Written by Guillaume Campanacci

A few years ago, I wrote, directed, produced and acted in my first feature film, Devils in Disguise. It was watched more than 27 million times online.

As Mark Duplass famously said at SXSW, "the cavalry isn’t coming" (meaning that indie filmmakers shouldn't wait around for a fancy executive producer to sweep them away or line up to fund their next project).

I had the privilege to work as an actor with prestigious names like David Fincher, David Lynch, Emmanuel Lubezki, Jane Fonda, Eva Longoria, etc...

I even had David Lynch telling me: "Guillaume, you are a great actor." But still, the cavalry isn’t coming.

What would a sane person do?


So of course I did the opposite and went on a new adventure, my second feature film, Whenever I'm Alone with You, co-directed with Vesper Egon. Below are some insights I've learned continuing to pursue the craft, calvary or not.

The Philosophy of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

'Whenever I'm Alone With You'

'Whenever I'm Alone With You'

Of course you want to write a space saga with crazy special effects. But last time I checked, spacecraft are way too expensive for your first film.

Just look around. What do I own? What do my friends own?

Make lists of props you can have access to—cars, locations, friends that could help for your cast and crew. You will realize you have so many resources around, and so many people interested in helping you in your insane adventure.

And, always remember that a great film doesn’t need to have lasers blasting in space or a guy in a red and blue pajamas. Sometimes a few locations, great dialogues and a concept are all you need.

Just watch 12 Angry Men, Reservoir Dogs, Primer, Clerks, and Rear Window for examples.

For Whenever I'm Alone With You, we had the chance to have access to the beautiful South of France (I'm from Cannes), two Porsches (my dentist), my parents' house, a castle (free, we just asked), a 20 meter boat (more on that later).
Vesper, I, and my whole family (including my 98 year old grandma) all played our own roles.

Be Punk!

This is my equivalent to Werner Herzog's “ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

We secured this beautiful 20 meter boat for free. When we arrived at the port of Cannes, the guy in charge asked me for a few hundred bucks. Not our deal.

I, evidently, smiled and said no problem, we will go to an ATM at the end of the day as I didn't have cash on myself. We got beautiful shots in between the Lerins islands, all day.

Then I blocked his number.

Save Your World Premiere for the Perfect Festival

In 3 months, Whenever I'm Alone With You premiered at 12 festivals and won 14 awards. It all started with Oldenburg International Film Festival.

The film got accepted to other festivals prior but I wanted to wait for a big one. So I emailed the big ones saying I was about to give my World Premiere away. The rest is history.

You only have one World Premiere, don't give it away too easily. Oldenburg was the most punk, crazy, fun five days of my life. I felt like a rockstar.

You made your first film, sent 1000s of emails, you worked with big names, you made your second film, went to film festivals…you probably will still have to hustle to get your next project off the ground. Over and over. Until you won’t need the cavalry anymore.

You are the cavalry.

In conclusion, making your first film is hard, very hard, very fucking hard, the hardest thing you’ll do until you make your second feature film.
But you we don’t have a choice. We need to get these films out of our brains!

Nothing is better.

Not even sex.

Maybe sex.