Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Noah Harald & Speak Now - Augusta, GA, Micro-budget Filmmaking Part I

The first update from filmmaker Noah Harald, touring his film Speak Now on the Southern Circuit:

As I screen our film 'Speak Now' at the next four venues in the Southern Circuit I'm going to try something interesting and share my thoughts and advice about making a micro-budget improv film as well as my travels here in the South. First up, Augusta, GA.

'Speak Now' screened last night at the Morris Museum of Art here in Augusta. The Morris as well as being a cool little museum also curates a really wonderful slate of films and other artist events. I spent the day exploring Augusta and geeking out over taking pictures of the gorgeous Savannah River. I drove to the Masters golf course because it's mecca for my father and ate some great Southern food at Honey From The Rock. The screening started at six and I noticed that the crowd was considerably older than in most festivals. I wasn't sure how we would play to an older crowd as most of the actors/characters in the film are in their 20's and early 30's. Turns out the crowd loved it. Not only did it go over well, but everyone was very involved in the Q&A. People were surprised to learn that we shot the film in three days and that the dialogue was entirely improvised by the actors. Also, with so many couples that had been married for decades, they found the drama of a bunch of millennials on film pretty hilarious. The Morris was a very friendly venue and I've really enjoyed my time in Augusta.

Making a micro-budget film, Part I: The Idea
For me, the purpose of making 'Speak Now' the way that we did is to make a film without waiting for someone else to say yes. The film business is hard to crack, and as a filmmaker there is a catch-22 where nobody wants to give you permission to make a feature film until you've made a feature film. If you're waiting for that permission, you may not get it for a long time. But you've had ideas before; casually tossing concepts to your friends, long brainstorming sessions, or jolts of inspiration that wake you from sleep. Here's the easy part- find and idea and gab hold of it. I had the pleasure of accompanying my wife, Rosie Mattia to her acting class taught by our writer/producer Erin Cardillo and watched this incredibly talented ensemble perform the improv exercise that would eventually become our film. As we shared celebratory drinks later I said to Erin and the actors "This should be a movie." Granted, it took many steps and just over a year to become a movie, but we made it and didn't have to ask permission. So next time you have that idea, don't brush it aside or save it for later- pounce on it and go make your film. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how I think you can do that.

Time to hit the road and head to Clemson, SC. More from that screening tomorrow.