Hey everyone. I've been gone a while, but fear not, I haven't abandoned you. On the contrary I've been cooking up something dark and delicious for you guys. See, I haven't blogged for a couple months because I've been busting my ass on my first horror feature. Can't give any details yet, but what I can tell you is that it's a fun creature feature, and not my usual darker fair.
The thing about features that strikes me most is the strong collaboration that a director enters into. In short form, a director has absolute singularity of vision... authorship. Ownership. But with a feature, there are a host of people with individual takes on the material, so authorship and credit are shared, completely and wholly, across an entire team of creatives. And it's nice to share the load and have sounding boards.
The other thing I can tell you is that this life-adventure I've been on since October has changed the way I look at film and my perception of what gets produced and why. Show business is a world of art colliding violently with commerce, and it always has been, so the resulting films we love and hate are a reflection of this culture clash. Getting a film made is like cracking a code, working the puzzle of development and production and post production to get to the treat in the middle... the finished film.
The reason I took on the film was to finally get my feet wet in the world of horror features, as opposed to the short format that has treated me so well.
Four whole months have passed me by now, as preproduction bled into production, which then led to post production, where I am now.
The entire experience has been one prolonged, surreal trip, from choosing a creature design that suited everyone involved, to casting the film appropriately, to editing it together.
And it certainly has been a journey of discovery, both personal and professional.
For sure, it has been both immersive and complete, because when you're making a film, you quickly realize along the way that the movie you thought you were making, and the one which you actually ARE making, are two entirely different things.
You gotta ignore all your bullshit, too, when you step in to direct a film – you know, those inner voices that fill you with doubt and self loathing (comes with being an artist).
You have to try and shoot from the hip, but only after having planned everything out exactly.
Even though you meticulously plan from the start, things change, and elements move around, and you have to be ready to just roll with it, all the while maintaining your original course, creatively speaking.
The biggest challenge to directing a feature is to keep that steady course, because chances are, if you started with a good script and liked it at the beginning, then that has to be your bible, your guide, and sticking to it like an ancient mariner's map is absolutely key to getting to that place you originally set out for in the first place.
And that's what is key to getting to the finish line. Script. It's where you started and where you end. I had a great editor and friend of mine once tell me that if production is a sprint, then post production is a marathon.
I'm in the marathon now, and even though the race is almost over and I'm exhausted and can barely can see the ribbon across the road up ahead...
I'm already looking for that next race...
Gaudium per atrox.