What's in a Shirt?
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
It has been a long time since we've been back to this blog. It was quite the year to say the least, and I am going to assume that statement pretty much applies to everyone. Blanket statements and all.
It's a Waiting Game Right Now
We didn't mean to take a long time between posts. I wrote a decently sized blog a couple weeks after the Corona took its place across the world. It was about division and politics and how we're all on the same side, but I felt like it would have been misconstrued and attacked, leading to more division (even just within my own little microcosm), which would not have been my intention. Some might say being truthful is always the best option (which is true), but I also think that that timing plays a bigger part into it. It's almost like trying not to make a false statement is the better course of action for certain moments? I don't know, so you wait. You don't want to bombard someone with your version of truth when there is so much tension floating around, but you also don't want to give people your dishonesty. Even writing this, I feel hesitant. I guess this blog paragraph is just my preface before that blog post because I do intend on posting it. It has a lot of good information about documentaries and how to dissect film in general.
This blog post was originally going to be an introduction into screenwriting, but I went off on tangents. For that I apologize. Next one, I promise.
Something that we have done recently was take down the full movie off of our YouTube Channel. The opening scene is still up, but we had a lot of little instances pop up that changed our course. The first was that another film conveniently titled "Beyond the Shadows" was released a couple of months or so ago on their YouTube channel. It was a good and bad circumstance for us. Good because we had an influx of new viewers. Bad because most of those new viewers were definitely not in our target audience's age range. Our lovely fans might say that our "Beyond the Shadows" is for everyone, but when you are expecting a documentary about addiction and end up with a mockumentary about native ghost massacres, you tend to end up asking yourself what the heck happened with life. This was also about the same time we had an influx of one-star ratings. Not sure if there were some deceitful means taking place, but we do like movies that tackle addiction, so it's no biggie.
We also had issues with various YouTube channels downloading our film and then re-uploading it to their respective channels, and we've also had people download the film and then upload to the various torrent sites. That's when you know you've made it, when your film gets put on 123Movies lol. I'm still not quite sure why people wanted to take an already free film and put it on another site, but it is what it is. We plan on re-releasing a slightly-edited version of Beyond the Shadows on our website on October 1st, 2021. We will be charging $0.77 to rent it. Doing it this way helps alleviate both issues above. We had some conflicting thoughts about charging people to watch it, but if we just put it on our site for free, we would run into similar issues again with people downloading it and sharing it through their own channels/sites. Charging people to watch it might help keep people honest. So we went with a low price with 7's in it. I read somewhere a long time ago that when you come across repeating sevens, then it's God’s way of telling you that you are on the right path. So I try to put 7's in everything. I'm guiding you to that path whether you like it or not, America. And Germany who came in second in Beyond the Shadows viewership. Da kannst du Gift drauf nehmen. Did I say that right? Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof...
(EDIT: We will be charging $1.11 to rent Beyond the Shadows because online credit card transactions need a minimum of $1. Another reason that we have to charge people is to make sure people 18 and over are the only ones watching because of the mature content. And another side note is that there are two versions. One with captions and one without captions. Wix is a wonderful website creator. Very simplistic to use, but they dropped the ball on their Wix video player for not being able to add closed captions. Not sure why they wouldn't give that option to their customers. So, if you are in need of, or prefer to watch the film with the captions turned on, click the button underneath for the captioned version. You won't be able to turn them off on that version unfortunately. They are burned into the video. There's always something. Also, we the GGP fam decided on using WIx rather than a local tech person to create our website because there are lots and lots of rules and regulations with privacy and data that we didn't really want to dive into. So just know it is not us that holds your data and private information and what not, but Wix, who has firewalls upon firewalls of protection, so they say. You can find more information about their security here.)
So What's in a Shirt?
When you browse our online store, the first thing you'll probably see is the price and the largeness of our margins. On the surface, it would appear that you are paying $34 for just your everyday, average tee shirt that you can buy from Amazon or Walmart for half the price, which is true. You are getting an average tee shirt that is drastically overpriced that will most likely fall apart after a year or two, or maybe just sit in your closet taking up valuable space, which is probably worse. That drastically overpriced tee however is being split between 17 different people on our end, and probably countless others that make the tee, package it, and ship it. That's how many people forgoed initial payment to work or act in our film. We tried paying everyone at least a little bit, but most people took an even smaller upfront payment in exchange for percentages on the backend. (Side Note: what most people don't tell you when making a super low budget film is that most of your financial resources will be spent on the cast and crew, then locations, and then food. And then batteries. Just something to keep in mind.)
