I am exciting that I have been accepted into Joan Scheckel’s directing lab! Joan Scheckel runs an amazing filmmaking lab that runs for about six weeks (ending right before our shoot date), and helps directors prepare for directing their films and getting at the heart of the performance. Groups selected are quite small, and I’m excited to be participating!
I’ve wanted to be part of this program for years. It’s been used extensively by directors to prepare for films such as LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, WHALE RIDER, ARBITRAGE, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and pretty much all those films that win at Sundance and Cannes. It’s vouched for extensively by actors such as Mark Ruffalo and Zooey Deschanel (who participated) and I am certain it’ll bring the film to a whole new level.
I am VERY excited.
Things have been hectic. And, they’re just going to get MORE hectic. Here are a few things we’re working on these days:
- Starting paperwork with SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, which is extensive. We also had to determine which SAG level we were qualifying for. All this makes a difference — for the usual SAG contract, any actor who speaks even ONE LINE on set costs us approximately $800-$900 total.
- Getting a location scout and breaking up the script into locations
- Setting up our production office
- Sending an offer to our #1 choice for our lead
- Tweaking the script to better suit our budget. For example: night shots are more expensive. We’re reducing the ones that don’t really affect our story.
- Acclimating our new interns
- Making a “wish list” for our actors for every role. Casting directors need about 8 weeks to cast, and we are almost exactly 8 weeks from our shoot date.
- Starting to compile a list of indie bands that fit our desired soundtrack
- Still trying to raise money (donate here! http://bit.ly/helpthefilm )
- Finding a cinematographer, production designer, and casting director by mid-next week
- Determining which background extras need to be paid (aka we need a certain look for them) and which we’ll get from open calls
Etc etc etc.
More updates soon! If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for our mailing list at www.thetigerhunter.com!
We just wanted to take a moment to thank our public beta users for all your feedback, and the more than 2,200 amazing projects added so far to Creative District!
Last Wednesday we launched in public beta and frankly we’re inspired by the warm welcome and ongoing support we continue to receive from the creative community!
Well over 6,500 strong and growing, the CD community has posted over 2,200 projects and 240+ open collaborator positions in our first week alone!
"I received so many applications for my DP position, I haven’t even had time to look through them all yet! I’m shocked that an Oscar winner applied!" - Lena Khan, Writer/Director, The Tiger Hunter
We took the team trip to Knott’s Berry Farm to celebrate the launch, and wanted to share an extended THANK YOU to the entire CD community.
Please keep the questions and feedback coming, and thank you for your support.
-Creative District Team
An oscar winner literally applied to our open DP position. Amazing.
When people refer to making sacrifices in order to sustain a filmmaking career, what are they referring to exactly? The sacrifices they mention is so vague, and the vagueness makes it seem so scary - as if I'll have to give up everything and anything to love movies. I think I'd be more apt to understand if it was clearly explained. Thank you!
Good question, and unfortunately I may have to be a little vague as well since I’m not sure which area of filmmaking you are referring to. Just as a guess, I’m going to assume you’re referring to the conventional understanding of “filmmaker” and not somebody specialized in one aspect like a production designer. I’ll also assume you’re not referring to those on purely the business side (like becoming a talent agent). So, to answer:
The sacrifices are many. For one, filmmaking is an intensely competitive field — it’s more competitive than most fields I know. That means that it’s hard to make a living. You have to work harder than certain other fields, you have spend a lot of time and effort and money fighting to get noticed. For example, let’s say you want to be a cinematographer and you have some talent. Just because you’re talented, you’re not necessarily going to get hired. At the beginning, you’re probably going to have to do a lot of jobs that are FAR below the pay level you deserve. Maybe you’ll do a lot of them for almost nothing. And then even after you do an excellent job, it may be hard for you to get another job easily. First, people will think you’re a DP who can do a great job for low pay and word will spread — that may mean people won’t want to pay you more than before because you’re a great deal. Then, people may not want to take a risk on you because your body of work may show some promise, but you haven’t yet shot a film on film, or on a Red or Alexa yet. During all this time, you’re not getting paid much so you probably need another way to make money. This means you’re effectively working two jobs — that’s all part of the sacrifice. Actually, the vast majority of filmmakers I know don’t make much money so I’m sure that is the overwhelmingly largest part of the sacrifice — figuring out how to keep their filmmaking ambitions alive while staying afloat.
