The best comedies are the ones that first awaken dread and disbelief. You almost can’t believe the territory of this story is being revealed in public, because it previously was locked away in your psyche – too embarrassing, too painful, too scary, too tender. But, when the protagonist continues his bumbling journey, maybe out of a secret recognition of the heart, you start to laugh. By the end of the movie, you turn to the guy on your left, then the lady on your right and realize that the territory of this story was locked in everyone’s psyche and now….you are not alone.
Storytelling is my core passion. It takes many forms – acting, writing, directing, producing, even forming this company, Fatelink Productions. It is just as good a purpose as any other and one we hope to execute by producing timeless and compelling stories as movies, new media projects and plays.
I believe storytelling is different than escapist entertainment. Escapist entertainment distracts and relieves the pressure of everyday living. These days, it is often created with the purpose of making obscene profits. Great storytelling is engaging and funny and relatable, but also reveals hidden territories of the soul and inspires a better way of living. Storytelling provides nourishment for the audience, while escapism feeds our media addiction. At Fatelink Productions, we aim to be great storytellers rather than profiteers off escapist entertainment. Clarity is key to success. And we’re not against profits! We just trust that a fair profit will follow adherence to our purpose.
In my limited experience, the best ideas start as fortunate accidents, but they rarely get finished without a lot of work and a way of working that makes sense. So, at Fatelink Productions, we believe in the organic development of the material, performances and visuals of a project. This means, we believe in rehearsals, heart-to-hearts over coffee and pissing each other off sometimes. We believe that creative contributors are responsible for making adjustments as new insights bubble up from the unknown and come up against technology and each other. The only way to integrate good ideas and eliminate bad ones is to spend the right amount of time preparing and to keep in constant touch with our intuition. With Dumbass Filmmakers!, we rehearsed every Wednesday night at my apartment beginning five months before the shoot and had marathon sessions to discuss storyboards, shot ideas and script revisions that surfaced because of what we learned.
If you don’t have great creative collaborators when making a movie or mounting a play, you’re pretty much screwed. At Fatelink Productions, we believe in developing positive, long-term relationships with creative collaborators. Elizabeth Gordon, our co-creator-producer-lead actress in Dumbass Filmmakers! also produced Winner Takes All and The Sermons of John Bradley. Melinda Hughes plays Nancy in the series, but also served as associate producer and is producing the short film Karmacapades. Chris Friend, who edited Dumbass Filmmakers! and designed this website, also did the storyboards and provided insights integrated into what you are now reading. It is limiting to think of someone as talented in only one way, so we appreciate the many talents of our creative gang.
Stories are a gift from the unconscious. So it’s important to stay as true as possible to how they are given to you. It is only relatively recently in human history that storytelling was expected to produce huge windfall profits and fame. This is especially true of the movies. All too often, the demands of casting celebrities and entertainers for financial reasons obscure the original story. Maintaining perfection with regards to production value and ever-escalating special effects have also become an obsession with some, driving up the costs of movies and thus, the need for assurance on the profit front. Luckily, because of technological developments, it is now possible to create good production values relatively cheaply. At Fatelink Productions, we believe that the quality of the story and talent should take precedence over the importance of production values or “star” names. After all, capturing the story at hand is generally more important than a crane shot or millions spent on a celebrity. And the best way to continue taking risks is to keep costs down and prevent an explosion of unneeded executives. For this reason, we believe in deriving the money needed for production from one of two ideal sources – the audience itself or individuals willing to become equity investors in an individual project. Is this idealistic? Perhaps. But with the costs of filmmaking dramatically reducing, we believe it is also the most realistic, ethical and inspiring way to fund a project. In fact, we raised about 10% of the budget of Dumbass Filmmakers! through crowd financing before the show ever premiered. We have faith!
Thank you for your interest in our first webseries, Dumbass Filmmakers! It’s a hopeful, human comedy and we’re proud of it! If you enjoy it, please spread the word and help us provide quality stories for you for many years to come.
All the best,
Hunter Lee Hughes
Founder, Fatelink Productions