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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Pictures In Motion

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Saturday October 6th, 2012 – Des Plaines, IL

   There’s nothing like having done something yourself to generate a special appreciation of those who are doing it now. Those who were waiters or waitresses themselves tend to tip bigger in bars and restaurants because they know exactly how hard those people work. They’ve experienced it.

   I received a call this afternoon from my director friend Mark Gumbinger asking if I’d like to go to a movie premiere in Des Plaines, IL this evening. He’d been given two extra tickets and didn’t know who else to ask that might enjoy something like that. It was a local production, and I love a chance to support something home grown whenever I can. I know how difficult projects can be.

   It can be even more difficult to get anyone out to appreciate the finished product, and I’ve been in that uncomfortable situation more times than I want to count. Nothing is an ego stomper like a venue full of empty seats. It drives home the point that out of more than seven BILLION people on our planet, less than fifty chose to sample your product on a given day. It’s pretty humbling.

   I know what it’s like to put my heart, soul and ego on the line, so I felt I owed it to the universe to go and support the people who put the work in on this project. Actually, there were four films on the bill and I enjoyed them all. The first three were not more than probably ten minutes each.

   The main event was about a 40 minute feature called “The Just”. It had a lot of interesting plot twists, and for what it was I really enjoyed it. I’ve seen or been a part of Mark’s productions for a while now and I know how much effort goes into putting something like that together. It’s brutal.

   There are all kinds of things going on behind the scenes that those who watch the final product never get to see, and it’s an education and a half being a part of it. It makes a person appreciate a bad project a lot more, as the amount of work that went into it is probably as much as with a hit.

   It’s very easy to be a back seat critic and rip the hell out of something, but I am reluctant to go there since I’ve had so many of my own projects disappoint me. I went in with low expectations, and they were exceeded. There were a few technical snafus as can likely happen, but all in all it was a very pleasant experience. I could see the work that went into all four films, and I respect it.

   Mark pointed out that the people who made these films have the same problems he faces – lack of budget and lack of star power. It’s hard to get any kind of heat going without any recognizable names to attract either viewers or buyers. Maybe some of these people will hit in the future, but it doesn’t help a lick now.  It doesn’t mean there wasn’t any talent there, just nobody was famous.

   Welcome to the shallow world of showbiz, baby! There’s never a shortage of wannabes but the amount of actual “bes” has always been and still is extremely low. That’s just how it is, and I am facing the same game in the comedy world. Wait and see how funny I’ll be if I ever get famous.

   Actually, I won’t be any funnier than I am now but people will THINK I am. That’s how it will be with these films. If anyone in them hits it big, they will be ‘classics’. I’m glad I came tonight.

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