Monday, April 19, 2010

Walk the Dream with local filmmaker Blake Wink

Blake Wink and his team of local filmmakers are about to embark on a really fun project—let's let him describe it in his own words!

1. Blake, tell us about the Walk the Dream project?
Walk the Dream is a feature length documentary about pursuing your dreams. Three film makers including myself, Dan Petracca and Josh VanBuskirk along with still photographer Sara Klem will walk from New York City to Los Angeles in search of our dreams. While walking we will interview people we meet about their dreams. I firmly believe that everyone we encounter has a passion, whether they pursue it or not. We're hoping to learn why people follow their dreams and how they become successful. There is also a lesson to learn from those who have tried to achieve their dreams and failed. Hopefully we'll be able to find insight into how we can succeed on our own path. Once we reach L.A. we will pitch scripts we have written while on the road and a picture book to attempt to secure future jobs in our respective fields. Ultimately, we hope to make a finished product that inspires those who watch it to follow their dream in life no matter what stands in their way.

2. How did it start? How will you pull it off?
Last August I was working a day job assembling medical equipment and daydreaming about what films I could make and where I should start. I used to listen to the radio for 8 hours a day to make the day pass by faster. I heard an interview with this guy who had walked across the country. He had an amazing story but he didn't document it. I thought, 'I can walk across the country!' But I needed a storyline which is where dreams came in.

Most people find walking across the entire country daunting. I have to admit making a good feature documentary seems far more difficult to me. I needed three things to pull it all off. First I needed a very dedicated team who where willing to commit over a year of their lives to this project. I recruited three producers and four walkers (including myself) from friends I've known over twenty years as well as people I had met very recently at Rochester Movie Makers meetings.

We now needed a great plan about how to execute this project. We've spent the past seven months in pre-production—planning everything from our walking path to contacting thousands of news outlets to create publicity. Of course, we've also been in the gym for 8+ hours a day. The last thing we need to pull this off is money. It's something we're still struggling with—like all film makers. We are partnered with Rochester Movie Makers which allows us to take tax-deductible donations through our websites. It seems trivial, but we're asking everyone we meet for five dollars. We may have to beg for food or do odd jobs to get all the way across the country. But sacrifice is something you need to be willing to do to make your dreams come true—and our dream is to make this film.

If you would like to donate to Walk the Dream you can visit:

3. What is your personal take on film making in Rochester?
Film has such a rich history in Rochester, from George Eastman to Kodak. Yet, we're lucky to have a handful of feature films made in Rochester each year. I've only been working on films for five years now but I've seen a positive change in the atmosphere. Organizations such as Rochester Movie Makers encourage people who are interested in learning about film to get out there and make something.

They're really the grassroots Rochester needs to show people you don't have to own a million dollars of film equipment to tell a great story. On a larger scale, we're starting to see more financed feature length films being made here to support jobs in the film industry. There is also a film studio being built in the old Rochester Tech Park which offers the opportunity for larger motion pictures to be filmed here. Overall, I believe Rochester has the potential to cultivate an innovative film scene. If one of my bigger dreams comes true I'll be able to make feature films in Rochester for the rest of my life.

4. What's your dream film project?
It's cheesy but I think every film project is a dream to its creator. I don't know if most people think of movies as art, but the creators who spend years of their life to create two hours certainly do. There is one script I've been thinking of for years now that I'm very excited about trying to make. I'm interested in doing an ensemble piece with interweaving stories.

P.T. Anderson is one of my favorite directors and I admire the way he moves you fluidly through sequences in films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Many people say these types of scripts are cheap writing because you're only putting together a few shorts. However, I think there is an elegance in how they're related that can lend a lot of meaning to a film. I'm interested in using this to show how some of the characters within my script influence the lives of others in serious ways without intending too. The idea that I can show someone making a good-intentioned, well-rounded moral decision with an objectionable outcome they may not even be aware of fascinates me. One of life's mysteries to me is our complete lack of knowledge about how our actions affect others; and how our misunderstanding of events can shape our opinions and viewpoints. These will certainly be themes I play with a lot within my dream project.

5. What have your previous film experiences been like?
I've worked on mostly feature films shot in Rochester. There is really nothing like working on films. During production you frequently spend your entire waking life on a film set. The first film I worked on had a typical workweek of at least 84 hours. It can be difficult because you have to sacrifice your personal life for the duration of a film—so surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family and significant others is extremely important. The truth is, no matter how stressful or nerve-wracking a film can be, I might take time off; but in the end I wouldn't want to do anything else with my life.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Blake :-) You're an inspiration, thoughtful and intuitive. It's been my pleasure getting to know you.