Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bill Lundy on "A Larger Life"

What was your filmmaking background before making A Larger Life?

BILL: Perhaps oddly, I had no background in filmmaking. I had always been in athletics, including four years of college football. I discovered theatre and the arts later in life and it was love at first site. I couldn't read, watch, discuss, or absorb enough information about filmmaking.

Sydney Pollack, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Sidney Lumet, Robert Zemekis, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron--just listening to their discussions about making films was so beneficial to me in preparing to film this movie. Plus, I was a featured extra in five movies leading up to my filming. On set, and between takes, I asked many questions, and whether or not it was typical, virtually every crew member was free with explaining what they were doing on set and why.

I realized then and there that professionals love what they do and were quite willing to discuss it. Maybe they could tell I was sincerely interested, but I was always met with thorough answers as to the how and why of angles, lighting, audio, and everything by crew members.

Finally, once I told my wife I was going to shoot my movie, she bought me "how to" books on every phase of moviemaking. I soaked it up because I wanted to tell this story. 

Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like? 

BILL: I am a trial lawyer and try cases in the courtroom. This particular case was impacting me. It lasted for five years and was very intense. The intensity of high stakes litigation is amazing. I decided at some point during the case that I was going to tell this story through film.

The case was a nursing home malpractice case and involved some of the worst treatment of a human being I had ever seen.  I wrote the script over a six-month period. The writing process was cathartic for me, and I've realized this in hindsight.

I needed to tell this story. I wanted people to know what happened to this sweet, innocent lady and how it tragically unfurled.  

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your distribution plan for recouping your costs?

BILL: The jury verdict was returned in March of 2011. The verdict was a record verdict for Walker State court in Lafayette, Georgia, and was Georgia's highest malpractice for 2011, in the amount of almost ten million dollars. Half the verdict was erased within thirty days when the assisted living facility filed for bankruptcy protection.

I took $200,000 of the attorney fees and made the film. It was my way of bringing attention to nursing home mistreatment and a statement that Pauline did not die in vain. 

As far as recoupment of costs and distribution, the film has been shown six times in three different theaters to packed houses. The IMDB reviews have been good.

The whole "distribution" issue remains up in the air. It is hard to get attention with so much noise in the air. I will continue special screenings until we stop having full houses at theaters, and then the film will be offered on DVDs. 

How did you cast the movie and did the script change much once you had your cast in place?

BILL: Casting was a big adventure. One of the books I read revealed "actors access," a remarkable free vehicle to invite auditions. When we published the role of the young associate with specific descriptions, we had over 2,500 applicants for the role within a week. Catharine and I had these head shots all over our king size bed and we literally went through every head shot, first narrowing it down to fifty, and then finally to five, and then I flew to New York City to interview the actors.

We decided on Todd Litzinger, an absolutely incredible talent, to fill the critical role of "Paul Bruce" the young associate attorney. And I want to say that you will see Todd make it big. He is a professional actor, and here he was coming from NYC down here to little Cedartown, Georgia, to shoot this film with a first time filmmaker and never once did he lose his patience, temper, or perspective.

As far as Fred Thompson, I knew I needed a substantial actor to play the role of my mentor and senior partner. Fred is a lawyer first in my mind, and he was the perfect choice to play the role. Fred understands what a trial lawyer goes through in preparing a case for trial. He interrogated Richard Nixon back in 1974, and he prosecuted a Tennessee governor in his career. I have always loved his performances in Law and Order and The Hunt for Red October. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. He said he wanted good southern food while he was here, and that was his only request. Just a delightful person.

My daughter, an attorney and drama major, was cast as Todd's wife. She also just completed filming Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk where she was cast by director Ang Lee as the lead character’s, Billy Lynns’, big sister. Her other sibling is Kristen Stewart.

The other roles were filled with actors I had seen on stage in other shows locally or lived in Cedartown and fit what we needed. One of the actors in an important scene is actually a neurologist. He and his wife, Christine, a registered nurse, were terrific. Our children who had performed for years in our children's theatre shows, had important roles in the film. It was a family affair. 

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

BILL: We shot on a canon 5d MKII. Great camera. Real film quality. What I loved about it is being able to interchange the lens, and we shot a lot with 50's and 100's, and the flexibility of this little camera.

