Friday, June 4, 2010

How Rolling The Dice Can Save Your Life

It’s been said that financing your own film is a courageous roll of the dice akin to hopping aboard Phaeton’s flaming chariot. (When it comes to invoking the Phaeton myth I have always preferred Jung’s interpretation of what he called the hero myth – the point isn’t about crashing and burning but how long you can hold onto the sizzling reins). Sometimes the amount of bravery attached to art is greatly exaggerated. It’s not as dangerous as coal mining. And as far as I know no one has ever gotten black lung disease from it. What is more likely in the independent world is that you will end up with a bad credit rating which can seem as serious a heart attack. The most dramatic roll of the dice that I do know about that actually includes flames occurred in WWII. My father was on one of the first troop ships that sailed across the Atlantic. One night, while the rest of his unit was fast asleep in the bowels of the ship, all zipped up, one on top of the other, in hammocks; my father was on the top deck shooting craps. When he literally rolled the dice, the troop ship was torpedoed by a Nazi U-Boat. The torpedo struck the ship right where my father’s unit was sleeping. The ship sank and all the men in his unit were killed because they obeyed orders and weren’t shooting craps after lights out. This was definitely a case when rolling the dice saved a life. I’d like to think that by making a film I am saving lives, especially my own. At the very least it’s my job to make everyone involved feel like the stakes are that high.

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