The answer is not, but we might as well have been. It takes a lot of self-preparation to pull off a feature film in this conditions. When Steven (lead actor) and myself (director) sat down and talked about the project, we decided we wanted to make a feature film following the life of this man, Connor, and all of his different encounters and experiences with love while looking for his Dulcinea.
At this moment, we find ourselves in late September, with our tickets bought to Spain on December 20th. We basically had 3 MONTHS! to write and start preparing a film... we had no idea.
During the first month, we worked on the idea. Since I am from Spain, I really wanted to do something that represented the love I have for Madrid, my city. Something that hadn't been done and that really opened people's perspective on Madrid, a city at the level of Paris or Rome. After a couple meetings, and 17 days after, we printed a script.
We became addicted, spending all our time and effort on the story. We didn't know how we were going to do it (specially because we don't have that much money); but there was something pushing us further.
In October, we started our production phase while we were still rewriting the story, we had literally no time! When we started putting everything together we realised that the future of our movie wasn't in our hands... but on our friend's. We had no time to raise a full budget or do a proper production as we are used to, so we called up on all our friends and asked them two simples things:
- Are we crazy? - to which most said "YES!"
- Would you help us?
We didn't want to take advantage of anybody and we were not in a position to ask for anything so we simply sat down and waited. A couple of days later, we started getting all of these responses from our friends wanting to help us out, just because... because yes... and because they are f***** awesome.
Once we knew we could count on our friends, we made a really clear schedule:
- We would not shoot for more than 6h (unless extremely necessary)
- We would have A LOT of food on set.
- We buy our friends drinks.
Those were the 3 key aspects of our production, so that our friends, who most of them were just helping us out, would be confortable and at least having a good time. You have to make some compromises when working under these conditions, and due to that our friends kept sticking around with us.
During the rest of the month of October, we worked on the characters, met with all the actors (90% of them who are very good friends of us, otherwise, why would they do anything so stupid?) and started our own casting process.
We didn't want to work with people that we didn't know or were not confortable with, and there was a very specific reason for this. Even though, Steven and myself are working fellows in Los Angeles, when two people tell you about a project that will be shot with minimal crew, equipment and on weird schedules... you think they probably have no idea what they are talking about. On our case, it was different, since we were confident about what we were doing AND we had an incredible team behind us. For the missing talents, we went on to our friends who recommended us actors who fully understood our project and committed themselves greatly, despite the weird conditions. Once all this was sorted: we started thinking TECHNICAL.
The only way we were going to pull this off is if we have our own equipment, That way we didn't depend on anybody. Therefore (and we don't want to get boring here, although we will talk more deeply about this); we purchased a RECORDING MONITOR and TWO SETS OF OLD LENSES from Germany and Russia (which cost us 1/10th of any set of "proper" lenses, but with the same quality). We added those two things to my Sony A7S and we were ready to roll!
We spend about a week putting everything together while NOVEMBER 2nd, our DAY 1 was approaching from the distance. We did our last rehearsals with the actors, made sure everything was in place, and did a lot of camera tests to make sure we were guaranteeing a good quality.
(Low Quality shot from the video test)
After that... we had a movie to shoot.
The next entry will be dedicated to our day one, and how we started with the HARDEST day of all the production.
Thank you so much and keep spreading the family. FOR DULCINEA!