Tuesday 17 July 2007

East meets West

by Ronnie Apteker

Many lessons were learned from the "Benoni" film. We could not have made the new Footskating movie on a million Rands budget without making the previous film. As the saying goes "no pain no gain".

Making a film, like developing software (take Vottle for example) does not require vast amounts of money. It doesn't take money to write a script or book, compose a song, shoot a film, or develop software; it is a function of inspiration; it is a measure of talent; it is a labour of love. It comes from the heart, not from a cheque-book.

You don't need expensive Kodak film-stock to make a movie - you can shoot it on digital. What you do need is a vision, a good script, actors, talent and most of all, the right attitude. Imagine telling a writer that you can't create a book on a word processor; only on a type-writer. And one thing you can never underestimate, is the power of luck. You need to be lucky. "Better to be lucky than to be a clever" a successful entrepreneur told me earlier this year. So, the challenge then is to make yourself luckier. This is easier than you think. Just start smiling more and your luck will change. It has been said that the best way to receive is to give. Focus on the quality and the quantity will sort itself out. Luck favours the persistent. Yes, there are lot of these sayings, and they are all correct. You can indeed make your luck better.

The most fundamental aspect of any venture is the people. The only thing you ever invest in is in people, not in business plans or movie scripts. I get so many screenplays sent to me and what I have learnt is that strength of character is more important that the strength of the screenplay. Ideas don't move mountains, people move mountains.

We moved from the East Rand with the Benoni film to the West Rand with the Footskating film, and we moved from a modest budget to a tiny budget, from one hundred crew to a handful of crew, from Kodak film to high-definition digital, from 25 shooting days to 39 shootings days, and the list goes on and on. But the most fundamental movement was in attitude. Yes, on our latest film adventure I made a better investment. And not because the budget was smaller, but because the people were more inspired, more humble, more aligned, more enthusiastic, more passionate, and more hungry. On this new adventure there was a greater sense of purpose and a strong spirit of adventure when it came to taking the road less traveled on.