Making Movies and Living Dreams

I’d say I can’t believe how much time has passed, but that would be a lie.  I know exactly how long it’s been and what I’ve been doing which is clearly not writing.  I’d like to say I’ve been writing elsewhere, like on my book, but that would require me to have actually done it.  But I have been busy.  Very busy.

I quit my job to chase my dreams, but I chose to work on the dreams of others.  That doesn’t sound very good when said like that, but there are times when making this kind of choice can be great, like when you get a fantastic opportunity that also helps people you love.

My brother-in-law, Chris, has been making short films for years.  He and my husband, John, formed a production company, Orchard Place Productions, to handle OPP-The Other Sidethese films and some scripts they had.  Recently, their short films have been doing very well — one placed second in the 48 Hour Film Project and a second won the Zombie Short Film Festival, both last year in Pittsburgh.  The zombie short was received so well, they decided to make it a feature-length film.  Chris rewrote the script, and they decided to make the film themselves.

Without going into long, tedious detail, they had no idea what they were in for.  Making a feature-length versus a short film is like having a mountain lion for a pet rather than a house cat.  Yes, they are both cats and have the same general appearance, but one will destroy everything you own and try to bite your jugular.  This film project tried to do that.  Fortunately, there were a few good “animal wranglers” (people who’ve worked on professional, big budget film projects) amongst the crew, and the inexperienced of us quickly learned never turn your back on a mountain lion.

Homework pennant decoration I made for the science classroom in the film

At first, I dressed the school set and served as a production assistant.  It wasn’t long before everyone realized the script supervisor, who had suddenly became the assistant director the first day, could no longer supervise the script.  With my only qualifications being I could be there every day, and I always notice nitty-gritty details, I volunteered to take over and was “hired” immediately.

In the few hours I was willing to give up sleeping, I read everything I could of the job.  I did OK, despite not having been with the film crew for the first few days. I don’t recommend taking over partway through, because I was unable to manage continuity for the scenes shot without me.  Thank goodness for digital footage which is easy to review and help from other crew and PAs, but I’m sure there will still be some issues. I was told I did well, and I learned a ton, so I’ll take it.

After overcoming inexperience, budget concerns, actor and crew availability, and other big hurdles, filming is complete!  Editing is in the works, and hopefully this film will sell to a distributor.

I’ve believed in the project from the beginning.  The concept is solid and the footage looks great!  No matter what happens, I am glad I sacrificed sleep, comfort, and working on my own dream to help.

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