands. The ironic thing is, when writing the script I specifically had Kane in mind for a particular supporting role. The character’s name is The Enforcer of Justice, and Kane would be magnificent in the role.
With all the buzz being generated by the script I’m amping up the number of emails I’m sending out this week to keep the momentum building. I’ve even tried to step outside the box in how one would typically go about marketing the script. For example, since the script gives the nose of the Catholic Church a little tweaking, I’ve reached out to the agent for Richard Dawkins to see if he might be interested in getting involved in the script in some manner. Getting someone with Richard’s clout behind the script would certainly improve its chances of getting produced.
The life of an indie filmmaker isn’t easy, at least when it comes to trying to move beyond small-budget filmmaking and landing bigger budgets. I have sent out thousands of emails and letters to agents, production companies, and studios to try to get a foothold in L.A., and I’m continuously contacting websites, theaters, and critics about our films to try to spread the word about what we’ve accomplished and the films we have.
One of the things I’ve never tried before, though, that I’m going to soon be undertaking is seeing about getting a publicist on board to help spread the word in L.A. about what we have to offer. Included among the films we have is a new script I’ve just completed titled Conclave. This script is basically Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets Animal House, and the goal is to find a publicist who can spread the word about the script in L.A.
I have no idea if this approach will work, but as an indie filmmaker and a Hollywood outsider, I need to explore every option available to expand our fan base and gain exposure for our films.
One of my favorite things to do is speak to a group of people about films and filmmaking. On many occasions I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to speak to film groups and at film festivals. These events always end up being a blast! On almost every occasion, within a couple minutes of me introducing myself and speaking about one of our films or touching on something about filmmaking, the hands start to go up, and the rest of the evening is spent in a lively Q&A session with the crowd. The passion that filmmakers and film fans have always fires me up, and being able to relate my own, often hilarious, examples of how we did something on the set of one of our films gets the crowd laughing and engaged.
When it comes to my speaking engagements, I’m represented by Wilene Dunn out of Dallas. Wilene also handles the speaking engagements for legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, so I’m in good hands with Wilene. If you’re interested in having me come and speak to your group or at your film festival, send me an email at my production company email address email@example.com, and from there I’ll get Wilene to handle the details of the engagement.
If you want to get a little feel for my speaking style, following is a link to the web chat I did with IndieHorror TV about our film Midget Zombie Takeover. The web chat went so well that IHTV later aired our film Evil Intent and had me back on to do another live web chat. You can view the web chat at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDkflwdiDs4.
A little while back I uploaded some of our longer short films to YouTube so people can watch them for free. The reason I did this is because we made some really good short films when I first got into filmmaking 2007 and 2008, but the films were just sitting there, unseen by anyone. Eventually I realized this wasn’t doing me or any of the cast and crew members any good, so I uploaded them to YouTube.
Of the three films I uploaded, my favorite is titled Guernica Still Burning. Guernica Still Burning is a bit of an experimental dramatic film. Nearly the entire film is stream-of-consciousness inner monologue, and when the main character (played perfectly by Jason W. Griffith) finally speaks late in the film, it always sends a chill down my spine. And even after having viewed the film dozens of times, I’m still always blown away by cinematographer Alan Dague-Greene’s work on the film.
Guernica Still Burning has almost always received a great response when it’s screened. If you’re interested in viewing this twenty-minute film, you can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPHsW43i4rY. If you do watch the film, feel free to let me know what you think about it.