What was your filmmaking background before making Bellflower?
EVAN: I made tons and tons of no-budget short films with friends. I also made a few music videos and occasionally things for hire. But the majority of my experience was from just making short films. I have never been to a "professional" film set. Even to this day.
Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like?
EVAN: The idea came in the same way they usually seem to. All the sudden it pops in your head and you get excited about it. Then after some (sometimes) quick evaluation you realize what caused it.
In this case it was a very intense relationship that I had just gone through. The writing process was long, the idea came in as a movie with two drastically different halves. The first half being bright and dreamy and beautiful, the second like a nightmare. This is pretty much how I felt about the relationship at the time.
So I had a handful of scenes that I was excited about, a beginning and an ending and I started the process of trying to figure out they all fit together. I made an outline and figured out how to connect it all and then just plowed through the first draft trying not to worry too much about the quality. I just wanted to get it down. So it was only two or three months to get the first draft.
Then over the years as I grew I would get the script out and rework it over and over.
Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your plan for recouping your costs?
EVAN: We were never able to raise money. I had a couple thousand dollars saved up to get us started, Vince (Vincent Grashaw - producer) got a personal friend to invest a couple thousand shortly after we started.
All that money was gone in a matter of days; then began the long process of all of us putting in whatever we had and selling anything we owned to keep it going. We tried to total up everything we had spent after three years and it came out to around $17,000.
We never had a plan for how to make money, but from the moment we signed our distribution deal we were already in profit.
What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?
EVAN: We shot on the Silicon Imaging SI2K. I was a beta tester for that camera and own a prototype/pre-production model. I love it. It makes beautiful images and has a color correction program built into the camera. So you can build special looks while you are shooting.
There were three customized versions of the SI2K and some of the night time stuff is shot on the camera as is with 16mm lenses. I have grown very accustomed to using it and don't know what I would do without the color stuff that you can do with it. The hardest part was with the custom versions I had built. They would constantly break and need repairs, sometimes daily.
You wore a lot of hats on the production -- acting, producing, writing, directing, editing. What's the upside and downside of doing that?
EVAN: Oh wow. The upside is that you get a lot of control. The downside is that you are only one person and it is very difficult to stay on top of everything. I don't know that I would wear as many hats in the future, maybe just two or three. Our production was so small that everyone had to have at least a couple jobs.
What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?
EVAN: Smartest thing I did was probably following through with the project against all odds and no money and finishing it. The dumbest thing I did was think it was a good idea to actually get drunk in the scenes where my character was supposed to be drunk. It caused all kinds of mayhem. We wanted to make everything as real as possible, but that is one thing that could be left up to the acting. The idea was ditched after trying it twice and realizing it wasn't very helpful and ended our shoot days after just one scene.
And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?
EVAN: To follow through with things and not let your own fear stop you. It seems fear is a big factor in everyone’s life. The fear of not succeeding can stop you from ever starting a project. If we all listened to our fear, nothing would ever get done in the world.