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Tampa Bay model Lisa Marie Lowrey photographed by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault during a photography session for Tampa Bay modeling resource site Independent Modeling in 2003. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay Film Festival PictureTampa actress and model Sarah Bray photographed poolside in Tampa Palms (New Tampa) by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault in 2002. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay A Dancer in a Tampa Bay event photographed by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay Film Festival PictureTampa filmmaker Chris Woods headshot by Tampa headshot photographer C. A. Passinault, Aurora PhotoArts Tampa Photography and Design.Tampa Bay model, dancer, and choreographer Melissa Maxim photographed with Lance, a nightclub dancer, in a Ybor City nightclub by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault in 2002. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay Tampa model and actress Roxanne Kowalska (right) and singer Michelle pose for a pre-production shoot of the short indie film “The Pledge”, in a preproduction photography session with the original cast by C. A. Passinault. Both Roxanne Kowalska and “Lowie” Laura Narvaez (not pictured) were scouted for the film at a Passinault audition. Casting crew for Passinault Entertainment Group conducting auditions for the Reverence feature film.Tampa audition photograph of actresses reading roles from the Reverence feature indie film project by Dream Nine Studios.Two actresses read during an audition for the Reverence feature film, a Passinault indie film.Tampa actress and model Harmony Layne poses for pictures to be used in the Tampa indie film, The Quiet Place. Photograph by Tampa photographer C. A. Passinault, Aurora PhotoArts Tampa photography and design.Tampa singer, model, actress, television host, pageant title holder, and entertainer Ann Poonkasem serenades an audience near Brandon, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area. Photograph taken by Tampa photographer C. A. Passinault, who was sitting in the front row judging the beauty pageant with a camera and a long, 300 MM lense.Tampa actor Rob Mussell headshot by Tampa headshot photographer C. A. Passinault. Tampa model and actress Sarah Bray during a modeling shoot with Tampa modeling portfolio photographer C. A. Passinault in Riverview, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area.Scream At The Wall Cameraman at the Horror and Hotties film festival in Tampa, Florida.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 9:00 AM - Tampa Indie Film Log for Filmmaker C. A. Passinault

When Will It Happen?

I always hear this question. The question which I have to counter with is “Do you know enough about business toThe all-new Reverence short film - A new script, new characters, new story, and new cast. To be filmed and released in 2009! comprehend the importance of building a foundation to support the continuing endeavors of dominating a market and retaining your lead over competitors?”
I’m on the right path, and I’ve always known that.
I don’t take shortcuts. I don’t believe in it. Shortcuts sometime pan out to temporary success, but they backfire when they create a benchmark of expectations which cannot be maintained. When subsequent follow-ups to the “one hit wonder” fail to live up to expectations, the credibility hit that results is often enough to end careers and businesses. Taking shortcuts is bad business, period.
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Even if it takes a lot longer and costs more initially.
I’ve been building a foundation. It’s taking a long time, but the end result, and the resources that will be available to me, will be worth it.
Some may say that I am about ideas and investments. I’ve invested a lot into infrastructure and support resources. For example, I own more domain names and web sites than anyone else that I know of in the Tampa Bay market, and that includes advertising agencies, incubator companies, and web designers. Early results? Remarkable. This is the main reason that my opinions are the most widely read in this market, and it is one of the main reasons that Tampa Bay Film has literally become the voice of Tampa indie film. Tampa Bay Film, the Tampa Bay Film Online Film Festival, and the Tampa Film Blog have become powerful forces to be reckoned with. The power of Tampa Bay Film has been unchallenged, and this will continue in the future as that power increases exponentially, and other support resources come online.
Of course, any investment has short-term drawbacks, regardless of how good your ideas are. There is a long period, when you’re setting up the playing field, where your assets go into what you are building. This has kept me poor (I would have been making films a year ago had I not went out and bought an expensive car, which had more of a drain on me because a lot of my money was already going into my work. The car slowed me down with my filmmaking efforts). I invest, invest some more, and invest even more. I spend long hours every day working on support infrastructure and resources. Any one of the concepts that I work on are gold mines in themselves. Combine with other concepts, however, and it becomes another story altogether. The power of each individual component is amplified as they cross-support each other with a universally compatible format of communication, and the sharing of resources.
I’ve taken the long way. I have a master plan, and it dictates that I have an interconnected foundation in which to support it. Without a foundation, your structure fails. It collapses. I do not aspire to merely make indie films and to sell those films. What I am working on is too important for me to accept being like everyone else, and taking the easy path would sell myself short. It would also sell everyone else short. I aspire to set the standards for indie film making and the business of indie filmmaking, just not in Tampa, but every where else.
I do not agree with the widespread belief that Hollywood needs to be attracted to Tampa Bay to form a “Hollywood East”. I do not believe that Hollywood, and the politics that go with it, have the best interests of Tampa filmmakers and Tampa indie film in mind. This is the main problem that I have with the Tampa film commission and over-rated film festivals such as the Gasparilla International Film Festival. In my humble, but educated, opinion, the Tampa film commission humors Tampa filmmakers and strives to attract Hollywood to Tampa for their film productions. Who do you suppose was behind the formation of a certain film festival, and what do you suppose the primary objective of that film festival is? Is the mission of the film festival in line with the goals of the Tampa film commission? I would like for you all to consider this, especially the Tampa filmmakers who blindly jumped on board with supporting certain film festivals when they were created. Those filmmakers, through either ignorance or greed, worked to sell us all out, and they continue to do so!
In my humble, but educated, opinion, if Hollywood were to come to Tampa, it would kill the Tampa indie film scene. Success here through Hollywood would come at the expense of local filmmakers, because Hollywood would compete with those filmmakers and take their resources. Think that you can compete with Hollywood with the present condition of the Tampa film scene? Think again. It would become much more difficult to make films in Tampa Bay. Who do you suppose would have first priority with local resources such as permits? Who do you suppose would take priority in the media? When The Punisher filmed here in Tampa, the Tampa Bay area turned into a zoo. The media covered the production extensively, and local filmmakers were displaced from using locations that were already planned (reference the production of Unearthed). Everyone went crazy over “Hollywood” working in Tampa Bay, and lost their objectivity. Whatever. The Punisher turned out to be a mediocre film, and after Hollywood used the Tampa Bay market for what it could get out of us, it was forgotten, much like a one night stand. I don’t know about you, but this pisses me off. The Tampa film scene was used, and disrespected, by Hollywood. I don’t know of a single person in the Tampa indie film scene who benefitted from that fiasco. What do you suppose that I feel about efforts to lure Hollywood here for a repeat performance? Is Tampa destined to be the whore of Hollywood? I say no!
The same desperate, clueless Tampa filmmakers blindly supported the formation of The Armory, too, which fell through due to a decision made by the city of Tampa. I am glad that is failed. Why am I glad about that, especially when it would have helped Tampa filmmakers? Because it wouldn’t have. The Armory would have benefitted the video companies that were pushing for it, and that’s about it. Do you really think that Tampa filmmakers would have been able to go there to obtain inexpensive production resources?
Do not get lured into being used to attract your competition here, especially competition which has more credibility and which financially outguns you.
Don’t let the selfishness and the short-sighted nature of others sell out the Tampa film scene. Don’t let greed undermine progress in Tampa film. Some may complain that the former Tampa film commissioners (reference the one before Krista) did not give a crap about Tampa filmmakers, but at least they were honest and up-front with how they felt. Has anything really changed? Personally, I like Lindsey, but I have to question the objectives of the city office which she is in charge of.
In my opinion, Tampa filmmakers are not respected, and the Tampa film scene is a joke. This, however, can change, if we work together and take charge. Don’t rely on others to “save us”, and do not pray for Hollywood to swoop in and create a professional film industry here.
We need to stand on our own two feet and find our own voice. We need to forge our own path as filmmakers. We need to play by our strengths, and succeed without falling into the false promises of emulating Hollywood.
