Pre-Production Day 0: Panic at Applebee's

So maybe not panic, but can you believe that I'm actually starting production on this documentary?  I'm a little stressed about the things I'm always stressed about with things like this.  Will I do a good job?  Do I have a worthwhile vision?  Will anyone be interested?  Will it all come together?  I mean, will it?  I've never done anything of this scale before. But essentially, it is a series of podcast interviews.  I've done that a hundred times.  Heck, that is where I got the idea from.

Actually, so the idea for this gradually came over time.  I've been wanting to do a long-form narrative for quite a while now, but nothing really clicked.  A couple of years ago, I started planning a documentary on the conventioning life of a mini-comics creator.  I'd reached out to a few creators who were interested and I was going to film them over the year at different conventions to kind of show the wear and tear of the year.  I shot the first day with one of the creators, but quickly realized the logistics were out of my capabilities, mostly the travel.  But, I've got a good interview with J Chris Campbell at Charlotte Mini-Con that I may post one day.

J Chris Campbell at Charlotte Mini-Con

J Chris Campbell at Charlotte Mini-Con

The premise for this documentary came to me a few months ago while at dinner with Shawn Daughhetee, Andy Runton, and Rich Tommaso.  I love talking process and business and business process and Andy and Rich don't disappoint.  Both of them are in very interesting points in their careers.  I've had similar conversations with these guys before, but something just clicked with me, everyone says that when you make a film that you should make what you love, so I'm making a film about the everyday life of a comic book creator.

When it came to choosing subjects for what I like to consider the first season, I, of course, reached out to Andy and Rich first.  Andy was game, though with an interesting angle that we will cover when we get there, but Rich wasn't sure he would have the time because he was getting so busy, which is what I was really hoping to capture in his story, but I understand.  For the rest of the characters, I decided a total of five felt right, I made a huge list of people I would love to work with.  The list was then narrowed down into, what I hope is a diverse group of comic creators who will each bring a unique story:  Laura Martin, Sanford Greene, Van Jensen, Joey Weiser, and of course Andy Runton.

2017-01-19 22.30.15.jpg

I plan to break the documentary into a series of episodic topics.  Each topic will include all creators involved answering interview questions as well as more in-depth examples of their processes and activities.

At this point, it was time to assemble my team, which really came down to one other person, Director of Photography, Mark Johnson.  I've worked with Mark a couple of times now, most notably on the short film, I wrote and directed with Josh Dean, These Fingers.  Mark works as a freelance cinematographer under the production company, Filmscape.  He shoots videos for the local YMCA and the Greenville Hospital System.

Shawn also volunteered to assist in the project.  I don't think she knows what she got herself into.

Tomorrow we start filming Joey Weiser in Athens, GA.