Hello, and welcome to Fun Film Talk!
My name is Erik Swanson and I'm the creator and caretaker of this cool little film web site. I'm a huge fan of movies, movie makers as well as filmmaking so I knew it would be lots of fun to create a web site about all things film.
Fun Film Talk's Business Card
I'm actually a musician by trade. I spent 16 years in the Navy's Music Program as a sax player and vocalist. At the end of my Navy Career I was stationed at the U.S. Naval Academy in the "Electric Brigade." This is a 10 piece rock/pop group that tours as well as performs locally in the greater DC/Maryland/Virginia area.
I've been a HUGE fan of videography my entire life, so as a young adult I become a fan of digital filmmaking as well. One of my favorite ways of expressing this love is by participating in the 48 Hour Film Project. This is a fantastic short film competition where you create a short film over the weekend from start to finish. What makes it interesting is that ALL the teams need to use the same three elements - a prop, a character and line of dialogue, which are selected from a top hat. Each team's representative also chooses a random genre from the hat.
I'm also a huge fan of Drive-In Movie Theaters. It's very sad how so many of these wonderful theaters have gone dark, but the great news is that the ones that have remained are experiencing record attendance. And why not - they're the only game in town for allowing moviegoers to enjoy 1st run films "under the stars." One of the absolute greatest Drive-Ins ever is the Bengies Drive-In in Maryland. D. Vogel, the owner/operator is a consummate showman, and he treats his audiences to his beloved and wonderfully large personality each and every night. This makes for a situation where the intermissions are almost better than the movies. Anyhow, if you're in the Maryland area, you owe it to yourself to check Bengies out.
My entire life I've been aware of one inescapable fact. I've always wanted NOT to need a job. My reasons never included laziness - I've always been a great worker and I've always valued the satisfaction of working hard. The reason was always related to basic freedom. More specifically the freedom to live where I wished (something I never had with the Navy) and the freedom to decide for myself when I worked and when I rested.
When tied down to specific employment, there's really no freedom to live exactly where we wish. Many times we must go where the job is, and that's all there is to it. For me, this was never more obvious than when I was stationed at the Naval Academy. There I was in the best band I'd ever played in, and at a duty station that was gorgeous, (it's a tourist attraction, so they keep the grounds immaculate) but I was always a little sad about having to be so far away from my home (New England).
I tried lots of things in my quest to find "a better way". I was always in search of something that would grant me time, location and money freedom. What made this all the more frustrating was to see others enjoying these freedoms - folks selling "junk" on television who at least "seemed" to have these freedoms as a result of selling their "book and record sets" as I call them.
When I say everything, I mean everything. I desperately fell into the network marketing trap - twice! I swore I'd never do it again after the first fleecing, but the second time I was approached by a good friend, and the product seemed VERY interesting - a multi-vitamin that was tailor made for each person. This made a lot of sense to me, and the folks producing it seemed to have their act together, so I stupidly lost another $400 to this scam. (It's ALWAYS $400 with these clowns...for a bunch of useless paper...arghhh!) Anyhow, when I finally received MY vitamins, they did nothing but give me migraine headaches - even if I split the dose in half. They never stopped giving me headaches, so I had to stop working with this company. How could I sleep at night hawking "headache pills"?
I also tried to make it with eBay. If you've ever been down this road you know that the only folks making a great living with eBay - is eBay. They nail you three times for every item you sell. They get you right up front with a listing fee, then they hit you with a much larger fee based on the selling price, and then Pay pal (which eBay owns!) nails you for another hefty fee in order to receive your money. This is why most folks who know better refer to eBay as "Fee Bay..." I discovered very quickly that I was working my butt off, and never earning enough money to live on. In fact, I got into such a bad financial situation in my zeal to make eBay work, that I eventually had to declare bankruptcy.
For a while I simply gave up. I figured there was no way to achieve my "dream" of not needing a job. Whatever the formula was for achieving this dream, I didn't have it, so I was forever sentenced to showing up on time making others wealthy.
