There are 7 days until I direct my first movie and I'm freaking out!!!! "Hide/Seek" started out as a little movie I wrote, that I was going to film in my backyard for no money, and has quickly turned into a $15,000 SAG-AFTRA professional short film with a DP who won Sundance, an editor who has two Emmy awards, a producer who worked on a Cuba Gooding Jr. movie, articles in local newspapers, and a lead actor who is on "the Blacklist." When did this all happen?
Every free moment of my life since casting has been spent in full pre-production mode, doing location scouting, test footage, discussing cameras and lenses, script rewrites, shooting schedule, wardrobe, budget stuff, transportation, housing, lighting, and has essentially been this amazing, transformative, once in a lifetime masterclass in the art of filmmaking. As nutty as it is, this is a great learning experience for me, and for my actors.
Regarding my cast... They are incredible. Bryan Manley Davis, Michelle Vezilj, Sophie Knapp and Ned van Zandt are the best around. They have shown up to rehearsals (they don't have to), location scouts (definitely not necessary), and test footage shoots, without complaining one bit. I mean, how did I get so lucky? They say half of making a great movie happens in the casting, and I agree. All of this work we are doing is to prep for that wonderful first day when I say "Action" and those cameras capture my amazing actors doing what they do best. I can't wait. In my eyes, nothing matters except the truth that happens when those cameras start rolling on day 1 of principle photography.
It's amazing what goes into a small project like this. I probably talk to my producer 3 times a day (the wonderful Ellyn Vander Wyden), discussing everything from the type of peanut butter we will have on set, to the type of dirt we will use to bury the lead actor at the end, to the color of the boots Ned Van Zandt will wear when we first see him in the film. I can't believe I wrote this script over the weekend two months ago, and now it is coming to life.
The coolest part of this whole process has been the support we have gotten. We decided to try our hand at crowd-funding (which I highly recommend), and hit our goal of $10,000 within 10 days of launching. Now that our project has gotten so much bigger, we have decided we need another $5,000 to cover post production costs, so we have added a "stretch goal" to our campaign. This extra $5,000 will cover sound mixing, editing, color correction, music compostion, and most importantly, submission fees to all the major festivals (Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, Cannes, etc,) including more specifically targeted high end genre festivals. Those festival fees add up to $1000-$1500 alone, believe it or not. Because I'm an acting coach, I am able to add all of these cool perks for actors who donate, including coaching sessions with me, skype lessons, audition taping, business consultations, and now even a coffee date with me (That's right). Once you donate, you get exclusive access to my daily journal about the making of this film. As I always said, this is a film for actors, and by actors. It's all about passing along the knowledge and helping actors truly understand this crazy business. If you would like to donate, visit our Indiegogo campaign here. We have only 6 days left, and we would love your help with this last push! Feel free to share the campaign with any actor friends you know.
I'm so looking forward to this shoot, to spending 12 hours a day with these actors, and to passing along everything I've learned to the students at MN. Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I will talk about the actual shoot! Wish me luck!!!!!