Secondly, part of the fight is that it will take up a large part of your life. I work on my film day and night. I’ve worked on it for the past many years of my life. We spend time chasing after actors or other talent with no idea what will work or what won’t because everything is such an uphill battle that you have to try everything. There’s always more to do because films are so risky, and it’s so hard to get one made. It takes years upon years to raise the money for a film — it’s not as easy as Zach Braff makes it seem when he raises millions on Kickstarter. Our Kickstarter campaign took up months and months of every waking moment of my life. Then, to get investors, you need to build a reliable team and I literally had to fly around the country fighting to get people to hear my pitch. And even then all I think about in a day is what more I can do to try to deliver to my investors.
Another sacrifice that is entailed is the fact that, like an actor or other artist, your work is very public so there is an emotional aspect to the sacrifice. I suppose we can call that sacrificing the emotional security people who don’t have public work are allowed? A lot of filmmakers, for example, make a lot of mediocre films before a really great one. In some ways, that can make some sense — it’s hard to “practice” making a movie without, well, making one. Short films are very different. But everyone will see that first feature film, and they’ll judge you for it. And that is perfectly in the realm of what’s appropriate for them because you’re the one who decided to put your work out there. If you want to stay in the business and make a living and be respected, you have to be great filmmaker (unless perhaps you’re making lower budget genre films like horror and really know the business). You can be a pretty good doctor and be respected and earn a good living — but to even sustain a career as a filmmaker and be respected, you have to be the equivalent of a nationally renowned neurosurgeon.
That aspect will also run into the process of making a movie. Every quest in a career entails rejection, but in film this is especially so. Even good scripts get rejected dozens of times. Really important people will say they don’t like your work. It’s all incredibly crushing to your spirit. Sometimes filmmakers just get bad reviews on their script or idea until they make it, and then everyone praises it. That filmmaker sacrificed time, money, sweat and tears as they fought to get that film made anyway. And then sometimes even after all that effort, the film did in fact end up being not that great. And that’s a risk that filmmaker has to decide whether or not they want to take.
Yet another sacrifice isn’t on your part at all, but from those who support you — friends or family. At some point you’ve put so much into your career and ambitions that they just feel terrible about you failing or having to give up — so they may end up sacrificing time and effort to help you that ordinarily they shouldn’t have to do. It’s one thing to keep in mind.
The above part, by the way, is incredibly humbling. Sometimes it is embarrassing. This is probably also a good time to mention that just because you ‘sacrifice’ in all these ways doesn’t make you much cooler than people with more “normal” jobs — you’re the one who chose to do it.
Also, a large part of the sacrifice of course is in the huge risk of failure. I’ve seen many filmmakers and actors work for years and years — spending time away from family, spending a lot of money on their work and equipment and travel — only to end up not getting where they wanted. Some keep going. Some give up. But, even some of the ones I know who gave up were happy that they tried. Some weren’t.
I guess the biggest sacrifice outside of money and all these other factors is the fact that filmmaking takes a 500% commitment. You have to give everything of yourself to it, and you have to love doing it. They are labors of love. I’ve given everything I can to my film, THE TIGER HUNTER, and in a few months I’ll see how it turned out. But, I’m one of those people who will be glad they did it. I guess you can try to guess what type of person you are, and proceed accordingly.
Best of luck. We all need it.
Any filmmakers reading? How about helping out and sharing what sacrifices you feel are needed for a filmmaking career in the comments?
WANNA SEE HOW OUR FILM TURNS OUT? Sign up for our mailing list by visiting our WEBSITE.