What I hated about the camera is that it was so very small, that shooting did not feel like a "real" movie unless we had the matte box and complete shields with it. And this statement means I had to hunt something up to hate. 

How much did the story change in the editing process and why did you make the changes you did?

BILL: Wow, the changes. We filmed three separate times. In August of 2012 for eight days, for fifteen days in October, 2012, and then for six days in February, 2013.

I realized after the October filming and while we were editing, that we were really not only telling the case and trial, but we were highlighting small town southern comfortable life, the children's theatre aspect, but it needed to be accentuated. So, from the standpoint of what changed during the editing process, we brought into sharper focus that we all have a daily, comfortable routine in life, and that stepping out of that "comfort zone" is what matters. This case took me out of that small town comfort zone. 

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

BILL: By far the smartest thing I did was to simply ask for help. I asked our Cedartown City Commissioners at a regular meeting to "borrow" the fire truck with a 100' ladder to shoot the ending scene of the movie. They were so accommodating, as was everyone I asked for anything.

Our superior court judges allowed me to use the courthouse for three straight days, ten hours per day, uninterrupted, for the trial scenes. An 1800 plantation home was the residence of our former district attorney and was used for most of Fred Thompson’s scenes.

The dumbest thing I did was to underestimate the importance of the audio/sound equipment and crew. While I had a great cinematographer from Hollywood in Caroline Clonts, the sound I paid for in post with ADR work and other headaches.  

Fortunately, Fred Story of Concentrix sound design out of Charlotte, North Carolina saved me. Fred Story also wrote the original music score, which I think is one of the best parts of the film. Fred is another one of the great contributors to this film. A brilliant composer. 

And, finally, what did you learn from making this feature that you will take to other projects?

BILL: I learned from making this film that preproduction is very important and will streamline production. I also learned that good actors make all the difference. I further learned that preparing as much as you can BEFORE you say "lights, camera, action," is critical to costs, production, and editing.

Finally, I learned that telling a story through the medium of film allows the director the freedom to tell his story on his terms, and I am proud to say I did that with A Larger Life. Not having "outside" money gave me the freedom to tell Pauline deans story. I loved every minute of it.

Thank you for the questions and I am hopeful that this film will see a wider audience. There are something like two million Americans turning 65 years old every week, and elder abuse and neglect in all settings must be guarded against. This film reflects how bad it can get. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Roland Tec on "All the Rage"

What was your filmmaking background before making All the Rage?

ROLAND: Before I made All the Rage I had made one short film called Hooking Up, which was a 13-min. riff on the language of the one-night stand. I was lucky in that I completed that short in 1995, which was a very good year for small indie gay film. Suddenly I was being invited to film festivals all over the world. By screening Hooking Up here and there, I came into contact with many of the people who would encourage me to make a feature film, some of whom actually put their money where their mouth was and invested. Cash. Something I still feel grateful for. It's always a huge risk putting money into a film of any kind. Putting money into one directed by a newbie, even more so.

Before making Hooking Up I'd gotten the film bug when I was invited by filmmaker Marian Chang to score her short operatic film, An Ego Floats in the Secretarial Pool, which was a wonderful experience for me. Marian was incredibly generous and I learned a lot from her on set.

The other major source of learning support for me when I was just starting out were two organizations that sadly no longer exist: BFVF (Boston Film & Video Foundation) and AIVF (The Association of Independent Video & Film in NYC). I took many workshops for very little money, got to volunteer on other folks' films and learned that way.

Those types of organizations served a vital purpose: providing training and artistic community for fledgling filmmakers who didn't have the money or the inclination to commit to film school. I went to graduate school for music composition and I never considered going to film school. By the time I started making films, I was a bit tired of formal graduate programs. I needed to be more independent.

I understand that you adapted the script from a play you had written. What was the adaptation process like and how did the story change from stage to screen?

ROLAND: I worked very, very hard to translate what had been a one-man two-act play into a fully-realized screenplay so I was especially gratified when Kevin Thomas acknowledged as much in his Los Angeles Times review, by remarking that one would never in a million years have guessed the film had been adapted from a play.

Beyond the obvious expected adjustments one might make in terms of "opening it up" to actually let us see the cast of characters that we had only heard about in the play, there was a major key difference between the two and that was in the ending. Part of the dynamic of the play is a relationship between the main character, Christopher Bedford, and the audience, in whom he confides his deepest darkest secrets... something he cannot seem to do with the actual people who populate his world.

This element couldn't really exist in the same way on film. And in the play, the end of the play has a lot to do with that relationship. With Christopher acknowledging some of his own flaws and yearning for growth and in a way (subtle, I hope) acknowledging the role the audience has played in getting him there. None of that would have worked on film. So I had to start from scratch and ask myself some tough questions about what the audience might want from this story as a satisfying ending.

It's funny to put it in those terms now because, of course, the ending I came up with was most controversial. In fact, without giving it away, I got a lot of flack from the gay community about the rage that appears (seemingly out of left field) in the final 6 minutes of screen time. But, honestly, I think if you go back and view the film carefully, the seeds of that anger are inside our main character from the very beginning. They just need the perfect catalyst to bring them out.

One more note on the end: I had more than one distributor pass on the film specifically because of the ending. It’s a brutal way to end an otherwise fun and sexy little film and most distributors were afraid of that. Keep in mind, this was 1998, when we were at the height of the Queer Indie Film Movement, when distributors had just discovered how hungry gay and lesbian audiences were for queer storytelling. Few suspected that the community was ready to embrace some darker stuff. Of course, that was not (as it rarely is) in fact true. Many dark films did succeed with the gay audiences, including All the Rage.

What are three key requirements -- in your mind -- for making a successful movie for a small budget?

ROLAND: Why three? Hmm. Okay, let me see. Well, I think actually the first one that comes to mind is key to making any successful movie, regardless of budget. And that is: having a core producing team of smart people that you trust with your life. This is so crucial. Making a film is like running a marathon or climbing a mountain. There's a lot of stress. There are always bumps in the road. When you know that the 2 or 3 core producers have your back, it's a lot easier to focus on what needs to be done and to effectively problem-solve.

That's why I feel so lucky to have worked with wonderful producers like: Kelly Lawman, Catherine Burns, Darren Chilton, Chris Arruda... the list goes on and on. I think also, when I worked on Ed Zwick's film, Defiance, I was fortunate to learn a lot about producing just by watching Pieter Jan Brugge. The most impressive thing I observed was that the moment there was even a hint of something going wrong, Pieter Jan was right on top of the problem. Making sure it didn't get bigger. That's key.

Other things I think made the production of All the Rage possible was goodwill from the local community. We got so much stuff donated simply because the gay community and the local South End neighborhood businesses (where we largely shot) were proud that we were making a feature film about them. So, I guess that would be the second element I'd say is essential: connection to your community. It's just too hard to make a feature on a limited budget without strong community support. It makes such a huge difference.

The third thing I'd say is you need producers who are shameless about stretching the budget as far as it will go. By that I mean, people who enjoy the challenge of being told they only have $100 to pay for something that ordinarily would cost $1,000. People who love figuring out how to get stuff discounted and/or donated are essential.

Okay, I know you said three things but I have to add one more because it's probably the most important of all and I can't believe I didn't mention it first. You have to have a good script. Too many indie filmmakers I meet have not taken the time necessary to make sure the script is really working. Now what do I mean by that? Basically it comes down to a few basic things, but just because they're basic doesn't mean they're easy to achieve, by any means.

You have to have believable characters, characters written in a way that feels honest and doesn't feel "manufactured." And you need some coherent shape to the thing. A story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In essence, a journey. Obviously this can take myriad forms, but without those things, the whole project is doomed from the start and there's just too many dollars, days and lives at stake to not do the necessary homework refining the script. The script is the blueprint. If it's shoddy. The whole structure will collapse.

You and your team made a really professional-looking movie for a small budget -- how did you achieve that level of "gloss" for so little?

ROLAND: We had a wonderfully talented and resourceful team of designers. That's how. It really is as simple as that.

Our Production Designer, Louis Ashman, someone I'd known for years to be a brilliant interior decorator, but new to filmmaking, did a marvelous job of making every location look like a million bucks on a dime. And of course our Director of Photography, Gretchen Widmer did the same. I mean, she worked very well with our Gaffer, Evans Brown, to give the film a high-gloss look.

Actually there were three distinct looks they were going for depending on the scene. And they were sharply contrasting in terms of color palette, lighting style, camera movement, lens and angle, etc. etc. Our Costume Designer, Sarah Pfeiffer did the same. She went to designers and got unbelievable clothes on loan to the production in exchange for screen credit. So the boys looked stunning in their Hugo Boss suits and Merle Perkins was never seen on screen in the same outfit twice.

