Over the past four months, I have been in pre-production for my first short film, Patriots and Tyrants. For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll give you a quick run-down.
Though it’s part of a much larger scope and a story I’ve been developing in my mind and researching for years, the short version of Patriots and Tyrants will run 12-15 minutes. It was always intended for me to shoot it myself to provide a demonstration of some of the broader themes of the story, and will feature three connected scenes roughly pulled from the larger story, as well as an epilogue to both wrap things up and (hopefully) leave you wanting more.
I finally put pen to paper for Patriots and Tyrants on January 1, while on vacation in the Outer Banks. Running around 20 pages, I revised it five times before presenting it to my screenwriting workshop at the end of the month. Two more full revisions by the end of February, and I declared it ready to shoot (although I continue to tweak it here and there).
At that point, I began seeking actors. This was a bit of a learning experience. I quickly learned that the more experienced actors were all members of the Screen Actors Guild, which led to my signing a contract with the union to open up my pool of talent. I’ve since been able to put together an amazing cast, despite the fact that I’m funding most of this out of my own pocket and through the help of family and friends. I spent a week pouring through audition tapes, resumes, head shots and any information I could get my hands on.
Not to be outdone, my crew is also fantastic, which started the next learning experience of choosing cameras, lenses, lighting, microphones and a whole lot of other equipment as well. We wound up with the Canon C-100, which if you’re not technically inclined, will allow us to swap lenses with the Canon DSLR cameras some of us are bringing to gather close-ups and other specialty angles.
Locations were a bit of a headache, but we’re all set to go there – again, though the help of my terrific family and friends. Next up are a lot of details: special effect makeup, lighting gels, catering and transportation of everything listed above.
We’ll be doing principal photography on Patriots and Tyrants next weekend, May 2-4, in the Washington DC area. As such, the blog will be on vacation from now until May 12.
Wish us luck!