Category: expecting goodness short film festival

Meet the Makers: Dan Fowler

1970498_758087646139_735968157_nDirector, Dan Fowler lets slip some behind-the-scenes faux pas on the set of his upcoming short film, Lip Service.

 
 
 
 
How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?
 
I first heard about the Expecting Goodness Film Festival through the Spartanburg Herald Journal last year.
 
What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
 
I’m a USC Upstate graduate from Spartanburg, SC, and freelance as an artist who has been commissioned for a variety of jobs ranging from videography to illustrations.  
 
How did you become interested in filmmaking?
 
I’ve been interested in filmmaking since watching Ghostbusters as a child. It was this amazing film that first got me interested in special effects, monsters, and the art of mixing scary elements with fun storytelling.
 
What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?
 
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I’m an avid fan of horror movies, so Brock Adams’s “Pretty Special” really grabbed me. It was the only scary short story available, and it was very well written.
 
What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?
 
Adapting Pretty Special into Lip Service for the silver screen was fairly easy, because the story was already written so much like a screenplay.  
 
What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?
 
The toughest logistical challenge I faced filming Lip Service was finding a restaurant to use for a set. My fiancee suggested Tanner’s Big Orange of Greenville, and we couldn’t have asked for a better location.
 
What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?
 
The most gratifying part about being a filmmaker is seeing an audience react to your work the way you intended. That’s how I measure the success of my films.
 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhat was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

 
The biggest lesson I learned on this film as a director is that you need to work with people you trust. You’re basically 
 supervising a team, and you have to trust each team member to do his or her part, or the film could fail in ways you couldn’t have predicted.
 
Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?
 
I have a friend who has never helped make a film before, so I put him in charge of the rain effects outside Tanner’s during our first night shooting Lip Service. I assumed he knew he needed to stand to the side, aim a garden hose at the sky, and create this wide arc of rain over the scene. As soon as I called, ‘Action,’ he was spraying full blast at the camera, almost drowning me and ruining expensive film equipment. Never underestimate the direction you think everyone needs on a set.   
 
Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?
 
My advice for young filmmakers would be to make the films you want to see, and don’t let anyone discourage you from your vision.
 
What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?
 
Being a South Carolina filmmaker means you can’t film a desert movie without buying plane ticket.

Meet the Makers: Cedric Barber

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What do Virginia Woolf, the Gilmore Girls and ET all have in common? Surprisingly… Not much, but find out how they relate to the creative process in this Interview with “What About My Lawn” Filmmaker, Cedric Barber.
 

 

How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

I was approached by Dr. Caster while out in the area. He recommended that I check into it and apply. I had not worked on my own project in about a year, since graduating college. I didn’t want to continue that trend so I took him up on that offer.

 
What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I am from Great Falls, South Carolina a small town in Chester County. I moved to Greenville with my Mother and Sister when I was eight. I now work in finance as a credit analyst.

How did you become interested in filmmaking?
 
When I first saw the film E.T. I was in awe of how that film made me feel. From then on it was a growing interest. Coming from a small town with little to no art scene, and big on athletics I didn’t have much to fuel the fire. However, moving to Greenville sparked it and watching shows on Disney etc. began to build on acting. By the time I was in high school I started to spend just as much time with film as I did with my athletics.IMG_67331881574083
 
What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

The story I received is What About My Lawn by Bret Lott. The story started slow, but escalated into something I didn’t anticipate. It was very dark, and after a second read I felt the tension between the characters, read between the lines and saw the story behind the story. It was really creative and read like a stage play. It felt so “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe”, and I saw the potential. I figured that would be an amazing experience; to try and convey it the way I read it, and not like an episode of the Gilmore Girls.

 
What was the biggest creative challenge in adapation? 

I’ve found that the biggest challenge is finding the happy median between your vision and the author’s. Everyone has their idea of the do’s and don’ts of adapting, but ultimately you do not want to discredit the author having the source unrecognizable in the creation. 

 
What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

Ironically casting. Even though it was a film that only required two actresses, I had to recast several times, delaying shooting etc. I had to change the format due to time. It was the hardest part to overcome due to the obvious fact you cannot film without talent.

IMG_67338806424670What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

For me it is the process. Being around other artist creating something that everyone believes in. Being an indie filmmaker you are able to easily handpick your cast and crew the majority of the time so you have this bond with them that makes it enjoyable and with that your end result is great no matter what.

 
What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

To stay positive and optimistic no matter how many negatives are thrown your way. This was the first project where NOTHING went my way at the beginning.

 

Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?

The lead in the film was cast a total of 3 times before we locked it in. Not necessarily fun, but it is true.

 
Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started? 

Never say no to any project. You can learn from every experience and artist, building relationships along the way. Networking is essential when you are first starting out.

Meet the Makers: Bradley Wagster

10374389_10203676501863339_1153880869_nMeet Bradley Wagster, an SC native whose short film, “Yard of the Month”, will be screened at the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival on June 14. Get to know more about this featured filmmaker as he discusses the struggles and triumphs of filming in the Palmetto State, and how SPAM is so much more than a canned pork-meat product.

