In Search of a Filmmaking Community


Recently I've fallen down a rabbit hole of modern independent film. Indulging heavily in the works of Jeff Nichols, Lynne Shelton, Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Joe Swanberg and many others. Normally this wouldn't be something worth posting about, but somewhere along that path I came across a smattering of interviews with Joe Swanberg talking about his film Drinking Buddies. Joe is quite prolific and he ascribes much of his work to the community he travels in of filmmakers, writers, and actors. I love the idea of a "community," people who live and breathe filmmaking and creating.

Time and again I've espoused my love for the traveling film competition, the 48 Hour Film Project. Filmmakers and fanatics banding together for a whirlwind weekend creating a short. As great as it is, the Des Moines 48 Hour Film Project is two days, two out 365. For many that's plenty, but for the rest of us it's not nearly enough. Considering Joe Swanberg directed 10 feature films in the last three years, holding him to two days of filmmaking a year would be akin to cruel and unusual punishment.

While it may not be as ambitious as Mr. Swanberg's 10 feature films, in the last three years I've produced nine short films with my 48HFP teammates, Team Tiny Explosions, and collaborated on two others. I'm proud of much of that work but again, it is not nearly enough. Many of those shorts were improvised and share more DNA with digital short comedy sketches than short film. I realize I'm a long way from pulling off a feature film, but that doesn't mean I don't have ideas. In fact I have over 30 ideas for short and feature films, running the entire spectrum of drama and comedy. What's keeping me from producing those ideas?

So using the modern independent filmmaker spirit of enlisting the willing-and-able, I've decided to just do it. No more waiting for friends to feel up for it. I've started reaching out to my Central Iowa video producing peers and acquaintances to branch out and just do what it is so many of us want to do, make movies. On a more swinging for the fences level, I've enrolled on the new content creator social network, Creative District. The site offers a venue for content creators to connect and for producers to post open projects and potentially be awarded a grant of $5000 to get their work rolling. The first project I'm looking to create is to shoot a single location, short film sometime in Mid-April, hopefully enlist a few fresh faces to my production circle and grow from there.

If you're like me and live in Central Iowa, PLUS! you have the time, drive, and guts to do actually make something, I want to hear from you. Comment on this blog, send me an email, hit me up on Twitter, or friend me on Facebook. Every weekend that passes and I'm not producing something is a lost opportunity. I know many feel the same way, let's do something about it.


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