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February 15, 2018

Veiled Avenger1

10 things i learned on my first round of directing a Movie:

  1. the right crew will find you eventually. [first i interviewed a seemingly ideal directing-DP duo who were two bold and imaginative women. they took my script, chopped it to pieces, and cast the entire thing off of headshots…. without me. along comes a new and even more fabulous DP with an impressive resume and a well-paying gig offer…. that comes 10 days before shooting our film. but really the universe was just making space and time for me and my perfect DP to meet, collaborate, and create something beautiful. thank you universe. thank you Elle Schneider.]
  2. if you don’t get it right the first time, try try again. [Day 1: everyone was excited and ready to go. the actors and location looked fantastic and we were totally prepared… it all felt so right. until i quickly realized that outdoor shots are super hard, especially with a million trees and bright sunlight and reflections and actors walking down flights of steps and there is the light on her face, and oh no, her face has disappeared into darkness again. damn shadows. i finally decided to shove the same scene into our Day 3 schedule in a totally different location and just make it work for backup. this thing isn’t edited yet but i’ll bet you a dollar we use the second one.]
  3. listen and collaborate. [so many people, so many ideas, so little time. looking back, everyone’s ideas were really brilliant and i think my crew can attest to the fact that i used about 90% of them. and that variety of ideas from all different backgrounds and experiences and brains and creative souls is what is going to make this film magical.]
  4. have faith and give yourself credit. [i have been told by everyone that has ever truly loved and known me that i should move toward directing. i would laugh and say sure, ok and then never give it a second thought. i love to talk about movies and watch movies and tell people what is wrong with every movie ever made, but i could never see myself leading the creation of one. since wrapping this short, i have received more praise and support and joyful thanks from my cast and crew than i could have ever imagined and i am ecstatic to say my friends and family might have been onto something.]Veiled Avenger2
  5. don’t panic. there is a solution for everything. [we had an incredible set designer on this shoot. a woman with limitless ideas and a will to work tirelessly until it was done just right. i love her. her car was stolen Day 2. it had some set pieces in it. do not panic, is all i could think as i paced outside. do. not. panic. next thing i knew i was sending a PA out to buy a cheap picture frame from CVS to look like a door placard ~ a perfect replica of the stolen set piece… and no one was the wiser. panicking never helped anyone. oh and the car was recovered. and scene.]
  6. good ideas and good writing attract good people. [long long ago in a Galaxy far far away, i asked a bad-ass guy to teach me how to properly use a bullwhip. five months of delays and an entirely different leading actress later, this same man was attending stunt rehearsals and coming up with the smartest easiest whip tricks that just look so cool. all i could think was what did i do to deserve not only talented, but such damn good people like this guy? looking back, i think a good script and a fun idea and being respectful and passionate and nice goes a long way. thank you T-Rex, i am proud to know you.]
  7. trust your stunt coordinator. [it helps when your stunt coordinator is also your producer and your writing group partner and your friend. still, on my first film it was hard to know how in the world any of these action sequences would actually look like… action. after 1 rehearsal with a talented coordinator, all worries flew out the window. i even got a little teary eyed just watching these women roll around and punch one another with strength and ease. there’s nothing better.]
  8. stay present. [i knew mindfulness would be key, but when you are the writer and producer and director on any size film, going with the flow becomes survival. constant script changes, special last-minute catering requests, wardrobe malfunctions, natural lighting that hates you, locations that look totally different through a lens… it’s all doable and it all works out, but stubbornness doesn’t. let it all go and watch it all come together.]
  9. share your excitement on set. [when something looks good or works out exactly how it was intended or someone MacGyver’s you out of a situation on set, tell them. tell everyone how great it is going when the going is great. this makes a happy set and a happy set makes a solid movie.]
  10. be grateful the whole time. [say thank you a lot. after every scene and every break, after seeing a set design come to life, after stepping into the unbelievable work of your gaffer who somehow made your set resemble a Marvel series, say thank you. to yourself, to the universe, to the crew. it takes a lot of souls and energy to make it all worth it. thank you, my first movie; i am so grateful.]

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