Yes, a tad late, but wutev. Looking to the new year with some thoughts in mind (both of what happened this year and what’s in store for the next).
The Year that was 2007
Easily the biggest event of my year was having “The Bet” premiere at CineVegas. It was one of those moments where I was actually living out a dream that I’d had for so long, and it felt like it. There’s really no way to explain the odd mix of excitement and nerves that was pumping through me when I heard the “swing set” sound that starts the film. There, in a theatre of a couple hundred people, my film was playing on a fucking movie screen. Three moments in the film had me near tears (no, not because I was sad, silly, because I was just so overwhelmed with “Wow, this is my fucking movie playing in a real-deal theatre with a real-deal audience”): 1) The reveal of The Guy in the Hallway (which is my favorite part in the film), 2) The closet reveal (because, it’s just an amazing climax to the film) and 3) seeing A MICHAEL DUNN FILM up there and thinking, “Wow, that’s me!” Having the film play was the highlight of the year, but also one of the biggest highlights of my life. The events surrounding its premiere were less exciting than I imagined they’d be (and at times a bit shitty), but overall… wow.
One of the unexpected bonuses of making the film, was the overwhelmingly positive response it received. The good word was something I fantasized about while making it, but never really thought it would happen. Not only did the reviews give me something to put on the cover of the DVD, it also made me think that maybe I really could make it as a director. Of course, I can’t take all the credit; everyone involved had a hand in making it the film it is (and were called out in many of the reviews for their contributions). Probably my favorite review (if only because it was unsolicited) was from City Life. When I read that one (especially since I was still scratching my head over the response at CineVegas) I just flipped.
It’s funny that, starting out on the film, we wanted to make it what we wanted, and not worry too much about how it was received. I think we went in not really knowing if it would ever be seen by anyone other than family and friends. It seems that approach actually helped the film since we refused to cater to the masses. This is what caused such a polarized response in viewers, but what made it so much more rewarding when people not only “got it,” but also liked it.
“The Bet” on DVD
Following close behind the premiere at CineVegas in terms of 2007’s w00t moments was the release of “The Bet” on DVD. Aside from seeing the film in a theatre, actually having a DVD!!! of the film is unbelievably rewarding. The CineVegas premiere was about seeing the film in a theatre with an audience; the joy of the DVD is something different. Partly it was a chance to make a DVD like I’d want to buy, with shitloads of special features and all that. It was also a chance to give the people who helped make it a chance to “publicly” share in the fun with the commentaries and interviews. But, probably, most importantly was the DVD was my way of having closure on the project. Two years had been spent writing, making and promoting the film. Plus, now I have a “product.” Plus, now I can get the film (and my future) into the hands of some certain folks who could easily make a huge difference.
Yes, it’s been a very “The Bet”-centric year (or two, actually), and shooting the video for “Hallway” was another facet of that obsession. A big thanks to Francis and Francis and obviously Justine and Rachel (and Walt) for helping to get the video made. It marked my music video directing debut.
As post-production (at least the first iteration of it) on “The Bet” came to a close, a new script got going, namely Detox. Another collaboration with Chris Smith, the script is currently in its third draft and is being read by a couple of horror buff friends before heading into its fourth. While quite different from “The Bet,” it has a few echos of that film, mostly superficial or cosmetic. It does, however, continue to push the idea of what constitutes a horror film. More on this in the coming months.
All the Rest
Honestly, I can’t think of much that happened this year that didn’t revolve around one the above topics. The inbetween spots were mainly family (which is always an up and down thing, nature of the beast) and friends. But if I wasn’t working on the film, or DVD or script, I was thinking about the film, DVD or script. There was a new house, a pool (awesome) school changes for the kids, all that kind of stuff. Christmas saw the introduction of our family to the Wii (and I’m still sore from playing). Maybe 2008 will be the year I lose the beer gut (Wii boxing burns 125 calories in 15 minutes), but probably I’ll just lose more hair.