A video’s a video’s a video. I’ll do better in February, folks, I promise.
A video’s a video’s a video. I’ll do better in February, folks, I promise.
In November 2016, after a conversation I can’t fully recall, my friend Colin and I decided to write a horror short film together. He’d just finished a stint as Carl in season 2 of Brains and as Kevin in Ace and Anxious and we knew we enjoyed working together and that we were both writers. He was a big fan of horror and I’d been wanting to try my own hand at it, so it was decided: a short film in the horror genre with an idea of our production restrictions in mind as we developed the script. We knew we wanted to keep the cast small, the location singular, and the horror psychological, and within a month we’d written the first draft of what would become Buy In, following a charming young salesman and a strange, lonely traveler who find themselves locked in a struggle for control over their own destinies. Continue reading “Buy In: a reflection over a year in the making”
The title may be uninspired, but so is this blog. And yet, I’ve decided to try blogging twice a month and posting a video once a month again and it’s already almost the end of the month, so. Here we are.
I’m posting this blog today and not at a more inspired time because it has been a mad dash of a month for me. Last year around this time I’d found a new therapist and had plans essentially every other night with friends and potential collaborators. This year I spent the month working at Stareable (where we’ve been slammed) and preparing for my next short film shoot, which will take place NEXT WEEKEND! Safe to say I’ve been keeping busy.
The short film is called “Buy In,” a psychological horror film co-written by me and my good pal Colin Hinckley, about a predatory traveling salesman and a lonely traveler. It’ll be our most cramped set yet, with three actors and three to four crew members crammed in a single tiny hotel room, and our most ambitious shoot, at 19 pages with tons of set ups. I feel good, though. We’ve all worked together before and we’ve planned, as always, within an inch of our lives.
I’ll be directing, something I’ve been wanting to do more of ever since I had such a blast on Ace and Anxious. Speaking of Ace and Anxious, I’ve gotten to attend two screenings for in the past two weeks. If you’re curious, you can peep a live Q&A I did after one of them here:
I feel… good-adjacent about this year. I’m set to wrap principal photography of a new short film before the end of the first month, with scripts for at least two more projects ready to go. Both shows I’m producing are solidly in pre-production, one of which has shoot dates planned already and one of which that’s currently finalizing casting. Work is busy but going well, and my latest web series airs its season finale in a week. I am dedicated to making this year my most creatively fulfilling one yet, and so far, I’m as on track as possible.
I’ll probably do one of my sappy thank you blogs about Buy In for my second blog of the year, so look out for that on like the 30th I guess.
This has been a waste of space blog, but it counts, and we’re all just gonna have to live with that.
2017 was a rough year and yet I still ended it with 8 completed resolutions and 2 partially completed ones, so I’m ready to take 2018 by storm.
Obligatory comment question: Do YOU have any new years resolutions? What are they? Let’s keep each other on track!
*if anyone wants to help me CC Brains or Ace and Anxious, let me know!
1. Produce 2 new projects to completion.- Partial Completion
Sam And Pat Are Depressed:
I wrote a bunch of new scripts, helped with other people’s productions that WERE completed, and we’ve got a shoot date in late January 2018 for the next short film, but, well, technically, this resolution was not complete. I definitely meant “produce to projects OF MY OWN WRITING to completion.” But hey, new web series!
2. Finish writing Brains- Complete!
Someday I’ll do SOMETHING with all these scripts, because I love them. But we’ll see.
3. Post a blog twice a month and a personal YouTube video once a month.- Complete!
This is my final blog of the year! And below is my final YouTube video of the year! Losing my laptop for a week put me a bit behind but I finished this JUST under my self-appointed deadline!
4. Write 2 new original pilots- one drama, one comedy- Complete!
Comedy: Dead on Arrival. A misanthropic filmmaker moves across the country to live alone for the first time in her life, only to discover that her new apartment is haunted by the cheerful ghost of the murdered former tenant.
Drama- Fourth Wave. A 25-year-old woman struggles to maintain both her faith and her recently uncovered asexuality in the wake of her divorce with the help of her bisexual atheist best friend, who vows to guide her through her feminist awakening. (tbh I’m probably not gonna do anything with this one, especially because some of the themes I wanted to explore ended up getting explored wayyyy better in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but still)
5. Edit The Toast, my screenplay. [alternate: write a new screenplay] – Complete!
I did edit The Toast! Still needs some work, but it’s definitely in better shape than before. I also started a new screenplay called Best Supporting Females
6. Work on a set or production that I didn’t write– Complete!
I worked on like a billion sets and productions I didn’t write! I spent more time on other people’s projects than my own, which while disappointing on one hand was a really good experience for me on the other.
