Development for the Sarah Jane short film actually started Jan 2014 when I decided to shoot this myself.
I had become a little jaded about waiting on other people to produce my story. Initially, Sarah Jane, was supposed to be a “practice” video project and if it turned out “decent” I would submit it to local video/film festivals. If it didn’t I would just use the experience to make me better the next time around. By this time, Sarah Jane had gone through about 3 re-writes. Although I didn’t need another writer, I had an author friend who had also been trying to get her stories produced and pitched the idea to her to “do it ourselves”. She needed a short film for her portfolio and since mine was already written and our schedules were tight, we agreed to shoot Sarah Jane.
Now for reasons that I completely understand, my author friend really wanted other people to shoot and fund Sarah Jane, for the obvious but also because of the technical aspects. For me, over the years I had gradually built up my creative studio at home with the basic equipment needed to shoot decent videos. I had the camera, lighting, sound, filters, gels, and had been learning directing, cinematography, and following producer blogs so I already knew that I had planned on shooting it myself with the help of family.
I seriously just wanted the experience of a writer, producer and director of a completed project. I knew that I needed something viable in my production portfolio in order for other professionals to take me seriously outside of writing.
After January 2014 the script passed between me and the author friend off an on until the end of December. In all I think it went through 2 total passes from both. In January 2015, I was actually going to contact her to tell her never-mind, about the joint venture and that I would go it alone. That’s when a guy contacted me on an online community and asked if I wanted to be a part of his writer collaboration group.
The writer’s group ended up not being a match for me and ended my involvement and membership. In fact, that whole I experience I had with the moderator of the writer’s group forced me to stick to my guns and not outsource production. I look back and see that the writer’s group was just a way for me to meet someone. That someone introduced me to someone else. Although neither of those “somebodies” ended up collaborating with me on Sarah Jane, it was because of my experience with them that I decided to stick to my guns and produce it myself.
In the end, I wasn’t supposed to work with him or his contacts. I just needed a “push” into pre-production and the backlash from working with those individuals forced me to go the path alone (with the help of family and writer bud).
So now I’m writing, producing and directing on a bigger scale than I had originally planned.
It’s kinda scary.
But it’s also the type of experience that I’ve been missing and need in order to grow as a filmmaker. Although we shoot on video, I’m a filmmaker because the process that I go through for a production aligns with the “filmmaker” over “videographer” and of course nowadays most indie filmmakers are shooting via digital mediums.
Between April 2015-September 2015. Some of the things I did in pre-production were:
- scouted locations
- co-wrote final production script
- created a production schedule
- hired an assistant
- wrote the shooting script
- did script breakdown
- came up with shot list
- hired additional crew
- casting /auditions
- designed casting blog
- assisted with press releases
- created a indiegogo crowd campaign
- edited indiegogo video
- script read /walk thru
- revised the budget
- handled 80% of production communication with cast and crew
These were just some of the things. We’ll see what happens next.