Thursday, December 13, 2012

Emily Lou on "The Selling"

What was your filmmaking background before setting out to make The Selling?
EMILY: My directing background is primarily in Theatre.  I bought a GL 1 eleven years ago and started shooting away. I shot a few things to feel out my aesthetic, DIY film school.  The Selling is my first feature film. 

What was the genesis of the project and at what point did you become involved? 

EMILY: I wanted to make a feature film.  My husband and I were talking about how to make it work, we needed someone to partner with.  Gabriel Diani and I went to college together and had worked together many times.  We had started a theatre company back in college - I directed a play of his and also him as an actor.  We called him up and told him we wanted him to write, star in, and help produce a feature film.  He said yes.   Ideas proceeded to go back and forth from there.

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

EMILY: Private investors who believed in us.  Our hope is to pay them back via DVD and VOD sales.  It would mean the world to me to be able to do that. 

What was your working process with the writer, Gabriel Diani?

EMILY: Gabe threw out a few ideas and we landed on "Real Estate Agent Trying to Sell A Haunted House".  He wrote an outline, then more outlines, then more and ultimately many many many versions of the script.  I would give notes, we would chat about them and eventually we did a few readings with actors that proved very helpful.  We also gave the script to some "readers" that gave some great feedback.  

There were a few times that we considered moving forward with production before the script was "just right" and I'm so glad we waited.  Many people came on to the project because of the strength of the script.  Gabe did a great job.

What camera did you use and what did you love and hate about it?

EMILY: We used the RED camera.  I LOVED it, the picture quality is fabulous -- we were able to crop the image, contort the frame in ways we wouldn't have been able to do with other cameras.  When you are shooting in 14 days on a shoe string budget, 1-2 takes per shot, those are the kind of options you need to have in the editing suite.

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

EMILY: Oh yes...certain scenes were cut entirely and many many lines were cut.  We clipped it as much as we could to get it as funny as possible.  We kept pushing ourselves to make it work, make it the best film we could make and we didn't give up.   We had some people trying to tell us it was "good enough" many times, but we didn't buy it. Thank God.

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

EMILY: The smartest thing we did is to surround ourselves with a fabulous crew that really worked very hard and cared about the movie.  The dumbest?  We trusted some people we shouldn't have, put too many eggs in a very faulty basket and lost a lot of valuable post-production time.

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

EMILY: Publicity and Budgeting.  Publicity needs to start before the script is even completed.  There should be a plan in place for creating a fan base as soon as you know you are moving forward with the production. Budget for that publicity!  Budget for film festivals, if you are going that route and deliverables to your distributors.  

Things like that add up, especially when you don't have any money left in the bank. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign and some pretty amazing supporters we have a little cushion now for a limited theatrical release and those added expenses we didn't budget for.  We are very grateful to our backers!

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