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The Seed&Spark Blog

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March 4, 2016

• Jen West

Making your first feature film after a career of only making shorts is kind of similar to running a marathon after a handful of 5k's. Sure, there are some things that transcend from one to the other, but a marathon is an endurance event. It's a test of strength, willpower and knowledge. I've only attempted a marathon once in my life… I was all trained up and ready to slay the course. Unfortunately I was doomed to fail due to a meniscus tear, and it still haunts me even today. This race is going to be different. No injuries allowed. Only smart training, decisions and strategy. You literally get one shot. If you succeed, then you might be invited to run the course again.

For you non-runners who made it through that opening paragraph still awake, congratulations. I know you probably have your own comparisons and metaphors handy. Any epic endurance challenge will do. So what do you need to be able to complete a test of will like a feature?

  1. Figurative balls of steal. I know, gross. This state of mind goes for men and women alike. Bust out the big kahunas because this isn't a game for the timid.
  2. Passion that will move mountains. Sleep it. Live it. Eat it. Think it. Dream it.
  3. A partner that cares just as much as you do. This could be a producer, writing partner or DP. Have someone you trust on your side who is capable of taking on some of the load. You CAN NOT do this alone.
  4. Relationships. You need all kinds of folks to help you along this journey. Those years of networking, supporting other projects and favors will now come into play.
  5. Discipline. Boring? I think not. If you don't have discipline, then you're missing a key personality trait of being a successful filmmaker. Have a plan, then make the plan happen.
  6. Creativity with a heavy hand of practicality. You wouldn't be making a feature if you weren't creative on a significant level. With creativity often comes emotion. You need to have the ability to set emotion aside from time to time and tap into the practical aspects of filmmaking. Sometimes it isn't personal, it's business.
  7. Appreciation and gratitude. Chances are if you're making a film, then you are receiving some significant favors from others. If you want to continue being the recipient of such kindness, then you need to be appreciative. Gratitude goes a long way.

We are in negotiations with two producers who will hopefully join our team officially in the coming week or two. Both of them are ladies with unique skillsets and contacts. They will of course come on in conjunction with James, who is our founding producer.

We've also taken a serious pivot to start consciously hiring qualified and talented female crew members. I'd like for our crew to be at least 50/50, if not more. More on that soon! We are also still aggressively courting a big talent or two. This is a process, of course. Keep all your body parts crossed for us. In regards to funding we have several irons on the fire. Things will need to move fast and soon for us to stay on track. March will be a pivotal month.

In the meantime, please extend a Facebook like or Seed&Spark follow to be the first folks in line for significant news and updates on Electric Bleau.

Read more by

Jen West

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Jen West is a writer and director living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for writing and directing Piece of Cake (2006), Crush (2011), Bubble (2013), Call Me (music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, 2014), and Little Cabbage (2015). She is currently in preproduction on her first feature called Electric Bleau. She studied design at Jacksonville State University and film at The Art Institute of Atlanta

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