Monday Morning Critic – Five Things I Learned About Film By Making My Own … Otherwise known as the Contemplations of Confessions of a Superhero


It’s weird to think that something Mike Noyes and I wrote almost a decade ago came to fruition this year. It’s all almost a blur at this point. I look at it in terms of points on a line to remember it all in details. It’s also been a reason why I haven’t written this column with the regularity many of my regular readership has come to expect over the near decade since I’ve run it.

Burnout is a real thing, yo, and right now trying to come up with regular columns is hard.

In January of 2009 Mike and I wrote the first draft of “Confessions of a Superhero,” then called “Ten rules of saving the world,” without any game plan on what to do with it. Nearly a decade later we took that initial concept and actually made it. We started writing this before Barack Obama became President of the United States …. And we finished right as his second term is ending.

It’s weird clicking back and seeing what Mike and I did for our campaign. After seeing so many first rate projects not get funded, ones with actual marketing budgets and professional videos, it’s amazing that our cut together video shot on iPhones independent of one another somehow got people to pony up enough to make it. The downside of having a partner living in the Bay Area is that getting there from my native Chicago isn’t a hop, skip and a jump.

It led to us slaving on this hilariously awkward video, at least in retrospect. Like seriously … I watch it now and think “Why didn’t I just spend the $200 and fly out there for a weekend?”

I had no allusions of myself as a filmmaker until Mike and I sat down to do this … doing so gave me an amazing insight into the film-making process that I feel the urge to share on the eve of the first episode of Confessions of a Superhero being released on YouTube. It’s Wednesday at 8am, so watch the trailer and subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss it.

5. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, feels better than that first day on set

I remember standing in front of our entire cast and crew as we prepared for the evening for the first time. It was immediately nerve wracking and exhilarating. The realness kicked in. I almost needed to be pinched, or punched, because we had gone from being a concept into having a dozen people in an AirBnB rental making it real.

I had pictured it as this sort of rousing battle speech that Patton would’ve said, and I imagine a group of seasoned actors had heard similar things before … but it was something special to look around and think “everyone is here because of us.”

No matter what happens … that feeling will never leave me.

4. You can read lines or deliver dialogue …. but not do both

I remember listening to Kevin Pollock’s podcast with John C. McGinley and he related a story about a project he was on. He discussed how the writer was upset that he didn’t get a full 100% fidelity to the lines of his script from the cast and McGinley said something along those lines to him. His point was that some actors work better with some slightly changed dialogue to help them convey the moment the most effectively.

Mike and I went in with this in mind; we thought our script was funny but it was also written from our perspective. We read it aloud with the best words for he and I … and that didn’t work the best for our cast. So we opened the floor to them and let them adapt, with our approval, to how they needed it. It made for a creative effort where they just didn’t show up and read lines until we were happy; they became part of the creative process.

3. It’s amazing the people who come out of the woodwork

Snoop Dogg once said “they all got their cups but they ain’t chipped in” and that is a truth of life when it comes to gin & juice … and group projects. It’s amazing how many people want a piece of the action without having ever sweated through any of the work that we put in before we raised the money. Once we got funded there was a moment of joy that lasted for some time. And then all the cockroaches come out of the darkness, looking for their piece of the pie.

2. My first thought when we funded was one thing Mike and I hadn’t considered

“Oh crap, our parents are going to have to watch this.”

That was the third thing I said to Mike after we officially got funded, thanks to InsidePulse founder Jon Widro. Without him this wouldn’t have happened, in the cosmic scheme of things. It was a funny line but my parents watching this scares the hell out of me. It’s one thing for my friends and strangers to watch this but having my parents watch this is insanely frightening to me. Most likely I keep thinking that they’ll look at me, look at my brother, and wonder aloud “what happened” to make us so drastically different.

1. My confidence is both at an all-time high … and an all-time low

What if people hate it? That keeps coming in and out of my mind. All we can do is release it into the world, and hope people like it.

Show me and Mike Noyes some love by subscribing to the “Confessions of a Superhero” channel right here. We’ll have a giveaway for our 100th subscriber of some swag from the set!

Scott Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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