I hope all is well. And I want to give you an update except it’s not really an update. I’ve been working on becoming a director for a while. My first directing project was a PSA for the SkillsUSA Regional Conference. I was part of a team that won a gold medal for their competition. The funny part is that I got docked points for wearing open toed shoes. Confession: They were my only black shoes at the time that weren’t tennis shoes. Don’t worry – I’ve remedied this several times over.
I’ve since gone onto direct three other completed shorts that I also wrote, produced, and edited. I also have three other shorts in post-production. I’ve also written, produced, edited, and even ran camera for some. As I started my regular job, I can now schedule things so much easier. This includes finishing up my shorts.
And I’ll tell you something that happened on my most recent short PIECE OF MEAT: I feel like I’m starting to have a sense of what I’m doing with directing. God knows that I still have a ton to learn. BUT I don’t feel so dependent on my training wheels. I also had the pleasure of working with the actor Byron Vasquez, Jr for the lead role of “Rogelio.” His nickname was “Lio.” And he brought magic to his performance. I originally met Byron for the work he did on the feature film MY APOCALYPTIC THANKSGIVING (MAT). MAT’s official website. Yes. I produced MAT.
Plus, I got the wonderful opportunity to work with Alvin Washington for the third time. I originally cast him to be Taylor in my first narrative short promises. Here’s an interesting part… I had chewed on the idea that Byron and Alvin would have good chemistry. There was just something about them individually that I thought would work well collectively.
So, I organized a Zoom for them to chat. It was awesome. They built on this chemistry in their first rehearsal. We had an even more dynamic time during our shoot for PIECE OF MEAT. I’m one of those people with a helluva time laughing at mainstream comedy or most comedies except mostly standup. Here’s the thing that I had about three separate incidences where I had to stop myself from laughing out loud. We had so much fun.
It’s been slow getting the chance to put together PIECE OF MEAT for many factors. BUT I plan to have at least a trailer within the next three weeks. My plan with this short is to treat it like a proof of concept since it has the potential to be a feature. I’m just beyond excited.
As I’ve also gotten my work situation figured out for the next few months, I plan to pump out a bunch more. Yes. I’ve told a fun story about working with actors. This is absolutely part of directing. A bigger part is all my years driving myself ape shit trying to understand “story.” See – if you don’t have a solid story: NOTHING AND I MEAN NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. Yes. I yelled at for this point because it’s that important.
My other huge lesson in directing is understanding that something working “on the page” doesn’t necessarily mean it works in production and editing. In fact, I realized the major talking scene in my short promises was way too long while shooting it. I also made this feel even longer with my first edit. It was like: Please shoot me now since it wasn’t possible to cut down the dialogue without leaving massive plot holes. These aren’t good in entire features. Imagine a six-minute short. UGH!?!
What to do!?!
It was through that act that I realized my short needed to breathe too. I did a page-one rewrite with my edit and redid it. The extra room and added reaction shots helped my words feel more real than some speech somewhere written to make a point. It was such a relief. I’d absolutely do a different short now. And that’s okay.
Like I said…
I’m not as dependent on my training wheels.
I could honestly write about this forever because it’s been such an incredible learning experience. I’ll stop here for tonight with more updates to follow.
Let me know if you have questions or concerns. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.