The last few months have been a whirlwind! While my world is still spinning at breakneck speeds, I managed to pause for a brief second to catch you up.
When I last left you, I had just done a round of auditions for the third and final instalment of the Liz Is Fine series, a short film I wrote, directed, produced, and acted in. (see backstory here). Part three turned out to be our most challenging, but also, our most fulfilling film to make yet. You see, the first part, I had no idea what i was doing. While scary, the ignorance saved me from understanding just how underprepared I was. Things fell together and while there were stresses, it was more about improvising in the moment to get the shots we needed.
Part two came around, and we were dealing with a bigger cast, including a disgruntled cat, and a set in a five story walk up that we had very little time to plan for as far as art design, but because the turnaround time from completed script to filming was so short, and the fact that my co producer and I work full time jobs, there was very little time to stress. However, the amount of stress felt over the course of the week leading into the shoot was so exacerbated by the condensed time period that we walked away feeling like we got hit by a bus. Still, I was determined to complete this story, and thankfully so was the rest of my team.
We learned from the first two parts well enough to create a system of communication and planning, largely thanks to my co producer and her background in other forms of production. We're still working out the kinks, but this was the most prepared we had ever been. So much so that we started to panic as we got closer to the shoot date, because this time we had the time to worry about things that were beyond our control. Every time before we were just struggling to stay on top of the production ball, and this time we had our balance and could focus on the things coming at us at 100 mph. I knew we were doing something right when I walked on set day two of this last shoot, to a cast and crew of 30 plus people, feeling like I could lead this group. I say "lead," but really it's creating a set where people feel comfortable enough to collaborate and contribute to the artistic vision. When you have the steadicam operator working with the art department to create interesting shots, and actors suggesting blocking to help motivate the DP's camera movements, you know you've put together an amazing creative team.
Now this all sounds very charming. Actress, and a small, but mighty team of filmmakers band together to tell this story. In the thick of it, in never feels quite as charming as it sounds. The term blood, sweat, and tears was very literal in this case. Not to mention the strain it put on my friendships and my sanity. I sunk all of my savings and romantic relationships for the sake of this film.
So why do it?
As someone who see herself primarily as an actor, why make a film from top to bottom?
It was a story I needed to tell.
That's it. That's the whole reason, and in the process I created opportunities and jobs. A creative team formed around me who all believed in this story. Being on set, both in front and behind the camera with this tremendously talented group of people is what made it all worth it.
Telling the story is always worth it.