Development for the Sarah Jane short film actually started Jan 2014 when I decided to shoot this myself.
I had become a little jaded about waiting on other people to produce my story.
Over the years, while I was writing and re-writing Sarah Jane (screenplay), I’d compiled some film equipment. So I decided to produce a small “practice” project with family and friends. If it turned out “decent” I would submit it to local video/film festivals. If it didn’t I would just use the experience to make me better the next time around.
By this time, Sarah Jane had gone through about 3 revisions. Although I didn’t need another writer, I did need a second pair of eyes.
I had an author friend who had also tried to get her stories adapted to film. I called her and pitched the idea about producing a project ourselves. For obvious financing and technical reasons, she was reluctant at first. Then she agreed as she needed a short film for her portfolio and since mine was already written and our schedules were tight, we agreed to shoot Sarah Jane.
I’d been an actress for years and had done lifecasting nad vlogging for a while, even a few book trailers, so I had some experience on sets. I had also spent years interviewing other filmmakers, reading production blogs and watching film commentaries. But all of that was before Myspace, Facebook Live, Youtube, Vimeo and Amazon.
Still, I seriously just wanted the full experience of writing and producing a completed project. Besides, I knew that I needed something viable in my production portfolio in order for other professionals to take me seriously outside of writing.
Between Jan 2014-Dec2014, my script passed between me and the author friend a couple of times. In January 2015, I was actually going to contact her to tell her nevermind, as I figured I would continue on, alone.
That’s when a guy contacted me on an online community and asked if I wanted to be a part of his writer collaboration group. I didn’t respond right away but when I had time to review his group I gave it a whirl.
The writer’s group ended up not being a match for me, but the group creator and moderator asked if I had any projects with strong female protagonists. Of course, I had as he was aware from my postings in the group before I ended membership.
He said he had some people who might be interested in producing. I decided to give my author friend another go around, and she was still interested. But I think we both were like, “we’ve been down this road before” but we were willing to take another chance”, vibe. 😉
That whole experience I had (with the moderator and his “connections”) went south. Let’s just say, it wasn’t organized, and he wasn’t an experienced director. Also our creative and communication styles were different. Lastly, 3 months into pre-production and we were in the same spot with the script. I had to take over, and with the support of my family and author friend, a few months after that, Sarah Jane wrapped production.
In the end, I wasn’t supposed to work with him or his contacts. But being put in that position forced me to into director mode, which I didn’t want to do at first, but had to. Now…I love it. LOL
IT’S KINDA SCARY.
But it’s also the type of experience that I’ve been missing and needed in order to grow as a filmmaker, (although we shoot on video). LOL.
You wear many hats on a small, uber-micro film budget. And I learned a lot. And I’m grateful.