At the start of this summer, I released Island, a feature film made entirely alone over six months. I am the film's director, writer, cinematographer, actor, editor, sound guy, you name it. It tells the story of a man lost at sea who washes up onto a tiny island. The full film is free to watch, alongside three other features I've done on my Vimeo.
Here is the trailer - https://vimeo.com/327642648
Here is Island - https://vimeo.com/327132957
Here is a poster - https://i.imgur.com/bVsL4qW.jpg
If you're feeling brave, skip the trailer and go in completely blind for the optimal experience! It runs a brisk 69 minutes.
For Island's release, I created this promo "Make a Movie and I'll Watch it!" - https://vimeo.com/342167833
In the promo I encourage filmmakers to make their own full length movies and if they do please send them to me! I will watch your movies that are 40 minutes+ (I would do shorts as well but then I'd have everyone and their mother sending me shorts, but by all means make some shorts!)
Ask me anything!
It's been amazing answering questions, I didn't expect such a huge response! I'll stick around and keep answering throughout the coming days.
And thank you to everyone who gave Island a chance. It really means a lot. I was so glad to hear it resonated with some people.
If you wanna keep up with my work, I make weekly short films over on YouTube, some of the best ones feature my dad who is the funniest person I know - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVIFCOJwv3emlVmBbPCZrvw
Honestly, make a movie! It's possible so cheap nowadays and so independently! And please send me it when you do! There's nothing I love more than watching homemade movies free of corporate baloney!
why didn't you release it on your youtube channel?
i'll watch it when i get home, looking forward to it!
i'm a fan btw.
Wow! I wasn't under the impression I had fans!
That's actually a very good question that I wish I had a good answer to. By all means I prefer YouTube as a platform, it feels less exclusive than Vimeo and also you don't have to pay which is always a big plus. For my first few features I told myself it was because of YouTube's rights policy. They essentially get and retain the same rights you have over whatever you upload and Vimeo doesn't, but at the end of the day what's Google going to do with my free no budget movies?
For the time being I tell myself it's to differentiate my content, the same audience that'll watch a goofy short might not be in for a strange personal feature. Maybe soon I'll dump all four of my features onto my channel, we'll see!
As you can tell this is something I've mulled over quite a bit, haha
How'd you learn the skills necessary to perform all of those functions? Did someone teach you to film/edit/etc. or did you learn online?
I did go to film school, but that is something I wouldn't encourage anyone to do!
I don't believe a classroom is the right environment to learn something as hands on and creative as film. The best way to learn is simply by doing it. I spent a year between 2015 and 2016 making a short film every week as a challenge to myself. This was not only a self imposed bootcamp in the technical aspects, but also got me really good at not overthinking stuff and just getting things done. If you're able to set any sort of metric for yourself, it doesn't even have to be so intense (try a film every two weeks or a month even), I find it really helps.
The second best way to learn is just by watching movies, expose yourself to a wide array of films from different countries from different decades! I got into the Criterion collection in high school and they're a surefire way to find some amazing movies that'll expand how you view the medium.
However, being in college does allow you a big safety net to experiment and hone your craft amidst other filmmakers. Meeting people and collaborating was definitely the biggest takeaway for me. If you do go to film school, make sure to utilize the time wisely so that you leave confident in your filmmaking. I watched too many people squander it and they haven't made much of anything since.
Do you remember drawing comics with your brother at your dad's house on the lake? Do you remember when I tried to make Mac and cheese in the microwave and it failed miserably?
Xoxo Your former babysitter
Amazing, small world!
That was a long time ago! I've lived through many failed macaronis since.
Hope all is well! :)
You seem to be the right kind of crazy. I am just a few minutes in, but the seagull is hilarious.
What made you make this movie?
I might just be crazy! Glad you enjoy him, he gave a wonderful performance!
