Charles Forman. Stuff I write down.

September 18, 2013

I’m making a movie. 

I don’t know anything about making video games anymore. Now, I don’t know anything about making movies.

After a lot of thought, I have decided to step down from my job so I can focus my energy on developing a movie. I know this seems like it comes out of left field to some people. However, I think most people will understand that while it’s crazy, I have to make movies for my 10 year old self.

I was born in 1980 and the only forms of art that mattered to me as a kid were video games and movies. For a creative kid in a mundane suburban town, I could explore fantastic new worlds for hours at a time. The fantasy wouldn’t end after I stopped playing or watching. I thought a lot about what was behind the hills in Super Mario Bros. I thought a lot about what I would do if I dreamed up the schematics for the orb in The Explorers. They had a huge impact on the way I think about the world, and are directly responsible for many of the things I’ve created in my short life so far.

All the best things I’ve ever done are things I wasn’t supposed to be able to do. Anytime anyone told me to do something, I questioned why, and more specifically why not the opposite? Go to school to become an engineer? No, get a job and help write the book on things they weren’t even teaching yet in school, which is how I learned how systems work and how to be a craftsman. Keep a job? No, get an office with what little money I had to work on my experiments, which is how I met wonderful people to collaborate with. Use the money I raised to make a dating site? No, it would be more interesting to make a network of multiplayer games, which is the work I am most proud of so far. Going the different route is the only way I know.

People are dreamers. As children, we don’t know the limits of the world. We try to push as many boundaries as we can. We want to know what is in every drawer and what is behind every closed door. For every door we can’t open or thing we can’t know, we imagine what the possibilities are. As we get older, we understand the confines of the systems we live in.. gravity, the fact that there are just clothes in the closet and not monsters, the fact that the refrigerator door is not a portal to another dimension, but a reminder to go to the grocery before 7pm. I want to go back to a time where behind a closed door is a world only limited by my imagination.

The love you put into things cannot be measured, but people can feel it. When I use a really great product, play a great game, listen to a great song, or watch a great movie, I can feel the great amount of love and thought that went into the creation. Sometimes it feels like a particular piece of art is 10 years in the making, and probably actually is. If you are earnest, you respect people, no matter what their age or disposition, to give them nothing less than the most amount of love you can put into something. Lately, it seems like people are just crossing items off a checklist to create art. I see it in products, modern video games, and especially in modern movies. This is probably nothing new. For every Flight of the Navigator, I probably watched 10 Mac and Mes. When you experience something that has a ton of love put into it, it’s inspiring. It makes you feel like the world is now a better place, and because of it, it’s your responsibility to do your part to make the world a better place.

I’ve been watching technology allow people to do amazing things. I’ve also watched the limits of technology create opportunities for people to run directly up to those walls to fight them, and win. Specifically in regards to photography, digital has almost completely overtaken film. It’s a rare thing when the scalable cost of the technical act goes from super expensive to effectively 0. At this point, anyone with a few thousand dollars of tech can shoot video that is completely on par with most things you have seen in movies. The first time I shot video with a DSLR, I knew I would be making a movie soon. Anyone with a DSLR and a great story has the potential to make a great movie.

However, as the ceiling of technology is leavened, the quantity of amazing things created are not in lockstep. In the early 2000s, anyone with a microphone and access to the Internet (everyone and almost everyone) had the collective power to change the way audio content is created and distributed from a democratic perspective. It was supposed to be the podcast revolution. While this did, for a short period of time, grow in quantity, it did not in quality. The reality is that you still have to put a lot of love and thought into something, and actually just do it. What’s worse about rising technology is that it allows us to feel more comfortable just rising to the existing bar of quality of content, and patting ourselves on the back for every incremental step above that. However, beautifully, someone will come along unaware of the way things are done, not knowing it is even difficult, blaze past the bar, and making everyone else look bad. I’ve seen it many times, and I love it when it happens.

I began seriously thinking about making a movie about a year ago. I was looking for every excuse not to do it, given that I had just started another company and everything was going well. One time when I came back to NYC, I met Robert Rodriguez on the street. I told him I wanted to make a movie. He told me I should stop everything and do it. I told him I didn’t know anything about making a movie. He told me that it was the best way to make a movie.

I came back to NYC a few times and talked with a bunch of movie people, again, looking for people to tell me my idea was bad, and I should stay away, but instead, everyone thought I should do it.

The only thing that is a little discouraging is how much money some people say things are going to cost. So far no one has given me any good reason why anything will cost a lot of money. I can understand how things can easily balloon out of control, but I cant help but think of similar times when people told me that I couldn’t make video games, or that it was going to cost a ton.

The movie production and distribution industry seems like it is something that is long overdue to be taken apart and put back together in a different form. I can’t expect to be a part of that, but if I figure out a thing or two, at least I did my part. It’s an exciting time with a huge amount of change in way movies are made and distributed.

So I’ve moved back to NYC to begin developing this. My goal is to make something really great for very little money. I have a good story that I’m focusing on making into a great one. I really don’t know much, but I’m interested in learning from great people. I’ve been building my own tools, doing experiments, and thinking about things from the perspective of someone that doesn’t know what they don’t know. I’m going to write, direct, shoot, edit, model, animate, composite, and color myself, and hopefully get some help from people that can do things better than me along the way. I hope to make something good enough that I can make another! I can’t expect that will happen, but I’m going to put as much love into it as I can.

I knew that if I didn’t take the time to make this, I would regret it.

I’d like share stuff I make along the way and get peoples feedback and ideas. If anyone wants to hear more in-depth of what I’m working on, I’d love to talk about it with you!!! Email me or give me a call: 917-696-5465 (If I don’t answer, leave a message and I’ll call you right back).

Hi! My name is Charles Forman. I love to make stuff I dream up. A while back, I founded a videogame company called OMGPOP that developed Draw Something, that sold to Zynga. Remember that? No? It's ok. I also co-founded Picturelife, a great place to store and organize all your private photos. I am originally from Chicago, and I've lived in Tokyo, Seoul, and New York City. I am currently living in NYC and I'm working on developing a movie.
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