The past few years I have been stagnant. A few projects came out, but those were slow and painful to come. Like pitch - waiting eons for the next drip. After ten years of pursuing my dream of becoming a filmmaker, I realized I had hit a plateau some years back. Complacency had its claws in me and I was ignorant of its grasp. I had stopped pushing, stopped taking risks, stopped evolving, stopped growing
Last year I woke up. I started making steps to remedy my predicament. I produced my first short film in six years (Six years!). This was a big step, but it was still slow. Over the past year I have been gathering steam, gaining momentum. I turned my attention to honing my writing, learning how to tell a better story because, when it comes down to it, telling stories is the essence of what I yearn to do. Sure, film is my chosen medium - I love the unique devices it offers me to convey my narrative - but even if that medium was inexplicably taken away by the gods tomorrow I would still want to tell my tales somehow.
Yet, as I buckle down on the craft of writing, I will not neglect the production side. I hope to constantly produce shorts, sketches, micro-sketches, anything that I can produce out of pocket. After In the Pines, my low budget feature, I got too hung up on procuring funding and lost sight of what was really important. Tell your story no matter what. If you can't afford to tell it the way it is, tell it a different way but, goddamnit, tell it.
I think sometimes the best way to move forward is with a fresh start. A re-branding or reinvention of sorts is what I need. So I leave the Engine 13 Productions monicker behind. It was full of cobwebs, rusty objects, and antiquated ideas. Moving forward I will operate under my own name. Pushing my stop motion, my puppetry, and my love for off-kilter, anachronistic art direction I hope to slowly forge a brand for myself. I want people to associate Chip Johnson with a unique form of storytelling.
I plan to bridge my style across other mediums as well. Along with Victoria Davis and Jacin Buchanan, I have started an instagram account for Death. Using the costume we constructed for Death at the Bus Stop we will post pictures of Death in mundane, everyday circumstances and hanging out in various public spaces. We want to eventually take Death across the country, stopping at tourist traps, and documenting the whole thing with social media. I also hope to develop numerous outlets for my goblins that were constructed for Closing Time. I want my characters to have lives outside of their initial films. It's all about infusing a brand on who I am and what I do.
My old website for Engine 13 was clunky, cluttered, and hard to navigate. It was a nightmare trying to update it. This new website will be simpler, cleaner, and blog-based. I can update my site constantly with news of what I am currently working on, what's coming up, and when new films go live. Being more involved with my audience and the web in general should generate a sense of urgency and immediacy that will not allow me to slack for one second.
I died of stagnation some years ago. I laid in the ground stiff as a board. Then I thrust my hand through the fertile earth above me. Now, crawling from my grave, I look around.
There is a long journey ahead.
This is my first step...