Autobiography of a Film

My excruciating film process, from beginning to wherever

This is taking a while…

I’ll admit it: I was convinced that once I made “North Blvd” all the pieces would fall into place with little effort and I would have a film career. Wow.

The truth is, it takes a while. When you see a little independent film poster out there with about 20 mentions of film festivals and wins, that’s at LEAST a year, if not two, of countless submissions, rejections and frustrations. It takes a while. I have had a few private screenings of “North Blvd” and as wonderful as the audience response has been, I realize something as I’m watching: my film is too damn long. As I am just now really really delving into writing workshops and learning more about story structure (“North Blvd” was the result of a burning desire to tell a story based on my life changing experience of meeting my birth parents) I realize I have so much to learn and that FUCK the staircase keeps going. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

There’s no “making it” in any career.

There is always something to learn.

Insecurities exist at every level of success.

I’ve cooled it with the submissions for the moment. I am working on a shorter version of the film. Which isn’t hard. I see repeated information and scenes all through it. No matter how beautiful the shot, I have to let those scenes go. Ruthlessness.

I’m also starting work on a new screenplay. I am SO uncomfortable. And here’s the hardest part: I have to get a job. What kind of job will fulfill after making a 13 year long dream come true? After directing my first feature film? I am going to suck it up and make something happen. Looking forward to getting out of my head. I need somewhere to go every day. I need to be “in the world”. I need human interaction. I need money.

If you’re new to my blog: here is where you can watch the trailer for “North Blvd”:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3728852/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Until next time!

xoxoamy

“North Blvd” is finished!

 

Here is the trailer for “North Blvd” https://vimeo.com/102772289

Here is the Q&A from the SAG Foundation’s private screening of “North Blvd” a few weeks ago 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOVZnIQKX-w

Our Panel for SXSW is in the top 12 picks from Filmmaker magazine!

http://filmmakermagazine.com/87375-12-picks-for-the-sxsw-panelpicker/#.VAobXUtH1lJ

Could you help me by voting TODAY (deadline is today)?! http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/37673

final day of editing “North Blvd”

We are on the very last scene today of our rough cut. Its incredible to see it all come together…even though there is a fair amount to do- color correcting and sound mixing- it is truly a dream come true. whew!

a few days left!

In this particular Vlog, I had just driven back from Santa Clarita/ Palmdale area and almost crashed from exhaustion. As I post this, there are only 2 days left (1 with a full crew and the next with just a skeleton crew for the grand driving shots). Enjoy and will post again today probably as it is a day off! North Blvd is almost in the CAN!

“North Blvd” the feature film on a short break

The filming is going beautifully! We’re taking a quick break to nail down locations that simply were not finalized in pre-production and to tie up remaining loose ends. Footage looks beautiful and only 6 more days left!

7th day of shooting “North Blvd”

Seven days of shooting is behind us…12 more to go. What a ride!

after day 5 of shooting “North Blvd”

This is incredibly intense! But in the face of location drama and money flying out the window, we continue to laugh. We’re making something special.

the first day of shooting “North Blvd”- the night before

ups and downs

12 days away from our shoot start and locations are coming together….but not quite there. This has been probably the most challenging part of the process for me. Since “North Blvd” is based on such a personal true journey, the locations in which everything took place are so vivid in my mind. I am actually delighted with all of the locations that are currently nailed down. Who knew you could make so much out of so little and on such a low budget? But the locations that are off are REALLY off. I hate to shoot down someone’s hard work. And going back to the drawing board is not a fun thing to do. Sigh.

Funny, my dermatologist connected me with someone who has produced many films….ya know, as a mentor for me. Very cool guy. And we had a nice phone conversation. He confirmed that a few of my fears were valid, shot down some of the myths that I was starting to believe…for example:  “Don’t expect to make your money back on your first film”. I was told this years ago by a turd who has been on the fringes of the film industry for 20 years. And quietly, I would scratch my head in disbelief when this former friend would say this. “Not MY film,” I thought. Surely that other guy just doesn’t see what I see. Surely he’s just speaking from his own limited experience. And sure enough, my new mentor confirmed that indeed if you make the film you truly want to make and you come from your heart and make it for relatively cheap (as we are doing) then there is every chance in the world you will make your money back and then some! 

