Screen shot of my failed title.
I’m teaching myself how to make short documentary profiles of autodidacts in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are many things to learn. I make mistakes continually, but I also get a lot right. The key has been to ignore my ego, trust my intuition, and work hard.
Some of my best learning has been in-person with experienced people ‘in-the-business’ who have graciously shared their time and their knowledge with me. My recent reunion with a former Francis Ford Coppola co-worker is a good example. Co-worker makes it seem like we were colleagues. We weren’t.
Just out of college back in 1989, I had an entry-level job at Coppola’s film company, American Zoetrope. Richard Beggs invited me out for a ‘Dutch’ lunch and visited. Occasionally I had the chance to watch him work on “Godfather III” or “Avalon.” Back then and even now I idolized the man’s career. At seventy-five, he’s sought after to create a signature sound environment for feature and documentary films.
In meeting with him to discuss my sound track for my first attempt at a ‘industry standard’ short documentary, I appreciated his candor. He told me that the two fonts of my current title were calling out “rookie.” See my photo of my old title for my film at top of this post. Note the words at the bottom, “San Francisco.” Richard thought having that there was confusing because it made the reader wonder, “Is San Francisco a subtitle to show the location of the film or is it part of the title?”
I was embarrassed to admit to him that I’d already entered it into two festivals like that. The San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, and the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival–with the title that way. I wasn’t sure if I’d be permitted to upload a new version, but I did. (In fact, my film was accepted into both festivals.) Despite how awkward and somewhat humilitating it was to hear his criticisms, I had to ignore my ego, find a solution and fix it.