7. Leave New York City at least twice.– Complete!
First- Hoboken for a production.
Second- Colorado for Christmas.
8. Make better choices when it comes to diet and exercise.- Partial Completion
Um. So depression and being broke kinda derailed this resolution, but since living on my own I have been cooking more often (and thus making better culinary decisions due to this) and for a little bit I was working out in the morning, but yeah, depression and having an inconsistent work schedule really shot me in the foot here. Technically, I did in fact make better choices than last year, but they weren’t, er, better enough, so I’m not going to make a pity “complete” since I don’t feel I made as much progress as I ought to.
9. Be less impatient with other people.- Complete!
This was a bad resolution and I don’t know why I made it, but I think I deserve a completed tag. I may not have made myself a less impatient PERSON, but I got better at designing situations and expectations where I wasn’t set up to be impatient. I removed the possibility of impatience from the equation and was honestly happier and more productive for it. This resolution also forced me to think “be less impatient” every time I rode the subway and someone was blocking the door or in my way, which I think made me a slightly better person.
10. Go to therapy- Complete!
For five wonderful weeks, I had a therapist this year! Then it turned out she wasn’t covered by my insurance after a certain period of time so I stopped going, and all the people she recommended to me WITHIN my insurance coverage were either not accepting new patients or weren’t available at times I could manage. I’ll be 26 next month, officially out of my mom’s insurance bubble, and so it’ll probably be a while before I’m able to do this again, but I’m glad I did it, even for a little while.
FINAL TALLY: 9/10! (Technically I had two partial completions, but together they made a full resolution, so there!) I actually didn’t do as badly as I thought I would. I came into this blog thinking I’d failed this year, but looking back, I actually accomplished a lot, especially given my circumstances (being broke, being depressed, losing my job, moving to a new apartment, being depressed, etc), which makes me feel pretty darn good.
Check back tomorrow for my 2018 resolutions, and tell me, did you make resolutions this year? How did YOU do?
As some of you have probably seen from my incessant emailing and social media outreach, I have a new web series! It’s called Sam and Pat Are Depressed, it’s being distributed exclusively by SeekaTV through the end of its first season (meaning it’ll drop on YouTube and Facebook in early February), and I thought it might be a useful case study to those worried about how expensive and time-consuming making a web series can be.
First meeting. At our first production meeting for Sam and Pat, it was myself, Chris, Andrew the director, and Brandon the DP. I made copies of the script and we basically went through episode by episode to talk about what equipment we needed, what complicated shots Andrew wanted to get (as opposed to the classic wide shots and over-the-shoulder shots), and how we were going to make staying in a single room seem interesting. We didn’t make any major decisions here- we just went through the whole script and took notes about what everyone was thinking.
Shooting. We had exactly two and a half days to film 26 pages of script, which, ordinarily, is insane. It’s “typical” for productions to average about five pages per 8 hour day, perhaps one or two more for a 12 hour day (which we were looking at). We didn’t have time for that, and we also had a much more scaled down plan than most traditional productions, so it was going to be tight but possible.
We’ve still got about five weeks left of Sam and Pat releases, which, again, you can see new episodes every Monday at this link. After that, I’ll be uploading the full show to both YouTube and Facebook for extra opportunities to get seen, as well as submitting to festivals so I can add the “award-winning” prefix to it and sending around press releases to get some buzz. Will there be a season 2? Hopefully! It’s a very fun show to make that speaks directly to my sensibilities and my current mental state, so we’ll see. I’ve already got the first two episodes written, and you know me… I’ll probably have eight seasons mapped out before the season 1 finale goes live.
Can someone please just give me money? It would make this process a lot easier on everyone.
If you have any questions about low-low-low-budget producing, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter. I’m always happy to chat and help out!
Boy, this year is trying me, but this is a day of thanks, regardless of origin. Plus it’s a super easy blog prompt to fulfill my second blog of the month.
You know the drill, friends- what are YOU thankful for?
First of all, the new season of Stranger Things was excellent. #SteveTheBabysitterForever. Aside from a few nitpicks (Eleven being too ancillary to the plot, her weird midseason field trip that influenced literally nothing, etc), I found myself with only one major issue: Eleven/Jane and Max. Light spoilers ahead.