Behind the Scenes of a Short Film
Updated: Feb 12
I began this project before I finished my recent production of "Swear Inc." While "Swear Inc." is a comedy, this is a drama. I wanted to test my creative muscles on both ends of the seesaw. I wrote "Death Dance" in one sitting. It's a simple script with very few dialogue lines. In fact, I even cut a few during the editing. The entire premise came randomly to me one day as I thought about loss. How do we cope with loss? What habits or hobbies will we lose out on when our partner goes before us?
I intended to have a crew consisting of myself as the director, my friend as DP, a casting director, and a local pro to help with audio. I drew up a budget of $5,000 to cover costs. In the end, I did it myself with no money. Mainly, I decided that this short film didn't warrant funding. Not because I didn't like it. But I didn't think a business would sponsor it. It was going to be approximately three minutes. It's turning out to be closer to five or six minutes. I did call a funeral home and a headstone maker; both declined to be included.
My goal as a filmmaker is to make this my business. I now make money on client work: commercials, non-profit documentaries, etc. But I am hoping to create value through my creative narrative work. This film tested my capabilities and willpower. I could have half-assed it in all aspects, especially since I was doing every crew role myself. But this film is a passion project. And passion projects are often done without pay and with a lot of work.
I am proud of this creation. That's what I love about this field. I take words and piece them together. This forms a story. I take the story and put it into pictures. And then I gather a bunch of cool people to play the characters. We film these people and adjust the content in editing. We add in some music, color the raw footage, and BOOM! Creating a film from a blank page is exciting and rewarding.
I'm pleased with how this came out. I enjoyed the editing, sequencing, music composition, and color grading. I enjoyed directing non-actors. Maybe 'enjoy' is a stretch, but it challenged me. And I like that.
"Death Dance" is not released yet. I'm still editing it, but I hope it will resonate with an audience. I appreciate all of the actors for participating and sharing their time.
I look forward to beginning my next work. I'll share about that soon.