Back in January, I directed a micro-budget feature film which many of you have seen documented on the blog over the past few months. The film was created in a very unique way, and went from concept to production in under a month. It was an exceptionally difficult project to pull off in almost every sense, but in the end we got it done and will soon have a completed feature to show for it.
Making a film on this scale is never easy, and I have to hand it to our cast and crew for roughing it out with me and getting to the finish the line. We shot in some extremely unpleasant environments, got kicked out of 3 locations, had our picture car (a VW Westfalia Van) break down on us almost every day, and endured many other intense scenarios along the way…
As I look back on the footage and watch the edit come to life before my eyes, it’s hard not to appreciate the fact that this film ever got to see the light of day. Not only did we shoot almost 90 pages over the course of 12 days, but we did so on 8 hour days to comply with SAG-AFTRA. We only went into overtime once, and it was on a day when I knew we would have to, as we shot 13 pages in a single day. Unsurprisingly, that was also the single most brutal day of the entire shoot, both mentally and physically.
I also can’t help but be reminded of what’s possible with minimal equipment, and a tiny cast and crew. Our primary cast consisted only of our 2 lead actresses, and our crew on most days was 3 or 4 people, including my wife who co-produced the film. We shot the entire film on a camera that I already owned (the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K), and only used two lenses (Sigma 18-35 and 50-100 cinema lenses).
In a way, this film is emblematic of what my blog is all about, and why I started it 4 years ago. I have always loved the idea that with very little money, equipment, or resources, we can go out and make films. There really is no longer any barrier to entry, and the only thing that can stop us is ourselves.
For several years I had been trying to get a feature film off of the ground, and considered raising funds and working on a much larger scale. In the end though, I realized the only way to get a feature completed this year would be to take my own advice: Pick up a camera and just start shooting with whatever means you have available to you…
I could have easily waited another year, 2 years, 5 years, or longer until I raised enough money to make a larger scale film. But I wanted to direct something now, and wanted an opportunity to continue to hone my skills. I didn’t expect to make a perfect film, but I did expect that I would challenge myself to make the best film I could make within my own set of circumstances. And more importantly, I expected to learn something along the way, so when the next feature comes around (hopefully sooner than later), I’ll be able to do it even better next time.
So without further ado, I want to share the very first teaser for Shadows On The Road, below. Once we are picture locked, I’ll be cutting a proper theatrical trailer with dialogue, but for now this will give you a glimpse into the texture and tone of the film.
Take a look –
SHADOWS ON THE ROAD
Logline: After a violent altercation, a runaway girl goes on the lam with a charming beach dweller who offers to help her find a fresh start. But once they skip town, she quickly realizes the harrowing past that she’s running from is one she may never escape.