So going further in depth, what your purchase of a tee, a hoodie, or a hat really means is that you are sending a little bit of financial love to 17+ different people. That's what you are really buying. Financial love, baby. Just some good ol' fashioned financial love. I know Jenny recently posted that the profits from our store will go to our next film. That technically isn't true. Officially, it is being split between the cast and crew who took percentage points on the backend of Beyond the Shadows. Unofficially however, the percentages that Dave, Amy, Jenny, and I make are going towards our next film. My siblings and I are fortunate to have normal, regular-paying jobs that keep the bill collectors at bay. The cast and crew are probably doing the same. Some of the actors are going full tilt into their respective crafts however. So yes, the profits will go towards our next film, but they also pay the actors and crew from our previous one. We also plan on giving 20% to small business somehow in the future, but we haven't really made any profit yet so that's on the back burner for now. We're kind of thinking of like a pay for advertisement situation where we pay small businesses to make a post about our film on social media, but we're not quite sure of the specifics. More on that will come.
Our centralized mission is to give people the tools needed to express their own stories. Because when one really thinks on it, that's what we're all doing all the time in today's society anyhow. That's the basis of social media besides the whole government Darpa thing wanting to know every little thing about you and where you've been and what you've been doing. We're all trying to show the world who we are? It's what we're doing when we talk with one another in real life (strangers or friends), online anonymously, or on our tiktok or instagram stories. But with social media in particular, I feel like one's truer self is still hidden behind this almost digital persona that one puts forth. Social media isn't adequately equipped to put forth one's true self (coming from some random person on some random blog). It's adequately equipped to put forth this almost exaggerated version of oneself? We're trying to show the world our perfect lives when every single one of us knows that life is never perfect. We just get the surface of a person, and with good reason. We do what is socially acceptable. We put on one of our many different masks for each respective situation that arises so we don't look like a buncha crazies. If I acted at work the same way I acted around my boys, with random roars and flappy arms, people would think I was probably insane. They would say, "Why is that guy acting like a T-Rex?" And I'd tell them that it was not a T-Rex, but in fact a bear because I honestly don't know if dinosaurs were real, which in turn would make me look even more crazy, but that's just me. I can probably giggle my way out of that no problem lol.
I guess what I'm getting at is when you lose that fear of what people think, that mask that one puts forth to show others a socially acceptable version, there's this freedom almost. That freedom is the interesting part. Hopefully we can convince you to create your own works of art that gives you, as a person, more freedom. No one is getting to know the real you, the real things happening in your life, the real struggles you handle in your day to day. We want to change that. The world wants to see those struggles. I'm not quite sure why. I think it's a mixture of this longing to share certain experiences with another; like how the brain reconstructs an event that a different person went through, mixed with the feeling that someone else felt when they were put into a unique situation different from your own? Trying to find the reason for why we like stories is an interesting concept. Maybe it's innate. Like how is your journey through this physical body going? Are we doing the same things or are you veering off into something completely unknown to me?
When one really gets down into the deep end of a conversation, you tend to realize that there is no average person. Every person is unique and their life stories are just exponentially more interesting than the random small talk that goes on day after day. You have amazing stories in you, and it is my belief that creating some sort of art can bring those stories out. You are the artist. And you should also be the audience. I guess that's what I'm really aiming to do in this conversation: give you the means to truly express yourself for you because that is the most interesting aspect. Don't create something for someone else. That's just showing more of your persona? The audience is you. So we want you to create to show us you, but we don't want you to create something from you because you think it might make other people like you more? People already like you more. I'm doing a very poor explanation of what I'm trying to convey. You will figure it out when you start creating whatever it is you want though. It's this transition of creating to show the world you, still clinging to some mask to impress others, which will probably turn people off, and then persevering to create to only impress yourself, which will draw people towards you? Typing this whole analogy out felt very Jungian, which I have mixed thoughts about because I didn't plan on all of this coming out Jungian lol. I honestly do not care if our films make any money. I can work my regular, every day job while shooting a film every couple years or so forever. And that's what we want for everyone, this delicate balance of work and self expression.
This is also the reason why Hollywood is this old power structure that has refused to change its ways. They are creating for audiences. They do all these marketing and analytical things to mold their films into something they think the audiences want, so they can make money (coming from a random company trying to sell you their indie film/shirt/hat). It seems outdated like they're trying to create an algorithm to make a film that will be the most beneficial to them financially. Now, some might say that it's called "Show Business" for a reason. You can't have the show without the business and I get that, but I also feel that it's just inauthentic. Do we really want a phase 4 or phase 5 or whatever phase they're on from Marvel? They all just feel the same to me. Granted, I really liked Zach Snyder's Justice League. I thought he knocked it out of the park. The powers that be should have put that out there to start, but it didn't follow their formula. Like this is how you should make a film to make the most money, when in reality, it should have been to make the most authentic film that you can.
That's all for now. I'm probably all over the place, but I felt like I needed to get certain things out there before I can actually focus on things people might want to read? Idk, hopefully you like reading our random minds. Maybe I'm just writing for myself. It's funny re-reading this last paragraph.