Howie Goldklang

Let it Breathe

By - Apr 1st, 2008 02:52 pm
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It’s hard to write about a “scene,” especially a local “film scene.” So hip and cool, right? What’s crackin’? Who’s doing what? Who’s got the friend with that cousin in LA who knows people who make things happen? And what are those happenings, anyway?

Recently, Wisconsin has rolled up her creative sleeves and done a Warhol Art and Commerce move that could catapult us into the national “film scene.” In a time of dwindling production budgets and on the heels of the writers strike comes the Film Wisconsin Bill: that tax-incentive-Johnny Depp-Matthew McConaughey-Jennifer Garner thing we keep hearing about. Goodwill from Wisco to the film industry! It’s already cheaper to do just about anything here on any given day, and we’ve got the scenery and the talent to back up Hollywood.

Cash is king, no doubt about it. Big productions shot in Wisconsin will get the hotels changing sheets, AV rental houses
buzzing and Jimmy John’s delivering 150 sandwiches at a time to odd places at odd times of day. If Film Wisconsin does its job,
we’ll be raking in the dough – and kick-starting that “creativeclass economy” we keep hearing about. Fresh. So, now what?

How do we collectively avoid being a one-film stand? It’s simple. Film workers: keep it real and do what you do. Milwaukee is lit to pop. There has always been a film network churning away here, but now it’s more active than ever.

The task at hand, then, is to support locally-sourced film – as well as homegrown art and music – as much as possible. Sounds like a fragment from a speech at some ribbon-cutting, but we really need to get out and see films in any way, shape or form and do our part to make that scene real. Gallery Night is all well and good. The Milwaukee International Film Fest means well, but when there are more films from Sundance 2006 than local and regional works, it makes you wonder what their direction is – or whether they have one. Resolved: We need to take this film movement into our own hands, get our united arms around this
inspired time and prop our scene up on our own.

What can we do? That’s not rhetorical, people! The more of a groundswell we create by supporting our film community, creating online buzz and attending indie fests, the more real energy there will be. Hollywood will sense it and it will “make a meeting” of our underground and their commercial film worlds. And it’s the collision of environments that makes a real scene.

So enough safe and sane – its time for dumb and dangerous. Charge your cameras, write that scene and film it. Post it. Everyone would love to meet you. Just do what you do and let it breathe. Go to REEL Milwaukee: The blog at and post your script ideas, YouTube/MySpace links, email video clips from your cell phone, ask questions, write comments or smack downs or party info, or anything popping. We need to know! VS

Categories: REEL Milwaukee

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