I really love MidJourney. Why the HELL would I pay for stock pictures ever again? Just for a quick blog post? GTFOH.

The prompt I used to create this feature photo: ‘A tall man, cold in the snow. The weather is bad. We see the rear of this man looking up at a movie theater with the words “PREDAWN” in the marquee. Snow is piling up in the streets –v 6.0 –style raw –s 250

January was an exciting month of a string of selections and a few wins that I couldn’t believe.

Followed sharply by a few back to back ‘not selected‘ and losses that brought the whole system back to reality.

The Atlanta Film Festival was a little more devastating to me than expected. I’m like, ‘dang’…my own hometown? Really?

Fortunately, I stuck by and stand by ‘every festival is our first’ frame of mind and I have been grateful for every selection. Every win.

Along the way, I started a new chain of thinking that I don’t believe was very healthy: ‘maybe if I did something different’. ‘What do I have to do to get accepted to XYZ festival next year’. That sort of processing.

Thinking like this ruins and steps on the original value of what ‘is’ — the talents involved, the time and efforts that was already contributed.

You might not agree with this, but in my opinion, this creative film work isn’t a sport or a competition. I don’t have to go back to the coach and train differently to make sure I get to the Super Bowl. But I totally understand that’s how a lot of people in the industry can get caught in that. Suddenly, you start developing stories exclusively to just get the attention of a festival and win awards. You don’t think I started tweaking future stories to match ‘what Sundance’ wants to see? Tooling around with storytelling just to gratify a select subsection of people so they can say ‘yes’.

Don’t get me wrong. Being someone that never wins things, to see ‘winner’ against something I produced stirs feels I never felt before.

But what kind of asshole would I be to say ‘I should have done this or that better in order to get an award’ when Wynter J. Davis (first time actress), Madison Geiger, Izzy Miller and the whole cast and crew gave me their all. That would be insulting their work and I couldn’t ask for a better grouping of cast and crew. I cannot. Predawn is done and that says more than a lot of people who are still trying to get a film off the ground.

In prior years, not winning things had me in a unique position of creating for the purity of it all. If you’re not a winner of things, you only develop, create and produce for advancement of the story itself. Instead of developing to entice the one or two gatekeepers, I’ve consistently created original material.

Consistently. Un-bent by focus groups.

The downside: people don’t get it today. But they will tomorrow. Do you even understand how many concepts I’ve developed years ago that found it’s way to be told today? Such is life.

That tomorrow sometimes irks me when I have bills to pay today.

But I needed a reminder why I’m doing this: for my kids.

Cause when I’m gone — what’s left is the stuff I produced for their tomorrow.

So the festivals are a tool for me today. I said it before. I’ll say it again: getting selected is the win! Gives me the chance to be seen/heard/etc.

I’ll be at the Maryland Black Film Festival March…. Queens Film Festival in April. Letting everyone know about Predawn, Self-Rising Flower and The Social Challenge.

Just keep telling interesting stories for the sake of the art itself and staying focused.

Create, wash, rinse, repeat.

Loss is an excellent reminder.

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