A Short Film on Track

A Short Film on Track

Two months to go.

Principal photography is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th to Wednesday, May 24th.

We’re having a table read Saturday, April 29th.

As of this day/date, everything is moving exactly as earlier planned from last year July 2022 through December 2022. That includes financing.

Frankly, I’m shocked. Though not looking to jinx anything, it feels like this is going to be a flawless shoot. I have to contribute its momentum to four things:

  • God’s grace – cause I’ve experienced things NOT approved by his hand.
  • A touch of paranoid personal micro-management.
  • Long game planning.
  • Maturity.

I have said, in the past, it’s never the ideas that have a problem. Storytelling, writing scripts, and having ideas for films were never the problem. It was always the execution that scuttled past projects. Not enough of this. Not enough of that. Not just money, but other resources. Lack of money tends to be the stab in the heart that breaks the whole tower of ideas.

Last year around now, the idea for Predawn started as a treatment after another idea didn’t materialize. An animation project. I couldn’t stand the quality of it and when it comes to animation, it has to be solid for the story to be told right. As much as I love animation, no matter how long I’ve labored over it, I just never came to grips with liking my output of work. So, once and for all, I put it down.

That left a hole in the ‘what was I doing creatively in 2022’. Predawn was conceived and the pre-PRE-production began with a different approach than trying to pull off a short animation.

First of all, I didn’t have to rely on a skill set I didn’t like. Imagine you love playing the guitar. You practice and work at it for years and you’re still no better than day one. Now, that’s an opinion you give yourself, rest assured. You are your own worst critic, they say. You have to be. If you just push out the crap you can’t feel, it’ll be hard to justify its existence. You spend more time undercutting what you put out there.

It can be said, once you produce something, you should just let it go and move on to the next thing WITHOUT critiquing yourself. I agree with that only AFTER you’re certain your personal critique has approved its quality. With animation, I’ve never liked anything I’ve worked on.

Writing stories, however…

I can freestyle a story in my sleep. I literally generate stories out of dreams; waking up with something new. The adventure has always been ‘how to get what’s in my head onto the screen.’

Back in early 2022, I was on a precipice.

Keep working on some animation that I won’t like and end up trashing it … again?

Work on a short film instead, but with a track record of minor success, why even bother?

That was easily answered because the stories just keep flowing. Semi-painfully.

Do you know, it gets so bad I have to take Tylenol frequently to suppress headaches? Or spend hours banging out a treatment just to stop the noise.

It works.

As long as it’s on paper/Microsoft Word, things quiet down. I’m totally into sensory deprivation in order to stop the ideas, story structures, character development, etc, etc just to get some sleep.

It’s been like this since I was five years old.

All the ideas in the world won’t help you get a film off the ground if you don’t execute it right. And that was the bone-crushing defeat of it all.

Until now, that is.

It’s like I know the assignment. I set up weekly ‘to do’ lists that I MUST see getting scratched out at every step of the way. Because I started WAY early, considering the screenplay is likely going to be under 45 minutes, in one 1/2 locations and a small cast/crew, I had time to breathe.

I’m not rushing.

I’m not pressed for time.

Everyone on the cast/crew is notified early enough, to give them ample time to live their lives and still come for arranged dates.

For my end, I put the majority onus of work on myself so I can look at and address the things I do have control of:

  • Study and use of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4k
  • Understanding the right lenses I need
  • Creating the overall storyline of Predawn and what comes before it and what will come after it.
  • Solidified financing.
  • Scheduling and updating the cast and crew in a timely manner
  • Purchasing props and preparing the scenes.
  • Preparing for the festivals and each of their requirements.
  • Creating a marketing strategy that helps us before and after we get selected.
  • Developing practical and digital special effects within off-the-shelf reasonability.
  • Writing a blog posting from time to time to keep the ‘Predawn’ search engine appearance relevant. Especially by the time of festivals.
  • Planning the screening at a theater for the cast, crew, family, and friends in July, two months after we wrap.

With each passing day, as we get closer to shooting Predawn, my heart is lifting.

Not just for these five days in May and finally accomplishing a festival-quality film.

It’s that I’m getting closer to shooting each of the PLENTY of other stories I need to tell on screen, big or small. You gotta start with one. One of ‘something’ to continue walking the path. Predawn is my ‘something’ to make a statement that I exist. Backed by my weekly acting classes (by the way, are fantastic), I’m learning what it means to be a director to actors.

All I have to do is keep us on track for another two months. After that, edit peacefully, screen with everybody, and submit to festivals.

No pressure at all after that.

Because that’s when I put Predawn out there and leave it to others to critique.

Yeah. This one.

I’m nearly ready to wrap up and move on to the next project because this … Predawn … it’s doing what it’s supposed to do and I love it.

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