No man can make a movie on his own. Collaboration with worthwhile people is key to having a successful product. As in any collaborative work environment, surrounding oneself with enthusiasm and creativity greatly benefits the task at hand.
As a young filmmaker, one usually finds their first pool of collaborators in film school. I think that's awesome. I recently helped my friend, Christina Choe, for a couple of days on her thesis, I AM JOHN WAYNE, for Columbia's film program. I was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of the whole crew, comprised largely of her peers and classmates. The operation was small yet efficient. It was "shoe-string" yet comprehensive. And, from what I can tell, she got a nice movie out of it.
Having not gone to film school myself, I envy the community that young filmmakers can find there, and not just for the free crew (although that would be awesome). Just having a circle of friends or classmates that share your passion for something can fuel your own creativity and ambition.
I had that same sense of community with actors, having gone to drama school. Surrounding myself with other actors definitely cultivated my journey into an acting career. I suppose this particular path from actor to filmmaker has brought along its perks, too. I have terrific access to professional actors who have already collaborated with me before and have some level of trust in me. This also gives me the luxury of being able to write roles with specific actors in mind (whom I know I can get). I don't want to underrate the value of this, but the actor's role is something that comes much later in the process, and when they are done, they are done.
As I've progressed in the short film medium, I've gained more and more contacts and colleagues from projects, chance encounters, and most recently, festivals. I greatly value my time with other directors, writers, cinemetographers, etc. My community of friend filmmakers is small, but growing, and I intend to cultivate it further.
This afternoon, I'm actually meeting a with a few such friends in Brooklyn. The common thread with these filmmakers is that we all met at this year's Palm Springs Film Fest. We are an internationally motley crue, and I always enjoy catching up with everyone and hearing what they're working on. Talking about movies with people who like them as much as you do can be a surprisingly nurturing experience.
Today's coffee roundup will include: Iram Haq, Ryan Gould, Christina Choe, and Ryan Young. Each one has already begun to develop their own terrific body of work. Watch out for them. Maybe I'll even recruit them for guest posts for Watch Me Make a Movie...