This and last month have been mostly about gathering info and such I’ll need to pull the trigger on getting investors and their attention. It occurred to me that it would be better for me to have a professional bank account for investors as opposed to just a personal one, and that I should have it before asking them for money. “Look at this established bit of fiscal responsibility waiting for your patronage!” vs “Yeah, it’s going to my bank account… but you can trust me. Really.” Because of that, I didn’t get to tackle much of anything on my checklist.
But I do own a film production company now. I meant to do it a lot sooner (like, when I started this blog), but life kept getting in the way and I wasn’t ready. Professionally or privately. Thanks to creative opportunities that’ve happened since, including everything that Leonardo Fallucca of Artigianale Films has done, I can finally go about building my empire (or at least a fiefdom) wholeheartedly.
How does one go about creating a production company? First, you have to figure out the kind of business it is. There are many, and the lucky one is an LLC, a Limited Liability Company. Look it up, kids. Once you figure that out, you go to a bank that isn’t Bank of America (lest we forget the banking crisis) and find out what you’ll need to open an account for your LLC. The manager will be kind and give you a list. For me, it said that I had to get $100 to open an account, an operating agreement, an EIN number, and one of three things. The one-of-three ended up being one not listed because I didn’t have an LLC yet, an LLC Article of Organization (something for the state). The agreement is basically a declaration of what your business is, and the EIN number is something for the IRS. Both are free and left me feeling good about getting things done. Until the Article. I thought I only had to spend $50 in addition to the $100 because that’s how much one of the three things costed (I chose the Certificate of Assumed Name). But, like I said, the three only applied to opening an account after getting an Article of Organization. I thought that if the Certificate only cost $50, surely the Article couldn’t cost much more.
The universe loves a good joke.
Six hundred dollars. Actually, it was five hundred but the extra Benjamin was a fee I couldn’t get rid of to get my application processed in 24 hours. But wait, there’s more. After looking a few pages ahead, I saw that I also needed a designated agent (a go-to lawyer, basically) who cost $107. And THEN I found out that I had to pay a 2.5% tax on the $600. Y’know, to suck the threading outta the poor bastard that’s my dying wallet. After crying in my beer for a few minutes, I saw the whole process as me asking myself “Are you sure?” Most people would’ve quit after finding out that they needed the fucking $50. To go beyond that and pay whatever the price is meant that you were committing in a big way and that you should be able to laugh off whatever hurdles pop up. Almost a thousand dollars later, I answered: “Fuck yeah.” What’s a few hundred bucks in the face of a lifetime of artistic fulfillment, anyway?
Earlier this week, I became the sole owner of Darkness Opera LLC. Even made a new logo, as you can see in the header.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tortured myself over the years with this design. It was originally much more ornate. The D looked like a decal on the most Gothic wrought-iron fence that ever existed, and the O was a full moon peeking from behind a few clouds (moon imagery was the only thing to survive it all). No katakana (the Japanese symbols under the line). Then I came up with a bunch of designs that resembled late-90s Goth rock album art, one of which was the header here for the longest time. A few days ago, the design up top suddenly came to me and, with the help of a freeware picture editor (Paint.net), I made it. The English font is something that John Carpenter uses a lot in his credits (Albertus). The katakana is a phonetic spelling of the name. In Japanese, a sounds like “ah”, e sounds like “eh”, and o sounds like “owe”. Because of that, I wrote it “da-ku-ne-su-a-pe-ra” instead of “da-ku-ne-su-o-pe-ra”. Subtitle fans might be able to sympathize, but one of the things that takes me out of anime or a Japanese film is when they say an English word how it’s spelled instead of how it’s said (like “opera”). Anywho. The katakana dashes have meaning. They tell you to stress the symbol preceding it. We’d say “DARKness OperA”, and I wanted to reflect that. So it’s “DA-ku-ne-su-A-pe-RA”. Why Japanese? Three reasons. One: Japan’s been a big part of my creative life. Two: I love bilingual anime titles. Three: it makes the logo more worldly. I had to add the quotation mark over “da” and the o over “pe” because the katakana font I used didn’t have them.
I was gonna put a full moon in the center, but that would’ve pushed the Japan of it all into laughable territory. But I wanted to keep the moon in there somehow. Then I made it a crescent, which works on a few levels. It looks like a sinister smile. Like horns. Like a necklace. And the moon is a symbol for femininity, which is fitting since I plan on working predominantly with female characters. The logo as a whole is meant to catch your eye as quickly as possible. There are a fuckton of people begging for your attention, and I feel that my logo does it in an elegant way. The color combination’s great, the katakana helps out a lot, but I think the biggest grab is the crescent. Not many people– I don’t think anyone uses it as part of their logo, so it being a rarity is awesome and precious. And as an enthusiast of t-shirts with graphics, it’ll look great plastered across chests.
Why “Darkness Opera”? I wanted to tell dark stories on a grand scale, and operas can be serious or funny which allows me to paint with as many brushes as I want.
This is something I created for the Service Industry Podcast shortly after I made my logo. They didn’t ask for it, and I would’ve been more than ok if they told me to fuck off. I was still feeling a creative buzz and walked it off with the design. I originally wanted to do something on a lacquered mahogany board since lots of bars are made with that. However, Paint.net being free means that it isn’t as capable as Photoshop. I didn’t wanna attempt to go down a creative road I knew would lead to a craggy dead end. I knew that I would’ve tried a few experiments with the mahogany, and I didn’t wanna get bum-rushed by disappointment. The idea of beer bottlecaps came to me, then the idea of tilt-shifting. I turned the saturation way down so the text could stand out without clashing. The biggest pain, because of Paint.net’s restrictions, was the font. I didn’t have many options, but it looked too bland to leave it alone. So I did a gradient paint job and added some grain to make it look fizzy. “Confidential” looks like a Van Halen album cover, and that’s alright with me. It still looked a little dead, but the closed sign changed that.
Well, enough rambling. Back to being a director.