It’s our first anniversary! As I sit here typing those words it feels quite surreal. I wanted to write this post not to talk about the ways to make an indie feature (I’ve written several of those | if you’re interested) but more about what it feels like to take that leap and the benefits of doing so.
However it’s a celebration.
June 14th, 2015 started like many other days. My alarm went off, I went downstairs for a cup of coffee, I read some emails. But I did those tasks in all of three minutes, then I was out the door speeding off towards the first day of the rest of my life as a first time feature filmmaker. The resulting experience was a whirlwind, and before I knew it a little over two weeks (containing only 10 production days) later it was over. Wow.
It’s a funny thing making your first feature film. At least in the independent microbudget fashion in which we made Son of Clowns. There is really no guidebook, you wing it and hope it works. Well… “wing it” with about 50 hours of pre-production. Still. It’s on you to create your film. There is no studio holding your hand, no checks to cash, no budgets to balance. Just that story and you. It’s the most freeing and terrifying experience I’ve ever had. And I yearn to do it again soon.
I say that word because I truly feel that one year later as it stands this film has transformed me beyond being just a filmmaker. It’s required more dedication that anything I’ve ever done before it and thats as it should be. Encompassing all that goes into the craft of filmmaking while pulling and learning for just about every other art form and profession imaginable. Oh the things they don’t teach you in film school.
I implore everyone out there who has even had the smallest inkling about making a film to do so. I encourage you even more so if that film is a feature. Because in deciding to do so you will be challenged as an artist. You have to get creative. Your story will demand you to prove your worth towards it. And an environment where you are challenged is one where you shall grow. Not only as a filmmaker but as a storyteller and artist.
I created the video below today about this very topic to allow myself to reflect in a more personal manner. No fancy Youtube cuts. Just me, a camera, & a few lessons I’ve picked up along the way.
Making a feature film is part improvisation & part planning at an obsessive compulsive level. And it’s that ying/yang relationship that will bind your piece and all of the folks who you’ve brought together to tell your respective story. Thank them, honor them, and treat them right. They are your backbone. I know with Son of Clowns at the end of the first day I had a new family. People who I could call on for future projects, or just simply hang out with. When you work on something like this (during one of NC’s hottest summers) it will test you, and you’ll have to want it. You want to tell a story that in our case is distinctively North Carolinian. You make a choice to go into the battle of production so to speak with your fellow cast/crew acting as your soliders. And maybe… Just maybe you’ll pull off making a feature film.
But first you’ll have to try. And I’m really damn glad I did.
– Evan Kidd
PS: Stay tuned with us in the coming weeks for more updates! Including news on future screenings, film festivals and even our VOD release!