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Old 11-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #1
cmmora
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Default About to embark on my Directing Debut...

T-10 days and counting until we start filming my American/Bollywood Feature. It will be my first time directing a feature and from a script that I wrote to boot (Story by another writer and me, script my me). It's all very exciting.

I was often asked why I bothered directing my shorts. That it was so much money to spend on producing the short and then spending money on sending them off to festivals and such. Some would say it's all a big waste of time with nothing showing for it at the end.

But for me it was always worth it. Just writing feature scripts and sending them out to producers and agents and hearing back silence was never enough for me.

On a side note...

I came close to selling my first script. 5 years after writing it. I was contacted by a Producer who loved the script. I flew down to L.A. from San Francisco, had a great visit with my folks, ,then went and met the producer. We talked about the rewrite he wanted and which actor he wanted to play the lead. His lips were forming how much he wanted to pay me... Then... Then... his producing partner walked in and was annoyed (I could tell) that the other Producer had contacted me without both Producers agreeing to the meeting, let alone the script. I got a thank you and a "we'll be in touch". Then all I got was silence. Now all of these years later, that same script is in my hard drive only taken out for when I need a sample to send.

Anyway...

So I starting directing my own shorts so I could at least see something I wrote get produced and scene by the dozens of people who would show up to a festival. I would tell myself that short directing was a training ground for the dream of getting the skills to direct a feature.

I told myself this for years. 7 shorts in total. Each one I get better and better. Along the way I would meet up with local producers who were looking for a writer to develop a story, write a feature or develop outlines for a T.V. series. None of which ever took off. But I was never discouraged when the money or the enthusiasm of the producers subsided and the project fell through. I never got mad or screamed at them, as was happening in my head. I just knew my time would come one day.

As it happens, one of the Producers I had worked with and whose project had stalled was talking to a friend of his who was looking for a writer to write an American/Bollywood story. My Producer recommended me and I eventually got the gig.

Then that Producer saw my latest short, one that was the most expensive one to date, and loved it. He offered me the director gig too.

So, now a little more than a year after I got the initial phone call, I am primed to direct this bad boy. I have brought along my DP friend who did 3 of my shorts along with other crew I have worked with before. We are almost ready.

All of the indie skills we have all developed will come into play on this low budget feature.

My dream of directing is finally about to happen. After many years of writing and directing, taking classes at UCLA Online Screenwriting and taking directing classes, it is all about to pay off -- I am hoping. Directing a short is a far cry from a feature, but I am prepared.

I'm not sure I will be able to talk about the production until after the edit -- to protect the innocent and the guilty, but I will try to mentioned a few things as they happened, or did happen.

I did almost the whole casting myself and that experience alone I could write a book on.

So all keep the faith and don't let the naysayers creep into your head. It's always better to be a dreamer than a realist. Until the time when reality comes into play and that is why we have accountants and lawyers...
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Had to post. Great work. Keep it going. Great state of mind. I've learned more about writing by making the films, and you don't realize it until after you finish.

And we need naysayers as our devil's advocate. Just store up on salt. Keep your wits.

Again, much respect. I hope the film excels.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Going down the same path, hope to have filmed my first short this year.

Just sitting behind a computer and typing was never my thing.

The best feeling in the world is to write your own work, and then direct it exactly as you visioned it.

Keep up the good fight and don't forget the little people.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Got get 'em Carlos. I've seen your work and you've earned this shot. Wishing you all the best.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Good on you, Carlos. Looking forward to seeing it when it's done. (You'll make sure we can, won't you?)

Good luck!
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Break a leg! (and hope you got good insurance!)
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Congrats, and good luck!

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Congrats! Let us know when we can see it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Hey Carlos -- congrats to you and thanks for the great post. Your experience and your point are dead on. I was lucky enough to sell my third script in July, after writing for five years (my first script got optioned in 2007). But I have learned a lot from the producer-director who bought my script back in July -- and what he has taught me is that "Hollywood" is largely a dead-end for writers ... that even if you do sell a script, even to a studio, the likelihood of it ever getting made are about zero. AND he also stressed the point that a typical experience today is to have your script ruined by extensive rewriting by others, over which you have little or no control.
SO, as a result, I took a big chunk of the $$$ I got for my script and bought all of the equipment I need to make features (cameras, pro audio gear, lighting equipment, editing and post-production software and a tricked out video editing computer, you name it). I now have everything I need to be a walking mini-prodco and I am starting shooting on my first film in December and planning to finish it in 60 days.
To me, the key point is that by directing rather than just writing, we can control our own destiny. And the rapidly changing distribution landscape, with digiital and VOD platforms, means that low-budget films can find an audience and even make money.
And anybody, dependent only on talent and ambition, and no lomnger limited by "access," can make Hollywood-quality films today on equipment they own for about $25,000, which is just amazing to me. Technology has changed the game -- to our benefit.
So, my hat's off to you for what you're doing, and I hope both of us will be among the ranks of "acclaimed new wrirer-directors" in 2013!
For now, congrats again. You should be very proud.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: About to embark on my Directing Debut...

Congrats, enjoy, kudos! I produced/directed one of my short scripts, and it was a great experience. What you said -- about it not being enough to send stuff out and wait, wait, wait. So liberating. We even won an Indie! All writers should direct, if they're interested.
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