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Making my first feature… Part 1

April 9, 2012

Besides writing sitcoms and ignoring this blog, a good portion of my time has been spent working on an indie feature, Love Reason,  with a buddy of mine, Travis Jones.  The experience has been challenging, rewarding, fun, and a great learning experience in writing and producing a film.  We’ve shot about 1/3 of the film and are currently in the midst of an IndieGoGo Campaign to fund the rest.  I’m extremely pleased with how the footage has turned out and am hopeful we’ll receive enough funding to finish. [If you’re a fan of the blog and want to show some support for an indie film, any donations would be greatly appreciated :)]

Over the next couple weeks I’m going to share my experiences working on this project and what I’ve learned from them.  Rather than have one long post, I decided to break them up into parts… because I only feel like writing enough for Part One today.

PART ONE:  Let’s work together.

Travis and I originally met through my blog when he was searching for Community scripts.  We corresponded a few times and exchanged examples of each others work.  I liked the look and quality of some of the shorts he had shot, while he enjoyed my sitcom scripts.  We became friends and agreed that we should eventually work together on something.  His primary love being directing and mine being writing, it was a good connection to make.  Oh, did I mention we both live in the same state?

Travis approached me with his initial idea last summer about his take on an indie romcom that he wanted to direct.  Many parts were based on his own experiences, so he wanted to bring me in to help write since I had a fresh perspective on story.  He also wanted the tone to be a bit dark/real, but with moments of levity.  We were both fans of Blue Valentine and (500) Days of Summer, but they were on opposite ends of the tonal spectrum.  Travis wanted to make something that landed somewhere in between those movies and felt real.  Between my comedic voice and his more dramatic style, we agreed that the we could figure this out…

Travis already had a basic outline and a few scenes written, but what drew me on to the project was his clear vision for what he wanted the film to look and feel like.  Aside from the basic story beats and character emotions, he went on and on about different lenses, lighting, color palettes, and lots of other technical crap that I barely understood.   What I did understand, was his passion for this project and the fact that he was going to make this no matter what.

That’s a huge draw for me:  A finished film.  I think after a while, every writer gets to point where they want to see their work produced in some way or another.

And you can’t make a film alone.  (Well, I guess you could, but it would be a pain in the ass.)

So, I agreed to co-write Love Reason and in hindsight, that was by far easiest part of the process.

…to be continued…

L      O       S       T


Lesson Learned:  You never know where you’re going to meet a potential partner, so don’t be afraid to reach out to people you meet online (or even in person).  If you want to make movies or television, you must collaborate with others at some point.  Now go email a stranger online…maybe one day that person will help you make a movie.*

*Always meet strangers in well-lit public places.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 4:09 am

    Hey – I’m a seventeen-year-old filmmaker living in Boston, Massachusetts – I’m very interested in the development of Love Reason. I’ve written three feature screenplays and two pilots myself. I’d be interested in receiving a follow up e-mail. It’s always good to be connected.


  1. Making my first feature…Part 2: Procrastiwriting « the [eventual] sitcom writer

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