There are films that we can do here which Hollywood can’t do due to risk. We can be creative. We can be smart about filmmaking. We can create our own Hollywood East, without Hollywood, and force the Tampa film commission and Hollywood to respect us. If we form a professional Tampa film community, and create a professional film industry here which forces the world to notice, we can lure Hollywood here because they want to invest in what we are doing, and not lure them here to compete against us.
Nothing good comes easy. This is going to be difficult, and only the best among us will survive, and thrive.
We will not, however, accomplish this by playing it safe and doing things the way that everyone else does it. We need to do things differently, and bring some exciting projects to the table.
I’ll get into how we can do that soon. For now, let’s go back to building the foundation.
My work has taken years, but the main foundation is almost ready to support what is to come.
I started out with an event planning company (which spun off a stage production company due to the legal requirements of the business). I have a photography company. I also have an advertising agency. These companies all support each other, and become stronger than each is individually. This is one reason that my photography and design services company has proven to be unstoppable, and it has literally steamrolled the competition. It dominates the market in every way. I piss of many people in the Tampa photography industry every day, and it is a cost of doing business.
Of course, setting up businesses this way takes a long time. Aurora PhotoArts was founded in 1994, four years after I started my event planning business, and it took six years before I went pro and started making money as a photographer. It took years to learn photography, get really good at it, and to build my portfolio. It cost me thousands of dollars in film and development to build that portfolio (I went pro back in the film days, but these days, even with digital cameras, you still have other expenses as well as the expenditure of time, and it could be pointed out that time is more valuable than money). That portfolio now books me work as a result of that investment. Building a foundation is hard work, and it sucks up resources initially. It’s an investment, however, that ensures success, and helps to achieve market dominance, once the ball gets rolling.
To make it in business, you must differentiate yourself from the competition. Setting up a foundation of support infrastructure is a powerful way to do that, as well as ultimately lowering your operating overhead, which increases your profit margin.
The same goes for Tampa indie film.
When I begin my next generation of indie filmmaking, I will need a way to market my films. Through my event planning company and my stage production company, I now have four film festival properties in the works. Work is progressing nicely. My main film festival, the Tampa Film Showcase, is a monthly film festival and professional networking event series. It is the main workhorse, and also promotes the others. The branding is strong, and it will set the standard for not just monthly film festivals, but all film festivals. It will even be able to compete with the large annual Tampa film festivals, and will consistently demonstrate to their sponsors that it is a better investment. The Tampa Film Showcase was inspired by monthly Tampa film festivals such as The Tampa Film Review, and it fixes the mistakes of that lost film festival series while bringing a lot more to the format. It will be the first professionally produced monthly film festival in the Tampa Bay market, and will have a lot of cool, even revolutionary, features.
I have an annual film festival series, too, which ties into the Tampa Film Showcase and serves as a “destination” film festival for the competing films which will be showcased at the Tampa Film Showcase throughout the year. The annual film festival would also show feature-length films that were not in the Tampa Film Showcase film competition, especially since the Tampa Film Showcase is not formatted for long films. Obviously, I could not debut the annual film festival until the Tampa Film Showcase had at least a one year run of monthly events (er... 10 events- I will explain shortly why it is not 12). The name of the annual film festival will be announced soon. The annual film festival will make other annual Tampa film festivals obsolete, that is, if the Tampa Film Showcase monthly film festival doesn’t do it first.
The third film festival property, which ties into the others just like the others promote it back, is a new type of film festival for horror films. Inspired by the legendary Saints and Sinners film festival series, the Horror and Hotties film festival, and the Halloween Horror Picture Show film festival series, this film festival is unique because it brings a lot of cool ideas to the mix. So much, in fact, that it is a new kind of film festival altogether, or rather, a new species. Why a horror film festival, especially since I voiced seven years ago about how Tampa didn’t need more horror films? Because I have grown to like horror films over the years, and I’ve had a lot of fun attending these film festivals. Also, because I have been noticing a decline with certain horror film festival properties, and am fearing that some of them will go out of business. The new horror film festival, again, will be an annual property, so it may cut into one of the Tampa Film Showcase film festival events just like the other annual film festival would. This means that there is a chance that there would only be ten Tampa Film Showcase events a year instead of twelve. I really don’t want to compromise film festivals by doing two in a month, compete against myself, and overwork my event staff. Since the horror film festival property will be a massive job, it would displace a Tampa Film Showcase event (then again, maybe not... I have decided on this, yet, and I may do 12 Tampa Film Showcases a year as well as the others if it is not a conflict). The horror film festival would be held in the fall, you can bet around Halloween, and it would be special. The other annual film festival would be held early in the year.
