NOWHERELAND filmmaker Robin Bain follows up from her prior FilmCourage Q&A about life post-Kickstarter success where she raised over $34,000 in 2014. NOWHERELAND is a movie about a 15-year-old girl pushed into prostitution by her mother. The film is currently in post production. Trailer coming soon!
Film Courage: Robin, since we last spoke with you in a prior Film Courage Q & A in July 2014, you raised $34,030 via 188 Backers on Kickstarter for your film NOWHERELAND. When you step back and look at the year which has passed, what observations do you have?
Robin Bain: Shooting NOWHERELAND is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to write, direct, produce and act in my own feature film.
When I look back at the journey that brought me to this point, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished. It’s been a long road filled with many ups and downs.
Film Courage: Is NOWHERELAND your first feature film?
Film Courage: For your film NOWHERELAND, did you come up with a film budget first (based on your resources available) before coming up with idea? Or was it the other way around of having the idea first?
Robin: The concept and development of the screenplay for NOWHERELAND preceded the financing for the project.
Film Courage: How many people did you share the script with during the writing process?
Robin: I shared the script with just one person who is also my lifelong best friend from childhood. I very much value and trust her judgment. She is also my best reader and a constructive critic.
Film Courage: Did you allow your actors to go off script?
Robin: I prefer that actors stick to the dialogue as it is written.
Film Courage: How long have you been planning the film? What went into the pre-planning?
Robin: The initial concept and planning for this film was first developed by me several years ago during a period when I was writing feature scripts that I was trying to have produced in Hollywood. From there, the process took about one month to turn this concept into a solid working draft for NOWHERELAND.
About two years ago I made the decision to stop waiting for someone else to produce my films and that it was up to me to push the process forward.
My friend, Leah Cevoli, whom I knew from working on the television show, ROBOT CHICKEN on The Cartoon Network, had been posting updates on her Facebook page about running crowdfunding campaigns.
I decided to contact her and set up a meeting regarding raising financing for NOWHERELAND. Leah became the campaign manager for the NOWHERELAND Kickstarter campaign as well as one of the producers of the film. The rest is history.
Once I had set my mind on making the movie everything began to fall into place. NOWHERELAND would become a reality.
Film Courage: How many of the scenes did you write factoring in the budget? Were there certain scenes once you go into production that you had to delete and rewrite because you wanted to save money?
Robin: I create and write scenes without considering the budget. I need that freedom to develop the story line. When preparing for production I make budget adjustments as necessary.
I was very meticulous during pre-production and was able to make sure that we were able to shoot everything that I wanted with minimal rewrites in order to maintain the integrity of the writing and the characters.
Film Courage: How did you calculate what the budget was going to be?
Robin: I have a background working in production and have also written, directed and produced many short films and music videos on my own, so before taking on NOWHERELAND I had a good idea of what the hard costs were going to be.
Once I had made the decision to shoot NOWHERELAND I broke down the script myself and created the budget by calculating my estimations for camera, locations, crew, permits…
Film Courage: How many shooting days did you plan for? How many days did you actually shoot?
Robin: 18 days of principal photography and 1 pickup day were planned.
We shot 18 days of principal photography with 2 pickup days!
Film Courage: Where did you shoot NOWHERELAND?
Robin: NOWHERELAND was shot on location throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
We showcase a variety of settings from Beverly Hills to Van Nuys and Venice Beach making for a very colorful film.
Film Courage: Did you scout the locations or did you know instinctively what you had to use from living in Los Angeles?
Robin: There were specific locations that we needed for the film such as distinct houses, pools, clubs and things of that nature.
I know the city of Los Angeles very well and I definitely had specific ideas about where I wanted to shoot. Time permitting, I would also just drive around and look and gain inspiration from various parts of LA.
Film Courage: What are some of the first 5 things you would do once you got on set for NOWHERELAND?
Robin: The first thing I did every day was get together with my cinematographer, Ian Campbell, to go over the shot list and schedule for the day.
•Next was blocking the first scene with camera/Ian — followed by blocking that scene with the actors.
•Rehearsing with the actors…
•Checking in on hair, make-up and wardrobe.
•Making sure the lighting was creating the desired mood and effect and deciding what camera lenses to use.
There was never a shortage of tasks.
Film Courage: How long were you in production?
Robin: About 2 and half months of pre-production and 20 days total of actual production/filming.
Film Courage: How long will post-production take?
Robin: I plan to have the final online version of the film completed by the last week in July. This brings us to about 5 months of post-production.
Film Courage: What’s something you learned from making NOWHERELAND (and maybe didn’t execute as well as you would have liked) that will be an area of emphasis on your next project?
Robin: I took on way too my much with NOWHERELAND during the actual shooting of the film.
Beyond producing, directing, writing and acting, I was also the Production Manager.
For my next film I will have a rock solid Production Supervisor to oversee all aspects of the production so that I can focus exclusively on the creative.
One person cannot do everything effectively.
Film Courage: What camera(s) did you use? How did you know you had the right camera to film this story?
Robin: We used the Canon DSLR into The Ninja-2. We also shot with the GoPRo for underwater shots as well as using the GoPRo with the Camera Drone.
I knew I had the right camera because I knew I had the right cinematographer with the skills and magic to make a beautiful picture.
Film Courage: Is there anything you haven’t shared yet, that you wish you knew before you made this movie?
Robin: Production legal is imperative.
Film Courage: What are your plans to screen NOWHERELAND?
Robin: As post-production is swiftly coming to a close, plans for screenings, festivals and distribution are being discussed.
Film Courage: What do you want audiences to gain from watching NOWHERELAND?
