I’m writing this now that I am back from Berlin in Los Angeles where I work with some of the most talented filmmakers in the world. The level of professionalism Los Angeles produces is incredible, and I am lucky to have been influenced by it. But after years of being around massive film productions with large crews and an overabundance of equipment it was time to challenge myself to create something just as beautiful and compelling as these larger projects but with a drastically smaller crew.
When my wife and I decided to move to a foreign city it was exciting to imagine the prospect of creating a project outside of the Hollywood system. Berlin is an inspiring and welcoming environment for an independent filmmaker, and the perfect place to implement this style of minimalistic filmmaking. In order to complete this project from my meager pocket funds we ended up with a modest crew consisting of a 1st AC, Hair/Make-up, Sound Mixer, and my talented wife as the Art Director. I was lucky to have an impassioned filmmaker and artist in each of these positions. All of whom had a crucial role in contributing to the films completion.
It’s an overwhelming experienced to Produce, Direct, and D.P. a short film but the benefits definitely outweighed the costs. In keeping things minimal it allowed the actors, crew, and myself to create an intimate and personal experience throughout the pre-production and production process. I remember how calm and silent it was around me on set while contemplating how to approach the next scenes. In order to achieve this, a very detailed pre-production was imperative in order to overcome the many obstacles that would arrive when doing an extremely low-budget, narrative film. Meticulous planning, especially in the case of this film, gives you the opportunity to allow the improvisational magic that can happen onset. Our lead actress, Lydia Schamsula, thrived in this environment. Viewing Lydia’s performances translated to the screen for the first time blew me away. She has such a beautiful film presence and challenged both myself and the other actors involved throughout the process. One of my favorite parts of working on a film, no matter the position, is meeting the extraordinary people that are drawn to this profession. It has been a long process to bring this film to screen, but the many interactions with all of the talented people who helped it along the way made it more than worth it.