Things I Learned Making a Film

@gabimoskowitz so sweet of you to ask. Monday night I wrapped a 10 minute comedy based on a wacky adventure I had shopping for a new bed a few weeks after my marriage imploded.
  1. Fundraising can be delicious. If you can find a way to make giving pleasurable, you'll get everything you need.
    Had to get over feeling like an entitled tool for crowdfunding this thing. Made it a mission to put the "fun" in fundraising (sorrynotsorry), and threw a pole dance/erotic poetry pajama party. Made it rain (respectfully! lovingly!) for indie film.
  2. Get backup! And backup for your backup.
    Actor brain and producer brain are two distinct entities, and I'm a producing noob. Made a plan with co-producer and director to "just be an actor" during the shoot, but we should have hired another producer to help. Too many fires for one (awesome) woman to contain. She did great, but at what cost?
  3. Always film in a bed store.
    This may limit my writing in the future, but I'm ok with that. So damn cozy, conducive to power napping, and gives a nice slumber party vibe to your overnight shoots.
  4. There seem to be two basic types of conflict on a set:
    1) "I really really care about this and want it to be the best it can be, so I need to be heard." and 2) "You are not making me feel important enough." Both can be managed (food helps!), but the first is actually a gift.
  5. OH, GENDER SHIT.
    We had a female director, DP, producers, writer, heads of nearly every dept. STILL, one of our female PAs got sexually harassed by our sound guy. The man hired to replace him was cool until he referred to our DP as "kiddo" and then got pissed when she asked him to use her name. I just... what the hell? Every other man on our set was great, btw.
  6. Panic attacks are directly proportional to the potential for awesome.
    Easy to be fearless when the stakes are low! A crazy badass crew and amazing cast materialized for this film, so I started (quietly) freaking the fuck out. True story: about a week before rolling, I calmly texted my director to suggest that perhaps se should try and reach out to @zoe to take my role. Was reminded that I'm (appropriately) older and (presumably) sadder and that (oh yeah) it's my story that I've been wanting to tell for a year. Glad I didn't wimp out, but you woulda been great.
  7. If you're going to freak out, freak out to someone who is not on the project.
    Called my best friend the night before we shot, who (as it turns out) also has panic attacks about single-handedly ruining the films she acts in. Also: a good thing to remember that nerves are just your body's way of telling you how much you fucking CARE.
  8. Overnight shoots are my jam.
    This was a surprise. Turns out that 230 in the morning is the perfect pocket for accessing emotion, staying relaxed and all that good actor stuff. Fall in love? SURE. Weep for 40 minutes? No problem. I can keep this up all night. On the other hand, late nights are super tough for the people who have to keep their left brains humming for 12 hours at a stretch.
  9. Be in awe.
    Nonchalance is overrated. Why act like it wasn't a fucking miracle that this village came together to lovingly tell a story on a shoestring? Some emotions are not worth sharing on your set, but gratitude isn't one of them.
  10. Crazy shit will happen.
    Always does. Sexual Harasser Sound Man (we think he has a personality disorder?) decided he didn't want to wait 2 minutes for the DIT to get to his sound. He marched out to his car and threatened to drive away with all the sound at 7:30 in the morning after our second overnight! It was awesome. Director, AD, Gaffer physically blocked his car and rescued our sound.
  11. Dance breaks are better than coffee.
    And won't leave you jittery.
  12. If you have to cry on camera, drink lots of coconut water.
    Might be a placebo, but I DO NOT CARE.
  13. If you have a micro-budget, make sure you leave time for Costume/Production Design to make all their returns BEFORE you have to pay people.
    Shameful confession: we bounced a check. Oh, God. Figured it out and called the guy before he noticed, funded the account and got him a new check and freshly baked cookies, but STILL. I die inside thinking about it.
  14. Shooting exteriors across the street from a karaoke bar is a mixed bag.
    Terrible for getting clean sound, excellent for immediate post-shoot gratification.
  15. Diners in NYC will not serve you alcohol after 4am, no matter how sweetly you ask.
    However, your DP is serious enough to walk to an all night bodega, buy a beer and hide it in the ladies bathroom. Perhaps not our proudest moment, but necessary.
  16. Prepare for postpartum.
    I thought I'd just be relieved, but I'm dreaming about production every night, and missing the hell out of all those people (except Crazy Sound Man). Re-entry to the corporate dayjob this week has been sobering, to say the least. If you'll excuse me, I have to go buy myself some daffodils.
  17. You might expect to crush on your costar, but if it really goes well you'll crush on EVERYONE.
    Lots of love in that room. Except for that one guy.
  18. It's too easy to get used to having professional hair and makeup.
    Why does my face look like this now???
  19. UPDATE: fundraising is like the Mob. Every time you think you're out...