Close, but no cigar. Or: How I learned to keep worrying and avoid no smoking zones.

May 29, 2014


As you may know, I’ve been working on a film called Hunter for some time. Many of the main roles have been cast, and I had initially planned for principal photography to commence in June.

That’s just not gonna happen.

What went wrong? Am I going to fix it? If so, how? The best way to answer these questions is to start at the beginning. Here’s the brief story of the production of Hunter, as it has unfolded so far:


In December 2013, Sam Gibney, a stage actor friend of mine, wanted to star in a movie, so he asked me to write and direct his film debut. I agreed and set to work on what would become my first feature screenplay, though at 64 pages it can barely be called that.

I finished the first draft in early April and immediately began moving forward on production. There was no time for script revision. Sam was scheduled to be away from late June to early August, so I was hoping to shoot before then. He used his connections to the local theater scene to get a few other incredible stage actors interested in the project, the majority of whom would be away at the same time as him. This only strengthened my resolve to get the film shot quickly.

Unfortunately, the production had begun to run into problems by late May. I was having trouble casting most of the smaller roles, I hadn’t yet assembled an equipment kit, and there were still locations to secure and sets to build. Sam and I continued forward trying to make everything fall in to place, but all the time my mind kept going back to one thing: the unrevised script. I was worried that what I had written was too sloppy, unclear, and implausible to make a decent movie. I managed to keep this wavering confidence at bay for a while, but a scathing review in a writers’ forum instantly sucker punched me out of it. I lost all confidence in the screenplay and, together with Sam, decided to indefinitely suspend production.

I’m currently evaluating my options as far as this project goes; I haven’t yet decided weather to fix this script or write something new. It doesn’t matter which, I will make a movie of some kind before I graduate from high school, even if it’s the last thing I do. This is something I’ve dreamed of since fifth grade. With Sam’s help, I came close enough on this attempt to taste it. Next time, I’m taking a full bite.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett


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