Who knew!

Photo from this piece in The New York Times

As an introvert, I’ve largely always enjoyed keeping my own company. I like immersing myself in stories through visuals, sounds, and books often in my own sanctuary that is my room.

And yet, in a strange year like 2020, I found myself missing doing certain things… and the company of people…

Who knew!

So here are a list of things, in no particular order, that I found myself missing and longing for:

It’s been a weird year so far.

Photo by Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo

I’ve been mostly staying at and working from home since mid-March, only venturing out every few weeks to buy groceries (with a mask on!). I had plans to shoot a short film, but with everything at a standstill, those plans had to be scrapped, too. This pandemic is no joke, and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

But everywhere I turned, there was just a barrage of depressing news. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to climb, the death toll staggering and ceaseless. …

The truth is, no art is ever really finished.

Getty Images

So often, we artists get lost in our own work, obsessing over every little detail and making endless revisions. We all want things to be perfect, but what if it’s already close enough? It can be hard to pull yourself away from the project and know when to stop.

Here are some of the processes I go through to see if my film is truly done.

1. A Completed Checklist

There are times when it really is as simple as a checklist of things you feel the need to do. Whether a mental list or a real one you’ve written…

As much as we hate to admit it, we live in a truly digital landscape now. And with all the advancements in technology, so much of what we’re familiar with changes. One of the things filmmakers now have to deal with is DCP creation. Most hear this for the first time after getting accepted to a festival that requires one for screening.

So, what is a DCP?

DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. Simply put, it’s the digital version of a 35mm film print.

More specifically, a DCP is a collection of all the digital files used to store and convey digital audio, cinema, and…

You won’t get into every film festival and that’s okay.

Image credit: ©2006 James Steidl

Rejection always hurts. We all think we can handle rejection until we’re faced with it. When you receive that dreaded rejection letter from a film festival, it can feel personal. Sometimes, maybe too personal.

We start to doubt ourselves. Were all those hours, sweat, and tears not enough? Are you a bad filmmaker? Did you make a bad movie? Is there enough money left in the budget for more submissions?

But these rejections shouldn’t take away from the fact that you worked hard on a passion project. Making a movie is never easy, and the fact that you made one…

I made three films with an iPhone. You can, too.

Filming on an iPhone is not always perfect. There are still limitations in certain aspects, and you may have to use additional tools or apps depending on how you want your film to look. But it does allow you to get really creative. The possibilities are endless.

The first time I filmed on an iPhone, I didn’t exactly plan to, but I’m glad I did. I learned a lot over the course of the production and post-production processes, and I was ultimately able to release the film theatrically through self-distribution. Since then, I’ve made two more films on an iPhone.

A still from my documentary, The Name with No Face, the first film I shot on an iPhone.

Preparation is key.

They always tell you to plan for the unexpected — what could go wrong almost always will.

When I was starting out, I learned a lot of valuable things from making mistakes. Just two days before principal photography was scheduled to start on a short film of mine, I got a call from the location that was central to the film. The owner said some plans had changed and they could no longer allow us to film there.

I panicked. Would I have to postpone the shoot? Would everyone still be available if I changed the date? Where am I…

I successfully released my film into a movie theatre, and you can, too.

Distribution is hard. Self-distribution is really hard. Not to mention very expensive, especially as an independent filmmaker.

In August of 2016, I successfully self-distributed my documentary short, The Name with No Face, theatrically. The theatre run lasted for a full week, and my film ultimately qualified for consideration by The Academy for the Oscars®. The entire process was an incredible learning experience.

Title card for ‘The Name with No Face’.

Get A Lawyer

The most significant thing I learned from this experience is the importance of having a lawyer. I’m very lucky in that I have a lawyer who is incredibly dedicated, and was genuinely looking out for me as an…

Evelyn Lee

Writer/Director. Writing about movies and filmmaking. evelynnlee.com / evelynleefilms.com

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