Looking Back..

April 3rd, 2012 by Jay


The journey to creating Guidestones goes back 6 years for me.

I was drinking coffee with my friend Patricio Davilla complaining about the difficulties of trying to get any film project distributed in this country (a favourite activity of all independent filmmakers in Canada: caffeine and complaining) and he said to me “Why don’t you produce content for the internet? You can bypass the broadcasters and go directly to your audience”.

Now you need to remember this was six years ago. YouTube was roughly one year old, online video was not particularly sophisticated, and computers were… well, let’s just say they were slow-ish, smartphones were not that smart, and neither was most of the content… football in the groin.

As an independent filmmaker I was much more sophisticated than Dayillia’s suggestion; so naturally I strongly rejected the idea.

A bit of time passed and still nobody was picking up my features, or anything else for that matter, and a thought kept lingering as rejection persisted; the idea of creating content and being my own distributor.

I wanted to take control of my own destiny.

So, without admitting it to anyone, I let the concept occupy a large portion of my brain and thought it over and over… and over… If the content was serialized with cliffhangers, maybe there could be something there.

My father used to tell me about going to the movie theater and watching the old serials; he loved them and he kept coming back. Everybody did.

But seriously, that was all handle bar mustaches and archetypes. Is that really what I wanted to do? Spend my time figuring out unique ways to tie maidens in distress to railway tracks?

This is not what makes an honorable career in the film industry. (Yes I know… oxymoron)

I started to dabble. I wrote a proposal, I raised a little capital, and I tried my hand at a couple of short form content experiments called TRUE FICTION and TEN TO GO. Suddenly three years later, my dabbling had turned into a full-fledged obsession to become an on-line content producer.

Of course I want this job because it pays no money and exacts no respect from anybody…

This is a volunteer proposition that nobody wants or needs, with long hours and a lot of people politely pretending to listen to you, who are impatient to get back to making some real money in the real world.

Well, for some reason I slogged on, going to various interactive conferences across the country, pushing my concept of serialized content, supported by TRUE FICTION and TEN TO GO (both great ideas, and I believe, very well executed and entertaining).

However, in the end these properties were really just short versions of television shows. I tried to raise money to make more… I tried for a couple of years with little success.

By now it’s summer 2008 and two things are happening:

First, people keep asking me what my plan is to monetize the content…to which my answers are; through “sponsorship”, and “t-shirt sales” and the content is going to be “so good people will pay for it!”, yadda yadda yadda.

Second, we are quickly heading into the fall of 2008…when a certain World Economic Collapse occurs… Here I am knocking on doors looking for money for a high risk venture. Well timing is everything, because as I was getting (politely) laughed out of board rooms across the country and then suddenly I happened across a single meeting that would end up changing the course of my career…and I do believe now, my life.

JDF – April 3, 2012