Continued from previous post(s). While the shoe-string approach to making Pretty Happy might not be sustainable for multiple shorts or a longer narrative, it definitely let me learn more about myself as a filmmaker. With my previous short films, there was always someone to blame. If the pacing was bad, I'd blame the editor (even if I wrote the damn screenplay myself). If the coverage didn't cut together right, I'd blame the cinematographer (even if I storyboarded and directed it). If I thought the whole thing cost too much, I'd blame the other producers for duping me into spending (even if I hadn't objected to paying). With Pretty Happy, any shortcomings were completely due to my own missteps.
By wearing all the hats yourself, you avoid making excuses and instead learn something.
This was an experimental way of doing things. A real Director of Photography would have made prettier pictures than I did and a seasoned editor might have added a fresh perspective and better pacing. The advantage is that going forward I can direct a DP and an Editor and know what heck I'm talking about. When a UPM or AD says, "We can't move that fast," Ryan can show him exactly how to get it done.
I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of Pretty Happy and can go forward with this new philosophy of filmmaking: Aside from a little bit of money and perhaps some more hands on deck, the only major cost for making a low-budget movie is lack of sleep. Personally, I think it is well worth it.