Monday, April 18, 2016

How to Make A Short Film: Finding Your Team

(Left to right: Bryce Lewis, Megan Ristine, Brian Stewart,
 Rachel Kyle, Josh Simons, Taylor Pope, EC Hannah, Alex Foley,
 Hope Epperson, Jennifer Verzuh, Lara Jane, Josh Shabshis)

I wanted to make a short film but I wasn’t going to a filmmaking school.

You need a lot of help to make a really good film. Orson Welles once said, “A poet needs a pen, a painter a brush, and a director an army. To make a short film to start on your filmmaking career you have to find a way to convince other people to join in with you. The people you have around you is going to very a lot so you need to know who’s in your circle and why they might agree to work on your project.

Orson Welles could get pretty bitter about the film industry. Later on he said: "I think I made 
essentially a mistake in staying  in movies but it’s a mistake I can’t regret because it’s like saying 
I shouldn't have stayed married to that woman but I did because I love her."
The spring of my freshman year I was talking to prospective students who might be coming next year. Everybody I was talking to wanting to go into filmmaking. Seemed to me there might be a market for someone to start a filmmaking club. We had one for theater. Why not this?

First thing I needed was to test to see if there really was interest in making short films. I came up with a story and hammered out a script. (Which became Kelly vs The Philosophers) Then I started asking around to the people I knew and people I thought might be interested

1. Theater crowd.

2. Filmmaker crowd.

3. Any Friends.

4. General advertisement to student body.

Immediately I got a lot of filmmaking interest in the general call for cast and crew, which made me very happy. I called up one of my friends who I had specifically in mind for the role of Machiavelli: Alex Foley, a guy who, if you knew him, you’d know why he was instantly the one I wanted for that role. I messaged him and he immediately and enthusiastically agreed. Another friend I had in mind to be my editor—Benjamin Capitano--I didn’t have to even ask; the minute he got wind it was happening, he jumped on it. Which I was really glad about because he was—and is—so amazingly talented.

 (Here Alex Foley is in another video series he starred in that I made--just to give you an idea.)

My filmmaking resources were the fact that I was going to a school where—although it was not a film school per-se—it was full of people who were interested in the arts and film. More than that, everyone I knew was a doer who liked to pull together a do things and do them well—whether that was to make a short film or not. So what are yours? Make a list of the ones you’ve got.

Do you have any stories about getting started on your filmmaking career or getting to make your first short film? Tell me in the comments. And stay tuned for more lessons I learned working on Kelly vs The Philosophers.

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