Lead actor Rebecca De Ornelas “records a videoblog”.
As many of you probably know, we wrapped production on The Videoblogs late last month. Years of general preparation and months of work for this specific production culminated in a few weeks of shooting. Overall, I’m proud and happy to say, things went very well.
Also, some temporary stress-related weight gain aside, I also made it out of the process fairly unscathed (if a bit exhausted). This is good. This was a goal.
I’m almost as happy about how generally smooth it all went as I am with the fact that it happened at all. As promised, I will write more (relatively) soon about the entire experience of making the film, but for the moment I think it’s worthwhile to reflect once again at how grateful we at The Videoblogs feel to be in this position. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but we seem to have squeaked things out by prioritizing what’s important (story, performance, and the health of ourselves and our collaborators) at the expense of, say, a more expensive equipment list or a more elaborate plot structure. In all seriousness, it was a production engineered for and by both its cast and crew…and its audience.
For instance, as an example of this relationship at work…
More than once while shooting The Videoblogs, a cast or a crew member thanked me for something simple like providing a decent meal.
We mostly ate large turkey legs while on set.
First of all, it surprised me greatly to hear that there are still producers and filmmakers out there NOT providing decent meals. “Feeding your team well” is the second most basic rule in filmmaking after “make sure to have a camera”. Not only is it the decent thing to do – it’s just not smart to keep working while anyone (including you) is hungry. Even when pushing to complete a scene. I’m not even going to waste any more time talking about this.
Except to say that I didn’t accept the thanks – not personally. I explicitly made sure to recognize our supporters on Seed and Spark instead.
They (or you, as the case may be) deserve the thanks. And I want to talk for a moment about what that means not only to me personally but on a larger level.
I’d like to put forth the notion that a crowdfunded film isn’t only “cool” and “disruptive” but, also –- graceful.
For me, it felt more invigorating to credit our supporters for the means to make The Videoblogs than it did to accept the thanks myself.
Because the thanks don’t belong to me. They belong to you — to anyone and everyone who has contributed to the film in any way, whether monetarily or by spreading the word. Even by reading this or other posts on my site, you’re helping me and my collaborators to keep moving.
Woah. Thank you.
Last month, I accomplished one of the major dreams of my life. I successfully shot a feature film that I’m proud to stamp with my name. I don’t even have to edit it to know that. I don’t need any more validation than what we’ve already received by reaching (eclipsing) our goal on Seed and Spark — until it’s time to deliver the film to this same group. I am thrilled to be able to continue my journey as a filmmaker by bringing a cut of The Videoblogs to our supporters as soon as possible.
Beyond ideas of validation, the crowdfunding process is also fun. It’s my favorite sort of fun, too. Mischievous fun. Because, by so many (false, cynical) measures — this should not have worked.
It was not easy shooting a feature film for $20,000. I know people have done it for less. I salute them until my arm falls off, and then I salute them with the other arm until it too falls off.
Still, The Videoblogs is a rouge’s film. I feel fairly confident saying that (whatever it means). We bit, scratched, and clawed to eke it out over the course of a limited number of shooting days. Everyone on the cast and crew, and all of our producers, sacrificed to make it happen. I’m immensely proud to have come out the other side mostly intact. I still can’t feel one foot, sometimes, but as long as it continues to work for now I think I’m good. Right?
But back to the mischievousness. And the grace.
They are one in the same, as far as I’m concerned.
I know the journey isn’t over, by a stretch, but I can’t help it. I feel as if we (all of us) have gotten away with something here.
The Videoblogs isn’t special, by crowdfunding standards. We gave it a try and we thankfully seemed to have pulled it off. But, damn, does it feel good to be doing this in true independent (interdependent) fashion.
Regardless of how the rest of this plays out, I and my team are privileged enough to be making a film — to say it again — for our audience made possible by our audience.
That’s powerful. And beautiful. And it feels right. In today’s difficult indie film environment, it even feels…graceful.
I thank you. Not for the last time.
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