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A Filmmaker’s Decade in Review

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My film partner John KD Graham and I embarked on our first feature film “Home Sweet Home” in 2010.  Rounding up a hand full of friends’ after my brother Andrew Boylan wrote a script around John’s parent’s house location in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, we began production on a super low budget film.  I can honestly say we had no expectations for that film; We just wanted to learn, have fun and hopefully complete the project for our parents to see.  Reflecting back, it’s amazing to me how much this film exceeded our expectations and therefore set the bar for every film we would make from then on.

Looking back, it’s incredible that that film ever got finished, because we hit some huge hurdles along the way.  As a team we laughed thinking, next time it will be easier because we will have a bigger budget or a larger crew.  Honestly, every film we have made has had large mountains to climb in order to complete the film.  So I think what we endured on “Home Sweet Home” was a good lesson in expectations and that you must just keep going and not give up, no matter the obstacle in the way.

When we were shooting “Home Sweet Home” there was a cold snap in New Mexico and we lost all running water to the house we were filming in.  The house ran off a well and we had no way to fix it fast.  So for over a week we shot on location with absolutely no running water. When John and I had the opportunity to make our second feature film “Catching Faith” we had such a little budget we could either pay for our apartment in LA, or make the film.  So we put everything we owned in storage and gave up our apartment and lived on the road for one full year to make the movie a reality.  On the set of our most recent film “Switched” we had secured a hotel for all of the actresses to stay in, but upon arrival the hotel went from being five star to zero stars and there was no way we were going to house our teen girls in this shady hotel.  Thank goodness our girls were AMAZING and went with the flow because for one week we had to cram nine people, both cast and crew members into one house.

We are about to embark on our seventh feature film and the obstacles have already started building up.  There is a danger in believing things get better, because they don’t, they just get bigger.  The more money you have from investors, the more pressure sits upon your shoulders.  The more films you have under your belt the more expectations everyone has of your next film.

I can honestly say, I had expectations that by now we would be creating films with much bigger budgets, or have aligned with a studio. Thankfully those expectations I put upon our films has not deterred us from moving forward every chance we get to make another movie.  Expectations can be the crusher of dreams; I’m glad it has never crushed mine.  I am grateful that as independent filmmakers we have been able to keep our vision from conception to completion, and we are steadily moving upward. Who knows, if we had aligned with a studio for any one of our previous films, what they would have ended up looking like.

Since we are not willing to compromise the mission of our movies, it will be interesting to see what the next decade has in store for us.

What I have learned from this past decade is to not have expectations and to enjoy the process of every film experience.  Be wise with the money you have and be kind to the people you work with.   And never stop solving problems, so you can get to the finish line.

Alexandra Boylan

About Alexandra Boylan

Alexandra Boylan (Producer, Writer, Actor, Co-Founder Mustard Seed Entertainment and Mirror Tree Productions) Alexandra is an award-winning filmmaker. MirrorTree Productions, has produced numerous feature films, including "Home Sweet Home" and "At Your Own Risk". Her company Mustard Seed Entertainment's film "Catching Faith" had a two year run on Netflix and was on the shelves of Wal-Mart. Her most recent film "Wish For Christmas" sold to Pure Flix Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Alexandra’s script "Switched" was awarded the winner of the Kiaros Pro MovieGuide award for best screenplay. She is the author of "Create Your Own Career in Hollywood: Advice from a struggling actress who became a successful producer" available in Kindle and print on Amazon, and is an active member of Woman in Film Los Angeles where she served on the WIF PSA Board. Alexandra co-collaborated on the book "Thriving in Hollywood!" for msinthebiz.com