You Are The Most Important Part of The BUREAU

This is Mike writing. I wanted to sit down and write a personal story - one that seems worth sharing in the context of having just launched The BUREAU. 

When I was younger; not by much, just a few years younger than I am now, but it seems like a lifetime ago - I shot the very first of several thousand frames for a stop motion short film called ‘Blank, a Love Story’. I had never made a stop-motion film before, and, to be honest, I had no business being one of five co-directors involved with bringing the story to life. But I cared deeply about doing something unique, something that was “from me” enough to know that it was mine, ours. 

The following 16 months were lived in a dark stage in Burbank. I have fond memories of those brutal 18 hour days, coming into the stage hours early, Rolling Stones blasting on the speakers (to compensate for the weeks-long lack of sleep), trouble-shooting special effect shots that had never been attempted in stop-motion before, and I loved every moment of it. 

When we emerged from those days on the stage, we premiered the film online, as well as a double feature with ‘Lady & The Tramp’ at the famous El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. It was featured on the homepage of Google as part of their Valentine’s Day Google-doodle. It felt surreal. Then, what felt like a mix of long-time-coming and out-of-nowhere, we had a meeting with a new higher-up exec that we had never really worked with, who told us with a smile that audiences were dumb and lazy, and, going forward, we were going to focus on more “marketable content”. 

That was it. Some young, predictably bland exec decided we shouldn’t be in the business of making unique things and the film’s momentum was pulled right out from under it. Shortly after, everyone involved with the film went our separate ways. Every so often I receive an email from someone I’ve never met telling me how much they loved the film, or how they organized a screening at their school to inspire different art projects, or simply asking questions on what certain scenes meant to us as the filmmakers. 

On my good days I work on The Bureau because I love the filmmakers involved - I think they are each, in their own ways, uniquely talented, and I know a great amount of effort and blood has gone into their work. 

On my bad days, I work at The Bureau as a ‘F’ you to those young, predictably bland execs that repeat, meeting after meeting, that “audiences are stupid”, “lazy”, interested only in “fail mashups and super-hero spinoffs”. I don’t believe they are right. I know they aren’t. 

You are the most important part of The BUREAU - you, the audience, the Agents, the champions of this strange short film experiment. You are part of something that is going against all traditional studio wisdom, and without you, this won’t work. 

How can you help? Questions are great because they spark a conversation for others to join! You can ask us questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can leave a comment on ‘That Party That One Night’ and ask Mylissa directly about her film, about the backstory or her creative process, anything at all.

We would love to hear from you, to hear why you love short film, to hear what you would like to see and how you would like to see it. 

Mike Ambs

I love to film things, tell stories, and read on the subway. I'm pretty sure blue whales are my power animal.