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We Made a Feature

After having tried and failed many times throughout the my filmmaking "career" to make a feature, it has finally been accomplished. Truthfully, I am glad that the features I've attempted in the past have failed to be made (mostly on my part) because I've always wanted my first feature not to seem like a first feature. If I hadn't waited and made what I did in the meantime, I couldn't have done anything like BRAINROT. Restrictions in the past (and present) were money and my ability.

Not that BRAINROT is this high-budgeted masterclass in filmmaking, because I still made this movie with basically no money ($700 including the Adobe subscription) and what limited skill set I possess, but previously I was trying to make a movie with actually no money at all, as well as the basic Premiere knowledge I had back then. Over the years, I've gotten incredibly proficient in Premiere, Audition and I've only started recently learning After Effects. And while I had my own equipment in the past (camera and sound), thanks most in part by J. Karter Stroud, I not only have access to much more equipment, but I have the support structure to make a feature, whereas before it was just me and a couple encouraging friends.

When you watch BRAINROT it is still apparent that it was made with little to no money, but what I've learned to play to your strengths, in terms of available equipment and editing capabilities, and lean into that while always trying something new that seems like it would be possible to do. At this point, not only are you always trying something different, adding a new tool to your belt, but as an audience, I hope, your limitations are what characterize your visual style.

I started shooting BRAINROT on Oct. 1 2021 with Paul Hesson as Zorlock. I started with a television transmission sequence because I wanted to do the easy stuff first. Not necessarily because I wanted to avoid the more difficult segments, but I needed to ease into it, not having made a feature before. It consisted me with Paul in front of a green screen. Easing into it.

The whole process, no footage to final cut took about 10 months. I would shoot, ideally, at least once every two weeks and use the time I'm not shooting to edit the footage I shot previously, as well as building assets for future sequences. This was a good process. It gave me time to edit the script as I was shooting. Not to change everything entirely, but to hone in certain points, add or subtract scenes, just make it more concise.

Because of the state of the world, I designed the script to utilize as few people possible at any given point. I designed and ultimately shot this movie like a puzzle. I would get with with the core actors and shoot all of their solo stuff individually, then their group scenes, and so on. This meant for a month, I was shooting scenes from page 3-5, 11, 22, etc., cutting them in Premiere and until I shot connective tissue with someone else, I had a timeline with scattered puzzle pieces. This was a nightmare. It worked, definitely. There's a finished movie. I will never do method this again.

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