It’s a little unbelievable to me how far The Cocksure Lads Movie has come in just over three years.
In September 2011, I sat down in a cafe with a copy of the first Cocksure Lads CD and started trying to think up a movie narrative that would somehow use those twelve completely unconnected songs as its main plot points. I started reading books and blogs on how to write a screenplay. And I started asking everyone I knew if they knew anyone in the film business. Carried forward by unshakeable naïveté, I figured I’d have this film shot by August. Tops.
Cut to three years and innumerable lessons later, the film has just opened the Canadian Film Fest (after setting a new record for fastest sellout screening) and announced distribution and broadcast deals. It has indeed been a long, strange trip.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way (and, really, the reason the film got made at all) is that nothing happens without a team. For the longest time I was a lone gun in the wilderness, trying to put it all together myself, taking on roles that I was (and still am) completely unqualified for. But one by one, I gathered the team: Darren Portelli, who threw the whole movie onto his back and made it happen; Tamara Doerksen, who took over fundraising (and many other things) and in eight months tripled the amount of money that had been committed; Mary Krause, who not only whipped our social media into shape but singlehandedly ran a crowdfunding campaign that raised an absolutely essential float to get it all going when we had nothing but an idea; and Emily Andrews, who co-produced and ran casting and did a million small, necessary, thankless things. My hugest appreciation goes out to these four people. It feels like a huge disservice to simply say, “Without them, there would be no movie.” It’s much more accurate to say, “With them, I made exactly the movie I wanted to make.”
It takes an army to make a movie, and as the months went on our team grew into an army (just check out our credit roll): Telefilm Canada and the indefatigable Dan Lyon, who gave great script feedback and came on board enthusiastically with financial backing for post production, along with his support and encouragement; David Miller and A71, our long-time friends and advisors and now Canadian distributors; executive producer Avi Federgreen, an early champion who leant us his enormous wisdom and experience; our investors, who had the courage to throw their financial support behind an indie film and have provided endless support since; the crowdfunding backers, who contributed their hard earned dollars (and believe me, we needed every penny); the cast and crew, who went above and beyond more times than I can remember (and who were amazing at their jobs); and of course our volunteers and street-team folks, who have become our guerrilla strike force. I love you all!
Major props also to our families, who supported with love, money, understanding and the occasional soup; to the Whistler and Canadian Film Fests for taking us on; and to Dragons’ Den, for scaring the shit out of me (and giving us exposure to 1.4 million Canadians).
And lastly (I always thank him last), to Mr. Mike Ford, my former Moxy Fruvous bandmate and Cocksure co-conspirator, not only for writing all the best Cocksure Lads songs but for giggling along with me at Dusty’s imagined antics for over twenty years. Oh, and for letting me steal his best ideas for the movie – thanks man!
When you’re an indie film with no money, you have to scrape and claw for every inch. Now, after we’ve fought all the large and small battles, we’re starting to see the results like distribution and broadcast deals. It’s extremely gratifying, and I’m extremely grateful. And if you’re reading this, you – believe it or not – have already helped push us forward.
Thanks to all of you who have helped, in every large and every small way.
See more photos from Canadian Film Fest. Special thanks to photographer Robin Cymbaly for sharing your talents.