Creative Process #4 - False Start
In late 2019, with some level of savings acquired, I decided to start meeting with potential collaborators for my feature film, FRACTALS. In my day job, I was directing video for a popular financial podcast. I met with people during my time off or in between shoots.
Most of these were coffee shop meetings, with actors who had submitted to a Backstage casting call. I very quickly narrowed the people I thought would be fantastic for the various roles, but also, those who seemed to think outside the box, creatively. From November 2019 through February 2020, I worked-out the logistics with everyone, keeping in mind their other various projects and day-jobs.
I had made it clear early on that I wanted this to be a low-stakes project, where we remove all the stress that comes with great expectations, and that we simply focus on being creative, innovative, and turn out the most rewarding footage we can produce. As our first shoot days drew near, towards the latter-half of the winter of 2020, one of the actresses who had agreed to play a “Guardian Angel” had asked for a contract. Not just any contract though, one that promised her the lead role of another script I was planning to produce after FRACTALS. I told her that although I’d love to have her in the lead role for that project, there is no guarantee that it’ll be my next film. "I am independent filmmaker," I explained to her, "and as much as I want it to be my next film, it’s not a promise that it will be. Who is to say what will transpire between now and the time we wrap FRACTALS?" Because I couldn’t give her a guarantee in writing, we decided to go our separate ways.
It should be noted that a lot went down, including a massive pandemic that has since forced me to cancel my plans for that production.
I didn’t want to return to Backstage and risk wasting time meeting with more actresses. Casting is not a process I particularly enjoy because I’m not just looking for talent to direct, but artistic collaborators who understand that my process is quite a bit different than the TV and feature film processes they might be used to.
After some brainstorming, and soul searching, I decided to replace the actress with a mannequin – to be blunt. I instantly became ecstatic about the idea of creating and constructing a fully-functioning supporting character that would force me to film scenes in ways I hadn’t previously predicted. While it would limit what I could do in some respects, it would prove to be far more rewarding as a learning tool.
The first footage shot with my initial collaborators was cold but beautiful, and a sign that I was onto something... We'd only shot four days when we suddenly found ourselves unable to continue making the movie, due to the pandemic of 2020.
Under New York lockdown, the film became stalled and ultimately cancelled. This of course, was just a minor set-back.