One final note on shooting on a shoestring. One area where you need to spend money up front and you cannot afford to cut corners: Sound. We hired the best Sound Mixer working in Boston at that time, a guy by the name of John Garrett. And he delivered 99% pristine sound. This made our Post-Production experience far easier. If you haven't captured good sound, i.e. where you can hear every line of dialogue clearly in order to tell your story in the editing room, you're in for a lot of headaches and a lot of unnecessary spending in Post.

Did the movie change much during the editing process, and if so, how?

ROLAND: Absolutely! And I believe every film does. Every film must. Because filmmaking... I mean the actual construction of it, really does take place in the editing room. Jon Altschuler, my editor, and I worked for weeks juggling scenes here and there. Cutting this, trimming that. Putting that back in.

There are a few cuts we made in the final weeks that I still regret, but I'm told by other filmmakers that I'm not alone in that. It's just so hard when you're so close to something to have a clear sense of what might be dull or tedious to someone watching the picture for the first time. That's why I am a strong believer in screening rough cuts for friends and colleagues early and often in your process, if you can. That can be a huge help.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

ROLAND: The smartest thing I did was surround myself with people who knew a lot more about their various areas of expertise than I did.

Dumbest thing I did? Probably, allow the casting process to be rushed. There were a couple of choices that were made in haste and looking back I think if I had it to do again, I should have insisted on a few more weeks of casting in New York to get the perfect cast. But, again, this is not as simple as I make it sound. When you have investors committing large sums and schedules and locations are being hammered out, the possibility of delaying the start of Principal Photography has huge implications... most of which inevitably will end up costing the production extra money. And we certainly didn't have much of that.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

ROLAND: The biggest lesson I learned on All the Rage was that of all the things a director does on set, the most important thing he or she should never forget, is to carve out a calm and quiet space in which the actors can do their work. In other words, everyone on a film set is rushing because time is money, right? Lighting team is rushing to put up the lights. Sound, to wire for sound. Art Director to dress the set. Etc. etc. A film shoot is really a race to the finish line. You've got a real tight schedule and you need to complete as many pages each day as possible so as not to go over budget.

However, the moment the actors walk onto the set and are ready to start shooting, the director must slow everyone down and insist that the entire crew take a deep breath and make a space. Without that, actors cannot breathe and cannot be creative in bringing their characters to life authentically.

This is something I learned DURING the shooting of All the Rage. So if you really pay close attention to the performances, and you have a bit of experience in this sort of thing, you can almost sort out which scenes were shot early in our schedule and which were shot later. Now that I've learned that, though, I'll never forget it. And it's something I'm most rigid about on set when I direct. I will not start shooting a scene until every actor is comfortable that he or she has had the needed time and space to get focused and centered.

The other big lesson I learned is that although we are directors and we do have to steer the ship, there is a certain degree to which a film will find itself in the process of its being made. In other words, the film you end up with cannot and should not be exactly the film you imagined on Day One.

Understanding that and paying attention to the little signs is essential to allowing the film to find its organic truth. This is something that seems to get easier the older I get. I'm less afraid of not knowing exactly how everything is going to sort itself out.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bryon Blakey on "PMS Cop"

What was your filmmaking background before making PMS Cop?

BRYON: I have no formal filmmaking background, just a huge fan of movies. My friends and I have been making movies since 1995 or so. We started by editing in camera with VHS. Then moved up to SVHS and an editing suite.

We produced an action thriller that did real well called Ravage. After that I was hooked. We've since produced multiple direct to DVD flicks. Truth is I did sneak into filmmaking classes at the local college many times.

Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like?

BRYON: The idea for PMS Cop occurred when I was pulled over for speeding by this "Nice" female police officer that had pulled me over many times before over the years. No talking her out of a ticket.

So, I thought it would be fun to make a horror movie about a PMS afflicted cop on a rampage, but in the one year process of writing she became a sort of antihero. It was challenging to keep the proper motivations in place and give the audience the carnage they deserve. But, hopefully we did just that.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your distribution plan for recouping your costs?

BRYON: The budget came out of pocket and our plan for distribution was to self distribute. But in the process of sending out review copies, Full Moon was contacted by word of mouth and hit us up. Of course we weren't turning that down.