There are many answers to that question, and some lie somewhere in the movie! But one answer I like to give is that it is the anti-Cast Away. I made this movie at a very lonely time in my life. When a big Hollywood movie like Cast Away tries to tell the story of a lonely struggle, it feels thematically disingenuous. We know very well that Tom Hanks had personal assistants, a trailer and a big paycheck, the struggle is manufactured. As a filmmaker, I believe that in order to make a truthful movie the product should be synchronous with the process. I took that line of thought to a logical extreme and decided to make a movie about loneliness from a lonely place in a very lonely way.
If you wind up finishing the film I'd love to hear your thoughts!
So you've made films before, were those all by yourself also? Have you ever worked with/over someone such as getting another actor or cameraman? If you haven't, why not?
I've been making films since I was a wee lad! Me appearing in my own work is a very new development from the last two years, for nearly fifteen years I always had friends, family and actors in front of the camera. My first two features I'm not in at all minus a cameo in 31 Days in Marshall, North Carolina.
Island is a very unique case where I had no help whatsoever, I've often had friends help out with camera and sound!
I'd chalk it up to me going through a very introspective time in my life! Once I figure myself out it might shift back, or maybe I never will and I'm doomed to a life of observing myself like a lab rat through a camera, haha
A few friends of mine made a low budget feature that was released five years ago yesterday. I make an appearance very briefly. We have recently been talking about writing something new. Do you have any advice on creating a film on a limited budget whilst scheduling around full time jobs and family commitments?
Here’s the film. It comes in at about 85 minutes. It’s a mockumentary about a couple of straight-to-DVD film producers who want to make a name for themselves and end up trying to make an ambitious science fiction epic (that also happens to be a porno).
Love it! I'll give it a watch sometime!
As far as advice around working around full time jobs go, I freelance and have for quite some time, so I can't really speak on it. In the case of family commitments, I'd advise trying to get your family involved! My first feature was made in my hometown with my friends and family and only cost $200 to make. Everyone from my dad, to my mom, to my brother, to my uncles acts in my stuff regularly!
Here's a goofy short I did with my dad last week - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAUk9XjidMc
Something like this kills a lot of birds with one stone! It's a fun time, it's productive towards honing your skills and growing your audience, and it's a great opportunity to bond. Making movies is one of my dad and I's favorite things to do at this point since we've done it for well over a decade! Consolidating your quality time with your creative time can make both thrive!
Cool film! Why did you choose a 4:3 aspect ratio? Also do you have any experience or influence by circus? The movie gives me a bit of a circus act feel, can't put my finger on what it is exactly.
Also... It is compleeeety different, but if you would have a look at this I would love to know what you think, It was also about a 6 month production time lol, but not even close to as impressive as your work
Super impressive uni-cycling man! Can tell getting that good takes awhile! It's hardly comparable, two very different things, impressive for different reasons :)
The 4:3 was a practical tool first and foremost. The way the set was set up, I didn't have much leeway for shots, and using 16:9 would've shown too much of the set, limiting me more. 4:3 allowed me more shot variety in such a confined space. If you watch the full film it also serves another purpose!
Not any circus inspiration specifically, but perhaps the ironic showman-like presentation could be related!
How long was the pre production of this film?
The closest thing to pre production I did on this film is the building of the set and props and that took several weeks. I'm a filmmaker that thrives in not knowing what's gonna happen and pre production serves to guarantee that you do know what's gonna happen. I did one feature with a script (Taking a Little Time to Feel Sorry for Myself), and while I'm proud of it, there was never that moment of "oh god, is this gonna work?", "am I gonna get this done?", etc. and that's where the medium really comes to life for me. Island was very much an improvised sort of visual journal where I filmed what I was compelled to film each day. If you told me at the start that this film was gonna go where it went, I would've been clueless how it would get there and I weirdly love that.
Have you considered doing a poster where all the review quotes are also by Joel Haverland?
That's a good idea, works well with the themes and process!
"Made me cry and I made it!" - Joel Haver
What movie would you like to remake and why?
That's an interesting question that I've never put much thought into.
