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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Killing Your Babies and Making Important Decisions as a Director

Today, I'd like to address a couple of difficulties all filmmakers endure when making indie films and how we might overcome the pressure and rise to the occasion of greatness: 1) killing your babies - whether it's a character in a script or it's a scene of dialog in your film and 2) making important decisions as a director/keeping your voice.

But first - I must send praise to the Gods - We just locked picture on Visible Noise, and it feels like an eternity coming! Earlier on, when we had some delays, it was important to take on the mentality of doing things right and not in order to make one festival deadline. I'm excited to announce that we're officially in color correction and sound design land!! Our new official deadline is May 31st.

In between edits, I've been working on perfecting a new short script, Visiting Hours, too. I think it's very important that we KEEP WORKING on creating new babies, even when we've got one almost at its due date.

So, let's first address killing babies. Writers do this daily (or they're not producing good work!). Egos must be set aside to look at what elements will keep your story moving forward. The best way to do this is to have a second person you trust read your work and give you feedback, or set it aside for a week and come back to it. Those obvious things will become clearer, once you are removed a step from the material. A person you trust should make logical suggestions, not tell you what to do. And you must be prepared to LISTEN. When we can truly kill our babies for the better, I feel we have grown as artists. It means we can see and care for the entire story/picture enough to treat it like a loving relationship that we respect. Then other people who read it will respect your work.

Now - on to the even bigger decisions you'll have to continue to make as a director, especially if you're a hyphenate. You'll have to edit your characters/story in the writing process to produce the best script, as mentioned above. Then you'll edit those ideals in production when you shoot your film, guiding the set. At times, and if we're lucky, actors will bring something more to the character than could have ever been imagined. But when there's difficulty in a performance, you have to be prepared to answer questions and make decisions that will greatly impact your project for better or worse. And third, you'll have to put on your directors hat again in editing and make the creative decisions that are the best for your project as a whole, regardless of others feelings. Keeping your vision/voice in tact while being open to suggestions is an art in itself. That's right, no thinking about who your actor friends are performing, or if an investor is going to get mad if you cut out his or her favorite scene entirely. Your job is to produce the BEST FILM POSSIBLE. Remember that, and go kick some ass.

Happy filmmaking! May the force be with you. ;)

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