I had a huge outpouring of support from people in Pulaski when it came to this project. But I also found an amazing and supportive community of filmmakers in DC as well, and I cannot let this month pass by without thanking them.
First, of course, DC Shorts and festival director Jon Gann. I highly recommend that you check out their competition. First of all, their submission fees are pretty low compared to other fests that I’ve seen. But the value that you get with that fee is enormous because every single submission gets to see their judges comments and gets feedback. The feedback that I got was one of the first steps to my process of going from draft to shooting script.
As a finalist in their screenwriting competition, I also was able to work with a fantastic set of actors (including Dave Bobb, pictured, who read Martin). Working with them during rehearsals also helped me bring the project into focus and understand my own goals better. I have to say, you should do a live reading with professional actors before you finalize your script, it was one of the single best experiences for me to figure out what to change and what worked as it was.
I also was able to meet and spend time with Joe Flood, who has been a great person to get to know and who took that fantastic photo. He recently posted an alumni update for all the scripts in the competition, and his twitter and blogs are all full of great information for filmmakers, photographers, and writers.
Of course, DC Shorts was not my only live reading. In April the script was chosen to be read at the DC Film Salon by the DC Film Alliance. I was able to work with some of my favorite actors in that reading as well, and since I didn’t have the blog then I’ll take a moment to recognize them:
Martin: Daniel Lyons
Tom: John Robert Keena
Suzanne: Katie Foster
May/Joy: Maya Jackson
Again, what the actors brought to the reading was invaluable. I also was able to hear from members of the DC Film community about their reactions to the script, what they felt was working, and received some great suggestions for the rewrite. It was a great experience, and you should definitely check out the DC Film Salon for the different great opportunities they provide.
The DC Shorts competition is held during ScriptDC weekend, which is largely sponsored by Women in Film and Video. I attended ScriptDC last year as well, and I plan to make it an annual event. It is a great conference, and I always learn so much from the wonderful speakers there. On top of that, WiFV has been one of the best local resources I have ever come across. Melissa Houghton, their director, has been fantastic and the members have really come through for me whenever I needed assistance getting this film together. It’s a membership that is worth every penny and then some.
They aren’t specific to film, but I can’t forget to thank the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, who allowed us to use their space for our auditions. Vanessa, my wonderful casting director, is an alum of their program and I have to say that some of the best actors I’ve seen in castings this year have come from there. They are worth checking out.
During the various events that I attended this year, I met numerous people who helped in one way or another. Even just by being a supportive voice and telling me they enjoyed the script. Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word, listened to me ramble, and been there for me this last year. It’s meant the world to me, and my film is better for it.
Photo Courtesy of Joe Flood