If I did remake a movie it would definitely be in a similar way that Charlie Kaufman "adapted" The Orchid Thief in Adaptation, very meta and self aware and ultimately a very different product from the source material. It would probably turn into a movie about remaking disguised as a remake and how that relates to the human experience, maybe something about how we lead our lives in a compulsive, safe and repetitious way in pursuit of approval not unlike Disney remaking all their properties.
With all that said, Snow Dogs but the dogs actually talk the whole movie rather than just in the dream sequence to right that wrong from my childhood.
I really enjoyed the film and I am now a fan, too! Great job, bravo!
I’m still hanging on that ending... if you had to add an additional scene, would you make it so the loneliness eventually ends?
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed and it feels great to have two known fans!
That's a wonderful question. The ending has been interpreted both ways, some people leave thinking my loneliness has ended and others leave feeling it to be cyclical and never-ending. The night I filmed the final scene, I knew the movie was over. I very much found my ending. I cried in a Wendy's reviewing the footage. It'd be very difficult for me to add anything, as much as I may wish there was something to add.
Hello Joel, I enjoyed the film. What was your main inspiration behind this setting and choice for film?
Thanks for checking it out! Glad you enjoyed it!
I touched briefly upon an inspiration for the film in this thread - https://bit.ly/2Y5UkL5
It definitely came from a loneliness I was feeling and an urge to express it in an honest way. A friend of mine compared the film to a journal and I'd say that's very accurate. I tried not to operate logically and concern myself terribly with the narrative and overall project as I usually would. Instead I sought to operate wholly emotionally and film what I was compelled to film day to day without question and make sense out of it later.
This is awesome! I imagine making a movie completely by yourself is both freeing and limiting. What filmmaking lessons did you take away from shooting all alone?
The hardest part about making a movie alone is not telling anyone about it. I've always been secretive about my projects, but usually there are other people on board that are at least clued in that I can talk to. Until I showed a rough cut to two friends, literally no one had seen or heard anything from the project, and that screening was very intense for that reason. I still remember hitting the play button vividly, felt like opening Pandora's Box! It was a great relief that they were blown away, after so long with a project in isolation, it's hard to look at it with any objectivity. The lesson there would probably be that it's worth it.
As far as selling the rights go, I'm not entirely sure. I'm not terribly interested in selling the movie and at this point it didn't really cross my mind. I'm happy with it being available for free and retaining ownership! It's very personal and would feel dirty if someone else "owned" it. The only exception would be if a certain respected publisher wanted to put out a physical version (pssst @Criterion) but that's a pipe dream!
Glad I could be the one to finally do it!
Hey Joel! I Just watched your film a bit and i think i love the cinematography already! How much budget did you put in this movie? And what gears did you use? What programs did you use to do the sound and video editing?
Thanks for doing this AMA
I'm glad you're enjoying the cinematography!
The entire movie cost less than $500 to make.
I already owned all the gear for quite some time. I talked more in depth about the gear in this thread - https://bit.ly/2XLsvYW
I used Adobe Premiere for editing video and sound! I've been introduced to doing audio separately in something like ProTools and hate it to my core, I'd rather have a fun time editing than do it professionally!
If you finish watching I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Have you ever thought about venturing into pornography?
On which side of the camera? I guess I could make the ultimate solo porn with the skills I acquired from this film.
Why are carrots funny?
Way back in RuneScape, I was lolbananas. Then I grew up a little, started using bad words and became lmaobananas on AIM. Then bananas were out and apples were in and I existed as lmaoapples for some time. Then finally carrots were here to stay.
What is your normal creative process? How do you get over writers block/burnout? Thanks:)
In short, I am very anti-planning! If I have an idea I'd rather film it right then and there than plan how to make it perfectly. Of the four features I've made, only one had a script. It's something I was glad to prove to myself I could do, but the other three were way more exciting for me. Making them up as I went always gave me a new puzzle to solve each day, rather than a checklist of things to get done. I also have done hundreds of short films, and beyond a select few, I typically lean towards improv acting and filmmaking for those as well. Forfeiting some control to the whim of reality excites me most in my work.
