It's times like these that I always find myself looking back on what led me to where I am. Part nostalgia, part pep talk, I find it's a great metric for my own personal growth. Given the circumstances of this particular moment (the night before the first full day of shooting on my first feature film), I thought it appropriate to bring you along with me.
Ten years ago, 2002, I got my first taste of filmmaking. As a student at the University of Arizona, it wasn't until the tail end of my Junior year that I found myself on a film set loving every second of it. Over the course of the year I worked on over a dozen student productions, each better than the last, and discovered my calling in life.
Nine years ago, 2003, I wrote, produced, and directed my very first short film, Waiting. While it has it' issues when I watch it now, at the time I saw it as damn near flawless. It's success as a short film proved to me that I wasn't totally off base with my career goals. After it's completion (and subsequent graduation from college), I moved to Los Angeles confident in the future.
Eight years ago, 2004, I worked on my first real feature, a horror-comedy called Screech of the Decapitated. While not a good movie by any stretch, I learned a lot about the process (mainly what not to do) that I still refer back to today. This year is also when I met Andy Gunn at a random casual poker game; a friendship that has developed into quite the partnership in the years since.
Seven years ago, 2005, I got my first gig as a director. Another producer-type friend of mine was trying to develop some talent (in the form of some up-and-coming comedians like Ramsey Moore and Owen Benjamin) and offered me the opportunity to bring their talents to the screen. In the end, the result wasn't quite what anyone expected, I'm still proud of a good chuck of that stuff.
Six years ago, 2006, I shot my first, non-school affiliated short film, Background(ed). Produced by Andy Gunn (there he is again!) with a script by Benj Goehner, we brought to life the adventures of the most extraordinary extras to grace the small screen.
Five years ago, 2007, Background(ed) was finally finished, printed, and premiered. Let's just say I learned a valuable lesson about how the post process works. Remember, it's never too early to start thinking about Post, and typically, the earlier you start the better.
Four years ago, 2008, was all about festivals and planning for the next big thing. Andy and I were in agreement: The time for shorts had passed, it was time for a feature. We put out a call on Craigslist and to all of our friends, and then Mike Skvarla changed our lives with his quirky script: Gigantilopithicous Doom.
Three years ago, 2009, was all about honing the script; figuring out what worked, what needed to change, and what needed to be expanded upon. During this process, Andy and I started working on a side script to put into practice what we were requesting. By the end of 2010, we would have two pretty damn good scripts.
Two years ago, 2010, we had our first read through for what was then Love and Monsters. We wanted to make sure that the script read as well aloud as it did in our heads. And boy, we were not let down. That day in December, we knew that this was a movie that was going to be made.
Last year, 2011, was marked with significant ups and downs. Finding the lodge, piecing together the amazing cast, and bringing in a stellar crew made this movie feel like something that was written in the stars to happen. The decision to push around August put my world into a tailspin. But with some quick planning, we were able to salvage things and put us in a better position for success.
Which brings us to tonight, hours before our first official day of shooting. There are so many emotions running through my head right now, but I'm in no way scared or overwhelmed by what lies in front of us. It's been a long time coming, and I'm ready to start shooting.
See you on the other side.