Blankenship studios was considered a minor player in the major motion picture game but equally a springboard for a number of entry level talents wishing to make the jump from Indie productions into the big leagues. Not as legendary as the Roger Corman concern of decades past who had recycled major stars of seminal eras barely distinct to the sensibilities of his own respective breakthrough era. Yet holding enough cache that if ones product received reasonable box office on its opening week might suggest a promising future. Frank, Dawn and Jerrold had found themselves an unlikely match when they discovered each other within the bowels of the three story twenty-thousand foot warehouse that served as studio and headquarters for this pecuniary conscious concern. Located on the fringe of downtown just on the edge of L.A.’s skid row its exterior seemed as innocuously dismal as the neighboring soup kitchen and bulk clothing concern that flanked its adequately expansive fenced in parking area. The impression left by this dismal location challenging the artistic resolve of new hires as to what sort of working budget they were most likely to contend with before they had even breached the over-painted aluminum extruded doors of the front entrance. For all intents and purposes one might have expected to find yet another East L.A. sweat shop operating in place of the tightly packed departments that lingered catching dust behind the small collection of tiny offices huddled at the street side. Anonymous moles past back and forth in the perpetual dimness between narrow corridors formed by multi-level shelves packed with second hand props and aging studio equipment. The three fledgling aspirants aghast at the contrast of this hoary archive of artifacts remaining in service from a recycled ancient Hollywood past lingering on to barely accommodate the demands of an artistic transition to its current future.
Frank lamenting aloud after three days in on a two week production schedule that his submitted script had been eviscerated by phantom parties unknown in the front office. His ire deferred with short speeches by what appeared more correctly as cigar chewing clothing salesmen turned occasional to movie moguls ever reminding him of the golden beginnings of the epic age of the silents. That time long ago int he past when movie sets utilized for an entire feature might expect less than a hundred square feet. And the studio’s collection of same were crammed together side by side working feverishly around the clock to deliver on a one week schedule to deliver the requisite reels of nitrate stock before the vinegar syndrome set in and made them unusable. The recitation of this same speech having been recited almost rote by different lips of variations of the same kinds of characters. The end of each day’s conversation protesting more unexpected shortcoming always ending with the analogies of the films “Nickelodian'” by director Peter Bogdanovich, or alternately, Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” screenwriting quip of cinematic ‘war hero’ Alan Ladd’s transformed into a Baseball epic. Frank’s boiling dissatisfaction’s bubbling over to the point of unexpected tantrums betwixt the inner recesses of plentiful dusty corridors ripe with barely usable moth eaten props shelved high in adjoining rows serving as soundproofing. His new companions fared no better wrangling the jury rigged parts in obsolete film cameras gripped by rusting booms and stuttering cranes. Their culturally correct director sharing the fact that blowing her brains out might be preferable to allowing her name to be associated with the crap that was being assembled in spite of their growing protests by the establishment’s resident coterie of Bühnen gnomes. The solitary progression of individual despair ranging unabated within these same lost canyons of past tense artifact lore. The three had found themselves caught upon he collective scow of sinking career expectations in the bleak prospects of their respective careers blunted by releases that publicly demonstrated only the adversities that this environment offered and not the creative genius that each posed to overcome same.
One day at the end of the first week, the twenty year old director now near to fatal exhaustion after three sleepless marathon sessions she staggered to far end of the front office opening the door from the cavernous studio into a plush suite. There sat a little girl of seven patiently awaiting her fat uncle with the cutest little dog that anyone could ever have imagined. Dawn stood star-stuck at the contrast of the misanthropical world outside behind this fairy tale setting. A sweetness and life engendering warmth generated by the combination of the two and their accommodating tranquility for what the director knew was a bitterly mercurial magnate. She backed away quietly suddenly struck with an impromptu plan to salvage sanity in the midst of the current grinding ordeal of the three. Why not supplement the house resources to produce their own feature using the characters at hand as models for a heart warming classic tale surpassing the antiseptic version of the tripe that they had been bamboozled into producing? This thought came like cooling waters to the parched sensibilities of her two equally indentured companions. The next few days occasioned by reprimands by panatela abusing executive Philistines providing dire warnings of going off schedule. Their dailies now absent of that elusive struggle for inspired creativity in rapid one take haphazard rapidity. The drive of their own undisclosed mutual endeavor supplanting those missing hours that might have at least made this form of output vaguely professional. The crisis point coming in a mere day’s time when to their surprise the executive producer arising from his king’s chair within the diminutive screening room pronounced their lack of effort as exceptional genius. So refreshing was it to see true professionals that understood the importance of coming in under budget ahead of schedule with the least level of effort expended! Each of the three with the exception of Dawn offered the impromptu bonus of a cigar as reward for their noteworthy efforts. The dark communal cloud above them now dispelled they secreted a conference among themselves concerning whether to reveal their own masterwork. Coming quickly to the conclusion that the best course of action being to offer it at a later time to the next major annual Indie festival competition in the mountains of Idaho. Their personal production subsequently winning a best in show award under a collective pseudonym as thematically least saccharine the most promising trend for the coming ‘avant guarde‘. The moral of the story being that ultimate success is never as far as that current appreciation of the fulfillment of your own dream.