As far as writer's block goes I'm someone who has the compulsive need to create. I live a very comfortable life and that certainly allows me a lot of time to indulge in that compulsion, but at the same time that comfort can be my own undoing. I find when I am totally content with life, it is hardest to create, or create anything meaningful at least. Island emerged from a place of extreme emotional and personal discomfort. Not sure if this is good advice, but if you're comfortable in life seek discomfort and if you're uncomfortable in life channel it into something creative.
hey two questions 1. have you seen the indie movie the gaurds themselves on youtube by doormonster? 2. what is your opinion on fire emblem three houses?
I have not! If it's worth checking out I'll definitely check it out sometime!
Never have played the Fire Emblem series, wish I could have an opinion for you!
It's released as in it's out to be watched online! I still own the copyright as it's creator, so it's not public domain or anything like that! I would like to retain that ownership if I choose to ever put out a physical release.
What kind of camera/gear did you use to shoot this?
I used the og model of the Blackmagic Pocket that I got off of a friend and two cheapo lenses off Amazon that I owned. Super great camera for cinematic results without the bulk! Only problem is figuring out battery life because it's super finicky in that regard.
For sound I used this microphone which I've owned for years - https://amzn.to/2JCOOaK
And this lav microphone - https://amzn.to/2xXLkIY
Beyond that, nothing else really. The only light I used was a ten year old photo light my dad gave me and a projector.
Looks like I could only watch this on lsd.
Have you taken any drugs past or present?
Maybe that'd help! Most people are surprised to find out I'm straight edge, only vice I have is sugar. Everyone assumes I'm hyped up on cocaine in order to get everything I get done done, but it's usually just gummy worms.
Do you have a set limit of how many times you'll tweak an idea or scene before you move on?
It's not a specific number of times, but I really try not to be a perfectionist. The hardest thing to learn is to be brutal about cutting stuff, I'm proud to say Island has over an hour of footage I just didn't use, which is rare for my work.
If I ever feel that I'm losing interest in a project, I know I've sat on it for too long and try to get it done and out ASAP before that flame completely dies. Usually once it's out I can look at it objectively and actually enjoy it once again.
Creating a lot of stuff and posting it without question is a great way to be less precious about your work.
Did you ever think of working with Gilbert Gottfried on a film project?
Love the specificity of this question! Sure, if that opportunity came up I'd love to! Seems like a great guy!
So when are you directing the Superman reboot?
In 2023 I am signed on to make Superman Returns Again. I'll be playing Superman and Lex Luthor and Lois Lane
Thanks for sharing the movie with us. I was very skeptical of the film, but it made me feel different than any movie I’ve seen. It felt raw, it felt real. I love the ending. I’m not sure how to spoiler tag on my phone but the ending left me with a yearning for stumbling into a weird, shy, new connection, and feeling those fireworks once again after spending so long on an island.
I have to ask a question. Which mainstream films or books have moved you?
I'm so glad the film was able to make you feel something new. That's the best thing I could possibly hear about my work.
One of my favorite movies ever is Synecdoche, New York. It's a wonderful film that allows itself to be so tragic that its language becomes tragedy. And through that saturation of tragedy, tragedy is not only is sad, but also strange and funny and as not scary as it is scary. For me it's a wonderful therapeutic film I always turn back to.
Not sure how lenient we are on the term "mainstream", but my favorite filmmaker ever is John Cassavetes and he made a film called Love Streams that made me cry for over an hour. Just a beautiful emotional outpouring between him and his wife.
I would like to know if this is something you can show your family(specifically yours), and expect them to watch?
Will your parents, for example, ever watch this all the way through? Would you want them to?
I am very fortunate for the fact that not only do I have incredibly supportive parents, but they actually love my work!
My mom cried watching Island with me!
And my dad is a very strange man who appears in many of my films! Here is a fun film he and I made this week - https://youtu.be/DAUk9XjidMc
It was definitely a very steady climb from making goofy videos as a kid to making hyper personal full length movies, but I'm not hesitant to show them anything I make!
Hey Joel, remember me? I’m just a guy who you may have passed one time. Remember? You were in that island movie.
