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   Now in our seventh calendar year!
    PCR #308  (Vol. 7, No. 7)  This edition is for the week of February 13--19, 2006.

"Freedomland"  by Mike Smith
About Valentine's Day  by Dylan Jones
Florida Filmmakers Helping Each Other  by Mark Terry
Peter Benchley....Rondo Awards Voting  by Matt Drinnenberg
Cheney's Got a Gun....Thank You....You Can't Buy This Kind of Publicity....My Favorite Films--Chapter 7  by Mike Smith
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My Second Toe Is Longer Than Yours

Florida Filmmakers Helping Each Other  

In 1998 I was in the middle of my college years at St. Leo University. I was starting to get burnt out of doing college theater so I set out to learn about the local Tampa Film Community.

I will never forget one of the first productions that I was going to act in was for some group out of Tarpon Springs. They were making a horror film. I was so green that I thought these guys were Hollywood when they weren't different from anyone else starting out and shooting on video. I can't remember the guy's name but I will never forget our first conversation on the phone. After hanging up I was so happy and I told my Mom I am on the way to living my dream. This guy's one rule was not to call him after 6pm. I remember calling him the next day at 5:55 PM and him blowing up at me. I had never had someone yell at me for something I felt was so stupid. My first experience in talking to anyone outside my college theater was ruined most likely by a guy who has never done anything since.

I chalked bad experience up as a learning tool. From there I would meet anyone that said they had anything to do with movies locally. If you name a person that has done films since the late '90s consistently, or an organization that does films, I have met them, worked with them or they worked for me. Just to name a few: FMPTA, Wild Heart Films, Renegade Films, all the film commissioners, Icon, Too Productions, Rob Tregenza, Venue Actors Studio, The Working Actors Studio, Craig Kovach, Unearthed Films Distribution, John Robert Powers, and the list can go on forever. Some of the people I have worked with aren't even alive anymore.

During the late '90s to about 2002 I noticed that none of the film makers were helping each other. There was no doubt during 2001 and 2002 no one was helping us on our films. Edie Emerald, the Tampa Film Commissioner back then, was horrible when it came to indie films. Although she would tell you otherwise. Sitting back now I can access maybe the lack of help at the time was because I was not known by as many people locally as I am now. Or maybe the Tampa group is starting to realize we all need each other as friends and coworkers to achieve our dreams.

Right around 2003 for our group things seemed to change with people helping out. The last big blow off I ever got in Tampa was from DP Dave Barrett, when he said his rate to shoot our Vietnam film would be $1,350 a day. I almost laughed at him on the phone. I realize now the Local 400 union camera guys out in Hollywood only make $600 a day. I guess it was a somewhat nice way for him to say no.

However, I am proud to announce most of that type of attitude seems to be going away in the Tampa Film Community. People like Chris Woods and Simon Lynx of Icon film studios, offer reasonable rates for everything from web design, to editing, to Photoshop art work. I highly suggest contacting them at iconfilmstudios.com. If you are a new film maker and are a little shy tell them you heard about them through my article and put these guys to work. They will do a good job for you.

Let me add this disclaimer in too. I realize everyone feels their project or person is the top priority in the world. Some guys feel that its an honor to work for them. My suggestion is pay these guys up front or at least pay part of the money. I can't think of a better way to start helping the local film community than actually generating some revenue into the business locally. If you can't do that then you either aren't serious or aren't willing to help the people who are out there that will help you.

Another big group that will bend over backwards for you are the Guzzo Brothers and Too Productions. How many people do you know locally that can claim what these guys can? From the CFR's to the TFR's to their work in film festivals and local pub for other film makers. These guys are a glimpse of how everyone should be doing it.

I am sure there are other filmmakers out there and groups that are willing to give a reasonable rate and help in your production. Ask around, email me, or put a post on this site which is without a doubt dedicated to promoting anyone in the state of Florida.

Things are looking up for the state now in my eyes. Even the new film commissioner is active. With everyone helping everyone else, just a little bit, our goals will be that much easier to reach.

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    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.