The Long Road to Completion: Beginnings

A long time ago, in the ancient year of 2011, a few of us started out on what would eventually become our first feature film, Assassins. What began as a quick short film I’d written after finding a surprising lack of dialogue in anything I’d done before, turned into a much larger, and longer passion project for all involved. For anyone that hasn’t been with us since the beginning, I’m going to take anyone with any interest through the making of our baby.

The idea had been swirling in my head for a few months, and I’d kicked around the thought of having a cold open lead into a psychological cat and mouse game between a man who looked like a killer, and a man who actually was a killer. It was so amazing in my mind, and I know it had been done to death by countless other filmmakers out there, but I still wanted to run with it. It was my film dammit! The problem I ran in to was those months spent trying to get the thoughts out of my head was that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get what I saw in my mind’s eye, down on the page.

What I ended up with was so very far from what I’d originally wanted to do, that I can’t really consider the short film, Assassins, the idea I’d started with.

Once the script was written, and ready to go, we began the producing stages. I called in my awesome team, a small group who’d helped me out on several small projects before. (Thanks to all of you for your hard work). During casting I’d remembered an actor I’d met a few months prior at a networking event. He just so happened to be incredibly talented and someone I didn’t think would get involved with my little project. I was wrong. He jumped at it after I sent over the script, and from that moment we were off to the races.

It took a single day to shoot the whole thing. Not a short day by any means, but a day none the less. Everyone pitched in. Where I’d learned a bit in each of the short films I’d directed up to this point, I wasn’t ready for a few of the challenges that popped up throughout the day. I will say that trying to shoot a sequence where blood spatters on to ‘the screen’ turned out to be much more difficult than we’d planned (we ended up wasting about two hours on a single shot). Lesson learned. We ended up with a pretty nifty little short. A very sharp departure from my earlier attempts.

And, that’s when it happened. Bill Oberst Jr., our amazing actor from the short film, offered up an idea. Would I be interested in seeing the short film expanded into a feature? There wasn’t so much as a breath between the end of his question and my response, but I said, “Sure”, and from there we were off and running.

Next time I’ll take you through the writing process as we got our script shooting ready.

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