Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Next Film: WAIT

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I’ve simply never envisioned anything else for myself. At the end of July, I moved from Virginia to Los Angeles to fulfill my dream. The final push in me moving here was the drive of a few film producers who saw my last short film, Earrings, and expressed interest in working with me. When I spoke to these producers for the first time in early 2013, I told them about this script I had just written. This raw and unconventional examination of love, and the things it motivates us to do. I sent them the script, and they quickly agreed to help me finance it. My girlfriend and I got in the car, headed west, and in five short days, announced ourselves as citizens of the City of Angels.

After giving myself a month to get used to the city (which is silly, because you can never fully get used to this city), I dove headfirst into pre-production on my new film. Pre-production is a hard thing for a film director, mostly because, of all the steps to the filmmaking process, it requires the least amount of actual creativity (or at least the type of creativity I prefer). Location scouting, wig shopping, car renting, actor auditioning (a horribly strange step in the process) – it never ends. Money dominates every conversation, scheduling conflicts become your new normal; you fight and claw toward that first day of shooting, hoping it will arrive, but certain the film could fall out at any moment. In fact, I didn’t blog about this film sooner because I genuinely feared that it could be buried at any time.

Well, tomorrow my first day of shooting arrives. As I’m typing this, I honestly can’t believe it’s here. I’m excited, eager, nervous, anxious, you name it. But mostly, I’m ready. I’ve lived with this film for the better part of two years, and I’m going to live with it for many years to come. The way the film reads on the page is exactly how I envisioned it in my head. And the way the actors have delivered their lines at our table reads is so unique and new; it’s as if I can see the film organically coming alive.
A few of my actors at a recent table read
A little about the picture. First off, it’s a “real” movie. Feature length with three weeks of shooting, 10 speaking parts, seven locations in two cities, a stunt driver, a prop master, catering, and on and on. Although it will have the same intimate feel as Earrings (which you can watch here), it will be a more technically controlled film. As a filmmaker, I’m more interested in what a character is thinking, rather than saying. It’s why my first two shorts contain very little dialogue. This film, while equipped with a healthy share of emotional expression, has far more dialogue than anything I’ve done.

In fact, the scene we’re shooting tomorrow is an extended dinner conversation. Four people, one table, a crowded restaurant, and tons of words. Most films shoot 4-5 script pages a day. We’re doing 18. In five hours. When you make a low budget film, your time is often at the mercy of the people who own the locations. But it’s all good – I’m ready, my crew is ready, and my very talented cast of actors (including Catherine Warner, the star of Earrings) are certainly ready. Time to go do this thing.

One last note. I’ve recently been more absent on this blog and social media than I prefer to be. This film has occupied my every waking moment for the better part of three months, so making time for film criticism has been harder than usual. Despite this, I remain in awe of my readers. The people who stop by And So it Begins often, leaving the kindest, most inspiring comments imaginable. Thank you all so much for the continued support. I’ll be blogging about the film often, so I do hope you enjoy what I have to say about the process of making this film.

This film. This film that’s called Wait. This film that’s about love. 

78 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you are living your dream! I can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck with everything, Alex!

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    1. Thanks Brittani!! Your support means so much to me!

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  2. Good luck; can't wait to see the final product. :)

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    1. Thanks man! Really appreciate the comment.

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  3. You are living the dream man. If you need any suggestions w/ music. Let me know. I've got some stuff you might like. You don't have to pay me. I just want a credit.

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    1. Thanks man! I actually have to use an original score on this one, can't set myself up for copyright infringement by nabbing other people's tracks. You don't happen to make music, do you?

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    2. Unfortunately, I don't know how to make music. I don't even know how to play an instrument. All I can do is just offer suggestions but I can understand why you couldn't use other people's music since it's very expensive and there's all sorts of clearances and shit.

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    3. Yeah it is INSANE how expensive tracks are. Some musicians are willing to work with you and scale the cost of their track to something comparable to your budget. But still... wow.

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  4. As I said to you a couple of weeks ago, I was reading up on all of your Earrings post and I was so inspired. During that week I was having a bit of a life crisis about what I wanted to, but I came out of it realising what I've always thought: I wanna be a filmmaker. And I must say, you had a HUGE part in that decision! I'm so excited for you, you have to keep us all in the loop. I think ages ago when you did that Joan Allen retrospective and I told you about my role in The Crucible you said I could be in one of your movies. I'll hold ya to that - I found out I could cry on command and everything! Haha. You just keep on being amazing, best of luck with the shoot, and can't wait to see the final product. I'm sure it'll be wonderful!

