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Passion and Relationships: The Development Stage and Ecosystem Required for Success

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

July 2022, Issue 13 “Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” - Edward de Bono



By Harper Klay, Shonkinite Founder

8 minute read

Click on the video below to hear this Sketch in the author's voice

I say these words repetitively: development and ecosystem.

The word, development, is something I mull from every angle, every day. It is the starting point of filmmaking. It is also when the most time is invested.

Development begins with a story…and it is when an idea, a dream, a vision, finds its footing, and forms a foundation. Passion is what brings something yet to be created into form.

Storytelling is my second or, ahem, maybe even third career. Writing is my constant- Tango and acting came later. As I spent years back and forth between Utah and Los Angeles, I deepened my understanding of how the Hollywood machine works and found myself thick with opinions: How come it is done like that? Where is the support for this? Who says it has to be done that way?

I am able to ask these questions because of my previous careers working in Washington DC. The slow churn of government revealed how a multi-faceted complex set of tentacles intertwined between non-profits, lobbyists, government cooperatives, federal, state, and local governments and a lengthy list of hybrid organizations. Long overdue for an upgrade, navigating federal government bodies like the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, coupled with routine attendance at international bodies such as the United Nations World Health organization and World Trade Organization, showed me that how anything and everything moves is through people. The more proactive and motivated people are, the more efficient and functional the ecosystem. A functional ecosystem propels future development.

While in the mountains of Utah, a magnetic pull to my home state of Montana intensified. In Los Angeles, while getting producer feedback on a script I was startled with the ineptitude. I wondered where professionalism was within the industry. Absent a code of conduct, there were no standards of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I witnessed passion stomped on instead of cultivated. I craved feedback on my artistic talent and sought the players that could provide it to me.

Enter passion. There is a buzzy feeling that is infectious when passion enters. Passion makes magic happen. Passion disrupts. And passion compels humans to work on things greater than they are, an innate wiring that is often disregarded.

Everyone has an opinion on storytelling. With as many resources dedicated to quantifying or qualifying if a story will or will not have a monetary success, distributors (the companies that release the story, tv series, movie) still cannot estimate accurate profits. They try. They factor in various markers. How big is this actors social media following? This script comes from a book, how big was the book sale? Often, so many people get involved in the story art that the story can be diluted, botched, or shelved.

What if we approached it differently? What if we allowed story to develop without intervention, cultivated our artists to do what they do best - innovate, create, and make. Since there is no accurate statistical analysis we make the stories we want to see. We find the people that want to see these stories made. We build relationships with shared creators. We recognize what storytelling can do to transform a state economy, and several other sectors such as technology, fashion, and music.

I’m fascinated with syntheses, harmony, and how numerous moving parts intertwine. The upheaval we experience today is a messy and uncomfortable growth process. We are reordering, and therefore our systems, institutions, and government bodies must follow suit. And the private sector, more agile, is reordering how work works, or doesn’t.

A medical catastrophe provided me the most valuable commodity required for development - time. What has come out of the years of healing is a massive body of written work. Catastrophes birth hunger, drive, resourcefulness, and distillation of purpose. Now it is time for a Montana film and multi-media ecosystem to support development.

As legal counsel, business strategists, accountants, and producers arrive, I’ve identified our needs as a development company, and also what Montana needs to build a thriving and sustainable multi-media ecosystem. There is so much work to be done and we have the passion, willpower, AND team to do it!

We look forward to sharing our processes and pivots and introduce you to the artists and collaborators as we continue to grow and build Shonkinite.

See you in the fall!

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