Independent Filmmaker, 2005 – Present
The Life of General James M. Gavin – 2012 – Present
I was commissioned to make a documentary about the life of World War II hero, General James M. Gavin. The budget is extremely limited. I am the writer, producer, editor, et al. We anticipate that World War II and history buffs will buy DVDs as well as libraries, and possibly be aired on PBS TV channels. I have full access to the Gavin archives at the 82nd Airborne Museum, Fort Bragg, NC.
• Wrote the script for the narrative
• Created a library of historical photographs and digitized film
• Supervised the conversion of old footage to high definition
• Currently editing the script as I create a rough cut (using Final Cut Pro) in preparation for recording the voiceover
Women Who Resort – Present
Producer for directorial debut of Fernando Favela, MA Spanish Literature, Middlebury College. The two-page script is anticipated to be a 7-minute short that will be in compliance with SAG Short Film Signatory requirements. Fernando is fund-raising $30K USD; we will shoot the film in Mexico in October. We will submit to Latino, LGBT and short film festivals. To date, I have:
• Completed a budget
• Recruited VFX artists, Director of Photography, Key Lighting, and Wardrobe Personnel
• Confirmed locations as well as a green screen studio
• Sourced props, including a live Red Eagle
MISMO – 2007 - 2011
96-minute feature film
The impetus for the making of Mismo was born during a conversation with Gino Dante Borges, PhD, with whom I’d been teamed for the making of a trailer in the Scary Cow indie film co-op, which was in its infancy. At the time, there were lots of aspiring directors, writers and actors, but few people with technical skills. We decided that to reach our goals of making a feature film we’d have to do it on our own. We also agreed on the style of storytelling we admired i.e. non-linear. We were naïve enough to think that we could create a series of shorts and then splice them into a feature narrative. We were to use my script I’ll Call You as the basis.
In the course of casting for our first short, we learned that we needed to cast all our characters. We then learned that our actors wanted “to read the script.” By then, Gino and I had decided to change the story and give our main characters a private and public persona, as well as make it more ‘intellectual’. (Hubris is a wonderful thing.) Hence, I was thrown into writing a feature film script, which I completed in three weeks. Gino and I then went over every piece of dialogue to get rid of anything that reeked of clichés. As fans of Tarantino, the script was dialogue heavy and when it came to editing, had we kept every scene, the film would have been three hours long. Still, we felt we were in good company since Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu had been in the same situation with Amores Perros. By then we’d brought in our other two partners: our brilliant camera man Danny Baldonado, and lighting professional Jeff Davis. We shot on nights and weekends for six months. At one time, I was technically doing 17 jobs, ranging from set designer and props master to caterer and accountant. We then spent months editing, color correcting, in the music studio, negotiating music rights, creating a trailer, a website and submitting to film festivals… until we could bootstrap no longer. In all, we spent less than $12,000. Still, no distribution. It was a hard lesson. Had I not been working a regular 40-hour week (making my work week 100 hours on average), I would have used my social media and marketing skills to build an audience during production; not waited until completion to create our website – http://www.mismothemovie.com.
In making this film, I learned, primarily, that:
• Filmmaking is a collaborative process. There’s no person more important than another. Yes, the director has his vision, but without the people who provide the lighting and sound, the locations, make-up, wardrobe, and let us not forget possibly the most important people on the set – the caterers – a film doesn’t happen.
• You have to surround yourself with committed people; even PAs need to show up on time. This means that everyone is accorded with equal respect, even more so if they’re volunteering their time.
• Communication is key; otherwise you have chaos. I never had chaos. Download an example of a call sheet here and here; a shot list here and here.
• The ability to compromise and negotiate is essential. Let your actors change the dialogue and try it their way, and make sure you get it your way. That’s what editing is for.
• Thinking on your feet and being adaptable to unforeseen circumstances is crucial. When the light is fading, some Evangelical preacher is strangely being transmitted through your microphones, and it’s the last day you have access to the location – yes, this really happened – you have to prioritize.
• Good humor is essential. A happy crew is a happy set, is an efficient and effective set.
• You can fix it in post!
Read Director's Statement here.
One Sound – 2011
Producer of an award-winning script written by Donna Bellorado, PhD, for her directorial debut. Together we did the casting and location scouting. I recruited the camera and lighting crew, a make-up artist, and Gino Borges as AD. We shot the guts of the film in one night after the café closed at 10 pm.
Two versions of the film were created: four minutes long and as a spec 30-second commercial for Apple Computer. We then adapted the 30-second version as an AT&T commercial for the MOFILM Brand Video Contest, which won a prize of a mini digital film camera.
My main lesson from One Sound was the confirmation that when making a film, you have three versions: the one on paper, the one during production, and the one you edit.
San Andreas Films – 2000 – 2010
• Production Coordinator, The Damnedest, Finest Ruins, an award-winning documentary - Gold Medal, Aurora Film Competition; Best Documentary, Napa Film Festival; Best Documentary and Audience Award, San Luis Obispo Film Festival. Plus four showings on PBS-KQED in April, 2012.
• Historical research for spec scripts/TV pilots; provided input for all treatments and pitches.
• Responsible for finding distribution; promotion and film festival submissions.
• With no contacts and minimal budget, developed 5-state tour of Mid-West to screen film and raise awareness on earthquake preparedness. Developed similar events in Seattle, Las Vegas and L.A. (www.protectingamerica.org/?PFID=21&PID=203). Handled all travel arrangements.
• Wrote coverage for WGA screenwriter James Dalessandro’s students’ scripts.
• Responsible for historical research and story continuity for 1906: A Novel
Working with James Dalessandro, a WGA screenwriter, Academy of Art University professor, and teacher of the longest-running private screenwriting class in Northern California for 18 years, I learned… a lot!
• The art and structure of screenwriting.
• Attending class every week for a number of years, there is no shortage of good ideas and that the competition is fierce.
• Writing is rewriting. The first draft is just the unpackaging of the clay. After that, it is molded and remolded, and remolded yet again.
• Seek feedback. Ask people to read your script and get their input.
• Making films is a business. I had the good fortune to be in the company of renowned screenwriters, such as David and Janet Webb Peoples, as well as other industry professionals, such as producer Morris Ruskin. I learned what green lights a film and the listing of actors (who’s A list, B-, etc), about distribution and film markets.
• Responsible for submitting our documentary to festivals, I learned about film festival strategy.
• Marketing guerilla style. As the producer of multi-state/city events with no budget other than Mr. Dalessandro’s travel expenses, I honed my skills on parlaying what we brought to the table (an award-winning documentary) into events that people considered valuable in which they wanted to participate, including chiefs of police, homeland security personnel, mayors and geologists/geophysicists. A public relations agency successfully turned these events into multiple television interviews for Mr. Dalessandro and articles on the importance of being earthquake prepared.
• As Mr. Dalessandro’s assistant at the Northern California Screenwriting Expo 2010, I learned from Bobby Moresco that writing is not for the weak of heart and I quote Mr. Moresco, “If you can do anything else, anything at all, go do it.”
Full professional resume: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lorraineflett