A Jongleur Perspective on Movie Making
(Commentary by Gary Revel)
I got into the movie business within months of first arriving in Hollywood in 1969. In a meeting with Hal Jon Norman and Titus Moody I was asked to help develop a documentary, ‘The Last of the American Hobos’, and seek a theatrical release for the film. Documentaries are not usually made for theaters so with that and the complex history of the theme it appeared to me that it would be a difficult process. Still; I agreed and first set about writing and developing talent for a soundtrack as that was my particular strong suit.
I brought in Jud Phillips (son of Jud Phillips and nephew of Godfather of Rock & Roll Sam Phillips) to help produce the soundtrack. Together we worked with other writers and talent for the soundtrack and within about 2 years helped to achieve the release of the movie. It opened that year in the local theater at the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.
I was primarily focused on songwriting and music recording but continued to get asked to help with movie projects and regardless that you don’t see my name on many movie credit lists was helpful in the making of many movies.
What I learned was that it’s not all in the first drafts of a screenplay, as many ‘professional’ critics will claim. In many cases great and powerful movies have been developed from nuggets of ideas, stories and not so well written screenplays; creative producers and directors have taken such gems and went on to make some very successful motion pictures.
I continue to get requests to help others (writers, producers, directors, actors) make movies but since I have my own slate of motion pictures in development I no longer have time to do so.
My advice to any who may be seeking help or those who have asked and not gotten advice from me I offer the following:
1. Make movies from stories that you are truly interested in.
2. Don’t rewrite and change your screenplays based on first readings and critiques.
3. Give the project time to develop character of it’s own and feet to give it merit for movement through the process.
4. Work with creative talent who envision the story pouring from the screen in a successful movie that yes, makes money for all involved, not just those who get paid to make the movie.
I hope this helps as I don’t have time to answer every request individually but I wish you the best for your journey in the business of movie making.