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How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Rain Machines, Jet Skis, Ducks and Crying Children All in One Day for ‘The Road Within’

How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Rain Machines, Jet Skis, Ducks and Crying Children All in One Day for 'The Road Within'

Gren Wells, a screenwriter for the past 14 years, took on the challenge of (loosely) remaking the German award winner “Vincent Wants to Sea,” for her directorial debut, “The Road Within.” Her film tells the story of a young man with Tourette’s who breaks out of a treatment facility with his obsessive-compulsive roommate and a rebellious anorexic.

[Editor’s Note: Indiewire reached out to filmmakers with films
playing at the 20th LA Film Festival (June 11-19) to ask them about how
they shot their indie, and what advice they had for other filmmakers.
We’ll be posting their responses throughout the run of the festival. Go
HERE for the master list.]

What camera and lens did you use? The Alexa M camera and the Arri Master Primes. As this was a road movie, we had a lot of driving shots and the M, once broken down, is tiny.

What was the most difficult shoot on your movie and how did you pull it off?
We had to do 9 3/4 pages in one day. At a lake. Underneath an airport. Using a rain machine. With jet skis, ducks and crying children in the background. But the crew hustled their asses off and we even finished 5 minutes early. Our saving grace was the fact that our amazing actors were so well prepared that we were able to stick to 3 takes or less for every set up.

What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you BEFORE you started your movie?
Not to wear heels while directing.

What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
To conform.

What’s the best?
The worst someone can say is ‘no.’ So aim high.

What advice do you have for aspiring or first-time filmmakers?
Believe in yourself. You have a unique viewpoint – and that’s what people are looking for. And be persistent. Keep knocking on doors because, eventually, someone will answer. [But be fucking prepared when they do.]

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