Years later I started playing around with web sites. I knew that folks were making money on the web somehow, but like most folks I had no idea how. I started my web journey with a product that cost me almost as much as the network marketing scams - $300. It was basically a program that generated web sites that were "supposed to" earn you lots of money. The truth is, the web sites this program generates DO generate income, but not a lot of income, so you'd have to create LOTS of web sites to make enough to live on. What I can say is it's much more pleasant to create web sites than eBay items. With eBay you have to KEEP selling items, but with web sites you do the work at first building the site, then it earns money perpetually thereafter - a MUCH nicer business model.
Becoming a web site builder naturally led me to a company called Site Build It. Headed by a man named Ken Evoy, Site Build It claimed to help build the elusive "very profitable web site". It's funny because even though I really liked what I was reading about Site Build It, I was still skeptical. I suppose this skepticism was the natural result of being burned so many times - first by shabby network marketing schemes, and then by the empty promise of eBay. Bottom line - I decided NOT to try Site Build It.
Later that same year (2009) I had a very serious health issue occur. I'm a type 2 diabetic, and with my life not going well I became very depressed and stopped taking care of myself. I quickly got to a point where my weight had skyrocketed which pushed my biological numbers severely out of range. This eventually landed me in a local VA hospital with "necrotizing pancreatitis". I was in the hospital for pretty much the entire 2009/2010 winter season.
I was placed in a medical coma, as most of my major organs decided to shut down shortly after being admitted. They called my Dad five separate times to let him know that I most likely would not make it through the night.
Long story short (too late, right?), I survived both the pancreas operation as well as the coma. I regained consciousness in an intensive care ward where I had pretty much lost the ability to do much of anything. I was "trached", on a ventilator and my nurses had to do everything for me. If you've ever been in this condition - not able to speak or move you know how unpleasant it can be. To this day I don't know how I survived it.
I was finally able to return home in March of 2010. Trying to re-establish my life was challenging, but I was determined to do the best I could. Physically, one of the only things that WAS comfortable was working at the computer, so I was doing that mostly.
For some reason, I had a desire to return to the Site Build It web site to sort of check in and see what was up. When I did I discovered something VERY interesting. Ken Evoy had started a monthly fee for Site Build It, as opposed to the annual lump fee they'd had previously. He said it was because of the bad economy, which was and still is well underway. Now you had both as an option. Sure, the monthly fee would cost a bit more over the year, but the idea of $30 a month was much more palatable to me, so I decided to give them a shot.
The result is certainly what you're reading right now. I followed the very clear guidelines given to me by Site Build It, and I came up with Fun Film Talk, and decided to build this "cool little film web site". Having worked with SBI for some time now, I've learned a ton about great web sites and how to create them. I couldn't be happier with Fun Film Talk, and I really do owe much of it to Ken and Site Build It! (Thanks so much Ken!)
My goal for Fun Film Talk (or my name isn't Erik Swanson) is to create and maintain a place where all lovers of film can come and share in their passions together. I'd love it if this site were to eventually become a "go-to place" for everything related to movies and filmmaking. If you have any suggestions or ideas for the site I'd love to hear them. I really welcome any help I can get in order to make this a better place to visit. I've added a convenient Content Submission Form below for just this purpose. If you'd like to contribute, or you'd like to make comments or suggestions, please do use the form to let me know.
Again, I'm Erik Swanson and I thank you for visiting Fun Film Talk! I really do look forward to our film-related adventures together here on the World Wide Web!
If you love talking film, you may or may not be someone who hangs out online much. Either way, you should know about this. Not everyone online plays fair. There is flaming, Google bombs and other techniques people use to cause harm and trouble to others. One situation is the Google bomb called the SBI Scam, where competitors caused harm to a highly regarded company. If you do hang out online, you need to know who and what to avoid. Following that link will give you some tips.