The Highs and Low of Making a Thesis Film

The Highs and Low of Making a Thesis Film

I am six weeks away from shooting my thesis film and seem to have reached the point where every bit of good news is quickly accompanied by a setback. It’s a time that’s difficult to process due to how busy it is. In addition to the thesis, I also have classes, an internship, a job and a life (sort of). Time management becomes your end-all and be-all, and self care is definitely important too.

I’ve found it’s best not to respond to bad news immediately. Even when it’s urgent, it helps to take a breather before sending the email or replying to the text. I have three different solitaire games on my phone for the purpose of calming down in those moments. What’s also extremely crucial here is your team’s input. Make sure to assemble a talented team you trust and want to be around and speak to when it feels like nothing is going right.

The best crew ever!

A good amount of filmmaking, especially low budget filmmaking, is working around limitations. It can become easy to submit to limitations rather than getting creative about finding solutions. I almost made a major character change to my script based on issues with casting but, with the help of a friend, found a creative solution. More roadblocks in terms of scheduling have come up, and changing the script was the creative solution there. Working within a budget pushes the director and cinematographer to get creative about shotlisting. Overall, everyone finds a way to do their best work given the limitations we face.

Me, at a location scout, trying to figure out how we’re going to work around any limitations the space poses.

So we have to acknowledge the victories too because it’s very easy to get wrapped up in what’s not right. The cast we have thus far is wonderful. Fundraising is going really well. We have access to a lot of resources that have been extremely helpful with getting things done and overcoming hurdles. The community support is great.

Our very organized casting setup.

What’s important here is celebrating the wins. With how easy it is to get bogged down by the setbacks, taking time to relish the victories has a lot of value. Rewarding myself has been a great motivator to keep me working hard to get this film made and made well.