It was a year ago today that I received the wonderful news via email that the French Consulate in New York had approved my application for the visa that allowed my wife and I to move to Paris. Now, settled like batter poured into and filling every crevasse of a mold, we find ourselves looking forward towards less preparing our new life here and more towards enjoying living our new life here, not that that hasn’t been happening already since the day we arrived. If you’re open to exploration and know how to look around, Paris is a town that happens to you without the need to go hunting for experiences.
With the commencing of this second year, I’ll be beginning to write the screenplay for the film I am making here as the project for my visa. As I’ve told those who’ve asked me before, I don’t know what it’s about, nor do I like to have that outlined before starting. But it will definitely be, as with everything I’ve ever written, a dialogue-driven (some would say “dialogue-heavy”) comedy/drama. It will be set in Paris and will be in English to try to make the point that there is an English-speaking world in this city. There are Parisians, that is, people who have been here long enough to be thus called who are Anglophones, and also Europeans who simply use English as the only unifying linguistic link between them. My theory is that a large number of Anglophones sadly stay away from watching films set in France which, let’s face it tend to be in French, because of the language barrier, the mechanics of reading subtitles, the understanding by audiences that subtitles are poor conduits of a film’s dialogue, and the fact that there is some cultural connection that they’ll fail to make with a film. Not to mention the wretched and appalling misrepresentations of France and Paris in particular to be found in several films aimed at Anglophone audiences. The solution, to me, is to acknowledge that there is an English speaking world here and to tell a story that takes place in that world.
So, to mark the year since the email that changed our lives, this is a tiny note of thanks for those of you that have been around since the short was released and those of you that have started following in the last year. The majority of the small crowd that follows me online got connected to me via my short film and the efforts I made to promote it online via social media to continue to push my idea that independent filmmakers can use nothing more than word of mouth and social media to promote their work if they’re willing to be clever (logistically and financially) in how they produce their films. So far so good. Because of the fact that I am just me and I’m not doing this under the flag of some distributor or outside producer or investor like a lot of “indie” filmmakers out there, I don’t have any specific targets or financial goalposts to reach for so each person that watches my short or my shorter videos and decides to stay in touch is like currency to me because it increases the pool of people who know what I do, increasing my audience for next time. This is not easy, but it beats having a producer tell me what to do with my work.
It’s hard to justify doing this if nobody is there to watch the films and stay in touch. If it feels natural, I’ll talk about the process as I write. I hope you’re all there, and more of you as well, when I get to the other side of this part of the process and I’m ready to begin the production.