It's our birthday!
Blue Damen Pictures, our humble Chicago-based film production company is turning SIX years old today. In this day and age that feels like an accomplishment, and we owe a lot to our Windy City roots. So to celebrate our sixth lap around the sun here are six reasons why Chicago is Great for independent filmmakers.
Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and finding loyal team members is absolutely key to getting a production off the ground. And Chicagoans are some kind of loyal if Cubs fans are any indication. More than that, though, we like to see our fellow Chicagoans succeed: I won't be able to attend this year's Blackhawks parade, but I got to see the parade back in 2010 and the flood of red jerseys on Michigan Avenue to support the home team was a sight to bring tears to anyone's eyes.
This is a city that knows that anyones success is everyones success.
2. Hard Workers
Chicago isn't called The City That Works for nothing: if you want bright lights and glitter then go to the coasts, Chicago is where you go to get stuff done. Filmmaking is hard work and a lot of it and if you want to turn ideas into brilliant, delicious dancing images it is going to take a team of people who will put in the long hours of ignominious labor to make it happen. Chicagoans get the work done without being divas about the little things like rain, snow, sleet, hail, rainbows, tornadoes, and derechos (sometimes all at the same time).
If you are a filmmaker it is likely that you've brushed up against The Industry in either New York or Los Angeles- and I'm not going to lie- it's a pretty heady experience to stand on the banks of such a GIANT RIVER OF MONEY pouring into big names and big name projects. The problem is that said giant river of money only moves in one direction and it is super easy to think that there is only one kind of movie and only one way to get it made.
Chicago is a crossroads. It's a legitimate city with all the resources you could need to make a movie without the constrictions of industry convention. With fewer people around to say "U R doin' it wrong" there are a lot more ways to Do It Right and that is a recipe for creativity to bloom.
In Los Angeles there are two default responses to a film shoot: annoyance and apathy. Film production has been such a pervasive and perpetual part of life that it is the equivalent of urban tinnitus: annoying- sometimes even infuriating- and a lot easier to ignore after the liberal application of money. This is fine for studios with big budget productions, but a disadvantage for an independent filmmaker. Working with a community that is collaborative and enthusiastic about your production can be the difference between getting your film in the can and tossing it in the trash bin.
5. Serious Talent
There are a lot of talented people in the world- just ask them. But if you want to find serious talent you need to find the people who put their money where their mouth is. Not only are Chicagoans hard workers, but they also work hard at developing their craft- whatever that may be. And talent is 90% craft. If you're an independent filmmaker in Chicago you might not be working with A-list names but that doesn't mean you're not going to find A-list quality work- and you won't have to worry about temper tantrums over the wrong color M&Ms.
6. Good Food
Not even joking.
Never underestimate the importance of good food. If you're an independent filmmaker this may be the only way you can compensate your cast and crew and it just so happens that Great Food is something that Chicago does really really well.
So in Conclusion: Chicago is a pretty awesome place to be an independent filmmaker. We think so, anyway, but then we've only produced five films there (#humblebrag much?) so, you know, you don't have to take our word for it if you don't want.
In honor of our birthday we are releasing the official DVD of our most recent film "Recalculating" for sale on our website. It's a short film featuring Chicago actor Ron Dean and Paralympian Katy Sullivan and was produced entirely in the Chicagoland area and it only costs $5.
Here is the link: http://www.bluedamen.com/support-us
Proceeds to Blue Damen Pictures (we're a non-profit) all go towards producing more films in the future. So you're not just supporting the arts now you're ALSO supporting the arts in the future!
BUT WAIT- THERE'S MORE!
If you order your DVDs today (June 28th, 2013) before Midnight (Central time) your DVD will come loaded with value added behind-the-scenes special features. Crazy right? Happy birthday to us- happy birthday to EVERYONE!
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