My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” – My 2003 Business Plan & Financial Projection for EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE


After I was divorced in the early 1990s, I ended up living in a small apartment in Hollywood, near La Brea and Franklin, three blocks from the Chinese Theater. I scrambled to make a living, to be creative, to make movies.

I walk a lot, and always have. When walking a lot in Hollywood in the 1990s, anyone would discover the “boys of the streets” populating Santa Monica Boulevard. This was when people found sex the old-fashioned way: on street corners rather than hookup apps. As a writer and a human being, I was fascinated about how this world of gay boy hookers could exist, and I thought there might be a story there. Then, months later, I worked on a film shoot that took me to the beautiful mountains of Big Bear Lake, far from Hollywood, and remember listening to rural good ol’ boys talking about how they’d throw out any boy of theirs who came out as gay. That, too, fascinated me. Eventually, I wrote a screenplay about the world of boys on the streets who were thrown out of their homes for being gay. It was about the father, and how he had to change when he recognized the mistake he made.

My screenplay EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son got a lot of attention. It floated around some studios for a while (Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros.) but always died there because it was just too edgy. Nobody, in the end, could trust a movie that was about men buying boys.

So, I tried the indie film route. I had made a lot of video and film by myself, but nothing as big as this.

This was way back at the turn of the century. The indie film world was very different than it is today. This was before the near destruction of indie film caused by the triple disasters of the Writers Strike, Digital Disruption, and the Great Recession a few years later. The excitement around “cheap digital filmmaking” was centered on the Canon XL1 mini-DV standard definition camera. If you were cool in Hollywood in those days, you had to carry around an XL-1.

When I looked around at how indie films were financed, I didn’t like what I saw. Too often, it involved telephone boiler rooms with ignorant high-pressure sales people talking ignorant investors (what is commonly called “dumb money”) into investing in something they really didn’t understand. Or it was the enthusiastic but unrealistic kid who managed to talk some used car dealer into funding his movie if he’d put the mistress in it as a star. Too many pushed pie-in-the-sky nonsense to get rich people excited about parting with their money.

I despised that.

My thought (stupid, in hindsight) was to fully educate the potential investors (in those days, there were not a lot of investors who understood the indie film industry).

To do that, I poured virtually everything I understood about indie film into a way-too-long Business Plan & Financial Projection. It was a booklet of about 100 pages of details, charts, history, comparisons, and projections. This was long before we moved to using simple “pitch decks” for concise, brief presentations to more savvy investors.

I recently stumbled across my Business Plan & Financial Projection that I wrote way back in 2003! It shocked me to realize that’s now more than a decade and a half ago. Wow. History.

What’s interesting about this document is that I captured a lot of information about how the indie film industry existed and functioned at the turn of the century. You might find that history interesting; some of you may find it nostalgic. Here is my 2003 Business Plan & Financial Projection for the indie film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son.

By the way, I never raised enough interest or money to get my indie feature film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son made. I always got close … I would call it my “fishhook in my eye” that kept drawing me in long after I should have given up. I will never again do something so expansive again. I learned that dumb money may be the best money — at least those producers who set up boiler room operations with morally-suspect methods usually ended up financing their indie movies. I think of what I could have done if I had simply used honest telemarketers.

The sad thing is, around 2010, interest in EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son perked up again because of widespread awareness and concern about gay teen suicides. And again today, as homophobia is once again raising its ugly head in society and our laws.

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is a screenplay that continues to be relevant and empowering.

My Bumpy Road through “Hollywood” — THE BLENDED SCREENS: WHY SHORT FILMS?


Above the common question “How long is a short film?*” should be the more significant question, “Why a short film?”

Good short films are enjoyable and moving, with stories that can have an impact as strong as good feature-length films or powerful TV series. You can laugh, cry, and be inspired watching a good short film.

But, why a short film? Long considered a sad attempt to mimic the more robust and legitimate feature length film, shorts have often been given … well … short shrift.

Those were the old days.

