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I made a gender bending bank robbery short film

pete · 32 · 6582

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Reply #30 on: February 01, 2019, 08:31:00 PM
hey thank you!
I ended up really not liking the original feature script (withnail's read it he can tell you) I'd written, plus the fact that the rights to that original story was snatched up by Michael Showalter about a year ago, so I don't think I'll be making the feature version of this short. I have been however, commissioned by Topic to turn it into a short series, so we're developing that right now. Although my story really isn't an adaptation of the article in any meaningful sense, I still think it's much easier to differentiate my story if there's not another cross dressing robbery film also on the horizon. The short also has opened some doors for me that was previously unavailable, so I am developing a feature thru a grant and maybe even some studio support but it has nothing to do with Don't Be a Hero.

As for the funding of the project - it was just a cache of favors that was the result of making a shit ton of stuff over the past 7 years with the same crew, and lucking out into having some very loyal and talented collaborators. I also had a production company that set some money aside for the project. The company folded before the project was finished so I had to pay for the last bit of the film out of pocket, as well as all the film festival expenses, which ended up costing as much as doing post. Festival acceptance became a double edge sword: I had to spend money on finishing, DCP, licensing rights, and all that because I got into Sundance; but people also threw a lot of editing gigs, weird set jobs, hookups, and straight up donations my way to help me drag it over the finish line.

The film had two sets of producers - the folks on set were Colin Shane and Judy Craig - who've produced a bunch of stuff with me but they also have done a ton of epic music videos with the Daniels and the Hiro Murais of the world - they scrambled and hustled to make the project happen. At times it wasn't pretty, but they always came thru last minute and we got it done. The EPs were friends of mine from the Bay, who also produced Sorry To Bother You last year. They linked me up with people they trusted - most notably the casting director Charlene Lee who does a lot of TV shows featuring strange white people (like Fargo and Waco) - and that was how I was able to get the cast that I had, which I felt like more than elevated the game.

The DP was Drew Daniels, who's done some amazing work already and has a couple of huge projects beyond the horizon, thru him I was able to get an amazing crew, some of them are just friends of friends who wanna work with him, and some were kids that Drew and I have worked with over the years. He also put his name on the line and got us a huge ass, almost obscene discount with Panavision, and that was how we were able to afford the anamorphic set for a few days. Panavision has an indie wing and they're in the business of investing in relationships with DPs that they trusted. I've seen friends who fucked Drew over by not doing their part before, thus making Drew look bad when the crew stepped on set and the set didn't feel professional or the director was too fragile. I knew I had to be on my best behavior, so Drew really guided me through this process via asking me questions that maybe most directors would've already thought of, or and sharing with me tips and tricks he'd learned from other sets (eg. if we had time, we'd always run a take in which the actors go thru the scene without speaking a word of dialogue, that way we could catch a lot of interesting looks and gestures that we could cut in).

We also had our own short hands - for example, we developed a style while shooting Hong Kong style fight scenes in previous short films, where we don't shoot masters, and instead shot only the pieces we needed in each shot and piecing it together in a very precise manner - you obviously can't just transpose that 100% in a dialogue scene, but it became something we had in our back pocket when we were running low on time. Because it was pilot season, we didn't have the best pick of the crop when it came to having a good AD or PAs, so I had to lean on Drew a lot for game time decisions.

And that was just Drew - I could cite similar relationships with the other department heads as well - from the producer all the way down to the colorist. I think a lot of the rapport and good will just came from having done this for so long and how everyone in the community wanted everyone else to succeed. The filmmaking circle in SF is pretty small, and to find good talented folks who like the same thing as you is def much more rare than other cities, so once you find those folks, you gotta hold onto the relationships and continue to find interesting things to do and continue to make each other better.

Absolutely fantastic! Will be sharing this far and wide. This is really something to be proud of, man.

Checked out the NoFilmSchool article and found it very informative, but some general questions:

You said this was culled from a larger story/script - can we assume this will eventually find its way into the proverbial can, sooner rather than later?

How did you find producers/funding for this project? What process or processes were undertaken to get to the point of being in a position to so ably assemble such a crew, and with such a short schedule? How did you build this family?

If these questions have been answered elsewhere to my ignorance please forgive me.  :)

Again, amazing work, sir.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton


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Reply #31 on: February 02, 2019, 07:13:46 AM
that was great!
also very much enjoyed reading the interview and your lengthy post about it.