So Bootleg has come to a finish, and whilst it was a success, it was not an easy one to achieve - or measure.
Comparisons with Glasgow '08 are inevitable, but the two events were so distant not only in geography, but in tone also, that it wouldn't be fair to line them up side by side. And yet, one thing still remains true - and it's something I think I've gotta be honest about - the hidden filmmakers. It was something that frustrated and confused in equal measure when we shook Offshore in Glasgow, and it happened again at Monkey's, Swansea: where were you guys?
I guess coming from the where I'm from, if somebody throws you a bone, you snatch that thing right up and devour it. When I started out, there was nobody doing anything for anybody - film festivals were for the elite, croisettes and ski-lodges, nobody screened on anything but 35mm and if you didn't have a producer's rep, you didn't exist. Of course, over the years, there have been a whole bunch of rebellious-motherfuckers-on-a-mission, trying the Field Of Dreams mantra - if you build it, they will come... Over time, these crackerjack festivals have popped up all over, redefining the rules and state of play, matching the trend in filmmaking as a whole, whereby anybody with an idea can make a movie with the simplest of tools.
But, as ever, maybe I'm being too hard on those that didn't want to embrace my idea of bringing the art to the people. Maybe it's a case of me trying to speak Spanish all the time - I'm simply not talking the language everybody knows.
At times, I can be too heavyweight for my own good. I roll into my ideas and plans like anything is possible, like maybe, just maybe, we can affect a little change. But of course, people are cautionary by nature, taking a couple of steps back, cocking and eyebrow of uncertainty as I'm hammering nails in and building that next project right in front of them. Maybe I'm trying to incite a little too much passion in other people, a little too much fucken ambition?
But whatever, whatever. For every filmmaker who sent me their film, Bootleg was for them. For every actor who showed up in a movie they thought would go nowhere, Bootleg was for them. For every person who sat down and supped on the idea and visual colour-work of the movies, Bootleg was for them. And it'll continue to be for everybody who is interested in being more than they thought they already were, for every filmmaker, writer, actor, whatever who just wants to break out of their day-to-day bullshit.
Sometimes putting your neck on the line gets painful. But I'd rather do that time and again than slowly rot in a life that was handed to me, pre-packaged, coloured and portioned up for me to devour. Thankfully, I think there are at least a handful of people out there that feel the same way.
So Project Bootleg rolls forward a few a little more, and this time next month, I'll be in New York shooting a lo-fi film on a Flip Ultra HD camera in one hand, and an Ediroll audio recorder in the other. Twin-six-shooter cowboy style. I have no idea how good (or bad) it's going to be, but fuck it, it doesn't matter. I've made a commitment to blog the trip and the experience as it happens, and maybe I'll throw up a little video as we go (maybe - these plans never go like they should), so we'll see what happens.
But by the end of it all, I'll know that even if I'm speaking another language in this (often bullshit) business, the voice will always be my own.
Rock n' roll. Next project, please.