March 11th, 2008 14:16 EST
Behind The Scenes of Artemis Eternal
The Artemis Eternal film project is newsworthy not so much because of the film itself or the plot, but the approach and philosophy applied by the innovative Jessica Mae Stover.
“Filmmaking isn't anything new”, Jessica admits. “What's new is what we are doing, and the quality level at which we are doing it.”
However, by withholding story details (so as not to spoil the story), the project may be perceived as a questionable venture, and dismissed by many.
Jessica Mae elaborates that, “With a project like this, the (Artemis Eternal) site speaks more to anything to do with theme, execution and art direction than a logline (or synopsis) would.”
Unfortunately, most people who find this project aren't familiar with Jess, and therefore what she offers. They've been conditioned to expect conclusions and artifacts handed to them fully formed and explained upfront. Which is exactly what Jess is not giving them. Most won’t bother investigating or thinking on their own. They won't exert the effort to read her blog or books to get a sense of her style and skill, because they consider the backlog of material too cumbersome/ intimidating for them to get involved… not to mention unknown. The public—including mainstream news media-- is typically more interested in tangible material than ephemeral conceptions and philosophical ideals. Plus, most people tend to be skeptical, lazy, apathetic or risk aversive. Even many of those who can appreciate her vision and style would gladly support this project… if only they knew what they were supporting. They don’t know what the film is about, or anything about Jessica-- so are reluctant to support her film on a leap of faith of what might be.
Addressing these concerns, she says, “We have an educational curve to handle there, because studio marketing has trained us all up very well. It's no good long term for us to work that way. You can't sell out to buy in, and then change things later.”
In other words, she is commendably not willing to sacrifice the integrity of her artistic vision or methodology by catering to lowest common denominator assumptions-- just to get the film made. Even if that ultimately means the project doesn’t acquire enough financial support to get completed. You don’t defy the status quo by participating in or contributing to it. While the film is important to her, the approach she seeks to foster is more important. Her goal is not to just make an awesome film, but to advocate an excellent alternative model for film making.
People generally expect the focus to be on the film, rather than filmmaking philosophy… so they don’t quite know what to make of this. They clearly don’t realize the significance of a defining production ethic, nor comprehend why they should care so much about an obscure movie that’s-- as yet-- little more than an idea.
With a hint of frustration and fatigue, but also hope and passionate devotion, Jess clarifies, “What we are really sharing is a concrete philosophy, approach and evolution of a model (community patronage). That is more tangible than anything to do with story concepts. That is something else that I hope audiences come to understand about film, and something that anyone involved in the industry ought to already know, if they're worth their salt.”
Artemis Eternal is fundamentally a community funded and promoted film; made with the audience and the sanctity of the movie going experience in mind. The audience becomes co-creators in a revolutionary process that respects film and film lovers, to make an excellent movie they want to see."And the story there is YOU and YOUR INVOLVEMENT,” she stresses with joyful enthusiasm and pride. “Yes, we are excited about the actual film and story, but the people who will promote traffic through want to know what's fresh about AAE, and that's the WAY (process), not exactly the WHAT (product).”
“This movie does not happen without you!”
Regarding the purpose of artemiseternal.com, she states that “We're working on giving you something that makes it easier to share this "WAY" idea with friends/press/blogosphere.”
“In actuality, the SITE WORKS GREAT. There's nothing wrong with it; it requires no backstory or reading of J.Sto books (although many new people have both donated and bought Aidmheil [her book], which surprised me). THE SITE WORKS. The issue is that no on has seen it. Still under 3500 individuals have seen that site. Statistically, we are very successful.”
Encouraging us to join her team in an evolution of filmmaking, Stover urges, “We need help elevating our story.”