Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Today, I'm going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my upcoming film, Spy Squad. In case you haven't seen the Filmmaking page, I'll give you a brief summary of it: Spy Squad is about an orphan named Jack. He never expected that he would be recruited by the C.I.A.; but suddenly he goes from being a homeless orphan to a secret agent in a brand-new organization of young spies, run by the secretive Agent Hunter. Little does he know, something is going on deep within the organization that could result in the collapse of modern civilization across the entire planet. In this action-packed short film, Jack must go on an incredibly dangerous mission with his companion Ashley to save the world, and face his dark past and the danger that lies ahead.
All right. Now that you know what it's about, let's go behind the scenes and see what's going on. Right now, Spy Squad is in the preproduction phase, so we haven't starting filming yet. In case you didn't know, in preproduction, the script is written, revised, and read before a small audience, the storyboard is created, auditions are held to cast parts, the shot list is written, the budget is calculated and set, equipment is gathered for the production, locations are scouted out, the crew is gathered, and much more. Then is the production phase, followed by postproduction. But that comes later. Right now, let's take a look at the preproduction of Spy Squad.
I started writing the script around January or February. Sometimes, just writing the first draft can take a while, but you have to learn to just write and not care too much about what you're writing. The revisions and editing come later. First, you have to just write the first draft. I also created a rough outline of all the scenes and plot points to guide the script and the story. This helps to prevent a strange, unpredictable or confusing plot where everything gets mixed up. Another thing to do to help the script is write a character bio for your main character and maybe even the supporting characters and villain. Having interesting, developed characters is essential to making a good film. Even if the plot, setting, or action is amazing, without having believable and layered characters, it won't be very good.
Spy Squad won't be a two-hour feature film with incredible CGI or special effects - that, we have to leave to the professionals. It's not like I have a multi-million dollar budget. But that doesn't mean it won't be exciting and interesting - it's amazing what you can do with limited resources. It will probably be about fifteen to twenty minutes long (I'll only know exactly how long it will be once I've finished the script), but should be packed with twists and action.
For this film, I'll get to use some new equipment - a boom pole and mic, plus a fog machine and lights. I didn't even buy them myself; I got them as gifts for Christmas. As you can see, you don't have to buy everything. Asking people for what you need helps a lot. I also have some fake rubber glass shards that I'm sure will come in handy (it's an action-adventure spy film, after all). The only actors in the film will probably be myself, my sister, and my parents, since getting friends to help can be tricky to schedule. But if I need to add another character, I'll cast someone outside my immediate family. I try to limit the number of characters to the fewest number possible - simplicity is important, especially for independent filmmakers who don't have access to a bunch of resources.
I sincerely hope that this film will get finished and be the best I can possibly make, and if it isn't, well, I'll try again. And again. Persistence and perseverance are extremely important traits for filmmakers to have. I have seen many films made by kids collapse and never even make it past preproduction. The scripts are left unfinished, the equipment collecting dust on shelves. I really hope this won't be the fate of Spy Squad. Many of my films have ended like that - abandoned projects that are forgotten about soon after they are created. However, actually writing down your goals or telling other people about the project has been proven to urge you forward and compel you to do it. After all, if only you know about it, there is no pressure (except from yourself) to complete it, but if other people know you're creating it, that creates a good kind of pressure from those expectant people to encourage you to do it. Hopefully this post will achieve that for me.
I will probably be doing further updates as the film progresses, through production and postproduction, too. I'm quite excited for this film, and can't wait to share more about it with you soon. See you next time!