Richie: The Process of Making a Short Film & What I’m Coming to Learn

Hope everyone’s school year went off to a good start! I know all us COM Ambassadors are all insanely busy with internships, overloading in classes, and being extremely involved in multiple extra-curricular activities! For you freshman, I hope you’ve started to find a good balance between your school life and your social life; definitely one of the hardest things first going into college.

Personally, this semester has been my busiest yet.  I’m not overloading, I don’t have an internship, and I actually left my part-time job on campus.  Yet, every single moment of my day goes to the pre-production of a short film I co-wrote and hope to direct later in the fall. It’s a pretty ambitious project but I never imagined how much time would have to be devoted to it!

The development process started a whole year ago. I wrote a simple 20 page screenplay for a class. I liked the premise and the plot, but I knew the story had a lot missing. I knew the theme and mood I wanted to get across but I wasn’t quite getting there. The next semester my friend from Long Island and I began brainstorming ideas and I would go back and change the screenplay.  I’ve had more rewrites than I’m able to remember, but towards the end of this past summer we finally had a script we felt comfortable with in structure.

I then approached my friend Chris to see if he wanted to produce it.  Chris, my other two friends, and I, had started an independent production company the year before and I knew they’d all be willing to get it started.  We mostly specialized in free-lance promotional material around Boston, but we all wanted to make the next step.

It was around August when we met, and we began carving out a plan together for the pre-production process. When we finally got back to Boston, everything starting moving so extraordinarily fast. I found myself filling up my calendar with 5 different tasks everyday going towards my short film. Meetings with potential crew members, fixing up the budget, location scouting, extensive conversations with my cinematographer, Jorge, to capture the “look” I was going for, even opening up a bank account with Bank of America so I could keep track of the budget I would be providing. Most recently I’ve been in the casting process.  I went through CPCasting which was definitely the best choice I could’ve made. I received hundreds of emails within just a few days responding to my project. The casting process has been amazing but incredibly difficult; creating an electronic sign-up, emailing all those interested, attaching files with their sides (portions of the script for the specific role they wish to read for), and spending long hours at night going through all the auditions, sometimes with over 20 people a night!

In the beginning I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. The director is usually more on the creative side of things. Constantly doing small re-writes, in long meetings with my cinematographer, meeting with the main actor for rehearsals.  Yet, having such a heavy hand in the pre-production process and logistics of everything began to take it’s toll on me. Luckily, I’ve more recently been able to delegate jobs to Chris, Max my AD, and Jorge. We already also have Erik, our Editor, in conversations with some people from Berklee for Sound Design, Sound Mixing, and Film Scoring (Taking a bit of stress off for post-production).

Our first day of shooting is approaching fast and it’s all very exciting.  I’ve definitely learned how much planning and organization goes into making a film, short or feature-length. It’s been an incredibly rewarding process and I know I’d be nowhere without my solid crew members and the help of oneonefive Productions!

If you’re ever thinking of making a short film, give yourself ample time to organize everything, and make sure you surround yourself by dedicated and reliable people!

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The COM Ambassador program is available to current and prospective COM freshmen. We are here to answer questions and help you learn all the great things that BU, COM and Boston have to offer. Be bold. Be creative. Be COM. @BU

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