“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
There’s something about passion that gets me. And I’m not talking about the physical kind. Or, ahem, the sensual. No, I’m talking about a passion for an idea. A big idea. And that big idea is usually bigger than an individual person. Sometimes bigger than all of us combined. That kind of passion burns and in burning draws others to its warmth. To its energy.
That’s the kind of passion I witnessed in Brian Kohne when answered questions from the audience after Get A Job
finished screening at Kauai Community College last month. Because that’s when we all realized that Brian’s vision was much larger than this one film. And in that energy, I was a believer.
Here’s part two of my interview with Brian Kohne, writer-producer-director of the Hawaii-made feature film Get A Job
. And don’t worry. It’s not all about passion. There’s some madness thrown in, too.
What’s your bigger mission here? What do you hope Get A Job will do for Hawaii?
Get A Job
is a step in the right direction of creating a self-sustaining film industry here in the Hawaiian Islands. There are many other filmmakers working towards this end, but we need help--from the investment community, from the state and county, and ultimately from the audience. Without a paying audience, there can be no industry. So I appreciate when people go out of their way to support local filmmakers. There is a perception that local films are no good. Well, sometimes that is true. But if we want to claim a voice in this medium--and we in Hawaii better do so--then we need to get better as writers and producers and actors. When an audience comes out to support the work of the local film community, they are doing their part to get better also. They are becoming a better audience.
If we can claim our voice in this medium, then Hollywood will no longer be burdened to tell our stories (poorly) for us. We still need Hollywood's productions to come here for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is money and tourism, but when they come here to make movies, it's really a chance for the locals to learn from the very best in the business. Thank you, Hollywood, for that.
What are the most common questions you get asked?
Unfortunately at this stage, I still have to spend way too much time explaining to people that our movie is a movie. A real movie--narrative fiction. Not a documentary, or a concert, or a play. It's such a foreign concept for islanders to have a movie made by us, about us, that many don't think it's possible. Other's think it must be "junk" if it was made here. Or that, because the cast are musicians, they must be lousy actors.
Hundreds of friends over the past two years have said as they leave the theater, "Brian, I gotta tell you that I didn't think it was going to be any good, but it was great!" I've learned not to take any of it personally. Just like our cast and crew, our audience has to learn how to do their job too. Is it really that hard to support a local production that has given their time, soul, and money to try to create something to entertain and move you? People spend $10 everyday on bullshit they really don't need--fancy coffee, cocktails, junk food. So when you hear about a local production trying to showcase their work, support it. Be a part of the solution. One day, if we can make this thing a reality, you'll be happy when your children and grandchildren have jobs here at home that they like and get paid well for. And, don't get me started on this, but the state and visitors bureau needs to get involved NOW. At the grassroots level. If we are successful at making movies and TV shows from our perspective, the visitor industry stands to gain the most. Think about that for a moment.
What are the questions you don’t get asked but wish you were asked?
"What can I do to help?"
"How can I become an investor in your next movie?"
"Can I rub your feet?"
Where/how do people buy the CD.
As of November 1, 2012 folks can buy the DVD and CD Soundtrack at: www.GetAJobMovie.com
And we'd love for people to check us out on Facebook as well - lots of stuff there to tickle one's fancy. Find us there at: www.Facebook.com/GetAJobMovie
And to the readers: If you like what you see and want to help our production do its part in creating a self-sustaining movie industry here in the islands, please tell your friends about what we are doing. This hui is not about my gang, it's about all of us. And we welcome you all into our ohana.
I might be late in asking this, but just so we all know who the heck are you, anyway?
I moved back to the islands eight years ago to make movies. I'm a Maui boy who started making movies in high school a long time ago. I went away to college, played semi-pro soccer for 15 years in the SF Bay area, and have a very diverse professional background, which is why I'm able to wear so many different hats as an independent filmmaker. Degrees in art, film/TV, interactive media. Years of sales and marketing, music production, theater, journalism, publicity, concert promotion. If it has to get done, I do it. When people ask what I do, I say, "Whatever it takes."
And I mean it. There's a lot at stake, I feel. Hawaii is a storytelling culture, and film is the most powerful art form ever invented. We can do this, and I'm just one of the growing many that refuses to just sit around and talk about it as though it's somebody else's responsibility. And trust me, there are a lot of people IN the industry who do little but talk about it. For many, when it comes to doing something tangible or sticking their necks out, well, they just don't do it. Like any industry, ours here is also populated with a number of bureaucrats that are simply trying to keep their jobs. We need more doers, less talkers, and a lot more risk-takers.
And we need some of the people here with deep pockets to get involved and help prop up local productions. It is not a waste of money but rather an investment in people, culture, and the future health of the islands. Plus it's fun to be involved in something that's so challenging and alive. Yes, this industry is very risky, investment wise. But the rewards are tremendous, and cannot simply be measured by bankers. It's an investment in our children, ultimately.
So, what's next?
A thriller/mystery/comedy screenplay, Brother’s Kuleana, which, like Get A Job, will be produced entirely in Hawaii. Of course.