Every now and again I like to veer away from the norm and interview some of the folks I’ve met along the way. Today, my interview is with Indie Filmmaker, Victor Greywolf. He and I both wrote guest blogs for Amused Now and I took an interest in his blog topic in dispelling myths.
Victor. Thanks for saying ‘yes’ to the interview.
V: Thanks for having me.
Where are you originally from?
V: New York State. I grew up in Central Islip, which is in Long Island.
How did you get into filmmaking?
V: It was an act of desperation.
Really? Please explain.
V: I developed an interest in it via watching movies since my parents were movie buffs. I watched ALL kinds of movies cartoons. What child doesn’t, right? I’ve always had a great imagination and people said I wrote great stories. I also did stand up and draw my own comic books.
V: By 2004, I’d been in 3 films, none of them ever premiered. I was thinking to myself that if I wanted to find out if I could’ve been assured an acting career, I couldn’t do it with people. I felt very desperate for a very long time, and I finally realized that where
I am located, the talent agencies don’t want to take a chance with people unless you are famous, and there’s no way someone who is unknown can get out there. The only way was going to get anywhere, is if I do it myself. Filmmaking, as I stated, was nothing than an act of pure desperation. I didn’t even want to get into it, but it was either or sit on my ass all day hoping for that one chance.
You mentioned doing stand-up comedy. Did you do that while you lived in New York?
V: No, I was 16 when I moved to Chicago, biggest mistake of life. I did stand up from September 2, 1999-September 25, 2005, and again once in of 2006 The last time was in a college when they had an open mic in 2012. Haven’t done it outside of recording some albums, from 2002 on. All in Illinois.
What was your best experience with it?
V: When I was on Cable access in May of 1999. And also when I did a paid gig in 2004, along with my final night in one club in Orland Park, IL in 2003, when I had my first album, and left, and again in 2005, when I left Oak Lawn. I had two albums out at the time I did this.
That’s a bunch of wonderful experience! I mentioned the blog you wrote for Amused Now int the intro. I love how you dispelled so many myths about ‘making it.’ What challenges did you face when you started making films?
V: Well, I started out in 1994. In 1994 mind you. There wasn’t
a lot of things that would help you, unless you were wealthy (like Rockefeller, or the
movie stars) or knew a person who was good with media and promotion. It was just getting there. Sure, people can record on computers, or at the time, cassette recorders, or their basement or garage. Many still do. After all, Amazon, Ramones, and Disney started in those mere humble places.
Hey, I’m an 80’s kid! I know exactly what you’re saying. If I loved a song and couldn’t buy the cassette, there was only one way to have it. Get blank cassettes and wait for the song to play on the radio!
What were your other challenges?
V: I was never good promoting myself, or marketing myself, and that is the biggest challenge of them all, if you can’t get yourself out there, it’s fruitless. Another challenge that I face day is getting an agent and/or manager. Often they only want to help someone out if are known, but if you can’t get yourself known, how can they expect to get you known. It’s like a catch 22, and it never gets anyone anywhere.
Another is trying to get a legitimate following. The so-called followings that a lot of
people have is an illusion, and let me tell you why: Many times, you think you have a lot people liking you, and then you find out it was a joke. It happened to me on twitter
and Facebook. I believe that social media is nothing more than crap, because it is very People are very vindictive in this business, and the only person in your
corner, as I told someone in a cinema magazine, the only one in your cheering section is and you alone. No one person ever has the legitimate following that they claim. I ask people how do they know that some or most of the followers they claim to have, some people they blocked from their sites, social media aren’t those same people various names? This is a very vindictive business, and it isn’t for everyone. I
guess it is maybe for the best I don’t have a following, but it is a double edge sword at I also don’t have haunting stories such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, some of the
reality TV stars, Justin Bieber, etc
V: I understand where you’re coming from. But for people at the top, the public has a ‘love them while they’re up, kick’em when they’re down’ mentality, which is awful of course. We have to use social media to our advantage. I’ve met some wonderful people because of Facebook and Twitter that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
V: The challenge is getting away from the toxic situations, such as liars and
illegitimate followers. Trying to enjoy life can be very hard when you get a lot of
conflicting things in your life, such as wondering if you threw your life away, or if you
really succeeded. When you hear conflicting statements people tell you on the definition of succeeding, you don’t know who to believe anymore. Many times it blows your self-esteem.
