First things first, the new STORY site is up and as beautiful as ever. I am a huge fan of HTML5, but this is a great example of why flash is not dead.
The site has some videos of past talks, and I watched Sean Astin talking about his process for making a film adaptation of the acclaimed children’s book Number the Stars with his wife. They are raising 100% of equity for the film prior to lining up distributors, cast, etc. This style of producing the film goes against the grain of traditional large house production companies. And I love it. He had the following to say about his decision to
self-publish raise the funds themselves:
My commitment to doing it this way I was always thinking about it as protecting the creative process…But it actually is the creative process. The journey to get the movie made the way we want to make it requires all the discipline and sensitivity of an artist. I’m willing to fail and do it this way and fail rather than compromise.
This is a concept I have tried to wrestle to the ground in my own work, namely my book, Creative Theology (which you can get in print in a few short weeks!). I wanted to create a book that was a fusion of thought and art. The form needed to match the concept.
The design is too good to be tucked away and forgotten. The ideas in the book are presented in such a way to begin a conversation, not end one. The writing is terse and lean. The book is designed to be out, where it can be skimmed, referenced and spur on conversations about faith and creativity.
I pitched the book to a literary agent, and his response was “no thanks.” Of course, I don’t have a large enough platform to mitigate the risk of a book that is very expensive to print. I get that. I also can’t take the content and put it on white pages with black ink, to drive down the printing price to a comfortable margin. It wouldn’t work.
I’m willing to do it this way and fail rather than compromise. And that’s a terrifyingly wonderful place to be in.
So I became the producer and the artist. I have skin in the game, even after a successful $5,000 Kickstarter campaign. Financial failure is a real possibility, and I knew that going in. But I’d rather fail financially, and have produced the best book I can, than create something that lessens the risk.
You know what they say, high risk, high reward. Or maybe high risk, garage full of books…