PART 1: A Love Letter
Early in the summer of 2015, after partaking in a few day-long marathons of both bad and good science-fiction films including, but not limited to: Primer, Looper, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, 12 Monkeys, Back to the Future, Time Bandits, Safety Not Guaranteed, The Butterfly Effect, It Happens Fast, and Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel; I endeavored to pen a short film designed to be a love letter to a genre that I had so quickly began to love. At the time of it's conception, I believed it would be a film I would shoot in my then-hometown, The San Fernando Valley. Further, I was of the mind that I would cast my friends, as I had so many times done before, as the lead roles. Further still, I presupposed I would shoot it for cheap, as a one-off short film before entering my senior year of high school.
Having the knowledge I have now of the repercussions concerning writing love letters, I laugh at my then brighter eyed and bushier tailed self.
PART 2: A Lack of Experience
As many who read this may know, I currently live and work in the film industry within the state of Georgia. Prior to this, I acquired my first industry job late in October of 2016 in Greenville, South Carolina. Before this first job, I had but an elementary understanding of the workings of even a semi-professional film production. Because of this, early attempts of producing A Moment Passed properly can most mercifully be described as. . . bumpy. I found the time to sit down and push out a script sometime in August of 2015, and I began what I viewed as "pre-production" almost immediately.
TWICE, over the course of a little over a year, I was unsuccessful in making A Moment Passed the way I wanted to.
First, I started work on A Moment Passed with my then filmmaking partner and still friend, Jon Irmler. We were shining examples of "bright eyed and bushy tailed." We had no idea how we were gonna shoot it properly, we had no money, and we had no one but ourselves and a will to make this film the way we wanted to make it. Unsurprisingly, the closer we got to our intended shooting dates, with Jon as the lead role/Director of Photography, and myself as basically EVERYTHING else, we realized that what we had planned was not the vision we knew we could push it to be. At this point, with the start of my senior year looming and the knowledge that Jon was leaving for college a year early, I decided to hold off on shooting it.
Between September of 2015 and September of 2016, I shot a few amateur short films and posted edited gaming videos on my YouTube channel. Upon my high school graduation in May of last year, I still had a very base knowledge concerning the true process and workings of film production. I began reading as many books I could find on the process and was beginning to feel more confident in my ability to produce this already late short film the way I wanted to. In July of 2016, I once again began thinking about making A Moment Passed.
In hindsight, I was greedy with this attempt. I can attribute this to two things: it had been so long since I wrote the film and I was itching uncontrollably to make it, and simply because I still had but a small, albeit slightly more informed grasp, on how I could logistically make it possible. As a result, I stubbornly and passionately began the process of finding people who I could make the film with. Experienced actors, a Director of Photography, and a small, but inexperienced team of my friends, all promised by myself for cheap food, began working again to make A Moment Passed a reality.
We got pretty close.
In all honesty, I was nearly heartbroken upon the now second realization that I AGAIN couldn't make A Moment Passed. The film was casted, a few location options were chosen, and a small, incredibly understaffed crew was on board. Things were looking up, and the now elusive "Day 1" was again in sight, this time in the second week of October 2016 (still without a real schedule or true, concrete plan, but hey, my brain at the time was telling me "yes").
Alas, another, not unforeseen, but still painfully unexpected-when-met, road bump was met. It was a road bump that carried along into the eventual true production of A Moment Passed.
This road bump, morphing clearly into a blockade had road paint on it that plainly displayed the word, MONEY on it.
We didn't have enough money. Locations costed money, rentals costed money, key members of the crew that I would have liked to have costed money; even food, if you can IMAGINE, costed money. In brief, plans yet again fell apart, but I still intended to make A Moment Passed the same (amateur) way after making more money. Within the same week, however, I was invited to South Carolina to begin working on what would be the first production assistant job I would ever receive, on a feature called Submission. Throughout this, the desire to make A Moment Passed was stirred consistently as I began to TRULY learn what it took to make a film, small or large.
Still, it took SEVEN months after my first PA gig for me to make A Moment Passed.
PART 3: Opportunity and Calculated Risks Worth Taking.
From October 2016 to March 2017, much happened. I dedicated all of my mind to learning how to do things the RIGHT way. I found fellow filmmakers to work with who held the passion of creation as much as I did. My new filmmaking partner and eventual Director of Photography for A Moment Passed, Ben Wallace, helped me create a few more amateur films in the way I wanted to create them, strengthening my abilities as a strong administrator in short films. In addition to this, with a now much stronger knowledge of the process and new friends and partners in film that I met during another production I was lucky enough to be staffed on, A Moment Passed seemed again possible, now, more than ever.
Still, to make A Moment Passed the way I truly wanted to, the aforementioned, now, ever-looming blockade known as money still had to be hurdled. It was a hurdle I could not have jumped without waiting and saving for an obscene amount of time, if not for one thing: an investment account. An investment account in my name that was then unknown to me was handed over to me by my incredible parents. Explicit details aside, it amounted to a sum that I knew I could make A Moment Passed with in the way I had been frothing at the mouth to do.
It is at this point in the story (that I've told so much verbally, yet never before in written form), that most scoff at the idea of me spending such fortunately acquired money on something as insignificant as a short film. To those who scoff, understand that I know completely where the concern and weird looks come from. It was insane, and it is, STILL, a MASSIVE risk. To most, there is nothing I can say to logically justify my decision to go through with it. I can only offer the justification I give to myself, a justification that I, in recent times have begun to fully live my life by.
That is: If an individual claims to have deep passion in something, yet refuses to dive in and commit to with 110% of their mind, body, soul, and, in this case, finances, how can one claim to TRULY be deeply passionate about it? I had, at the point of going into pre-production of A Moment Passed, been waiting to create this film since the end of my Junior year of high school. In total, nearly TWO years of waiting to make this film had occurred. I was tired of waiting and I was tired of talking. I wanted to do, I wanted to dive in, commit, and, in short, I wanted to make my film.
At last, with the help of so many newly found filmmaking friends and an incredibly talented cast and crew, during the last days of April 2017, starting in a steaming hot garage in McDonough, Georgia, and ending in a dark church parking lot, I had the honor of shooting A Moment Passed.
Now, with post-production in sight, I write this to record the journey of "Paper to Production." There's still so much to do, and I am far from presenting the film, but already, the risks taken seem already to have been worth it.
I can't wait for you all to see it and to talk more about the ACTUAL production and the days leading up to it.
Extremely loud and incredibly morose,