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11 Things LAFF Filmmakers Wish Someone Had Told Them BEFORE They Started Shooting

11 Things LAFF Filmmakers Wish Someone Had Told Them BEFORE They Started Shooting

Take it from the filmmakers who made it to LA this year – there will always be something you wish you would’ve known before you set out to make your movie. Before the 20th LA Film Festival (which wraps today), Indiewire sent out questionnaires to filmmakers with films screening at LAFF asking them a variety of questions, including “what’s the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your film?” Indiewire has compiled some of their best answers below:

1. “No matter what you plan for it’s all going to be different.” — Eric Kortez, “Comet”

2. “Making the obvious choice isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you can agonize and twist yourself into a pretzel trying to do something different for the sake of being different, when all you end up doing is losing the story thread. Simplicity is always the best policy.” — Dave Boyle “Man From Reno”

3. “Everyone told me how hard this was going to be. I wish they told me then ‘no, you still can’t begin to understand how hard this will be!’ That said, they did tell me that, too.” — Ravi Patel “Meet The Patels”

4. “It would’ve been nice if someone would’ve quoted Sergeant Brody’s line from ‘Jaws’ when he sees the shark for the first time and, noticing how big it is, remarks to his fellow boat mates, ‘We’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ I generally like this line and everything that it represents when one finds oneself in over one’s head. Of course, we didn’t have any boats on the shoot, so I guess it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense, but still, it would have been nice to hear.” — Daniel Garcia “Recommended by Enrique” 

5. “I wish I had heard something that I could be believe in along the lines of ‘Your success is inevitable,’ but then I probably wouldn’t have fought for this film like it was the impossible dream. That said, I often needed something that increased my faith, and lessened my doubt that the story would get told. I knew that I would tell Mark’s story from the moment I found it, but I also never could have guessed it would have taken so long – 13 years – from discovery to completion. We will premiere Friday the 13th of June after 13 years of work, so I guess I would loved to have heard: you’ll make it, but don’t fret if it takes over a decade and the time it takes encompasses a marriage, a move, the birth of your two children and the building of a separate career before you get there.” — Gabriel London “The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest

READ MORE: Advice for First-Time Directors from LAFF Filmmakers

6. “Be more rigorous in cutting your script. If there is any doubt about a section making the final version, cut it. The more that you have for the pieces that matter, the better. Also, shoot more interstitial pieces than you think you need. The more linking shots, the more you can open up your world. We did a lot of those kind of shots but still ended up using everything and wanting more.” — Matt Shakman “Cut Bank”

7. “That you would never have all the money you need at one time. I didn’t quite understand that you get in a little here and a little there. The first money in, I thought we were successful, but that went in seconds and then, there was no more money. And that shocked me a bit. I remember thinking, ‘if these people believe in me, why don’t other funders?'” — Blair Dorosh-Waither, “Out in the Night”

8. “I wish someone had warned me that every scene, even the smallest and seemingly least important, is crucial to the finished film. One badly shot scene can undermine dozens of good ones in the edit. I wish they’d told me that you have to approach every scene as if it were the most important in the film and to never allow satisfaction from a previous day’s work or complacency or exhaustion to distract you from the scene at hand. You have to be 100% every day and not let go of a scene until you’re sure it’s the best it can be. Otherwise it will come back and bite you.” — Hossein Amini “The Two Faces of January

9. “With the amount of development and preparation that goes into a production, the actual film shoot itself goes by unexpectedly quick. Before I knew it, it was already the end of the shoot. I did wish someone had warned me about that before, so even at those very rushed moments, I would have allowed myself to savor every second of it.” — David Au, “Eat With Me.”

10. “Don’t underestimate the feeling of enjoying the experience.” — Elliott Lester, “Nightingale” 

11. “Don’t cast your mother in one of the leading roles, have her host your cast and crew, and expect her to be happy.” — Nathan Silver, “Uncertain Terms” 

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