There’s only so long you can talk before you need to get off your ass and do. And that’s where I find myself today, getting back on my filmmaking horse and heading out to make another film.
When I made my first two short films, I made them back-to-back, just about as quickly as I could. I started the script for the second film soon after wrapping photography on the first. I shot the second, just as I began our film festival tour for the first.
In a 3-week period in August of 2012, I flew from New York to Los Angeles to screen Vivienne Again at the Hollyshorts Film Festival. I was casting the last roles for our new film from our LA hotel. The following week, I was on set back in NY shooting Deal Travis In and the week after that I went to Dragon*Con in Atlanta to screen Vivienne Again… again.
It was madness. Madness that not for one moment have I regretted because I barreled through my fears of a sophomore slump so quickly I never had a chance to sit down, nevertheless slump.
By the time I was on the road with my second film, I’d made two shorts in two years and was too tired and too burnt to turn right around and do it again… again.
Even though the first films were the start of a trilogy, I knew I had to take a breather before making the third.
I used that breather to flesh out the world of my films and find an angle for where I wanted the story to go next. I taught myself basic film editing. I started this column as a tool to digest my lessons from my first films and share them with you in hopes of encouraging you to make films of your own.
I read fantastic novels, took up running, and fell back in love with Horror films. My time was certainly not wasted but there’s a fine line between catching your breath and becoming complacent. I can see that line sneaking up on me now, so it’s time to get moving again.
Having been to this rodeo before, I know I need to focus as much as possible on this one project to hit the production schedule we’re aiming for (yep, we’re going balls to the wall again).
I need to get into fighting shape:
- Physically: It’s time to clamp down on getting full nights of sleep, eating well and exercising consistently. And maybe drinking less booze. Maybe.
- Mentally: I’ll re-read Making Movies by Sidney Lumet — I’ve read it multiple times and it’s become my Rocky theme of prep. I’ll watch my favorite comfort films for inspiration. I’ll mine films that have scenes or themes that will help inform my current project. And I’ll delve deep into the story world of this new film and set up house there; I need to live in it in order to see the film in my head.
- Emotionally: I need to bring allies close and keep detractors at bay. This isn’t the same as surrounding myself with yes men & women. It’s about flipping the bird to those who I know will piss on my flame.
And lastly, I’m going to re-read the articles I wrote for this column and my personal filmmaking journals because if I can’t heed my own advice then I’m just a dope, plain and simple.
This is the plan — and you know what they say about the best laid plans — but I have to start somewhere.
Although I’ll be away from this column for the next few months, I hope you’ll still follow me on this journey. I’ll share casting news, production photos, and behind-the-scenes videos as we make this film.
And whether you come along for the blow-by-blow of this ride or I see you here again in 2015, know I’m going back into the filmmaking trenches and will return to you with new lessons for making your own films. And hopefully, just hopefully, I’ll have a great new film of my own.
Be well, dear reader, and wish me luck. I’m off to make a film!