The Gist of Everything:
Hey there, I'm Alex Lubin, and I'm a film student, with a concentration in directing, in my junior year at Columbia College Chicago.
Last semester, I was chosen from numerous applicants to be one of eight students for this Fall Semester’s Directing III class. For this class I have to write and direct my own short film, about 10 minutes long or so.
My film is called Portrait of a Man. The film follows, Ryan, a very smart, but modest janitor at an art museum, who falls in love with a painting. At its core, the film is about what love can do to someone, and we see the crazy things it makes Ryan do. He grows on his journey as he learns how to accept his past so he can move forward to the future. It's a comedy, drama, and romance rolled into one.
It also seemed appropriate to do a film about art while I’m studying the art of film. Art, and film in particular, is just another thing that can play with our emotions. Films make us laugh, they make us cry, they manipulate us to relate with the characters and understand what they’re feeling.
The film will be completely finished by the end of January.
Last semester, I raised about $600 to fund my Directing II project, Women of the Rhineland. That money went to a 2-scene film that clocked in at nearly 3 minutes in length. Portrait of a Man is 9 scenes long and will run around 10 minutes in length. The estimated budget totals $4,000. Now this cost breaks down into Props, Costumes, Locations, and of course Catering for the crew and actors. You can see the breakdown below:
- Props: $950
- Costumes: $150
- Catering: $500
- Locations: $2,400
You'll notice that equipment is not included in the budget. Because this project is for a class, my school, Columbia College, provides us with all the equipment for shooting. This includes the lights, c-stands, tripod, camera, dolly tracks, boom mic, boom pole, c47s, and everything else you can think of. In terms of the camera, the film will be shot with either a C-300 or Red One.
Crew and Actors:
During the first weeks of the semester, all eight Directing III students will pitch their projects to other advanced film classes that are assigned to work with our class. The students in those classes will then decide which projects they want to work on and they will be graded in their classes for the work they do. This guarantees a principle crew made up of:
- A Director of Photography from the "Digital Cinematography" class
- A Production Designer from the "Production Design II" class
- An Editor from the "Advanced Edit Seminar"
- A Sound Mixer from the "Advanced Location Sound" class
- A Casting Director from the "Advanced Casting Director" class
- A Script Supervisor from the "Script Supervisor Workshop"
- A Line Producer from "The Line Producer" class
In terms of other crew, it's easy at Columbia College to recruit extra help. We all work on other students' films as a way to learn, network, make new friends, get more experience, and get more projects on our resumés.
The casting process will include at least two rounds of auditions, the first one just with the casting director, and the second one with the casting director and myself. Being in Chicago, there are actors everywhere looking for all sorts of work, even without pay. I have never had trouble with casting for other films and scene projects.
I hope you'll consider donating to help fund this project. Not only will you help to create an awesome short, but you'll be helping my journey as a filmmaker, making my way towards a diploma and eventually a career. Plus, don't forget, there are lots of cool rewards if you do so!
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk we face is in the fact that film is a collaborative effort. When even one person is late or doesn't show up to a shoot, it can set back filming. That's not to say the product won't be finished, but when filming is set back, that can mean cutting shots or rushing through takes quicker than one normally would.
Last semester, one scene of my film had to be shot on actual film. The student responsible for picking up the film only got one reel instead of three. That meant we could only shoot about three minutes of footage instead of nine. We got the footage we needed, but it was incredibly stressful. This is just one example of something that can go wrong when you're working with others. Rest assured, I will be closely involved in picking up equipment this time around.
As with any film, life is also a potential risk. On every film, there is going to be unforeseen circumstances, the challenge is to move forward when circumstances change, though, and not dwell on why they changed or what the original plan was.
I hope you will at least take comfort in knowing this film is for a class, for my education. It will get done one way or another, so you shouldn't have to worry about it never getting completed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)