December 10, 2014 at 11:05PM
My Journey to My Ridiculously Ambitious Short Film (So Far)
Like everyone at NFS, I love movies. I’ve always wanted to work on a big budget Hollywood set and be a part of the movie magic. The question is - How do you get there? I’ve heard the stories about big-shot Directors, starting out as Interns and then working their way up. And I wanted to do the same.
- Starting Out -
Since I had a background in music(hiphop), finding work on music videos wasn’t hard. Don’t get me wrong, I love music videos, but there’s only so many 3-minute videos of rapper hand gestures that I can take at a time. And I can go on a Netflix marathon for hours! After working on countless music videos, I desperately wanted to break into narrative filmmaking. Up to this point I’ve only worked on a couple of narrative short films, as a Grip or PA. But, I wanted to tell my own stories!
- My First Screenplay -
I started writing my first screenplay entitled – “The Anti-Social Network”. I tried to write this film with only things I could get access to. It was 10 pages long, set in one location (bus stop), and had just 2 main characters. Sounds perfect to shoot with no budget, right? But, as I got further along, I found out how hard it was for people to commit their time and effort when I had no budget. I enlisted some friends for the crew and even went through a casting process for the actors. In the end, with everyone’s main focus on school or their 9-5’s, our schedules never worked out and I scrapped the project.
I considered starting a Kickstarter campaign for the project, so that I could get a paid cast and crew to work on the film. But, I couldn’t even see myself backing this project if it were someone else’s Kickstarter. What I needed was a project that I could stand behind as an audience member. Something that I would genuinely want to see if someone else had made it. And what I wanted to see were stories about my generation. The generation of the Internet.
- If At First You Don’t Succeed / New Inspiration -
I felt like there are no honest depictions of my generation and the culture behind my generation. I’m from the Bay Area and there is so much youth culture here. So many stories to tell. I just had to find one to run with. So I went where any 23 year old goes to find inspiration… Instagram.
People are obsessed with Instagram. Whether we admit it or not, we’re all a little excited when we see that “new follower” notification. It’s because we feel recognition when we get a new “like” or a new follower. (“You like me, you really like me!”) But, what about those people out there who truly obsess over their social media status? Some people will do anything for a little bit of Internet fame. Like eating a used tampon. But, don’t worry. That’s not the story I want to tell.
While scrolling through instagram, I discovered a whole sub-culture of new-generation photographers. In the Bay, there’s a whole mob of them meeting up monthly to connect, take pictures, and just have a good time together. (@flaskmob) Many of these new-generation photographers make their way into skyscrapers and take pictures right at the edge of the rooftops! Some of them even dangle their legs over the edge to get a shot! Now that was a story I was interested in. Some of these photographers have hundreds of thousands of followers, yet some of them barely have a couple hundred. But, the ones with only a few followers were taking just as dangerous photos. I wanted to dive into the motivation behind those less-popular photographers. What do they hope to accomplish? How has social network influenced their photography?
And just like that, “Skywalkers” was born.
- Pitching My Idea / Building An Audience -
Now that I had a new idea (and a kickass name), I wrote, wrote, and rewrote some more. I tagged along with photographers to the edges of the rooftops myself. Learned the tricks of the trade. And incorporated what I learned into the screenplay to make it as authentic as possible. After sending each draft back and forth to peers and rewriting, I finally had a screenplay that I was extremely proud of. I don’t want to give away too much right now, just know that it’s awesome! You see, the problem with my first attempt was - Not only did I not have the funds; I didn’t have a project that was worth investing in. Now I had fire and it was time to build a team.
I joined forces with a marketing team that I worked with in the past (www.845a.com). Together we’ve been developing and executing a plan to build an audience for our film/Kickstarter campaign. As of now we are building up our Instagram account (@realskywalkers) and mailing list (www.skywalkersmovie.com) so that we have support when we do roll out our Kickstarter campaign. We’ve been reaching out to photographers and have been encouraging them to use the hashtag #Skywalkers when they post their rooftop photos. We repost our favorites on our instagram and website. From the response we’ve been getting, I can tell that this is a film that people can really get behind and want to see. We just need more people to know about it.
- Getting Help / Moving Forward -
This is where you come in! This film is extremely ambitious, I know. But, it’s worth it. I truly believe in the story and know we can turn this into an amazing film. No, I’m not just saying that because every filmmaker says that about their own project. I honestly believe we can make something incredible. We all know movies are expensive and this is no exception. We need money to pay the cast and crew, get equipment, permits, location fees, etc and we’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign soon. If you are interested in seeing this film be made, then please sign up to our mailing list for updates at www.skywalkersmovie.com . Follow our instagram - @realskywalkers. And tell everyone you know about it! The more people who know, the better chance we have of making this film!
If you’re in the Bay Area and are interested in working on this film, or have a resource we can use – feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org We’re looking for a DP, Producers, Line Producers, Grips, Gaffers, Production Assistants, and more.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress as we go on. We’re making a movie!