We had two days of casting this week thus far. I was riveted with the talent that came through the door. So flattered that people had read about and researched my little story. The little story that has lived inside of me for so long and shared with a few hundred people in various theaters, is now going to be reaching thousands more, perhaps millions more. That is my hope. And these actors are coming in to read these parts and they are so amazing! I have my eye on a few but one in particular for the part of the birth mother, Linda. There’s something that happens in a room when an actor comes in and HAS the part. They give a great read of course, but the essence of the person is already so effortlessly there. Casting is a trip…and great fun.

Its funny, I was explaining to the casting director after our Tuesday session that the 13 years leading up to the making of this film has truly been my church. It has been a spiritual journey for me. Not having grown up with religion at all (even though my adoptive family was Jewish, they simply didn’t practice or live the religion) I have had to stumble through this life and teach myself how to have faith. Since the very beginning- with the experience of finding my birth parents and the journey toward making this film- I have learned the divine process. 

I have learned how to envision something with such clarity and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would come to be. I have learned to be reverent even of the hiccups and say to myself in a moment of deep stress or doubt or depression, “Well I must need this”. I have come to understand that asking for help is not weak…it is actually a sign of strength. I am learning that all of those joyful squirms in my bed at night when I would envision this film, those bursts of elation and squeals of delight have added up to something. They have fueled and ignited this film into reality. And here we are. Even in this mid week slump as I sit here feeling a little listless and overwhelmed, I am reverent. I wake up in gratitude. And now I have a little tear in my eye.

I am trusting in everything. As I write this now, there is a higher Amy who is consoling the silly  and doubtful Amy. I do that in my journaling a lot. I council myself like a little psycho. ha! 

Anyway, just so you know, I’m really not trying to be good here. This is stream of consciousness writing with no real product in mind. Please forgive me.

Until next time…sending lots of love to everyone I know and don’t know.

~Amy

 

2 weeks away

Hi All. I had such lovely fantasies of writing every day all the thoughts and happenings of preproduction for “North Blvd” but I have to say: I’m BUSY! Wearing the hat of producer, director and actor is a lot. I know that if this story wasn’t so close to my heart and that if I had not been envisioning and praying for so long on one story such as this, I wouldn’t be so comfortable being all that I am on this project. 

As much as I imagined being fully prepared and having everything already sorted out and planned out, I’m learning that it just doesn’t happen that way. Until we have every location down, until we have every actor cast, we just don’t have all the answers for wardrobe, set design and everything else. We are two weeks away from shooting…and the momentum is building. I’ve been told I’m entering the “sweet spot”- where all of the chips start falling into place- for better or for worse- and the project is truly starting to take shape. Its intense. 

I will be in casting sessions most of this week. Speaking of casting, we’re making offers to a few name actors tomorrow. I would be so honored if one or all three of the actors we’re going for agreed. It would be so amazing to see what takes shape. That, to me, is the most exhilarating part- to see your story and your words not only come out of the actors mouth, but to see their version (from head to toe) of this character. I am, I’ve decided, a hands off director. I don’t want to talk endlessly about the character, I don’t want to hold rehearsals. I might have been too heavy handed for the short film. A really good lesson learned. All I want is to get out of the actors’ way and see what happens. Its how I was trained as an actor and its how most actors are used to working- alone. They do their homework and show up to play. And oh how fun it will be. And in case you’re wondering, I can’t share, just yet, who the actors we’ve made offers to are. 

I must get to work now. I have to spend some time. Looking at the script. Dreaming. Making sure I know the words. I can’t wait to see the collaboration come together. To see how much more beautiful this film can be. I wake up in gratitude every day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Its finally here.