I’ve written many times about what to do when you have down time in this industry and the importance of keeping active. An amazing example of such success is Katharine Emmer, who conquered a feature in her down time. We got to chat with her about her project and get some awesome tips!
Please tell us a bit about your project.
My first feature film, LIFE IN COLOR, was an official selection of South by Southwest 2015 where it had its world premiere. The film won the Best of Fest – Prix D’Or Award at the Lower East Side Film Festival in New York City (judges included Parker Posey, Laverne Cox & Academy Award-nominated producer Rachael Horovitz). The film also won the Special Jury Prize at the Napa Valley Film Festival. I made the film on a shoe-string budget with the money I made as a nanny in Los Angeles. I wrote, directed, produced, edited & starred in the film.
What inspired you to create this film?
I wasn’t getting any acting work, so I took matters into my own hands.
Pros and cons of no budget film making.
Pros: Feeling amazing after you accomplish making a feature film. People take you seriously as a filmmaker once you have work to show you know how to make a film.
Cons: It’s a lot of work & it may take longer than you think it will take (from start to finish could be a couple years).
Collaborating and favors for film making any tips?
- Be passionate about your story (you’re going to be with it for years.)
- Be open and willing to apply feedback from people whose opinion you trust.
- Surround yourself with people smarter & more experienced than you.
- Write for people you believe in.
- Exercise and/or meditate. (It clears your mind and opens you up creatively. It also gives you inner peace to handle what comes your way.)
- Don’t wait for ANYONE to do it for you. DO IT YOURSELF. (No one cares more about it than you & everyone is running their own race.)
- Find that one person who will tell you everyday, “You can do this.” (Even though it’s always good to have inner strength, you will really be tested on no-budget filmmaking, and it is more than helpful to have someone supporting you every step of the way.)
- You can’t please everyone.
- Be gracious and thankful.
- Work with people who are kind, professional and above all not a diva. (I learned this the hard way.)
- If it doesn’t move the story forward, don’t use it.
- Work with people who are driven and focused. (There is simply no time in no-budget filmmaking not to be focused.)
- Be flexible (we lost a location 8 hours before we were supposed to shoot there. A nameless musician paid $800,000 CASH for a condo with no view! And escrow closed in 4 days rather than 45. The realtor waited until 8 hours before to tell us this. We had a deal with the previous owner who didn’t seem to care, nor did the nameless musician. We canceled that day of shooting and found a new place the next day.)
- Music rights take WEEKS. (And by weeks I mean months.)
- Be prepared for anything (our camera’s memory cards were stolen in a park. Thankfully, we had insurance.)
- Love it so much or believe in it so much that you’ll work on Christmas Eve for it.
- Set your dates & stick to them.
- Be shameless in asking for endless favors & help. When it’s all over— send thank you notes, flowers, etc. and be willing and prepared to return the kindness you’ve received.
- Be willing to let things go. (I still work on this.)
- Be willing and excited to learn new skills. (I never edited before & had to learn quickly for this film.)
Would you do it again?
As a female in the industry why Is it important to create?
It is important to create so you have something to show, unique to your own voice, what you can do. Don’t be the person who complains that there are not enough opportunities out there. Instead, create your own work, and opportunities will soon find you.
What’s next for you?
Finishing my next screenplay & exploring television directing.
Be sure to check out Life in Color at the following links and continue to support these awesome female film makers!
VIEW THE TRAILER: www.lifeincolorthefilm.com