The Promotion of Creative Idealism

I have a young extremely talented filmmaker friend who has developed a brilliant script that he is trying to raise funding to produce.  It’s going to be an extremely low budget film with a wallop.  I have read the script and it very good and having seen this kid’s work from the past I totally can see his vision and know he can pull it off to create something extraordinary.  The story centers around a guilt-ridden custodian of a decaying hotel that is dragged back from despair by a mercurial young woman with her own bleak past.

He has assembled some very talented team people that are exactly right.  The kids name is Kelley Mattingly and his entire life is about living, eating, and breathing film.  He has the idealist dreams of art and creating for the sake of artist vision, of revealing ones soul through the process of creation.  The difficulty is that he cannot figure out how to promote or get the project out there to find support.  His approach and campaign has not drawn much attention and it’s breaking my heart to see it flounder.  At first the project was not very well defined as to what it was or what it was about, but he has done a good job of clarifying it.  Second his graphics do not draw us into the project, because there is no appeal.  In fact when you see it as a thumbnail image it has no presence at all.  The design does match the essence and feel of the project but if it doesn’t pull us in we are not going to be pulled into supporting it.  Thirdly Kelley is a recluse who doesn’t network to beat the bushes and drum up support.  He has put the project on Kickstarter, but nobody seems to be supporting him.  At first glance I don’t think people would really be drawn to the project at all.  He has not established his reputation yet and without a network of supporters it becomes very difficult to make yourself known.  Though the project has a lot of heart, he has given it an obscure name, “Hotel Finlen”, who’s only significance or allure will be recognizable to only the people who live in the small town of Butte, where it will be filmed, and unfortunately are very unlikely to support such an endeavor.  When I did my own Kickstarter program this past summer, I constantly had to promote it through my vast network of established supporters via Facebook and constant email updates.

So what I really wanted to get at today is where do we draw the line of promotion of our selves as artists and sacrificing our creative idealism?  He has the vision and approaches it completely for the sake of art, but has regrettable given it no mass appeal or hook.  Is that line of artistry then lost if the project cannot even get started?  It seems in our youth we really don’t want to compromise our creative idealism and many of us never learn the process of self-promotion.  I know at that age I certainly didn’t either.  It then becomes a painful growth process of stumbling through the dark without the added support, luckily I did have patrons who did believe in me and helped me along the way.  I also worked on more of an individual creative process bringing in collaborators as I needed them and not really needing to promote myself.  I was also able to use part of my talents to sustain myself on a commercial level while allowing my skills to develop and acquire the needed tools and kept my art always in the background.  Here he has a larger creative team that needs to be supported and has cost associated for completion.  As young artists in remote places like Montana, which is a state notoriously known for not supporting the arts; it becomes even more difficult to find a footing.  Though I have been developing and shooting this male nude project for years, it remained completely obscure and hidden, not really knowing how to promote or expose myself to the world outside my confined little studio.  It has now taken me thirteen years to put what I do out for others to share.  This is the year I have made that leap and the journey has been phenomenal for me, but you who have followed this project from the beginning have been witness to the struggle and the obstacles I have overcome.  I now somehow wished I had made that leap in the beginning because I somehow always knew this is where I wanted to end up.  But looking back I wonder if I would have found this vision and what it would have become today if I had.  It has been the expression of my life and soul and is the vision of what I have become.