Holy crap! I can’t believe we are only two weeks away from premiering 7 Things Nobody Tells You About Moving to LA! Time is flying by, and there is still so much to do.
Producing this short has been an incredible learning experience, and a great way to utilize all Los Angeles has to offer. I never realized how much work really goes into such a tiny short. From pre-production to post-production, I have so much more respect for every individual who takes part in this process. And I have to give mad props to LA, because there is no other city full of so many talented, willing filmmakers (and passersby who don’t give a shit that you’re filming in front of their driveway because it’s LA—it’s the norm; I think I just found the 8th thing nobody tells you…).
To create this short, I had to partake in several activities that I have never done before. The first is writing. Yes, I realize I wrote a book. (You can check it out here :) ) But I have never written a script before. One great lesson I have learned through this, is that if you can’t find someone to do things for you, being forced to figure it out on your own is a much more rewarding adventure. I searched high and low for a comedy writer, and could not find one whom I could afford. Therefore, I was stuck writing the script myself. And I did it!
The next important lesson I continue to practice, is to get feedback from experts. Sure, I can pat myself on the back for writing a script all by myself, but if I want this project to be of quality, I needed some help. Thank god for my friend Jason (who you can read about here :) ), who, while was too busy directing his own creations to write the script for me, had just enough time to punch up my scenes. He made it funny. Jason is amazing, and I am so grateful for his input.
I have also never produced a film before. WOW. What a job. It has been a ton of work finding actors, finding a crew, communicating my vision, arranging schedules, finding filming locations, renting equipment, prepping sides and call sheets, and then of course also being the graphic designer, designing props and set pieces. There were days when I thought, “What the hell am I doing?! I’m completely in over my head.”
I’ve worked on professional network productions for the past 5 years, so I’ve gathered enough information on how a Production Office should run. Still, implementing it all was not easy. It was important to me that my cast and crew enjoy the shoot, and feel that everything was organized and comfortable. I really wanted everyone to enjoy their time filming 7 Things. So much so, that I may have put a little too much effort in, because I could have fed two more crews with our crafty (food on set, for those who don’t work in the industry), and I bought roses to decorate the welcome table, which of course died almost immediately due to the heat wave. But the shoot did seem to run smoothly. I couldn’t have done any of it without my producing partner, Nikki Tomlinson (check out her blog post here… ), which leads me to my next lesson:
Delegate, and collaborate! Working with Nikki has taught me so much about collaboration. It’s been an incredible experience having a dedicated partner who contributes ideas and resources, and splits responsibilities. Not many things were accomplished in this world by one sole person, and I can see why. If you have a team you can trust, it completely elevates your project. Everything is better. Nikki brought so much to this project that wouldn’t have happened if I were working solo. THANK YOU, NIKKI!!! Nikki and I also LOVED working with our director, Josh Harris. He carried through my vision with creativity and ease. Josh knew when to try new ideas, and when to pull back. Speaking of hiring a director….
Lastly, trust people in their expertise. I do graphics. I don’t edit, I’m not a cinematographer, I can’t light a set, I can’t record sound, and I don’t direct. Bringing people on to do what they do best was pretty cool to watch. I learned so much about each position, and I’m thankful all of these people were willing to lend their talent and knowledge. Especially our Director of Photography, Rob Sweeney. I am beyond humbled that he agreed to film our short (you can check out his credits here). Rob’s talent certainly raised the bar. Very, very, high.
Like I said, there is still so much to do before we premiere, so I’ll stop rambling now We are working hard in post production to make this the best short it can be. I’m pretty darn nervous to see if the rest of the world likes 7 Things as much as we do (I really hope you do!!), but regardless of the outcome this has been a very rewarding experience.