For this first installment of Dys- Day, I’ll be answering my friend and fellow filmmaker Lori Bowen who gave me the following challenge: “I’d love to read as much as you want to tell about the film – financing, producing, shooting, post. Everything. No filmmaking journey is ever alike and no filmmaking journey is ever boring.”
Lori, indeed, it is never boring and I’m convinced this whole series of posts will help cover most of the filmmaking journey of this particular project. I’ll use your four keywords as a starting point because I feel they represent the foundation of any film project. Financing. Producing. Shooting. Post. You can’t really be more thorough that that (except maybe by adding marketing and scriptwriting), but for the sake of this first foray into the topic, let’s stick to these as they are the elements that will have the biggest impact in determining what the finished film ends up being (and looks like). Furthermore, they are all interrelated and will influence once another: how much financing you get will determine some of the producing decisions and will impact shooting time and or means, which in turn will also impact post. You can’t think of them individually without acknowledging how they impact the rest of the production.
Financing: Aside from a bit of money that was raised through crowdfunding (thank you, contributors!), most of the Dys- budget was self-financed with a third of the amount coming from an investor. I could have gone other, more traditional routes of financing (i.e. government funding), but I didn’t feel like putting the project on hold “in case” I find more financing. I had already waited long enough to make a feature, I really wanted to get the project off the ground and take advantage of the momentum I had. Plus, I was fortunate enough to have a decently paying day job that allowed me to save money to make my big dream come true. Some people go backpacking through Europe/take a six months trip around the world; I made my first feature and I couldn’t be happier. Because yes, filmmaking is also a spiritual journey.
From the start, I knew it was hard for a first feature to get funded, so I wrote the script with budgetary limitations in mind. One of my film teachers always used to say that, when faced with limitations, we should use them to force ourselves to be creative. This is exactly what I did and I can’t agree more! First thing I knew, my initial idea took a turn for the unexpected and I hit a creative zone that I don’t think I would have been able to access without being aware of the budgetary limitations I was likely to face. In the end, I couldn’t be happier with the script and I would not change a thing to the story, the content or the way it unfolds, even if someone offered me twice the budget I had!
As for producing, shooting and post – I’ll cover those in future posts! :)
Thanks Lori for the inspiring topic! And remember, you can ask me your question(s) or suggest a topic by commenting!