Film Courage: …Here is this lovely bag [hands Justin the bag with questions in it].
Justin Warren, Filmmaker: Awesome. I will just pick one at random.
Film Courage: By the way, where can we purchase this bag?
Justin: It’s on my website. Just kidding…it’s my wife’s make-up bag. [Reads question from bag] This is from Andrey Savchenko…I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I know I’ve butchered your name but I appreciate your question. “Hi, what’s the biggest obstacle on your way in the whole process and how you were able to get through it? Thank you, Andy?”
Thank you for your question. What’s my biggest obstacle on my way in the whole process and how were you able to get through it?
Surprisingly I think for me in my feature film I think the biggest obstacle was really just fear. That might sound like a cop-out answer but it’s not. I think the hardest part is trusting yourself throughout the madness of everything that is going on.
One of the biggest fears I had was just trying to come up with the money for it because that was a really difficult process. We did a Kickstarter campaign and we raised $35,000 for it which I think I had a little bit of beginner’s luck because when I look back at it now I can’t believe that we did that, it’s pretty wild. But I think that the hardest part it’s really the fear and the patience it takes to sort of do one of these things because things are never going to move as fast as you want them to move. One of the things I realized is almost everything that I thought “Yeah…I should have that done in a month.” I just started multiplying it by four. So that should be done in a month and we take four months.
Working at this level (because my film is a micro-budget film) it’s basically there’s like that triangle, the good, fast and cheap triangle. You can only have two of them. That is totally a real thing. And so if you don’t have the money to do something and you are having someone work on it, they’re probably only going to work on it when they have time to do so. And that means that you can get it good but it’s not going to be fast.
I noticed that because I think we did really, really great work on my film and the people (all the different disciplines) did a great job but it took a really long time and I think that the patience can almost be enough to drive you mad.
For instance our VFX guy who is a brilliant VFX artist and he works at this big VFX house was basically working on my film at nights every other weekend because he had stuff to do and he just had a brand-new kid and things like that. So that took a long time.
My dear friend who is a sound designer did sound on my film but he was working on that throughout all his different jobs so that was a super slow process. I think just being prepared with patience (how long it’s going to take) you’d be surprised. Waiting for something can drive you mad especially if that is your number one focus which is your feature or your project that you’re working on because it’s only going to burn with that level of intensity to you the creator. It’s not going to burn with that level of intensity to anybody else. And knowing that and embracing that can allow you to be cool with it.
I think earlier with the post-production process I didn’t understand that and I would get angry and I would get very impatient and I would get confused like “Why aren’t they getting back to me? What’s going on? Huh? I can’t take it!” Which is just silly because the reality is anything that is good takes time.
I think the quote is from Alice in Wonderland but ‘There Are No Shortcuts To Places Worth Going.’ That’s a real thing. We live in a culture where we want things and we want it now and we want things instantly. But when it comes to making something like a feature or just any long-term project it just takes time. And it takes time for the thing to develop, it takes time for the thing to marinate and the patience and getting through the fear of it are the two biggest obstacles I’d say.
Question For The Viewers: What was the biggest obstacle on your way in the whole process and how were you able to get through it?
JUSTIN WARREN was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1987. He started making movies at the age of eight, making his own stop-motion animated Star Wars films. He graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Dance, where he took the lead in numerous stage plays and won awards for his bold playwriting. In 2008, Justin and his family were featured in the 2008 CNN documentary “Black in America” with Soledad O’Brien which was broadcast globally. In 2014, Justin graduated from the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts with an M.F.A. in Film and Television Production. In addition to writing, directing, and co-editing his own films, Justin has also written, performed, arranged, and engineered three albums of original music. In 2018, his first comedy feature film, Then There Was Joe, made its World Premiere at Jeff Nichol’s (Mud, Midnight Special, Loving) Arkansas Cinema Society to sold out crowds. The film is currently screening around the country on the festival circuit and received a glowing review in the L.A. Times, which declared Justin as having a “bright future” in Hollywood. You can visit him online at Justinwarren.me.
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¡CALAMBRE! is a 53 minute episodic black and white film about a poet who returns to his hometown of New York City to rekindle an old flame, only to complicate his return with new women in his life. A film by Carlos Renaso.