I think we have to get to a place where we don’t base our success or self-worth on the definition of others. We have to value ourselves first before anyone else will. But at the same time we have to realize we can’t please everyone and shouldn’t try to.
Where are you in your journey now, Victor?
V: Well, I recently completed a holiday album (No musicians, since it would be a lot of conflicts, and not only that, but dealing with a lot of drama, so I only recorded myself singing generic holiday songs on my computer. I am also working on my anti hero origin graphic novel. And possibly starting to shoot a movie when I can. I finished a stand up concert in 2015, and I am getting ready to submit it to some film
festivals. Also, I completed a comedy album last year that I plan to start selling on where I have my other two albums. I make albums every few years.
You sure know how to stay busy. I read on your IMBd Page that your were writing a book or recording an audio book. Can you tell me more about that?
V: Well, I taught a course in Chicago in 2013. I decided that
since a lot of people were in the same boat as I am with being frustrated with making
movies, and I thought, with all the books I read that were getting people nowhere, why not try what I used in my experience, and see if it would help aspiring film makers on a low budget see if there is a chance for them to at least get something off the ground, and maybe have a chance to make some of their dreams come true.
In my writing journey, I’ve encountered tons of ‘nay-sayers.’ They’ll tell you in two
seconds that you’re not good enough, it’s too hard, it’s not worth trying, etc. I run from
those people as fast as I can. they don’t want you to succeed. However, I seek out the ones who are positive, uplifting, and supportive. I hope people find that in your book.
V: That is why I wrote my book, audio-course, whichever you choose to call it, to help people. I hope it does, but people have to be willing to do the work, and it is a hard job, because there is no “magical” book that is going to do it for you, or give a one stop solution fits all, and that is where a lot of people fail. I hope it will give people a chance to make something happen, once I release the book.
Totally agree. We absolutely have to put in the blood, sweat, and tears. If we’re not willing to do so then we don’t want it bad enough. Just my little opinion…
Who supported you on your journey?
V: Believe it or not, nobody, because they never believed in me, except in writing. Writing was the one thing nobody ever attacked. No real support, but my teachers and parents encouraged it, since they saw I was very good at writing in general. I wrote a lot of things, short stories mostly.
That’s wonderful. Who have you looked up to? Like who is your hero?
V: Today, the only person I could look up to is myself, since so much of mainstream society as a whole, is nothing more than social hypocrisy, bulls*** and a let down. Maybe those who fought against it, like Mae West, and the guys who made the movie “Behind the Green Door” might be someone I could look up to, and that madame in New York who ran a brothel out of her apartment since they were defying society, on their hypocrisies and bullshit.
As a kid, I would probably say Walt Disney, Charles Schulz, Dr. Seuss, and other cartoonists. Lou Scheimer, Bill Cosby (before the allegations) Laurel and Hardy, Ralph Bakshi, Bruce Lee, The three stooges, and others I forget at this moment. I guess voice-over actors Mel Blanc and Gary Owens could’ve been considered a childhood hero since I used to do a lot of impressions of actors and lines in movies, so maybe him as well. Today, my heroes are Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, Rodney Dangerfield, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter North, and Katie Morgan.
I think we all need to remember that just because the media says something doesn’t make it true. And just because they say it loudly over and over again doesn’t make it more true. I know Bill Cosby is a hot topic so I’ll leave it at that.
Victor, good luck with your album and audio book. I appreciate your time wish you the best in your journey. Thank you!
V: Thank you. Take care.