“The Company”

“Ever dream of starting your life over in another town, with another name, in another country? For a fee, an organization called The Company will provide all the documents necessary to create a brand new you in a brand new place.”

Sounds like an offer for a new you for the new year, but it is the slug line for the movie my friend, Kevin McDermott, directed and completed last year.  This blog is dedicated to Kevin, the man who persisted in the face of stumbling events, and an artist with a vision to touch and illuminate the humanity in his audience.

Last year, during the process of realizing the dream that had been gestating, Kevin faced a series of catastrophic events that would probably have dissuaded others from continuing.  Kevin stood up when the situation appeared hopeless, and walked on to finish the movie. 

 I wrote about my Kevin in my blog, “Sail On…” last year (http://lafpi.com/2012/07/off-the-cuff-how-do-you-do-it/).  At that time I called him “Dave” (I wasn’t sure at the time if he felt comfortable to reveal his real name.)  The blog started with, “How do artists face set backs?” 

Some comments from the readers were:

Robin Byrd:  Love this… Love Dave’s resolve to “do it”

Erica Lamkin:  What an inspiration Dave is!  I just know the film will be breathtaking.  I can’t wait to see it!

Last November, the screening for the “The Company” was held at Kimberley Browning of Hollywood Shorts.  I watched Kevin stand among other directors.  He’s a tall man, and he smiles without affectation.  He bowed and humbly he accepted the applause from the audience.

I see Kevin as an artist who quietly whittles at the medium of his art with his heart, body and soul.  He crafted his vision onto the screen with steady resolve and a courageous heart.  He never imposed his hardships except to talk briefly about it, as he seemed to already have a resolution to the problems in his subconscious.  It’s a quality of true character and probably innate in artist to simply see “well into” situations and people, and have the inner confidence to get through it. 

How do artists face set backs?  I know there were times when stayed in the sanctuary of his home to lick the wounds from unexpected events which seemed cruel.  But some of these events turned around to offer a better option than the first choice. 

  1. An unscrupulous contractor who took money from Kevin without the intent of building the set.  Kevin swallowed the loss, and took out a loan to continue the work.  He found another contactor who built a great set for the film noire set in the late 50’s.  The new location was better, and Kevin paid less money for the set.
  2. The lead actor pulled out the night before the first day of shooting.  After a few weeks delay and he found the actor, Al Bandiero, who was better suited to the role of the main character of Dan
  3. At the first day of shooting the movie, a fire marshal shut down the location, because Kevin did not have a fire permit, and also learned that the building was on a “fire watch”.  The cost of the permit would be $700 and he would’ve had to pay $65 per hour to have a Fire Marshall on payroll during the filming. 
  4. After the major hurdles there were the expected technical difficulties:  lights, sounds and editing.  The synergy of the people working to make a good movie overcame the smaller hiccups of production.  With imagination, creativity and resourcefulness the people got the show together.  It was a gathering of artists who were dedicated to their craft – costume/hair/makeup; sounds and special effects, music score, lights and props, editing.  Kevin was a master puppeteer, and he coordinated the people and the tasks with great heart and spirit.

What Kevin showed was the art of engaging and engineering people and resources to work together under very difficult circumstances.  I think this is a unique quality that good leaders need to be able to hold a ship together, and to weather bad storms to sail on to a bright horizon.

 The movie is fantastic.  Catch the trailer by going to this link: http://thecompanyshortfilm.com/trailer.html

 To learn more about the movie, go to this link:  http://thecompanyshortfilm.com/

The Company was also an official entry of at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.  If you missed that one (Dec. 5th, 2012), the movie was also submitted to the Sundance Film Festival.  I remember our conversation about the process of submitting Sundance.  Serendipitously, he discovered the office was in a building only one block away from his apartment building.  We both thought he would have to Fedex the CD to Utah.   On the last date of submitting the CD, I called him to remind him to get it to the submission office on time.    He had already dropped off the package bright and early by the time I called him.  His belief in his purpose is what made this film happen.  This was his “I must”. 

What’s yours for this year?  For me it’s to finish “Original Sin” (no matter how long it takes… I know I’m inching closer to the finish line.)

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