Robin: I want audiences to gain insight, understanding and a perspective for the plight of abused children, runaways and young people trapped in circumstances beyond their own control.
Film Courage: Was NOWHERELAND the movie you set out to make or did it “tell” you where it wanted to go?
Robin: NOWHERELAND is the movie I set out to make.
My vision was very carefully planned and executed. I was very precise with casting, locations, music and the look of the film.
There was never a moment when I struggled to make a creative decision. I instinctively knew that NOWHERELAND was going to work as I had envisioned it.
Film Courage: What was it like to wrap your final scene for NOWHERELAND?
Robin: It was a bittersweet moment as I had grown very close to the lead actress, Jessica Taylor Haid. I knew I was going to miss seeing her sweet little face and laughing at her quirky, endearing personality everyday.
At the same time, I felt a tremendous amount of accomplishment and it was an awesome feeling knowing that we had such a successful shoot. I drove away with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.
Film Courage: What has been the response like since your Kickstarter campaign?
Robin: NOWHERELAND has enjoyed a very positive response since the inception of the Kickstarter campaign. I am very grateful to the many wonderful people who have been so supportive.
Film Courage: How many of the 188 Kickstarter backers did you know personally?
Robin: Out of 188 Kickstarter supporters I knew roughly thirty. I am incredibly fortunate because I do have a strong support group of amazing friends and family and their support helped to make NOWHERELAND happen.
I am very grateful for the kindness and generosity of the many wonderful Kickstarter participants. Their support for this project helped NOWHERELAND to be among the top 20 most popular campaigns on Kickstarter for the entire length of the campaign.
Film Courage: NOWHERELAND was 42 percent funded on Kickstarter in the first five days of the campaign launch. What do you attribute this to?
Robin: Ranking high in popularity on the Kickstarter site expands your visibility and increases your potential for new backers to support your project.
Getting the word out through social media and networking is imperative and helped that first five-day push of the campaign launch.
Film Courage: Where did you test run NOWHERELAND for audience feedback? What were the prevailing notes? Did you change anything based on notes?
Robin: My test audience has been a small handful of close friends and trusted colleagues.
The prevailing notes reflected a sense of deeply personal and emotional involvement with the characters and the subject matter of the film. That response told me that nothing needed to be changed. I had done my job.
Film Courage: As you’ve built your audience for the film, what have you found worked in getting people interested not only for the Kickstarter, but afterward? What did not seem to work?
Robin: There is a lot of curiosity and anticipation as I’ve worked diligently to keep NOWHERELAND relevant with updates, screen captures and news on both the NOWHERELAND Twitter page and Facebook page.
Film Courage: You say you become obsessed with your films and will lose sleep and not leave the house for days to write, what is this world like?
Robin: I write and create my best work when I’m alone in my own thoughts and my own world without any distractions.
Sometimes it is a lonely journey. I chose this path. It is the fabric of my life. I love what I do.
Film Courage: Biggest challenge while filming?
Robin: Not enough time. Not enough money.
Film Courage: Lessons learned from crowdfunding and how you’d change it?
Robin: Crowdfunding is extremely challenging. It’s a 24-7 job for the length of time during your campaign.
Successful crowdfunding demands constant networking and promotion.
Film Courage: Lessons learned from the production and how you’d change it?
Robin: I’m not sure I would change anything that happened on this shoot except for the budget! Filmmaking is very expensive.
Film Courage: Biggest supporter in your life and why?
Robin: My dad has always supported my dreams.
Film Courage: Most emotional moment on the set filming NOWHERELAND?
Robin: Jessica Taylor Haid and I had many emotional moments together. I can think of one specifically that is very special.
It was the last night of principal photography; I’m guessing that neither Jessica nor I had slept more than 4 or 5 hours a night for the previous 17 days.
And I should also prefix this by saying that I played the role of the “mother” in the film —
Anyway, it was misty, late at night on the top of Muholland Drive overlooking the San Fernando Valley lit up in all it’s glory below. We were shooting a very serious scene between mother and daughter and neither one of us could stop laughing.
We just couldn’t.
We were both so emotionally exhausted and drained by the intensity of the material and the shoot itself that we just lost it. So we went with it.
The scene is brilliant.
It is my favorite scene in the film. The connection between us is so real it is palpable.
Film Courage: You make it look easy, raising money, making a film, staying beautiful and put together – how so?
Robin: What a wonderful compliment. Thank you. I wish I felt that way on a daily basis.
Nothing comes easy. I work hard every day to make things happen and expect more from myself than anyone else ever would.
Film Courage: Why show the dark side of humanity? What is important or intriguing about this?
Robin: It is very important that people of good will are informed and reminded of the everyday tragedy of sex trafficking and prostitution involving children. This great sadness must be exposed. With NOWHERELAND I have attempted to push the process forward towards righting this terrible wrong.
Film Courage: Quote or mantra that you live by?
Robin: “Believe in yourself and act on that belief.” (my Dad)
Film Courage: What’s next for you creatively?
Robin: I’m in the midst of developing two separate and very exciting projects. One project is out for option and the other project will be a follow-up to NOWHERELAND planned for early 2016
About Writer, Director and Producer Robin Bain:
Robin Bain wrote, directed and produced the multi-award winning feature film, GIRL LOST, which speaks on the harsh realities of underage prostitution in the United States. GIRL LOST is now available on Amazon Prime from Cinema Epoch.
Bain is currently in production as the writer and director of THE LAST EXORCIST, starring Danny Trejo, Rachele Brooke Smith and Terri Ivens. THE LAST EXORCIST is being produced by Thriller Films and is set for release in late 2018.
CONNECT WITH ROBIN BAIN:
Check out Robin Bain’s last FilmCourage Q&A here.
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