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Quality and Quantity?

disco infernooooo

Ok, I failed to update this blog for a longtime. It's because I decided sharing about my personal life wasn't something I was ready to do (even though I'm pretty out there on social media!) BUT today I'm here to share some of my secrets!

never gonna be enough

So far in 2024, I've written and rewritten (many times!) a treatment for a feature film, completed a pretty intense application for a director's lab (which I didn't get into), started outlining a new feature film, wrote multiple music reviews, interviewed a band, wrote a short film, produced a short film in one month as part of a female filmmakers contest, completed my first ever 48h film challenge, pitched a web series (which included writing episode drafts and making a pitch deck), took workshops on distribution, marketing, and directing, and I also started several long personal essays disguised as blog posts I'll probably never publish. This year I've tried to up my creative output, and so far I'd say I'm on track, although I always have the feeling I'm not doing enough.

In the past many years I've spent a lot of time learning how to write a screenplay. Making any film is a huge undertaking and I didn't want to spend money and time making something that I don't fully believe in. So my thought was if I could write decent scripts (the basis of film!) then I would make better movies. I spent years learning and writing. Writing on my holidays, writing on weekends, writing into the night. But this process is slow, and as I was applying for the directing lab I realized I'd made a lot of movies on paper, but hadn't actually directed much over the last few years. So at the start of 2024 I decided it was time to shift the focus back to production. I'd spent time on quality, now it was time for quantity. But could I have both? I have struggled to produce content over the years because organizing productions took so much energy and writing just relied on myself showing up.

Fortunately in December of last year, I reconnected with two budding actress/producers in the process of applying to a crazy funding opportunity. While we didn't get the funding, it did spark a partnership. This was exactly what I needed to boost my ability to make movies. So in January, when the Firecracker department announced they were holding a comedy film challenge, we jumped at the opportunity.

In the past I've generally avoided film challenges because they didn't seem conducive to making epic films. But now, with my newfound 'anti-perfectionism' they seemed like a great way to use deadlines and find collaborators. So we did the challenge. We had one month to make a short comedy film from concept to completion. We were super ambitious and learned a tremendous amount, especially about teamwork. This was an excellent first step in destroying my need for perfection and remembering what it's like to be filmmaking for fun. While I ended up taking on more of a producing role so my co-creator could get her first directing credit, I was finally back to being on set. It didn't turn out to be a groundbreaking movie by any means, but we had made something and we were learning.

Me and some of my amazing collaborators on a chilly February day filming for the Firecracker Challenge

Then, as if making a movie in a month wasn't enough, we decided to do the 48 hour sci-fi film challenge that took place over May 3-5. I wanted to direct a sci-fi so it was a perfect opportunity to participate in the challenge I usually avoided. Even though it was exhausting, I loved every second of it. I was so proud of what we pulled off in just 48h. It reminded me of being in film school. We had such a great team and it was the first time I didn't feel like I was the only one carrying the film to the finish line. This was also my first time working closely with a collaborator, both writing and directing equally together. She handled working with the actors while I worked with the DP and visuals. This made the project much more manageable as we had written the script only 8h before going to camera. While we did love doing this challenge, I think in future we'd rather just give ourselves prompts and make a movie with more time, but wow what a great way to make something fast.

Watching our 48h film at the Revue Cinema!

So I went from doing 1 big short (Lunachicks) over four years, to making 2 shorts in the span of 4 months. In the past I couldn't fathom how people afforded to make multiple shorts a year. But by focusing on producing smaller projects, and working with awesome collaborators, it became achievable.

So now we're approaching July and I'm itching to keep directing. Recently I completed an incredible 12h workshop on expressive directing techniques. We watched scenes from iconic films and read scripts and talked about visual metaphors and the use of camera. It was a super enlightening class with a fantastic instructor and I'm eager to apply these new tools to my next project.

But because we've been busy producing movies, my writing has been slacking. So I've decided to go back to writing for the rest of this hectic summer and maybe attempt another short in the autumn. I'll still help produce friends projects, but I need to get back to writing my long-form projects. It's hard to know what the best use of time is going to be, but I know long-form is the next step I need to reach so that's where I'm focusing for a bit.

Overall 2024 has been an amazing creative year for me, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm also finding it hard to continue my dreamy optimism. I'm a bit terrified of the future, but my hardworking drive continues because of my unhinged belief that I can 'make it'. Whatever that means to you. In our industry it's way too easy to compare our journey to others, and I do constantly have to remind myself that all our paths are different. I'll continue doing what I can and remember that I do this for the love of film and not because someone else needs to validate what I do.

Well, that's what I've been up to! I can't believe someone read this far, so if that's you, WOW thanks! I hope it was helpful in some way. Have a great summer, and maybe I'll post again before the year is up! You never know.



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