Develop Sharing in Film Development: A Call to Action to Celebrate My First Feature Film
The film world only celebrates the project once it’s finished. That process can take a year, three years, even 10–20 years. There is such camaraderie and community that comes with distributing a film. Everyone shows up, everyone is excited, they can finally see the thing you’ve been talking about all along. However, throughout the process, from development, pre-production, the juicy production, and post-production, the project takes so many shapes, gaining much more depth and heart. The pre-production and development process is a crucial, joyous part of the project as a whole. We ask people to be a part of the project in pre-production monetarily, but we don’t let them revel in our successes with us, learn from our mistakes, and grow with us as the project grows and comes to life.
I want to normalize calling in our community from the very beginning.
As an extroverted writer and a lover of collaboration as a director, pre-production is a scary, lonely place. You’re putting on the smile, you scream into the void about a dream and you hope someone, especially someone with clout, looks up and notices you (or whatever the production equivalent is to an actor and someone sees you across the room and thinks you’re “it”). I put on the puppet show, I try to sputter out the right string of words that will really sell you on this project that is coming to fruition and WITH YOUR HELP you can make it into a reality, for the low, low cost of $19.95! And we submit to festivals, market the hell out of ourselves on a short, a non-monetizable entity that we’re betting our even larger dreams on.
When in reality, all I want to do is create and share raw, vulnerable, growing stories when the stories themselves are in the form of being raw, vulnerable and growing. I want to bring everyone together and bask in the excitement and the sense of play that comes with creating.
And why isn’t this normalized? I remember reading Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, the book that every budding screenwriter buys in hopes for the quick fix to why their story isn’t working (when really we’re avoiding sitting with ourselves to acknowledge our hang ups and how we get in our own way of telling our stories). Besides the iconic “save the cat” anecdote, the one thing that really stood out to me in the book was Snyder’s section on pitching. He suggests we pitch to “anyone who will stand still,” even in line at the coffee shop (oh those were the days). Snyder put it more abrasively, but overall he said not to be afraid of someone stealing your idea. Get over that and, from me, get to the heart of it! No one can tell your story better than you, and you should trust in that.
But because pre-production is the abyss of filmmaking, we keep everything close to our chests and deny the instincts we have as filmmakers, which is to create, share, and repeat.
As I venture on to reach the most challenging, messiest, most liberating and fulfilling goal I have yet to work towards (creating my first feature), I want to normalize sharing every step like a proud parent-to-be who keeps showing you the updated sonogram and throwing the ten different parties you attend related to having a baby and in the end colored m&ms come falling out. So where are my m&m’s and how can we normalize sharing this little miracle that’s coming to life?
As a response to this question and these feelings, I’m creating a series in the form of events celebrating milestones mixed with a bi-weekly newsletter following the behind the scenes journey for my feature film directorial debut, Sleep Talking, which you can read more about here. I’m committed to not taking this journey alone and flocking towards my instinct to share my process for the sake of how proud I am of this step, not for likes on a post. I want to take the show out of sharing and lead with honest intentions.