How did you cast the movie and did the script change much once you had your cast in place?

BRYON: Most of the people we cast were in other local movies but we did have a casting call. The script was locked down by that time, so we made no changes.

We don't usually make changes unless a location is impossible to get or someone leaves the production. At this budget level, just about anything is possible. I like to start shooting as soon as we cast so it is exciting and fresh in everyone's mind.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

BRYON: We used a Canon DSLR. Of course the price was the benefit. I usually use a larger camera to shoot so it was a change, but we got used to its maneuverability. The downfall of the cameras were the tendency for stuck pixels leaving bright red dots here and there on the frames. Fortunately we fixed them in post.

You wore a lot of hats on this project -- writer, director, producer, editor. What are the pros and cons of working that way?

BRYON: I really don't know any other way to make movies. The benefits are that
you don't have to beg someone else to do them and they will get done to your satisfaction.

The downside is that some of these jobs require all your concentration so they can't be done simultaneously, so it takes longer to finish the project.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

BRYON: The smartest would be using the science lab location for 2/3rds of the film. In the past we used many different locations in the heat and cold. This building was completely empty, air conditioned and quiet.

The dumbest thing I did was to take on such a big project with very little money. But, that has never stopped us before.

And, finally, what did you learn from making this feature that you will take to other projects?

BRYON: I learned that Springfield Missouri is the world's best place to make movies hands down.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Greg W. Locke on "Forever Into Space"

What was your filmmaking background before making Forever Into Space?

GREG: It's 2009 and I've already put seven or eight years into studying the art of trying to write screenplays, meanwhile working as a freelance writer focused on critical writing about film and music. I get the bright idea to try to make a music video one day and that was it, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

After two years of bumbling around with little art videos and DIY music videos I start shooting what would become my first feature film, Holler and the Moan (2011) - a feature-length art house music documentary about a brilliant singer/songwriter who is suffering through a mysterious illness that keeps him from realizing his potential. That flick played at a few festivals. An old friend of mine who works in the film industry saw the movie and told me that if I moved to New York he would help me get work in the film world.

His vote of confidence meant a lot to me, and so I moved to New York and started working on other people's projects. Some big, some small. My role was never anything too important, but it was a good experience and it allowed me to experience the industry's production side first hand.

So I started focusing on writing and wrote several scripts in quick succession. This city inspires me. It was like turning on a faucet - the ideas just kept coming. They still do to this day. I finished this screenplay called He Hop Wave that I felt really good about, then took a break. I wrote a short film called The Fall Tomorrow that I started to plan to shoot.

Then the idea for Forever Into Space came up and I made a plan and attacked it. I spent over two years on that movie and now here we are, doing press for its festival run. If a goof like me can do all of that in just a few years, it makes me wonder what it would be like if a real genius like P.T. Anderson was just now coming of age.

Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like? 

GREG: I fell in love with New York City when I was pretty young. Or, that is, I fell in love with the impression of New York that I had from the movies I watched and the records I listened to.

I heard New York when I listened to Illmatic or Midnight Marauders. Or a Ramones record. Or Lou Reed's voice or Digable Planets' "9th Wonder."

I saw it when I watched Do the Right Thing, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally, Juice. You get it. Finding Forrester. Seinfeld. Howard Stern. I love the city. I did when I was a kid and I still do now as a resident who is trying to document a time and place that I love.

My first year here was spent as an outsider who was essentially studying a place that he thought he knew. I paid attention to everything - the city consumed me for that year. By the end of the year I had a list of ideas I wanted to write about. All New York City-centric ideas that I'd pulled from my experience here as a resident.

I carved an idea and some characters and a narrative arc of sorts out of that list of ideas and just started writing. It came together very quickly. I think the first draft was just over six days. Maybe a week. I used that to start getting actors interested. Then I worked on tweaking the script along the way according to who got cast and what our resources were. There was a lot of problem solving that happened on the page as we went. I think the script probably changed about as much as any script ever; it was a constant project. I still haven't even typed up a final version of the script.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your financial plan for recouping your costs?

GREG: One of the reasons I wanted to make the film is that I had a plan. I'd become increasingly aware of the technological element of filmmaking. Specifically how that element relates to cost and production value. I realized that for a very small amount of money, you can now make a movie for very cheap. Cheaper than ever before.

