Our First Epic Feature Film!

In June we finally started filming our first feature-length film. Truthfully we started before June, but the actual filming did not start until June. We have been planning this a couple of months before we started filming and the scriptwriter has been working on it even longer. Of course, nowadays there is rarely actual film involved in filming since so many ”films” are recorded digitally. I guess we need to update our terminology these days, so I guess we’re working on Our First Epic Feature Digital!

Extreme No-Budget

We are currently a no-budget outfit, and not in the Hollywood sense where no-budget means a hundred thousand or fifty thousand, we are lucky if we can put a thousand dollars into filming our feature film. Thank goodness today’s cameras are digital because we wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of the film.

We are a very small crew, my two buddies and I are trying to get the film company off the ground while working our day jobs and managing our life. We have had some success getting friends to help out, however, scheduling conflicts often get in the way. The female roles have been the most difficult for us to cast as we have fewer female friends interested.

Finding a Cast

Filling the cast has proven to be a stopping point for many of our scripts, feature-length and short. Sometimes friends express a desire to be a part of a project but then they aren’t willing to take the time necessary to participate. To some degree I understand, time is difficult to come by and this is currently an unpaid job.

Of course, we could have a casting call and find many dedicated actors and actresses willing to do the parts for and IMDB credit and/or footage for their demo reel. However, my life has been very chaotic, some of which I have detailed in my previous blog post. The chaos makes it difficult to create a definitive schedule for our projects. We often decide at the last minute that we could film a scene on a Friday or Saturday. Because of this, I feel it is best to save a casting call for when we can set up a firm shooting schedule.

Scouting Locations

Last year we started scouting locations for a script we plan to film. We knew we could go forward with this script because it has a small cast of characters. We found some great locations and are looking forward to working on this feature.

In August of last year, my wife also had hip replacement surgery. Because I had seven children at home and a recovering wife that I needed to care for we had to put shooting this feature film on hold.

Some months after my wife’s surgery my friend had an idea for another script. This script we could film almost completely at my house. This new script idea would allow us to create a feature film while I was taking care of my recovering wife and my children. The scenes would be designed so we could film after my youngest children go to bed.

The Perfect Script

By the time this script was ready to start shooting my wife’s recovery had progressed to the point where we could have started the script we scouted for last year. Despite this, we decided that the new script set at my house would still be the best choice as our first feature film.

The finished script has a small number of support characters outside of the main character in the script. The way the scenes are structured we should be able to work with everyone’s schedules. We are filming all of the scenes without the supporting cast first, which should allow us to create a firm schedule for the supporting cast scenes.

The One Cast Member Not Yet Filled

There is one female role in the script, well technically two but if I were to explain this further it would give away too many details. The female character scenes are basic enough that we should be able to finish shooting them in one to two days. We currently do not have a female cast for this role.  Fortunately, the script is written so we do not need to film any of her scenes until all of the other scenes are completed.  If we have not found someone to fill this role we will have a casting call for an actress local to Arizona.

I will periodically post updates with the progress of our film. I will also provide some behind the scenes pictures and footage whenever the opportunity presents itself. I have included one behind the scenes image in this post; to view the image you will need to register for a free account and sign in.

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