For those of you that have only been following my blog for a few months, you may not be aware that I actually started this endeavour in order to promote my screenwriting work. A place where people who were interested could easily find my projects.
But my last post on the topic was all the way back in December 2016. Obviously I pivoted a little and instead pursued a more pop culture approach, reviewing movies, TV and theatre. But I didn’t give up on my screenwriting career.
So for those of you not keeping track, we shot my first short script (titled The Right Choice) just before Christmas in 2016. The original plan was to have all the editing done by the end of January. After all, it was only a 10 minute short!
Alas, days turned into weeks and weeks into months. We finally locked down our final cut in May, nearly 4 months after our original deadline.
But then came the visual effects…
For those of you who have never had to supervise the creation of visual effects, it is honestly an art unto itself. And an expensive one too. Safe to say the original amount I had allocated for visual effects was woefully inadequate. (Fortunately our VFX Artist, Heinrich Maas, was an utter godsend.)
That’s the thing about filmmaking. There are always these little things that go wrong; and end up adding a tiny amount to the budget. As a first time producer I made sooooo many mistakes. Sometimes quite costly mistakes. But you live and learn I suppose.
Anyway, after begging, borrowing and doing the unspeakable, we finally managed to scrape together enough to see us through to the end. And in September 2017 we FINALLY finished.
Directed by Tomisin Adepeju and written/produced by yours truly; below is the trailer for The Right Choice!
It’s hard to describe the weight that lifts off your shoulders when you complete a film. I suppose it’s kind of like giving birth. You struggle for months to get the project off the ground (so to speak!); a small bit of time spent actually doing the dirty deed; and then an intense couple of months until your film finally drops.
Well, I entered the film into about 30 festivals before getting to sit back and relax. We would end up being rejected from three of them before that one fateful day finally came.
November 20th. It was four in the afternoon and I was sat in bed, stuffing my face with chocolate fingers while watching Let’s Play videos of Star Wars Battlefront II (Calm down, ladies!) My mobile phone rang and at the other end was a nice young lady by the name of Kate Metcalfe.
She asked if it was Vijay she was talking to. I confirmed and then she proceeded to inform me that The Right Choice was selected to be screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival!
Sundance! The biggest and most famous film festival in the world! HOW?!?!?!?
I informed the director first. He refused to believe me. I spent a good five minutes trying to convince him! But he eventually came around. It was even his birthday the next day and he said it was the best birthday present he could have imagined!
And as the remainder of the cast and crew were informed, their reactions were all too similar. Shock, amazement, disbelief, crying and incredulity.
That last one, incredulity, was completely understandable. Deep down, I think most of us thought we had failed. Pre-production was tough, with a failed Kickstarter and crew members dropping out left, right and centre. The production itself over-ran, and we were still unable to get several shots that we wanted. And as post-production dragged on for months, it was hard not to lose faith. From Jan to Nov 2017, I honestly felt I had sunk £11k of my own money into an utterly pointless endeavour.
But getting accepted into Sundance was a validation. Someone important (or at least a group of people) were telling us: “No. You didn’t waste your time. You didn’t waste your money. You made something worth watching.”
Of course, getting accepted into Sundance comes with its own challenges. Numerous pieces of paperwork and legal documents to fill in; as well as other financial obstacles (It cost me SIXTY-FIVE POUNDS to mail eight posters to Utah! What the hell, FedEx?!?!?)
But in the end, it seems my 22 month journey was worth it. All those sleepless nights, half a dozen times I fell sick with worry, and the constant delays led to something. I now stand on the cusp of my debut film having its world premiere at the most famous film festival in the world.
What a ride 😀 😀 😀