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Monday, 08 December 2014 04:29

Independent Filmmaking - When in doubt, do it anyway…

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Alex, Lily & Monsie

I was asked a few months ago to take part in a filmmaking festival a dear friend of mine was putting together. Because I am ridiculously busy and always say yes to things anyway, and then sometimes run myself ragged trying to get it all done, I acted like a grown up and said no.

Cut to a month later and another email from my friend asking me to please take part as her small festival was getting smaller, and me saying yes, of course I would, and what was I thinking saying no in the first place…

Cut again to this weekend…

Personal dramas aside, I had one clear and specific plan for filming Saturday night, which I then decided was unattainable and didn't fit into the parameters of the festival anyway….this is actually me talking myself out of a perfectly good idea. Something I don't usually do, but I did it this time because, again, I was trying to be the grown up….mistake.

So now we begin Sunday morning, and here I am clutching my newly spawned idea close to my chest with one day left to shoot, edit and realize my film….

How many mistakes did I make up to this point I hear you ask?

Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it really, but probably quite a few, as usual.

The one mistake that I didn't make was to cancel the whole thing entirely, because, even though that might always seem like an option, it really, really shouldn’t be.

When in doubt, do it anyway….

This moto of mine can sometimes, or often, get me in hot water, especially if I am having a row with my husband, but when used wisely, the power of it works every time.

All you can really expect when you make a film, aside from an oscar of course, ill prepared or not, is that you will learn from it.

Taking chances, putting yourself and your work out there, trying to do something in spite of the odds being stacked well against you, or even working within someone else’s parameters, can be exciting and fun, even when its all going horribly wrong…

But you will become a better filmmaker that’s for sure.

So I decided to take a bit of a chance and do something I have actually never done before with this particular film project, and make a documentary.

The rules of the festival are that you had to make a film around the concept of predator/prey as it applies to women and a certain type of man, that we have all unfortunately experienced form time to time. You know, the kind of guy that looks at you as if you were his next meal….and not in a good way.

So since I have a teenage daughter who is always complaining about the unwanted attention she and her friends get from various yucky guys, I thought it was a great opportunity to see what the voice of her generation had to say about this age old problem.

And it worked!

Lily and her friends Monsie and Alex were brilliant, and sweet and funny and all kinds of gorgeous. Also I heard a few stories that had my hair standing on end and believe me, there will be no bus taking to and from school for a while….

I shot a lazy interview, plying them all with english tea.

I then took some B roll of them getting ready to go out in Lily’s room, and walking around the neighborhood and yes, they did get honked at, and yes, I did get that on film…

I would never have made this little film if I hadn't been forced to….maybe forced is the wrong word, but you know what I mean.

If I hadn’t put myself out there….in the position of having to answer a question not posed by me, in film.

If I hadn't taken a leap of…..well a leap.

If I had stuck with my original “no”.

Because I said “yes”, I made a little film with my daughter and her friends that I think is actually rather nice, rather lovely, and rather important.

And who knows maybe my daughter wont think I am such an idiot for a while, or something.

Once it’s up I’ll post the link so you can see what I’m talking about.

I’m exhausted, but in that satisfied kind of way you get when you dug a big hole in the garden, or landed a rocket on a comet, or made a little film….

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Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Writer, Filmmaker, Musician. Samantha has Produced over 60 short films and Written and Directed 20. She is the co-creator of 52 Films/52 Weeks and The Cinema Tribe Collective. She has written over 400 LA Theatre reviews and is partners in Xpress Records a Music Publishing Company in the UK.  This year she will be directing her first feature film which she also wrote, developing several others and is writing a children’s book. 

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