- Viknesh Silvalingam
Why the need for The Martini?
As an independent producer with no financial backing trying to get a feature film or a show produced is akin to a rock climber staring at the El Capitan to perform a free solo. You know it can be done but it is a mammoth task. A project begins with an idea in your head, and you will be wearing multiple hats; writing the story, figuring out the budget, raising money for the budget, whose going to direct it, locations, crew, cast, schedule, it goes on and on. After a while, hopefully, you will have enough capital to hire a capable crew who will relieve you of those duties. Delegation becomes your responsibility but you will continue to maintain effective oversight. It's after all your Baby.
I began the development of Cold Pressed in the final semester of film school. I had 2 collaborators then, close friends of mine. One was the screenwriter and the other co-producer. We were all aiming to finish school and jump straight into getting this film mad, just like all the other great filmmakers we read about. However, due to the cost of living in San Francisco, both had to move back to their respective towns once we had graduated. So we had to continue our collaboration via Skype video calls, emails, text messages. It wasn't the most conducive of workflow because of the time difference and our different availability. As we got deeper into the development phase, certain details of our meetings were misinterpreted or lost. We had to go back and forth which actually caused friction among the 3 of us, apart from trying to get this film made, we all had a day job and a family to spend time with. Those 2 factors made us be conscious of how we are spending our time. In the end, both of them dropped out of the project for a variety of reasons time commitments being one of them. I continued with the project and when it came to pre-production, due to budget constraints, we didn't have a production office or common workspace. Even though the producing unit was based in the Bay Area, it was still money spent when we had to rent an office space for a day to gather all of our ideas and next steps. For a period, I even had a Unit Production Manager and an accountant based in Portland and Denver respectively. We were always communicating over phone or emails. Again it slowed down the production. I believe that we could have save 2 to 3 weeks of pre-production and money if we had a more structured and collaborative tool to work with on this project. But lo and behold, we somehow made through the entire production and Cold Pressed was completed.
My goal with The Martini, to have a cloud-based software that will enable the filmmaker to collaborate with fellow filmmakers anywhere and anytime. The software is catered for the independent filmmaker who is just starting out in the development phase, this is a period in the project's journey where the filmmaker needs to have the right and likeminded people around, to shape the project and push the project to the pre-production phase.
We all want to avoid the deaded Development Hell !!!