I am not used to as of yet reading through arguments where people I don’t know quote things I have said to validate their opinions. Yet I ran across just such a quote by accident seen below from my 2004 Symposium of Justice novel.
“Walk in the woods where there is no path. Live in conflict with those that are superior to you. You will learn, hopefully not too late, that life’s greatest fruits come to those who live a little dangerously. You’ll also find that if you make batters work for a hit, they’ll respect you more as a pitcher. If they get a home run off of you, it will mean more if they earn it.”
– Rich Hoffman, The Symposium of Justice.
I often write the things I do and move on to the next topic never thinking about what impact those statements might have on a reader. I simply offer the words in hopes of provoking thought in those who place their eyes upon my work. I told recently the story of how Peter Facinelli and I came to work on a project together and it all started with us meeting at a film festival. I was at that film festival because a college professor had read my book and wanted to do a film version of the story which matched my own intentions, so he came to my house for a weekend of picking at my thoughts regarding his screenplay version of my novel.
While staying with me during this visit, he continued to compare my work to Nietzsche extensively, which I thought was nice, but not relevant. I made only a passing reference to Nietzsche in The Symposium, but he had taken the dialogue to a whole animated level, which I thought was out of some inner need to attached meaning in his life to important things collected by his mind for the benefit of inner mythology. So I dismissed his appreciation for my work and instead wanted to focus on the shooting schedule for his film and how we would go about it. In my mind I had moved on from the intellectual concepts and onto something productive. That probably has something to do with why he was so shattered when I told him he was a terrible film director when he missed our film festival deadline with footage that was too dark, poorly cut together and virtually worthless. For me, it was just business. I didn’t think at the time that the entire reason he wanted to make the film in the first place was that The Symposium had an effect on him, and he wanted to live out a fantasy of becoming a film director with material he felt passionate about.
At another event that I was at a few years later, I had a fan who wanted my autograph and a picture because The Symposium of Justice had impacted him in such a way. As a person who never seeks autographs or pictures next to celebrities I wasn’t sure what all the hoopla was about. I had recently just returned from Los Angeles where I did the thing with Facinelli and noticed that everyone was taking pictures next to everyone else. So I stood next to whomever wanted to stand next to me for a picture. I didn’t understand it, but I played along. The good thing about Peter is that he made a point to drive me back to my hotel each day after the film shoot, so when we were in the car away from the set I asked him if he got tired of all the celebrity stuff. He laughed and said that he did sometimes, but that it was a necessary part of the job. So when I was at an event promoting the completion of my Symposium project called The Overman I signed autographs and posed for pictures playing along still not sure why anybody would want to do such a thing. An article about that event can be seen from a Yahoo News piece shown below.
JAMESTOWN, OH – Award-winning screen writer, author and stunt performer Rich Hoffman brought his most recent independent film project to Greene County, Ohio in March. Hoffman, originally from Middletown, Ohio, teamed up with Gery L. Deer, managing director of GLD Enterprises & Productions of Jamestown, to make a film that combines live action with the latest in high-definition computer generated imaging.
It took more than 12 hours to film the live action for the five-minute film short. Post production will take more than a month to complete and the film is scheduled to be released following its premier at the 2009 Indie Gathering independent film festival, August 14 in Cleveland.
The script is based on characters in situations introduced in Hoffman’s dark, futuristic, action novel, “The Symposium of Justice,” released in 2004. The project is professed to be on the cutting edge of digital video effects.
“Rich had an ambitious production schedule and a deadline that required us to do a great deal of work in a very short time,” said Deer, who is best known locally for his work as an independent journalist and entertainer but is also an experienced stunt performer and producer. “We had everything he needed to meet the production goals and, I have to say, short of a Star Wars movie, I have never seen so much green screen material in one place before; it was quite impressive.” All of the sets and background effects will be added in post production.
Green screen is a common term referring to the Chroma key technique used for mixing two images or frames together on film. In Chroma key, a color from one image is removed or made transparent revealing another image behind. This technique is also referred to as color keying, color-separation overlay, and bluescreen.
This process has been used for many years on weather broadcasts, where the presenter appears to be standing in front of a map, but in the studio it is actually a large blue or green background. In film and television production, the process is used to enhance visual effects or reduce costs on set construction.
Actors working on a green screen set perform among green-colored set pieces and backdrops. In post production, specialized computer software recognizes the green tinted background and makes it transparent and replacing it with digital effects. The actors, set pieces and props then appear to be in whatever setting required. Recent films like “300,” “Sin City,” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” have used this process to create both characters and settings.
Everyone is donating their time to this independent film project, as so many Hollywood-based productions are doing today. GLD Enterprises & Productions provided the production facility and set crew and stunt performers for filming the live action as well as various engineering and technical services.
The hope is that the final product will draw new business for the cast and crew in this sluggish economy where production capital is hard to raise. “This will be a great way to show what our group can do,” said Hoffman. Fortunately, Deer and Hoffman came into the project with an impressive track record.
In 2006, Hoffman’s script, “The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia,” won the highest award possible for a feature screenplay in the horror category at the Indie Gathering international film festival in Cleveland. Since then Hoffman has continued to develop other projects and recently returned from Hollywood where he worked on another independent production as a stuntman and fire whip specialist. A fire whip is a Kevlar bullwhip which is soaked in a specially formulated combustible fuel used for the visual effect.
Deer’s resume includes multiple performance and contest awards and work as a property consultant and designer for the 2003 Universal Studios movie, “The Rundown,” as well as roles in several independent film productions. A writer, whip stunt coach, publicist, and voiceover artist, Deer has been featured on television programs like NBC’s America’s Got Talent and The Bonnie Hunt Show. Deer is also a registered Writers Guild of America screenwriter.
The work was done on a closed set and the details of the script have been kept secret pending the outcome of the film competitions No title has been released at this time. To see photos or get more information about the project go online to www.gldentertainment.com and click on Hoffman Collaboration.
I had to finish what that director had started which is what The Overman was all about. In reality it turned out to be a sample of firewhip work against greenscreen to demonstrate how those two technologies could be incorporated. We had to shoot all those scenes outside because of the fire and the intense light from the fire making keying in colors during post-production a nightmare, but it worked well and was an award-winning effort.
The purpose of all this is that I wrote The Symposium of Justice from the heart, and many people came to enjoy it, but I moved on to the next phases of my life without looking back much or taking much time to consider what impact that novel had on people. It does make me feel good that so many people enjoyed it, and wanted to work with me just to be near the person who wrote the words.
Now it is equally strange for me to see quotes of my novel appearing here and there as validation to philosophical positions which is a strange sensation—and I think I like it. I enjoy it in the same way that The Symposium gave me access to people and places that I wouldn’t have enjoyed any other way but to put a story out to the world which touched lives in ways that you always hope for.
I might have been too hard on that film professor—(wanna’ be film director). He wanted to make the film because he wanted to bring The Symposium to life even though he lacked the emotional tools to do so. As more and more people go to the trouble of using aspects of my work to support their growing understanding, I will make an effort to be more facilitating of their expanding horizons. And if that involves a keepsake, or memento such as an autograph, I will make the effort not to appear so stand-offish.