One of the big takeaways from making this first feature film was that everything about budget and production can be questioned. I think that everyone knows this. That you can just say fuck it and do it low-budget, but then when you try to do it and get people on board, a lot of people get scared that they won’t have enough resources.
We wrapped a week ago. My first feature film as a writer/director/anything. The working title is Dinner Party Movie and that will definitely be changing.
It’s the most difficult thing I’ve done, the most I’ve ever given myself over to a singular pursuit — six weeks of intense commitment, devoted almost entirely to the single endeavor of making the film. And of course there was much work before that.
We start filming on Monday. It’s a 10-day production, over the next two weeks, with the weekend off.
This week has been a whirlwind of last-minute prop pick-ups, phone calls, meetings, waiting to hear back from rental houses and friends about what we can use and how much it will cost. Yesterday I spent the afternoon finalizing the shot list and our approach with the cinematographer, Zoe.
Coming down the home stretch. Casting is wrapped. Cinematographer is on board. Location is signed and paid for.
I went to Fedex to print a copy of the script and put it in a binder. I like working with a paper script so I can annotate it and put all the notes in the margins, the notes that I’ve been collecting off and on for the last few years, since I started writing the script in 2015.
Last night we looked at another location. I’m not going to post photos of it because the owners lives there (as opposed to just renting it out on AirBnB). It’s a promising option. I’m hoping that we lock down the location this week.
Yesterdays travels were long and we returned home at night. No rest though, we had to meet up with a friend to talk about our plan for casting the film (after a jaunt to Costco for a windshield wiper blade and sundries).
I decided to make a feature film this year.
Just putting it out there as a public commitment.
I love the feeling of making the decision, of going from talking about to doing.
It organizes everything in life around one goal and sets the bear in motion.
It’s good to be writing again. I took about 6 weeks off from my morning routine while I was doing development and pre-production for The Deadline.
It was just too much to wake up at 6am, write for an hour before work, do a full day at the office and then come home and work for 2-4 hours on production prep. There was a massive amount of work that had to be done with meetings, planning the shots, breaking the script down, scheduling, finding a location, hiring crew, paperwork, project management and so many emails. You only get one shot at production so better to prioritize that over writing.
Elena Colás wrote a review of Words Fail Me for Chicago Literati and gave it 3 out of 4 stars:
Robert Bruce Carter takes us back to the storytelling basics with his web series Words Fail Me. With a jolly soundtrack and quick editing, each pair of characters find themselves in wacky situations under a simple premise: I know something you don’t know. From there, things get delightfully weird. Fans of improv will love it, and the casual addition of absurd plot points gives both the actors and the audience more to chew on than just a simple sketch.
I’d be lying if I said that I’m a huge fan of web series. I’m not. I’m a huge fan of some web series, but I don’t seek out or watch web series in the way I seek out and watch good TV shows of films.1
Also, I the phrase “web series” annoys me. It’s cumbersome to say, especially in the plural. I digress. That’s why this is down at the bottom. ↩