Emilio Vazquez Reyes
Meetings, meetings, and more meetings
On Wednesday, February 8th, I had a meeting with a producer from Dallas and a friend of mine, Gopal Bala, as well as another friend of mine and former ISM student, Sarah Tanigawa, to discuss the next steps in producing my short film/original work project. Although we met up multiple times, our latest in particular managed to enlighten me more than the aforementioned previous meetings. Though the meeting lasted just over an hour and a half, I was able to get a further perspective on how a large production could mean less work for the director.
In my previous film, Honeybee, I served as the director, writer, cinematographer, editor, and producer. I had to wear many hats while on and off set, whether it was getting everyone on board, doing multiple tasks during filming, or being the sole person completing paperwork for film festivals. However, in my recent meeting, I learned that this doesn't have to be the case. For example, I gave a list of crew members, actors, and specific things we needed before we could begin filming. He responded that he would ask around and contact people to hire or volunteer to work for my film. This surprised me since I thought I would have to be the one to write emails and make phone calls to these people myself. However, the idea that someone will take care of all of that and simply bring me the people I need with no questions asked gave me a newfound respect for producers and relief off my shoulders. Another example was the debate on whether or not to shoot this project on 16mm film as opposed to shooting it on digital. Apart from the obvious cost concerns of filming on an expensive medium, I was scared that the film would be ruined due to inconsistent lighting setups during the shoot. "Imagine you could shoot on film without worrying about the technical aspects." He told me. This simple statement made me realize that I don't need to have total responsibility over everything, even for technical aspects that I previously thought I was solely responsible for.
Before our meeting started, I took extra steps to include a ton of meticulous details concerning actors, locations, and reference photos and videos. On top of that, I began casting our lead actress and finding specific addresses for potential locations as well as securing one of our hard-to-secure sets. This surprised Gopal who expressed much appreciation for this extra work I put in. Although this stemmed from eagerness to begin advancing our crew through pre-production, I didn't realize that I didn't need to go that far or detailed, but it helped our producer nonetheless.
In conclusion, I had always had this belief that, in independent film, the director must wear all hats and serve multiple roles on top of a director. However, as I begin to grow further into more advanced and larger-scale productions, I'm starting to realize that I don't need to do everything myself. Sometimes, the best films are made when the director can just focus on vision, acting, and the emotional core of the film rather than if our location has manageable parking for our crew or what allergies everyone has before our catering services arrive.