Today, the entire environment of content, what I term “The Blended Screens,” is changing.

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My bumpy road through “Hollywood” – That time I designed the Hollywood sign


About a quarter century ago – my, how time flies! – I worked on a Paramount Television production from the team responsible for the hit 1980s series MIAMI VICE. It was a pilot starring Edward James Olmos for a proposed TV series called “Hollywood Confidential.” Olmos played a former L.A. cop who now runs a top-flight private detective agency catering to spoiled Hollywood types. (This pilot helped launched the acting career of Charlize Theron.)

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — On set for LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS


As I wander through Hollywood throughout my life, I occasionally work as a background actor, also known as an “extra.” Here is a story about my experience lately when I was a “featured extra” on an NBC mini-series.

This is my stream-of-consciousness report about production experience these days.

The TV mini-series “Law & Order True Crime: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS” was in production in September and October of 2017 and aired as eight hour-long episodes on NBC on Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm from September 26 to November 14. It was produced by prolific producer Dick Wolf’s Wolf Films, based at Comcast’s NBC/Universal lot in Universal City, California. NBC, the “National Broadcasting Company,” is a prominent broadcast network that was one of the original television broadcasting companies.
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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — Starting Over. Again.


Since Middle School, I have been a writer, and was the editor of my school paper in Ninth Grade.

I began in television in high school and became producer and writer for the New Year’s Eve variety program “CELEBRATION” which aired on network affiliate TV stations in Minneapolis for several years. I then helped build and put on the air a new broadcast TV station, Channel 29, and became its Operations Manager as well as Writer, Producer, and Director for in-house programs and clients’ productions. I went on to work for several production companies, including TV production trucks, and went out on my own as an independent Writer, Producer, and Director. My productions included live and taped talk shows, variety programs, holiday specials, sports broadcasts, interstitial segments, concerts, conventions, commercials, and industrials. Minneapolis is a major market area, which Nielson ranks as 15th largest.

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — A VENOM IN THE BLOOD


BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS - Daily Variety

BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS – Daily Variety

Two decades ago, I bought a book.

In producer-speak, that means I acquired the rights via option to make a movie from a book. I knew a TV news reporter, and she had made contact with a reclusive author who wrote a book she thought I might be interested in. Actually, “reclusive” is too weak of a term; we both had determined that the author was in hiding. Contact was difficult and cryptic. Nonetheless, he and I got on the phone, and he figured that I would be someone he’d like to work with to get his book made into a movie, and I liked the deal, too. We sealed the deal without ever meeting.

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — CONSUMED BY A PASSION PROJECT


 

FILMMAKER Magazine

FILMMAKER Magazine

Michael R Barnard photo 500 px

How Is a Filmmaker Consumed by a Passion Project?

The following is a guest post from Michael R. Barnard, who is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign for his film, Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son.

For many years, I have been chasing a motion picture project that has completely consumed me. It’s called Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son, and I first began writing the screenplay in 1998. Having come so close to making the movie a few times, I keep referring to this project as “a fish-hook in the eye” because it’s impossible for me to ignore and walk away from.

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MICHAEL R. BARNARD | IMDb | LinkedIn | Resume

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — WHEN PRINCE WAS KING


PRINCE

PRINCE

[UPDATE: This was written long before my friend Prince passed away. I still miss him and am still shocked.]

A friend just now found and sent to me this post from  Prince.org, the Prince fan site that described how I pulled off the production of Prince’s ALPHABET STREET video on impossible notice! It is from the book, Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince by Alex Hahn. Funny that I’ve never seen this before.

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — The battle to make an independent movie


One of the odd things about being an independent filmmaker is the battle to get into production. Those of us who don’t have well-to-do families or impressive connections to powerful people have to cultivate other ways to fund the production. This is especially true today with all the turmoil in the indie film biz and the economy in general, but it’s always been true anyway.

When looking back on many years of trying to get A FATHER AND SON into production (at one point the title was EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son), I realize there were many experiences that I call “a fishhook in the eye.”

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