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    1. Thanks so much, Stevee! I can't fully express how much that means to me. If I was at all responsible for your desire to be a filmmaker then... wow, that's seriously great.

      If you ever make it to the States for an extended period of time, I'd definitely love to work together. Crying on cue is no easy feat. I'd love to see some of your work sometime!

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    2. I can send you The Crucible if you reeeeeeeally want it haha. Hope everything is going well with you!

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    3. I'd like to see it! Thanks, the shoot is crazy busy but a lot of fun!

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  5. ZOMGGGGG ALEX!!!!!! You, my friend, are such a role model. You are already the most knowledgeable film person I know and you're not a snob about it which is such a blessing and now this. I'm very happy for you. All the very best and cannot effing wait to see the film!!

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    1. Aww thanks Nik! Snobbery is just so unappealing, isn't it? Definitely not my thing. Thanks so much for the support over these past few years, it really has meant a lot!

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  6. All the best forever and ever, Alex! Shooting a feature is intense, but so rewarding and I know you'll do great! Wheeeee!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I planned my most intense day as the first day of shooting (probably not a very good idea in hindsight, haha), but it went great! Thanks for the comment!

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  7. This is unbelievably awesome! I read up on all the Earrings posts a few weeks ago and if anyone deserves to be where you are now, it's you. Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks so much Elina! And thanks for reading about Earrings, that's really kind of you.

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  8. That's a GREAT news, Alex. All the very best to you, my friend. We are waiting eagerly for all the updates and then the release. Have you decided how are you going to distribute it?

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    1. Thanks man! The marketing for this one is going to be more detailed and specific than it was for Earrings. I'm in the very early stages of looking into a VOD and/or iTunes release. Very long process though.

      The other route is the festival route. It's really one or the other... so we'll see!

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  9. That sounds amazing! Congratulations and best of luck on the shoot!

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  10. Great to read this, I will definitely watch your short movies in the coming days.

    Life is all about following your dreams and make decisions that most people are afraid of making because of the insecurities it often includes.

    Fantastic to see that you are doing it and making it work, truly respectable!

    It's completely understandable that you can't be here every moment of the day :-).

    I will let you know if I am looking forward to this movie once I've seen your other movies ;-).

    The best of luck and respect of pulling this off!!!

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    1. Thanks man! So cool of you to stop by and comment on this. I agree, for me, my life has been about chasing this dream. I've never wanted to do anything else!

      Hope you dig my shorts!

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  11. Alex, I'm so happy to hear you're already starting to shoot the film, that's amazing! Although I haven't been writing much on the blog, I still follow the film circuit and I still read your blog, so I am so happy to hear the good news! I have faith in you and I'm sure that you will be on everyone's lips in Hollywood soon enough! Always count on my support! Good luck with everything and I can't wait to see the result! Diana (aziza's picks)

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    1. So good to hear from you, D! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I definitely miss your film voice on your site, but I understand that life often gets in the way of film blogging. Again, good to hear from you... stop by anytime :)

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  12. This is so awesome! Best of luck Kid.

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  13. Good for you man! Can't wait to see the fruits of your labor, I'm sure this'll be awesome! Any plans on how you're going to premiere it (Sundance, VOD, online)? Also, did you ever get that link(s) I sent you? If you still need a score I'd be happy to do something for you (if not, no harm no foul)!

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    1. Thanks man!

      I never got your link! I dunno if it went to my gmail spam folder or what, but I definitely never saw it. Try again maybe? Or a Twitter DM?

      Right now, my team and I are thinking about a VOD/iTunes release. It's either that or the festival circuit, which is grueling, expensive, competitive but potentially very rewarding. We'll just have to see! Long way 'til we get there.

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  14. That's awesome, Alex! Good luck with the production, and I can't wait to see it.

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  15. Such great news! I've been helping to go through some boxes of Dennis' things....tapes, interviews (a lot of VHS with no labels on them). In one interview he was asked how he played a role so perfectly. His answer, "I said the lines that were written. I did it the way I was asked to. I've been lucky to have had roles that were written and directed so well that all I had to do was show up."

    Not every actor has that appreciation for how a part gets to be a part, but it's nice to hear. My best wishes for your words and scenes to be projected by those around you the way you've pictured them in your mind. Can't wait to see the final result!

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    1. I'm so glad we met each other, Dawn! I just love your insight into so many different things, and your interesting view of the world (which matches mine in many ways).

      I love Dennis' answer to that question, very self effacing and honest. He seemed like such a good man.

      Thanks for your support of the movie. I'm really happy to get it going.

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  16. All the best Alex, hope it all goes well and look forward to hearing more about it!

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    1. Hey Chris, thanks a lot man. I really appreciate it!