So I came up with this very simple plan: make the biggest movie possible for the smallest amount of money. So there was no budget. No financial plan per se, though there is an agreement among all of the people closely involved with making the film. We have a contract that was part of the plan from the get-go.

Will we recoup costs for the film at some point? Oh who knows. We have had to put money into the festival circuit. That's expensive beyond belief. We've spend much more on that mostly-clerical process than we did on the film itself. But, all that said, yes. Yes, I think we will make all of our money back. I think this movie can somehow bring in a solid $7k or so.

The seven of us who made the film together all share an equal ownership over the movie, so there's a lot we can try out as far as streaming and touring with the film goes. The product is done and we're proud of it, now is just about figuring out how to use the product.

How did you cast the film and did the script change much once you had your cast in place?

GREG: I wrote the first 20 pages or so before I did anything. I had the plan in place and I started feeling really great about it. I thought the idea was strong - the "make the biggest movie possible for the smallest amount of money" idea. I knew people would respond to that. And I knew people would like the idea of having ownership over the film and being part of something. People felt like they were part of some new movement - like we were doing the new radical thing that would help change the medium.

Working so loosely allowed me the luxury of changing the script according to who I got cast and what I saw their strengths to be. Everything got tweaked along the way, as I got to know the actors better. So as the film plays on - as the audience experiences the story - both myself and the people in the crowd are getting to know the characters. You get to grow with the characters as I, the writer, did. Adds an interesting subtext.

How did you come to the decision to shoot in black and white and what were the implications of that choice?

GREG: Many of my original art films and music videos are high contrast black and white. And my documentary, Holler and the Moan, is in black and white. Most of the photos I take are black and white. I like it. And I think it suits the city well.

And there are other, more boring reasons - like that it's a different approach to composition, or that not having to worry about color grading and lighting so much was really nice since I was already wearing multiple hats. 

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

GREG: I researched cameras for months before I shot a thing. I knew I wanted to make a movie in New York but there was a lot to figure out first. I finally started asking my sister's boyfriend if he had any advice. He's a big camera and technology guy, so he was a perfect person to go to.

Not only did he have input, but he had an answer for me. Get a GH2 and hack it. Crank the settings and don't look back. And he was right. I got more out of that $500 camera than I ever could have expected. I've seen the movie projected onto huge screens and it couldn't look any better. It's very sharp.

I didn't really HATE anything about the camera. Ideally, you can hook your camera up to a monitor and review your footage on a decent sized screen. I didn't have the money for that, so I reviewed all of my footage on the camera's little two-inch screen. That made it hard to be perfect. I would get home and look at footage and see things I didn't know where there. So that was an issue but, for the most part, I loved using the GH2.

I've since moved on to a different, more expensive camera. Needless to say, I miss the GH2 very much and will likely even go back to using it until someone shows me a better option for what I do.

You wore a lot of hats on the production -- writer, director, editor, producer, cinematographer, production designer, etc. What's the upside and the downside of doing that?

GREG: The upside of working the way I do is that I don't have to spend a huge amount of time trying to accurately articulate my creative vision into direction for collaborators. I just get to do my best at getting what I want. So in that way, it’s easier than letting other people do the work.

But of course it’s difficult, balancing several duties at once. It's the extreme version of directing, and it works for someone like me, who is more of a doer than a talker. All that being said, I can’t wait to someday work with a bunch of people who are way better at their craft than I am. That will be a whole new adventure for me.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

GREG: The plan I put together before shooting a single frame worked out really nicely. On paper, people thought I was nuts. But then it worked. I followed my insane plan and now I'm doing interviews about the movie I made.

The worst decision I made was ... I’m not sure. I've certainly made a lot of mistakes, but none that stand out as tremendous. Maybe that mistake is in my future? Maybe I'll be the guy who gives Harvey the blackest eye of his career. Maybe I'll cast Ashton Kutcher as a lead in something. I'll get back to you.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

GREG: When you're in production, make sure you're making time to sleep. Sleep a lot. I learned that the hard way. And definitely don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. That’s something I'm still working on. 

And, sadly, I learned that to be successful your best bet is to make a short movie with pretty people, a good title and blood and/or boobs. But of course that’s the furthest thing from what I'm doing for my next movie. Because I apparently am a person who has thinks he can work for free forever.