Monday, May 4, 2009

Loud & Proud... Standing up for where you come from!

If there's one thing pretty much everyone seems to agree on - world leaders, trend setters, artists, filmmakers, spiritual leaders and personal development coaches - you can't have a future without first dreaming about it and then TAKING ACTION towards it.

Well, here's a story that I hope will inspire you.

A couple of years ago, my friend and I decided to make a film for Tropfest. We had never made a film before. We had no idea what you had to do to make a film. But we had watched PLENTY of films and seen Tropfest for many years running, so we figured, what the hell, let's just make one.

And we did.

From the point where we committed and decided to make a film, we wrote, directed and shot it ALL within TWO WEEKS!

Now, this was no filmmaking feat. I'm not claiming brilliance of any kind. But what we did do, is we got in there and had a go, from exactly where we were at and with what we already had - Passion and a Love of StoryTelling!

Actually, the film we produced was very much a first film. A student film. A first encounter with the magic of the black screen.

To tell you the truth, by the time we had finished editing it and I sent it off festivals, I had already starting judging the work. My tail was already between my legs. The stinky part was that I felt embarrassed. I'd already started comparing what we had produced to all those amazing directors and films that I loved so much and I had become painfully aware that THIS film, was not a match. For my dreams or for the kind of product I could be proud of.

Not surprising then, with that kind of energy behind it, it did not find a place in the festivals I sent it off to. I had spent hundreds of dollars on entry fees to festivals that I thought weren't aiming for the holy grail but a realistic place for our film and I became even more embarrassed and disheartened... So I put it away in a drawer and tried to forget about it. Whenever anyone asked me about it, I tried to fob it off as quickly as possible and move onto other things, probably making a joke out of it.

Thank god I didn't let that cynicism and resignation actually stop me from pursuing my career as a filmmaker! If I'd listened to that snarky little voice and let it poison me completely, I would never have been able to continue taking steps towards my dreams. Luckily, my friend and I had already started Lunar Wolf Productions and we moved our focus onto new projects.

But the other day, I found the quicktime version of my film and I watched it again. In some parts I still cringed, in other parts I found myself nodding my head and thinking - Actually, for a first time director, this sequence really worked, I'm actually feeling the tension here - or - oo, that's not so good, what would I do now to cover that scene - or - oh yeah, I remember that moment on set. I was frustrated and I let that get in the way of communicating with the actor. I wonder what I could've said to help them find a fresh moment...

And by the end, I watched it through again. With less of the cringing and more of a growing sense of pride. Sure, it was definitely a first film and I had made PLENTY of mistakes. But in amongst it, was some gold, some space for true reflection, and a sense of gratitude for this first record of our baby steps into filmmaking.

So I decided to take action. In stead of leaving the film to rot in the drawer, I decided to make it into a new exercise. Seeing as I had never cut a trailer for my films, I thought, what the hell! This is a first film - what better material to cut a first trailer from?! Can I make it exciting? Can I show the tension? Can I hint at the story? Can I create the impression of the film I meant to tell?

Here is the result. It's the trailer I loaded onto our youtube channel for Lunar Wolf Productions. The channel URL is

The short film is called UNEXPECTED HAPPENINGS.

I am proud to have this up as an example of where we've come from. I'm proud because I hope it will encourage other beginning filmmakers to get out there - LOUD AND PROUD - show their work, gather the feedback and enjoy the process of making films. Because filmmaking is a practical art. You have to be in the game to win it. You win be telling stories, learning on the job and finding bigger and better solutions every time - always chasing that illusive image that is haunting the moments just before/after sleep...


Love Miri
From Lunar Wolf Productions

PS as you can probably tell - this film was made on $0, for the love of the thing. All the talented people that came together to help us make our first film are all legends - especially Jemore our DOP and editor, Irma our art director, Katey our producer and all the others that spent a weekend with us, often late into the night, to capture this story on tape. You guys are all legends and I hope your work is blossoming out in the industry! Big thanks must also go to Mario Leonti & Michelle Scullion from New Zealand who created a kick ass soundtrack to the film.

No comments: