An Open Letter to the Independent Film Community in Southern Louisiana

An Open Letter to the Independent Film Community in Southern Louisiana,
To whom it may concern:

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a crossroads of EPIC proportions in Louisiana. As Hollywood continues to film here, many of us fight with the state government to keep the tax incentives in place and expand them so that independent film makers in the state can take advantage of them as well.

We do, however, have a problem. The indie film makers are engaged in one or two behaviors that prevent us from moving forward in a bigger system – or, worse yet – keep us from being taken seriously as a community.

1) We refuse to help each other. This is coming and going. What I mean by that is that we have ALL had to fight for what we have and what we do. This fight has led us to ALL adopt an “I have to do this on my own” attitude. This harms us all.

Team PUSHTHROUGHIT only has one camera, or has a small ensemble that they work with, it is enough, so they don’t even consider help from an outside source. Having more cameras, more creative input and a different skillset would help them immensely, but they don’t do it.

Team LOOKWHATICANDO has had problems finding help when they needed it, so they turn their backs on another team when they need it. They were burned – hard… and so they burn bridges and hurt other people’s feelings without realizing it.

So what? We can do it! Why help them? We need to work together… If we integrate the skillsets of other teams… if we look past situations where we didn’t get the help we need, we can forge alliances. We can improve our films beyond that which we alone are capable of and we can present a united front.

The actors of Louisiana have come together to fight what Big House Bobby is trying to do to our industry. Yet, there were an incredibly small number of indie Film Makers there. Let’s get the lead out and make ourselves a force to be reckoned with as opposed to a joke in the eyes of the decision makers.

2) And this one just… makes me sad. Some people don’t like others in the biz. Guess what? That’s life. It’s a sure bet that out of every 100 people you meet, most of them won’t care about you, a couple of them might like you and one or two just won’t be able to stand you. That’s how it works…

Now, out of those people, how often do you hear them talking about you, saying mean and nasty things about you? No… I am not asking about your arch nemesis… I am talking out of all the people on set working background, that you meet on the street? That’s right… you don’t hear it. That’s because people understand that this is the nature of the human experience… They are adults.

Why can’t we, as a community, behave like adults? Why do we have to act like children, gossiping and spreading lies (and I mean outright lies) behind people’s backs?

Oh… right… we don’t… And yet… It happens… constantly.

Ask a Hollywood team what they think of Independent film makers… I dare you. Invariably, they will tell you that we are just a bunch of children playing with cameras and generating a lot of drama.

That’s gotta stop. Period. End of story. I challenge each and every one of us to grow up and behave with some class. If someone is spreading lies about you, smile, give them a compliment. If you hate someone and they hate you, DON’T tell people why… If you have to say something – tell people, “I wouldn’t work with them.” AND LEAVE IT AT THAT.

The thing is… you don’t have to like someone to work with them. You can hate someone and be silent about it. Hell, the entirety of southern society is based on the backhanded compliments of your enemies… to their face…

And I’ve been guilty of the last one… I’ve never told a lie about someone, but I have stated more of our personal issues than I should have… So I am taking the first step. If you watch my facebook page over the next few months, I am going to be sharing videos from local film makers… Some of whom I adore, but are guilty of not needing or giving help – others share freely. Some of these will be from people who I would rather kick in the genitals than look at (others I adore), but all of them will be Indies and part of a community that needs to learn to grow up.

Kristopher Hoffman
Savage Light Studios
5 years old going on 40

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