Film Connection Letter | BrigaDoon Productions



 

Brigadoon to me means once in a lifetime, it's an old Irish folk tale that goes every one hundred year a secret place on earth opens a hole to Brigadoon. There if your chose to go, you live in utopia. The only catch is that you can not bring anyone with you and the hole will not reopen for another one hundred years. A good friend of mine Dr. Linden Schild told me that story and it stuck with me.

 

Every since I was able to jump from my mother's dresser to her bed with a towel wrapped around my neck yelling "superman," I wanted to be in show biz. In this life you see TV and movies and every kid wants to be involved at some level, I wanted to make the shows. As I became older reality set in and the chances of me living my dream were slim. I worked many jobs; good paying jobs with bright futures. Somewhere deep down inside I was not satisfied with what I was doing. I made up my mind and pissed off a lot of people. I'm going after my dream because I do not want to wake up at 50 saying what I should have done what I should have tried.

 

I had no idea how to get into the biz, so I went to the one place I knew 100% could put me in the right direction, the Internet. There I found many schools that could put me on the path, most were two to four year programs which I did not want or had the money to pursue. I found one that said basically I could get in at the bottom and have the opportunity to get to the top. "That's all I need." So I got in contact with them, and in about a week I got a call to explain the program, from a recording of this guy with the classic TV commercial voice.

 

The next week I spoke to that man in person whom I now call affectionately JP (James Petulla), from Film & TV Connection. We spoke for about an hour about how serious I was and how hard it was going to be to make it. One thing rang out in my mind he said "if you cannot take rejection then this is not the program for you."

 

After our phone conversation, within two days I had an interview with my mentor–an independent film company based in the heart of NYC (New York City). "Wow!" He and I hit it off immediately, he set me up with a feature film in the first stages of production called "Above Ground" directed by Jannu Alain. Jannu liked me and in three weeks he was taking me to all the hot spots in NYC. He said, "In this biz you have to keep your ear to the street. You have to be a part of it to be a part of it."

 

I moved 20 minutes outside of NYC to be closer to the action. I worked for Jannu for three months and in that time I received a wealth of knowledge. I met with my mentor once a week to follow my progress and to follow up new leads. He set me up with Lisa France, a great actress/director, and she put me under her wing. Between my mentor, Jannu, and Lisa I was in school, read this book, watched these movies in silence, go here because they need help, etc. All the work I had done until this point had been totally free, no pay.

 

My mentor called me one night and said that HBO was looking for an Office PA (Production Assistant). The next morning I called them. I went in for an interview, but I did not get the job. The next week my mentor called me and said that the people from HBO liked me and referred me to Amen Ra Films to work as an office assistant. Amen RA Films is owned by none other "the" Wesley Snipes. Within a week I was on the set of "Disappearing Acts," and meeting Mr. Snipes for the first time — a pleasure. Amen RA put me to work with one of the best documentary filmmakers of the today: St. Clair Bourne.

 

I had just started a small screenplay for an icast short film contest. In one day five interns and myself made my screenplay come alive with "When Good Food Goes Bad." I started working with the chief editor Andy Fredricks, who showed me all the possibilities and the process of editing. With all these tools I started working on my second film, "When Does It Stop." I wrote, directed, and produced this film all while working for Amen RA Films, getting a new title and US $150.00 a week raise. I did all this from January 2000 until now.

 

Things happened fast for me, it does not mean this is the way it is. I work very hard for what I have, I followed up all leads, made phone calls and asked tons of questions. Right now I'm in the process of editing my film, and looking for funding for my next project, so stay tuned.

 

P.S. If you are thinking about this biz and have any questions give me a buzz anytime, we may be able to make a connections:

 

Sincerely,

Derek Koen
Director