Bro! You were mad chill! Whaddup dude?
How has declaring to the internet "If you make a movie, I will watch it!" worked out for you? Do you think therapy will be enough, or is gouging out your own eyes the way to go?
Surprisingly well! Before this thread, very few people shared with me their stuff. With this thread blowing up, I expected to receive more troll content, but I really haven't! Just people sending me stuff they're proud of and I love that!
Buddy you about to watch me have some freaky sex, where do I send the videos?
If you make a freaky sex movie I'm in! But it better be good! My email is in the description of the promo video!
My friends and I are releasing season 2 of a web series called Bored As Hell, about Satan coming up to Earth and starting a radio station! The trailer is below!
Congratulations on your film! I will watch it!
The costume design and practical effects work look phenomenal! Great job! I'll check it out!
Great! Hope you enjoy!
Hi Joel! Firstly i am very proud for i can write a message to someone who made a film alone. Me and my 3 brothers to interested in filmaking and we are making a 90 minutes film for theatres. I get motivated when i see someone make film alone :). We isnt finished film yet but i was made a short movie very amateur because i am very new in filmmaking. Here is the link (English subtitles): https://youtu.be/m78ISISuaOM
And what is your favorite short movie?
Btw English isn't my first language, sorry if i made mistekes :)
Keep making movies! When you finish the 90 minute one, send it to me and I'll check it out! Don't be too ambitious about theaters, make a movie for yourselves, enjoy the process and figure it out from there! Don't put too much pressure on the movie and don't get upset if it doesn't go to theaters. Releasing on the internet is just as viable as theaters and I personally like it much better.
As far as short films go, it'd be tough to say! I really like the stuff my friends make, it's always exciting to see something by someone you know!
As a college senior about to make his first thesis. Any helpful insight on running a set?
Also as someone who wants to break into cinematography any life atips for after college?
My best advice is to have fun. Too many people make film making a chore and those are the people who never make anything post-college. If you dread an aspect of your film, ask if you really need it or if it can be altered. I've been on so many miserable sets and it's because there's too much gear, too many people, too much time wasted. Be light and efficient. A two person crew that feels they are essential will be far stronger than a ten person crew where everyone feels like an expendable grunt.
My cinematography career is entirely incidental, I prefer to shoot my own things so overtime as I've made a bunch of things I've just happened to shoot a bunch of stuff! In that regard, make a lot of your own stuff and have fun with it! You'll always have practice if you're making your own things, limiting your practice to jobs you're hired to do will bring your progress to a halt and potentially could kill your passion.
As a fellow Joel if there is anything I can help with like quotes for movie covers or anything holla! Haha
But favorite food?
Change your last name to Haver, then we can do that thing they'd do on Zach and Cody where they switch places because they're twins and mess with people.
Gotta pay respect to my tried and true pasta. Making myself a hefty helping of sauce and just having a week of pasta every week will kill me, but it's too good.
Not sure where to send it, here's one my friend made as a passion project over about 5 years, Canadian Ninja!
I ended up doing sound design and score for it in far too short a time when it was all done.
Looks amazing! I'll definitely give it a watch sometime!
Keep making stuff! Never give up, you can have any number of passion projects!
Would you watch that 10 hour movie of nothingness people made to piss of critics? It was something along those lines haha. Also congrats on the movie.
Don't know why someone would punish me like that! But if it's good nothingness, I'd give it a shot, and if anything I'd be honored someone created a film specifically intended to fuck with me, haha
What do you go through to choose your actors?
When I have actors, I'm the least picky casting director in the world. I've never done an audition in my life and it hasn't failed me yet! I've met many frequent collaborators and good friends through picking them on a whim. I usually use the website BackStage to cast.
I also love working with non-actors, or rather people who never acted before. For my film 31 Days in Marshall, North Carolina my friend and I went to a small town we'd never been to, lived in a broken trailer for a month and made a movie with the locals and they did an amazing job. (https://vimeo.com/286186006) I think anyone can act if you make the set a fun time and cast them to their strengths.