There is a fourth film festival property in the works, too, but it is classified. I will say that there would not be a set schedule, and that it would be initiated only as needed, kind of like the U.S. military has spy satellites in reserve and deploys them (launches them into orbit) as they are needed.
Oh, and there is another Tampa film event that I am working on, which isn’t quite a film festival, but it will become very, very important. It will be critical for the advancement of Tampa indie film, and will help to put the Tampa film scene on the map. That’s all that I can say about it, right now. I will have to invest in some more domain names once I finish renewing the ten domain names on my list for next week. I’ll also have to keep them a secret until we are ready to proceed with them, and that could be as far as over two years from now.
I have some sophisticated, long-term plans.
Onto a related subject, and don’t think that I am putting the cart before the horse, because this is not the case with setting up a foundation for what is to come. The subject is filmmaking; primarily, my filmmaking.
I bought a DV camera back in January, and did some experiments with it (some of that footage can be found on the Tampa Bay Film Youtube channel). Although I was very happy with the camera, it was a standard resolution DVD-quality model, and it also could not shoot at 24p. I also found that I could not edit the footage easily because my hard drives were full. Realizing that it would take me time to prepare editing computers, and that I needed to step up to an HD 1080P, 24p camera, I sadly took the camera back. Well, things are about to get interesting.
I am investing in a hard drive next week to back up and archive data. I will be reformatting at least one of my computers for film editing work.
I will be buying the new HD camera next month, and already have it budgeted. The camera is based on the one that I bought before, but it is the HD model. It shoots at 24p, is a 1080P HD camera, and can shoot in a widescreen 16:9 ratio. I will be using this camera to shoot Reverence and some other short films (the second short film script is almost done, and it blows Reverence away in some ways. If nothing more, it will be very controversial). I will be shooting films starting this summer. In another year or so, I will have more indie films under my belt than most Tampa filmmakers. I will also regularly be shooting more film footage than all of the Tampa filmmakers combined (for some secret projects which will be revealed soon).
It is taking time. I know that some people out there have convinced themselves that what I am working on will never happen, and a part of me actually wants them to discount me. I want those who appose me to underestimate me.
It will be worth the wait, however, and this will happen.
Someone once told me that I had no right to talk about Tampa indie film. Another told someone that I was not a filmmaker (someone in the modeling industry once told someone that I was not a photographer, either, and look what happened there! They soon changed their tune). I disagree. I am a filmmaker, and I have invested heavily in Tampa indie film. I have as much of a right to address Tampa indie film as much as everyone else does. Oh, and let’s not forget that Tampa Bay Film is the voice of Tampa indie film. It really is, especially since no one can argue with the logic of what is published on the site, and it dominates all Tampa film web sites. The opinions on Tampa Bay Film are heard by most, and respected by the smart professionals.
I try to respect everyone in the Tampa indie film scene, and I only ask the same in return. Sure, we may disagree on some points, but half of the fun is finding out, together, what works, and what does not. I have an agenda, and it will benefit everyone, if you are only open to it. I sincerely have the best intentions in mind, and really do want to help those who deserve what I have to offer.
There is an excellent chance that what I am working on will not only benefit the Tampa indie film scene, but it will set standards for indie filmmaking everywhere else. A revolution in indie film? I’m betting for it, and it will start with a fleet of some of the best film festivals in the world.
When will it happen? Sooner, rather than later. Believe it. The only way that these things will not happen is if I give up, and I’ve already proven that I don’t give up on what I believe in.
I believe in what I am doing. Soon, many more will, too.


UPDATED 12/09/10

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