Every film I make takes me one step closer to my ultimate goal of directing my first feature film. Though it certainly may not have been evident between shorts one and two, I stretched myself and learned even more about my capabilities, or the lack of them. That progression will always be my aim with each short I attempt. My next certainly will push me in new directions, the most important of which is finding the right people to the jobs that I so foolishly attempted in my first two films. I will be relying on a cinematographer for my next film and I’m hoping to fill other key roles as well.
Before I can make any of that happen I must choose my next project. You’d think that would be easy, right? So did I but I found a few barriers in the way of making a decision.
One of the things I had to do when writing scripts was take off my producer’s hat; I found myself changing the story because of costs or availability or any number of restrictions. All that did was restrict my creativity and storytelling abilities. I needed to tell the story first and worry about the production later.
I’ve completed three scripts for short films ranging from eight to fourteen minutes. Time is not a constraint, though I do prefer a shorter film so, if I choose the longer script I expect there will be some trimming.
One of the considerations for my choice is cost. How much will the budget have to be in order to complete the film. I’ve made rough estimates and of course the script that will cost the most to produce is the story I want to tell. The funny thing is it’s the shortest of the three scripts.
I’ve started trimming down some costly elements all with an eye on maintaining the story. For instance, I had a late 1500s ballroom dance scene with ten dancers, two of whom were my leads. Now, I’ve rewritten the scene to be just the leads (a more intimate dance) and moved it outdoors with one violinist (as opposed to an orchestra or quartet). The actors/dancers were really not the biggest cost in that scene; I’ve gone from ten actors in period formal wear to two actors in period garb that I’ve yet to decide on. And, one musician instead of four or more.
I’ll try to get as much free anything as possible but I know there will be costs involved. Having said that, what was looking like a $100,000 film is going to cost a fraction of that. There is still much to be decided, but I know now what story I want to tell and thanks to putting on a creative producer’s hat, it’s possible.