What is the minimum length for something to be feature length? I don't really think of something that's barely over an hour as feature length.
Not to give too much credit to the Academy, but a film has to be over 40 minutes to qualify for Best Picture at the Oscars, so that's kind of the established standard! But it's really quite arbitrary, it's just a term!
How was craft services on set?
Wonderful, all I ate was ramen, grapes and junior mints.
Why are people still setting off fireworks at 12 AM on a weeknight in my neighborhood ? July 4th was weeks ago.
Maybe their calendar in broken? That would be my assumption. Don't be so quick to assume everyone has a working calendar.
The choreographed fight scene looked like a blast! Did you know them personally?
If you're referring to the Russians, I met them that day and that's just something they did together, haha!
Hey Joel, I'm intrigued to have read your post. I'm 27 and i want to become a filmmaker. I want to understand your thought process about coming up with your stories. Who' re your inspiration? Also could you shine some light on the gear and software you usually use when making and curating videos? Do you keep any extras for assistance for shooting or is it all you? Also what are your future projects and plans?
You're like inspiration to me and to have discovered you, I'll check out your stuff. Also I'll check this movie after work today. Thnx for the ama. All the best!
Edit- i see that you have already answered them! Thnx anyway
Glad that I could inspire!
John Cassavetes is my biggest inspiration, the guy was a total rebel, saying fuck the system and making what he wants in a time that it wasn't so easy. I recommend watching his films! Now we're handed the tools to say fuck the system, and make and release whatever we damn well please! There's no better time to be a filmmaker than now!
Here is an incredible Cassavetes interview - https://youtu.be/ePptcNqXRJA
This film was all me! No assistants!
Right now I am decompressing, making weekly short films over on my YouTube (Joel Haver Shorts)! Hopefully soon my next feature will come to me!
I hope your other questions were answered in the thread!
Hi Joel, I’m 17 and looking forward to a career in video production. I need to make a portfolio for colleges to see, but I don’t know anybody else who wants to act/put in all the hard work to make a good serious film.
My question, I guess, would be what is your process when it comes to thinking up an idea that only involves one person? All of my ideas involve multiple people so I’d love to know what your thought process is. And what advice would you have for me or someone else in my situation?
I started making films when I was 8, and until I was 18 and in college I always just cast my friends and family! Get people around you involved! I still make stuff with my dad pretty much weekly, haha! You'd be surprised how many people love making movies if given a nudge. I made a movie where I lived in a small town I'd never been to for a whole month and made a movie with the locals I met! ( https://vimeo.com/286186006 )
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you'll be surprised how many people follow suit!
Did you share your cuts for feedback?
I shared a rough cut with my friends and they gave me one piece of critical feedback that changed the film! At this point I have made enough stuff and this film was personal enough that I trusted myself to make most judgement calls otherwise! I've gotten good at being objective and critical of my own edits!
Might be too late but I wanna be a filmmaker what would you reccomend someone just starting out. Live action then practice editing? Animation? (My fiance can draw really well). I have ideas I just don't know how to get started basically
The best advice would be just start! If you have a cellphone, you have a great camera and microphone already! Goof around, collaborating with your fiance might be fun! You're not going to be making masterpieces and that's okay! Whatever interests you, try to capture it and turn it into a story. There are plenty of great free editing tools (DaVinci Resolve has been getting better and better) YouTube is just as much filmmaking as anything else, make a channel and try your best to post regularly, you'll be surprised how quickly you get better.
Fellow filmmaker here just got into my 2nd festival and I'm curious what to do next? What's the best way to approach people for funds these days? Everything I've ever made has been self funded and I'm going broke haha.
Here's my silly movie! Would love for you to check it out!
I give you Rumpleforeskin! https://vimeo.com/298275269
Congrats on the festival!
Beyond one Kickstarter, I've never raised funds for my movies so I'm pretty clueless on that front. All my stuff is self funded too but to keep that manageable I just don't spend money, haha. Island is my most expensive feature to date and it cost less than $500.
Rumpleforeskin is certainly an enticing title, haha! I'll check it out soon!