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  17. Alex, I am so excited for you and can't wait to hear more. We're all cheering for you and are so proud that you're living your dream.

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    1. Aww thanks so much, Katie! It means so much to me that you commented here. And thanks so much for the support. See you next month!

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  18. Awesome stuff, Alex. I wish you the best of luck.

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  19. Congrats again man, and good luck with the shoot. I can't wait to see the finished product!

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    1. Thanks buddy, I'm pumped to get this thing going!

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  20. That's awesome! Best of luck with the shoot and I'm looking forward to seeing the final product. :-)

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    1. Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

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  21. That's truly amazing. I can't imagine the stress of holding all of this excitement in for fear of jinxing it. I can't wait to see it! Happy filmmaking!

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    1. Thanks Jess! A lot to hold in, for sure. But it's great to see it all coming together.

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  22. so excited for you alex! congrats and cant wait to see it!

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  23. This is amazing! Best of luck, can't wait to see it! Congrats on the opportunity!

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    1. Thanks JC! Really appreciate you stopping by.

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  24. Well done for having the balls (and the talent) to go out there and make your dream happen. Looking forward to following the process!

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  25. Wow man best of luck on the project! Very excited to hear more about it!

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    1. Thanks Pete! Look forward to sharing some more stuff about production!

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  26. The very best of luck to you. It must be so exciting/nerve wracking to finally get to this point. Congrats on your success so far.

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    1. Thanks man. Very exciting, very unnerving. So much goes into this stuff, it's insane.

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  27. So glad you're moving forward with your career. I wish you the best, this is so exciting. Can't wait to see how it'll look like. I'd ask what were your influences or what should we expect but I think it's best to let you share this with us when you feel it will be the right time. May you have an untroubled and creatively inspired production.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cristi! My inspirations for this film... I'd honestly have to sit down and think about that one. I haven't really had much time to sit down and think of anything lately, ha. But I'll definitely share that with you when I can think of how to articulate it well :)

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  28. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome. Glad to hear the movie is actually making it to shooting. So many films die in development, it's great when you make it to the set. Look forward to the film. I still have not watched Earrings but I will be diving in this week. Best of luck to you and your crew. Be careful of the L.A. sharks.

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    1. Thanks so much man, I really appreciate the comment. Oh boy, the sharks are out there, no doubt. But I've done a pretty solid job of avoiding them so far. Thanks again!

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  29. Can't wait... ha-ha, get it?

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  30. WOW! Talk about living the dream! Well done and congrats Alex, my best wishes to you man, I know you've got it in you to fulfill your dream as a filmmaker. I can't be more thrilled for you, hope you keep us abreast of the development somehow, even if it's just a quick note or tweet. Take care and God bless!!

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth! Your support is so encouraging. Will definitely do my best to keep everyone up to speed about production!

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  31. Duuuuuude. This is so exciting! Glad to see the wheels are in motion. Best of luck with your new film -- make sure to keep us posted!

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  32. This is such fantastic news, I'm so happy for you!

    I'm sure the film will be amazing and truly cannot wait to read more posts about it and then see it when it's done. Congratulations on having the courage to chase your dream!

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    1. Thanks Sati! I've always appreciated your support so much!

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  33. Damn, I go away and I miss so much, I feel awful now but it's absolutely amazing that your second film is well underway. Let me catch up with all this, I can't believe I've missed it. Fantastic to hear Alex and it has made my day. I have been all over the country lately but there's really no excuse at all for forgetting to catch up with you and your still astoundingly inspirational filmmaking work. Stunning as usual. I'll make sure And So It Begins returns to regular rotation whenever I get online, I do not want to miss a thing.

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    1. Hey man, thanks for stopping by. I've always appreciated your support so much and believe me, it is ALL GOOD that you missed this post initially. Really man, no worries at all. We wrapped filming two weeks ago and thank God. It was a very long, very arduous shoot. So I'm happy to be in full on editing mode now; definitely my favorite part of the process. I've logged 38 hours of editing so far and have 4 minutes and 38 seconds of final product to show for it. Such a tedious step in the process, but I love it!

      Thanks again for stopping by man, hope you're doing well!

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    2. It all must seem so surreal, or perhaps not since this is your second film after all. Either way, it's fantastic to hear you're well into the editing, which certainly can be tedious, but it's also fantastic seeing your finished product gradually all come together. It's certainly something I'm seriously looking forward to big time. Thanks man, I am doing great and am just glad to be catching up with everything. Really, all this buzz is making me no less than fucking ecstatic for the final product.

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    3. Thanks man! I really looking forward to sharing it with everyone.

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