The Million Dollar Crane


Of course, there are advantages that come from being bold, not knowing what you “cannot” do; being unafraid to experiment; being creatively & intellectual free from preconceived limits.  Sometimes a brilliant work will come from an untrained mind.

In film, though, more often, lack of experience leads to failure of the project.  One meaning of failure is not finishing the film.  Another meaning of failure is finishing the film but never having an audience who sees the film.  Another meaning of failure is that the brilliant (if indeed it was) artistic concept does not become fully realized; so nobody, including the creator, knows if indeed the idea was brilliant or just a mind-flash.

A small indie in Seattle managed to raise $1,000,000 for a first-time film written by two writing partners.  The producer-writers were a published journalist and a published poet.  They were notNotyet/not experienced filmmakers.  The story I heard was that one of the writers was flirting with one of the old-time Microsoft millionaires at a party and she gave him a million dollars.  Repeat after me: “A million dollars.”

Diversion alert!


There used to be a time when you could work for Microsoft for 10 years and retire forever from your stock options.  In this town there were a lot of mid-to-late-thirty-something millionaires running around.

Diving deeper into diversion:


Here is a short, bizarre and related story of a badBad/bad business decision.  Once a multi-millionaire myself (on paper) I walked into a very hoity-toity store selling Murano crystal chandeliers.


Old money dresses in designer.  New money (ex-hippies) (me) wear beat-to-shit hiking boots, beat-to-shit jeans and cheap, gaudy, flashy, ethnic, eccentric jewelry.


I was madly in love with a Murano lamp with obscenelySuggestive/floral bulbs, selling for about $90,000.  I had the money.  I wanted it. I walked into this hoity-toity/joint and the sales folks completed ignored me–nay, shunned me–for a half hour.  So, I left and ordered it directly from Italy.

I’m only saying…there were thousands of grubby-dressing rich folks like me running around.  The new look of comfort.  No need to dress to impress when you have worked to success.  Yuck.  That was some badAss/rhyming. This store owner and others like him probably lost business from most of these new rich because of the business-owners’ snooty perception of how a customerOught/to look.

Last paragraph of diversion: Microsoft has since re-vamped their stock program, and you don’t see many of these youngsters with money any more.  So, I am thinking this film angel must have been an older woman, dreaming of a beatnik youth long lost, seduced by the younger writer.

Back to main story. God, I DO ramble.  The completely inexperienced writer-producers did not hire any person who knew jack about filmmaking.  They decided with their largesse to do it their own wayCut their own path/follow no rules.

They decided that the opening shot neededMust/absolutely should be a crane shot.  It was an artistic imperative.  They are idiotsAnd/pretentious in their own way but I get ahead of the story.

  • So, they rented a craneGot a crane op/went on site.

  • Took the crew to Oregon/No suitable locations in Washington/perhaps.

  • Housed everyone in a hotelNot a motel/and shot on the beach.

  • Had no experience directingSo needed many takes/to get it right.

  • Had no experience directingSo weren’t sure what they wanted/thus were unclear.

  • TookAll/day.

  • Then they were doneReturned the crane/paid the bill.

And they had run through their whole million dollar budget.

So the rest of the film was never shot.



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