I threw them both likes and will try to check them out sometime!
I'm trying to limit myself to feature length (40 minute+) otherwise everyone would be sending me their latest shorts! Keep making shorts though, shorts are amazing ground for fun and experimentation!
Make a feature and I'll watch it in a heartbeat! :)
I love your last name. Do you have pretty often?
Do you do a lot of having? Literally or figuratively.
Oh I have. Sometimes I have not. Sometimes I will have haved, sometimes I will not have have notted.
What do you use to record your audio?
For sound I used this microphone - https://amzn.to/2JCOOaK
It's camera mounted but also self contained (takes a micro SD and records onto itself), so you can boom it on a monopod or hide it in a scene not unlike a lav. It's been my old reliable for years.
I also use this lav microphone - https://amzn.to/2xXLkIY
And I record the lav into a Zoom H4N - https://amzn.to/2JTqWi5
Care to share your favorite recipe?
My mom taught me this. Put a handful of chocolate chips in a microwave safe cup. Microwave them for about 45 seconds, until they're melty. Add in a scoop of peanut butter and stir. And you've got a chocolate peanut butter sauce that's delicious to eat right out of the cup. One of my great guilty pleasures.
I notice other names on the poster. What's wrong, you couldn't write your own blurbs too? Seems like you skimped at the last minute.
shit. how the hell did those get there?
Very interesting film, Joel, I enjoyed it! I'm curious, (film spoilers) did everyone who appeared (and was recognizably in focus) in the film eventually provide consent for their footage? Parts of it made me feel a bit uncomfortable, as they were clearly unaware they were being filmed, and when some asked, you lied and told them you weren't recording. Technical question, there were parts that seemed to have audio corruption. Was this intentional, or accidental, and why did you choose to keep those takes if it was accidental? Also,did you and the girl stay in touch? :)
Thank you for checking it out, glad you enjoyed! And thank you for using spoiler text!
As far as permission goes, the discomfort you felt is an intentional part of the experience, while watching and after. I think loneliness is confusing and messy and realizing how we use people is crucial at conveying that, that's how I felt once finishing the film and looking back at it. For that reason, I wanna leave it ambiguous, which is a lame copout, but I think the film will be stronger for it. I hope you understand! The audio corruption was an intentional choice to keep in!
Hey, what was the most memorable shit your ever took? And would your rather visit Scotland or Ireland?
Sadly my most memorable shits are the worst ones. The wipes that'll never end. Where I have to do a preliminary flush multiple times out of fear of clogging.
Ireland because I think it'd be sick.
How long does my movie have to be?
Did all of the people you spoke to during the film know you were filming? I was pretty amazed that so many people were so open to speak to a stranger.
Follow up question: Was this filmed entirely in Key West?
Edit: Except for the Disney World parts ( I hadn't finished the movie when I asked my initial questions!)
It's an obnoxious answer, but I think that's a question that exists better as a mystery!
The second part was filmed throughout Florida, a bit in Key West, the first part was filmed on a set I built in my apartment in NY. During the Florida portion I was sleeping in my car for three weeks, traveling and filming!
I just watched this. I didn't expect much but ended up watching the entire thing. It's great. So creative. It reminded me of how lonely I felt when I first moved away from my hometown in my mid-20s. Also what it's like living alone. I loved the cinematography and the acting too. Great film!
I posted the above comment last night, but it got deleted because I didn't ask a question. So here are my questions:
Were the other actors with multiple scenes real actors you cast or just people you found randomly on the street? They were so real. Especially the goth girl at the end. I thought the interaction the two of you had was very cool. I also liked the two Russian friends and the guy in the diner wearing the two glasses.
Also, when you set up the camera for your shots, some of the shots were super far away... were you afraid it might get stolen while shooting?
Thank you so much for checking it out. Glad you stuck around till the end. I'm always interested to hear the memories it reminds people of, not too surprisingly it's always something specific and lonely.
