“When I grow up, I still want to be a director.” Stephen Spielberg.
Second in my series of articles on artists I know on my Facebook page, in the biz of art starving artists need canvas, brush, and oils. The filmmaker’s ambition requires camera(s), film, lights, setting(s), actors, and a host of other bare essentials before he can print numerous copies and pay marketing fees and distributors for the rights to show in theaters, before it hits the DVD shelf.
Multiple award-winning filmmaker Layton Blaylock, who I met originally at DeGolyer Elementary in Dallas, has spent 30 years based in Austin whose body of film work covers many genre’s and many parts of the globe. Layton’s director of photography (DP) skills are on feature films, documentaries, TV shows, commercials, and corporate films. He’s a member of the International Cinematographers Guild, and was honored with their Emerging Cinematographer Award.
Layton produced and directed the award winning, feature length documentary “Art From the Streets,” a non-glossy but dignified view of homeless people who’s own artistic talents are scoped in Blaylock’s lens against the backdrop of their life, their views, in their language.
Getting an indie movie to market is Olympian in its competitiveness. Over 30K movies are produced each year. Once in the can, the movie now must begin seeking permissions/agreements for screenings, typically at national, regional, and local film festivals. Getting one is cause for champagne. “Art From the Streets” was an official selection at over 25 film festivals around the world, winning 8 awards. Placement in the festivals is only a step in the process with the goal to attract a distributor. Layton has 3 different distributors for his documentary.
Layton’s directorial skills are in constant demand in corporate films with a long client list of consumer products, government gigs, and public service in his partnership at Inferno Films. Click through his reference sites and you’ll notice grabbing themes of humanity, instant recognition of the human condition, even boldly and successfully risking the use of dark humor in a hospital ad.
In this biz where reputation matters most, relationships are at a premium, and Layton sums up his marketing strategy on getting new business: “Most of my business comes through word of mouth and the web.”
Layton is currently working on a feature length documentary about the history of the agave plant (being produced by archeologists). “We're shooting in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.” Among the uses of the agave plant are that it provides a sap for sugar syrup in health food stores, a root from which the musical instrument, didgeridoo, is made, and distilled product tequila. One wonders how Layton will combine the sweetness, music, and kick into his documentary.