The road to filmmaking is paved with ups and downs. Sometimes it’s not even a road and it’s just a hint of a trail. Other times I have to blaze new trails and learn new skills as I go along.
Sometimes my compass is broken and I get lost while other times I find my way, but through it all the burning desire to turn my story ideas into a visual form to share with people like you has never faltered.
I love film making, and I like to think I’m getting pretty good at it. I don’t expect to win any awards anytime soon – that’s not why I do it – I just love writing new scripts and working with a cast and crew to bring that screenplay to life.
Ironically, Dead Hunt, the project that got me started on my filmmaking journey, has never come to fruition – and it could be years before it ever sees the light of day. In this blog post I wrote about how I had to postpone it until 2017 because we simply were not going to be ready unless we cut a lot of corners.
Cuts that would have ruined the story.
Corners I was not willing to cut.
The more experience I get making my short films, the more I realized that I’m not ready to tackle a project as big as Dead Hunt.
Blind ambition has its place, but it can also lead you down a dark path. One of the times my compass was broken and I got lost was when I wrote and began filming The Amygdala Project. It was an ambitious undertaking to say the least and would have taken the entire summer to film because we could only shoot it on the weekends. Bad weather, scheduling conflicts and other problems reared their ugly head and my 13 episode mini-series was cut to 9 episodes. Then to 7. Then trying to piece together a single story rather than a mini-series.
But we still ran out of time.
My inexperience as a director, coupled with trying to learn how to direct from behind the camera while keeping an eye on all the technical aspects of filmmaking led to a few missteps, false starts and ruined footage. It was a learning experience to say the least.
Sadly, by the time we were forced to wrap up shooting we simply didn’t have enough coverage. I wanted to shoot all the heavy dialog and character building scenes at the end because they were the most important parts of the story . I felt the on-camera chemistry would have been so much better because everyone was no longer strangers working on a new project, they would have been a tight-knit family. The best laid plans of mice and men… We simply ran out of time.
Without those key scenes there was no story – just a random collection of scenes that could not be strung together in any logical order because there were so many plot holes and missing pieces.
Editing a film is like putting a jig saw puzzle together – by themselves each little piece of the puzzle doesn’t really seem like much, but lose one piece and you’ll never have a complete picture. Now imagine a third of the pieces are missing – you don’t even have a picture, just a collection of little pieces that could be something great if only you had the rest of the pieces.
It pains me to say that the Amygdala Project is dead. I wrote new scenes to be filmed at a later date to try and fill in those glaring plot- holes. I tried changing it into more of a dramatic story rather than an action flick. I tried editing what I did have – none of it worked. Too many pieces of the puzzle were missing.
Amygdala was a great learning experience and I got to meet and become friends with some wonderful people, I just wish I had something to show them for all their hard work. Someday I will cut together a reel of the best footage to showcase what they have accomplished, but spending too much time working on a failed project can be dangerous and depressing. Someday I will cut that footage… just not today.
Today I am fine-tuning the new story I wrote while editing the latest film I shot called UNSCHEDULED VISIT.
WINTER’S HUNT, is waiting for one final piece of footage to be shot and then I can release it.
THE BATTLE WITHIN and THE FINAL GOODBYE have both been released and we will be shooting THE INTERROGATION within the next couple of weeks.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride and I’m starting to pick up steam.
The pitfalls and disappointments of independent filmmaking will never dissuade me because I am passionate about filmmaking and my best screenplays, my best films, are still inside me… and I’m just getting warmed up.