There's a purposeful ambiguity in wondering whether or not people are actors, and I've committed to keeping that ambiguity alive! With that said, everyone I interacted with was wonderful! The two glasses was one of the greatest things I'd ever seen, he said he needs a prescription, but he found out two cheap reading glasses achieve the same effect.
Being alone, I certainly had to keep my eye on the camera, but I was pretty trusting of people overall. I've done some similar filming in NYC and in those cases I'm far more paranoid, the places I went in Florida felt a little too open and calm for someone to grab a camera and run.
That is not a trailer, that is a teaser. What is your movie actually about?
Well, the whole movie is free! The way I see it, a typical trailer is a corporate tool designed to get you to buy a ticket. You don't go into a book having read a 2/3 plot synopsis for example! You don't see 2/3 of a painting before you choose to look at a painting. It's a tool that emerged from filmmaking being monetized and corporate run for over a century, but filmmaking doesn't have to be anymore, so I prefer having something that advertises the process and tone moreso than a "here's what's in the movie" trailer. By all means, if it didn't catch your eye you don't have to watch! It's up to you!
What's your best advice for an amateur filmmaker that you wish you knew when you started?
This might sound very vague, but the truth is that there is nothing to strive to. There is not some greater goal in filmmaking. No one is holding you accountable to make a polished, perfect film, so why hold yourself to that standard? If you reach a point where you're no longer having fun filmmaking, retrace your steps to the point that you were and create from there. This performance of polish and professionalism is an act we put on for others, and if it bears no relation to how you would create if no one was watching, don't do it! I started out thinking I was working towards my big movie, my "Hollywood masterpiece" and along the way I was sacrificing all the enjoyment I could've gotten by having some fun with the medium. Strive for nothing more than to enjoy what you are creating now!
Are you the sole actor? If not, then how can you make it entirely alone? Having even just one actor (not you) would make your claim false.
Did you watch the full film? That question is intentionally raised! You might not get an answer from the film, but you'll get more questions!
I don't know if you're still answering questions, but I hope so. What was your motivation/inspiration was to distribute your films online for free? Even very low-budget, low-effort independent films try to monetize in some way, so I'm surprised a filmmaker working and actually putting effort into making a quality independent movie is distributing for free.
Hello! Good question!
My films are made for so dirt cheap that I don't have any budget to recoup as long as I'm able to support myself up through their release. Island cost less than $500 and it's the most expensive of my four features.
At this point in my life, I have very little interest in connecting my films to monetary value, because I've seen how that can drain the life out of the them. The hoops you have you jump through to get any real money from a film forces you to view your work as a product to be commodified. And that's when you start making sacrifices for a wider and wider audience and I've seen how that snowball effect can kill filmmakers' creativity and artistic voice. I've found my own way of making stuff I'm proud of comfortably for no money, so for the time being I have no real incentive to change it!
The ultimate goal is always to be self published, I think the current film landscape is woefully behind and big festivals/distributors make very little since in the internet age. I do have a Patreon for all my work, and of course I'd love if that could be big enough sometime to support me full time, but I'll continue to create and release my work regardless.
Hey man I made this 3 minuter would love for some opinions on what you think of it?
Congrats on the release!
The ending zoom shots were funny, otherwise not a whole lot happens! It's a little too meandering for what seems be a be a lighthearted story. The music is also very atonal! I think there's a temptation to use music as an easy way out, because sound design is tedious and hard, but unless it's a music video committing to doing sound design is usually always the better option.
With that said, make more stuff! That's the best way to get better and develop your own unique style! And if you ever make a film 40 minutes+, you have a guaranteed viewer in me!
I think I have a great idea for a short film. How would I go about getting it made?
Grab a camera (cellphones work!), grab your friends and make it! People will tell you it's more complicated than that but it really isn't. Be conscious of your limitations but also don't let them limit your ambition, there's a creative way to do anything for no money! There are thriving communities online of filmmakers and actors just dying to collaborate! Have fun with it!
Have you ever read Richard Laymon's The Island?
I haven't! Not happy that he stole my title and added a word to it to try to make it original and then time traveled.
Worth checking out?