Five years ago I was on a shoot with my crew doing a public service spot. During our lunch break we got to talking about how much fun it would be to make a horror movie (most of my crew are horror fans). One thing led to another (it was like the Andy Hardy movie of old, “Hey kids, let’s get together and put on a show”) and before we knew it we had a script and were under way.
Financing is of course the first challenge. We had what I think is an unusual solution. I’ve been writing, directing, and editing all my life and had a long history with my crew. They all agreed to work for a piece of the movie, so the budget was extremely low, about eleven thousand dollars actually spent to date. I cast it mostly with actors I had worked with over the years and because I hadn’t burned any bridges over those years they also agreed to do it for a piece of the movie. Because everyone had to take paying jobs between shoots and because I was trying to score almost all the locations, props, costumes, etc. For free, it took five years to complete!
Was it the fun I thought it would be? Sometimes, other times I wished I’d had that lunch alone so the conversation couldn’t have happened. I had made several long, some feature length, documentaries so I had some idea what I was in for, but in the end I now know I had no real idea of the time, energy, and will to carry on that was required to make a live action feature length movie, especially one with as big a cast, myriad locations, and lots of special fxs monsters, etc — not CGI mind you, the real deal, all hand made workable monsters. We set out to create a movie along the lines of the 50s and 60s monster movies and we felt CGI (we did a little) was not going to give us the look we wanted.
Now that it is in final sound mix and soon to be released I’m feeling a real sense of relief and pride that we did it and did the best job we could with the resources we had. I’m also feeling a bit of dread because I realize that in some ways my job is just beginning because I want people to see it and that of course, means working on distribution.
I am now trying to get it out by Halloween. I have built a site, www.screamplaythemovie.com, and got posters printed (they are pretty cool) I’m working on publicity, a press kit, and reviews. I’m going to enter some selected festivals and release my funny trailer (Screamplay is a dark comedy) on the web and social sites and do the best I can. I’m a fish out of water in this but I’m doing my homework and hope that my efforts will be successful and people will like what we’ve done.
It’s been a challenge every step of the way but in the end we did what we said we would do, we got together and actually made the movie and the sense of accomplishment in that, as anyone in the business would know, is very gratifying.