Thursday, April 12, 2012


You can’t spell “FLAKE” without LA. There are many narcissistic people in Los Angeles. They beg you for a meeting and then they don’t show up. They promise to invest in your movie and you meet with them repeatedly and they waste your time and drain your energies and never do a damn thing.
Recently, a friend of a friend from my hometown met with me and passionately pitched to me that he was the best guy to be one of the cameramen on my next film. He had never shot a feature but had done some short films and earned a film degree in New York. He sounded like a used car salesman or someone trying to get me into Amway or a religious cult.
He did have talent. The visual style of his short films was impressive. I forwarded internet links of his short subjects to some director friends and they too were impressed with his talent with a camera.
I sent him a release to sign so he could me one of our cameramen. (I learned from my experience making Sister Aimee that it’s important to get signed releases. When Sister Aimee sold to a distributor, they needed a signed release from every participant so I had to chase down people who vanished form Hollywood. It delayed the film’s release. I got most people to sign releases on set but the handful of people who didn’t were hard to find. Some were in other countries, some were on the lam.)
Back to the charismatic cameraman. Months went by. No release. I asked and asked and asked. Finally I decided I can’t wait, I need to get going. It’s been a while since he had the paper. I told him I was going to get someone else because I never got the paperwork back.
“Why didn’t you tell me that was important, Richard? You should’ve reminded me better.”
Flakes often have “Borderline Personality Disorder” (Google it for a list of symptoms). People with BPD will blame you for their flakiness. They are the type of people who don’t show up for a meeting. A meeting you agreed to at their insistence. When you confront them about the no-show, they turn it around and blame you.
“How did I know you would show up, Richard?” they say.
I have a two flake rule. Someone can flake once and I give grace for the fact we are all human. But when they flake twice, they are on the potential flake list and I pull back. The artist must be careful about getting involved with flakes. Flakes are in constant drama and trauma. The artist must keep their drama on the stage and on the page, not in their life. The successful filmmaker must keep the drama in front of the camera, not behind the camera.


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