How to Make a Movie

I wrote a book of short stories. One of these short stories was about a Nephilim who was a cannibal and who owned a restaurant.  Two mysterious men in black showed up at his restaurant one day and eventually killed him.  His existence was unauthorized.  I decided to take this short story and convert it into a full -length screenplay of over one—hundred pages.  I had to consider many things to convert this story into a low budget movie.  First I set my budget at $20,000 maximum.  Next, I tweaked my film to include humor and changed the character to appearing to be a Nephilim but at the end, finding out that he was a soldier with severe PTSD and was working with his psychologist to overcoming his PTSD through role playing.  

My audience was aimed at adults who were interested in dark mysteries with some comedic elements.  I was shooting for a Donny Darko like theme.  I was limited on locations and sets but managed to find enough to cover all of the scenes.

Finding local actors for the six-person story, was one of the challenges, but was possible after several interviews with multiple local actors.  The actors were found on meetup groups, word of mouth, and other sites. Some actors had to be passed on due to their inability to show up for the interview while others decided the project was not for them.  Eventually, all of the actors were found.

Next, a film crew with a Director of Photography (DP) and crew was hired.  Filming would occur on some days during the week and some days during the weekend and I had to account for everyone’s schedule since they all worked a job.  I planed to shoot ten days and was ambitious with the schedule.  We were able to do it, but some scenes didn’t make it in the movie and B roll (not part of the movie but filler video that applies for the movie) was used to fill up and transition for some parts of the movie.

I consulted with an entertainment lawyer to draw up contracts for my team and to make sure I was not violating any copyrights or trademarks with anything I wrote I used on set.  Anything with a brand name had to be removed or taped off from set and that even included art on the walls of which I did not have permission to use in my film.  Thus the set was made to have no brands or product names or copyrighted artwork in any scene of the film.  Wardrobe consisted of some togas and a Santa suit.  My actors brought several changes of wardrobe for the different scenes that did not include any graphics or logos.

Once my team was hired, contracts were signed, a practice read was done, down payments for set locations were made, and everything was ready to go, we showed up on set in the morning and filmed to the end of the day.  My team was awesome and filmed at times late at night which I would not do again as it tires out the crew and actors.  I had to provide food and snacks for lunch and dinner.  I wish I had a helper to do such tasks but didn’t have it in my budget which was a mistake.   We got through and the film was made.

Once the film was complete, the crew was paid and the next phase of filmmaking which is the editing portion came next.  This was a lot of work.  I had hired my DP to do the editing, but I had to help my DP in the whole process.  We also had to work around his schedule.  We would connect on Google Teams and my DP would share his screen as we worked together remotely to edit and put the film together.  A lot of patience is needed in this phase and it took months to do it.

After the film was completed, it was formatted and made ready for sale.  Posters and a trailer for the movie were made.  Now I had the product in my hands and had to figure out how to sell it.

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About Me

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I have always enjoyed studying ancient cultures, legends, folklore and mythology and have observed that most ancient stories are very similar across all cultures including stories of floods and giants and little people. I visit many of the places I write about. The cover art of many of my books includes my own photography with some imagery illustrated into the photograph.