Thursday, February 11, 2016

How I Made a Movie (Part 1 of ?): It Started With A Script

(fun fact - I made the above image on a Surface Pro Tablet! Blog post on that coming shortly....)
  On February 5th, 2016 I released this short film.

Some time ago in March 3rd 2013, I wrote the script for Mugging with the expectation of getting it produced and created.

What the hell took so long?

Well, it turns out making a movie is quite the undertaking, whether or not the movie is short, long, serious, or silly. There is so much I learned - about the process, about filmmaking, about directing, and about myself. Here's where it all started.

In the beginning...

Some time ago, my good friend Nick (long-haired Barry in Mugging) asked if I wanted to make a short together. To me, the answer was a no-brainer ("yes" of course) and we collaborated on a script on the kinds of people who try to 'sell' you music on the street. It was named 'Artists' and you can see it here.

The making of this film was much easier compared to Mugging. The script was smaller, which (you'll see later) makes quite a bit of difference. The cast was about 1/5th as large and the entire shoot took one day. Mugging was a more ambitious undertaking to say the leas.

The initial process and scoping of Mugging wasn't much different from our first film. I wrote a few drafts, going through about 5 different variations after going over the script with Nick and our initial director. After the last draft, we were ready to shoot. We had our director lined up, Nick and I scoped out locations, and we had actors, the majority of which were our friends (with the exception of a later scene).

An Unexpected Turn of Events

As we were trying to schedule the first couple of shoots, knowing the entire shoot would take more than one day due to needing multiple locations and many more people, our director dropped out. He disappeared and we never heard from him again. I'm still not sure what exactly happened (he is alive, so that's good) but we were without a director and thus, without a way to make the film.

This resulted in a HUGE delay in our film development. Nick and I thought about various different options. Having him direct, having myself direct, look for other friends who would be interested and have equipment, check Craigslist, hire someone. It was a pretty big blow to our momentum and we were both disappointed. We would get together every now and then, have a few drinks, and brainstorm ideas but we never really found a solution we liked.

We Saw The Light

There was one other idea we thought was unlikely, but we didn't have much of an option. We reached out to another friend of ours; a real director with a feature film under his belt. We knew his expertise would take our film to a different level given his experience. We had him give us notes on the script and he said he would look and see if had time to direct. Our morale was growing, this would've been a better alternative than we initially planned.

Unfortunately, timing grew to be a problem and our friend wasn't able to join the project. We were back to step one and more time was passing before we moved any further with our film.

I then realized what was the only option left. 

I had to direct the short. 

Nick had mentioned this as an option various times and I, honestly, dismissed it because I was scared and because I thought it would ruin the project. But between the options of 'don't do the project' and 'have me direct the short', I couldn't hold off from saying no any longer.

So I said I would direct as long as we had someone to help us with the camera, given I had absolutely zero experience directing and even less experience with camera equipment (yes that's possible).

We were back on schedule, but man was I scared.....

(part 2 published here! I promise something art related will happen.)