 

 

 

An Interview with Filmmaker Bradley Wagster

How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

A friend of mine knew someone behind the festival and let me know that they needed filmmakers. So I hopped right on that train! 

What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I’m 19, born and raised in West Columbia, SC. I’m currently doing freelance work for film and video production, so by definition, I’m “unemployed”.

How did you become interested in filmmaking?

10338919_10203676502063344_1478603079_nI watched “The Wizard of Oz” constantly as a kiddo. I was obsessed with it. I saw one of those behind-the-scenes deals of it, and they explained how they performed the trick of the house landing on the camera in the tornado sequence, which was just them putting the miniature house over the camera, dropping it about two stories, then reversing the film. Being young, that little trick blew my mind. So that got the fire burning.

What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

In all honesty, I tried to avoid this one. “Yard of the Month” sounded like a cliche title to me. I was looking for more kooky, weird stuff. But then I saw how it began with a family eating Spam and Crackers instead of a home-cooked meal, so I read the rest with eyes glued to the page. The sense of humor was wonderful. It was simple. Plus, the characters seemed like people I have conversations with everyday. So it connected with me, in a way. 

What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?

The script was the easiest part. I wrote the first draft in two hours. But it was conforming those ideas into more realistic situations where I could actually put them on camera that got tricky. When you have a budget of money that’s mostly gonna go to paying people for spending all of their time doing a short film, it gets problematic.

What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

In the movie, it’s revolved around this house with a horrible yard. We couldn’t find a decent house with a horrible yard in the area of a decent neighborhood. Finding tall grass and filming the yard work scenes in a “suspending disbelief” way was a nightmare. Because there was no way we could put the house behind them. Also, it ended up taking us nine days to shoot due to time constraints. All of that was headache-inducing.

What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

Jeez. That’s a thorny question. I’ve always loved it. I love showing people how I see the world. How I would tell a story and all of that. But to be completely realistic and frank here, it’s finishing the whole movie, watching it with your feet up on a table and taking sips of a Dr. Pepper… That sense of pride (or embarrassment, at times) never really gets old. Heck, even I make a crappy movie, the fact that I finished it; that’s always the best feeling in this world.10356448_10203676502023343_1396981777_n

What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. ‘Kay, next question, please.

Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?

The first shot of the movie is of a large hunk of Spam splashing on a plate of crackers. We did about twenty takes of that, and on one take, the Spam caused the crackers to fly across the table like a catapult throwing rocks. The final day was fun too. With the Yard of the Month sign, we couldn’t hammer it in because we were using someone else’s yard. So we just had two people hold the sign up while our actor pretended to hammer it in.

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

Watch (old) movies, write movies, make movies, edit movies, repeat.

What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

That’s deep. Well, living in South Carolina as a filmmaker can either be the best thing in the world or the worst. SC is generally really uncultured (and that sucks) but when you say you’re a filmmaker, it gets people interested (and that rules). You’re also surrounded by a community of great people, miles of wonderful filming eye-candy, and that giant fire hydrant in the middle of Columbia. That’s pretty cool. Also, we have those bizarre stories about David O. Russell’s “Nailed”, which was filmed here. You can’t beat that. 

 Watch for Wagsters’ film “Yard of the Month” at this years Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

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Independent filmmakers Chris White and Emily Reach White to helm third annual Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

When local film enthusiast Josh Foster, Hub City Press, and HUB-BUB launched the upstart Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival, no one knew what to expect.

Most grass roots film festivals don’t last beyond a year or two. But flash forward to year three, and the festival’s co-creators find themselves with too much of a good thing. Last year’s film festival featured 12 writers and 12 filmmakers from all over the state and sold out the 500+ seat Chapman Cultural Center Theater three weeks before the day of the event.

“HUB-BUB hosts over 100 community events every year,” says Cate Ryba, Executive Director at HUB-BUB, “and the press has a full plate, too. We looked at how the festival has grown in just two years and realized it had grown beyond our staffing capacity.”

That’s where Chris White and Emily Reach White come in. The Greenville filmmaking couple is normally wary of film festivals.

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Emily and Chris

“They are so expensive to enter,” Chris sighs. His wife Emily adds, “and if you’re lucky enough to get in, even more expensive to attend.”

But the Whites adore Spartanburg’s Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. Their adaptation of Thomas J. McConnell’s “A Proof For Roxanna” won the audience prize in 2012, and their film company was a corporate sponsor for last year’s event.

“Emily and I exemplify the marriage of film and literature,” Chris says, “I’m a total cinephile and she’s crazy for great writing. When Expecting Goodness approached us about leading the festival, we were nodding before they even popped the question.”

Expecting Goodness Film Festival is the only one of its kind in the world, pairing acclaimed short stories with South Carolina filmmakers who adapt the stories into screenplays and short films. More importantly, for the Whites and other independent filmmakers, it’s a festival that knows how to take care of and connect filmmakers.

“We’ve always felt at home in Spartanburg,” Emily says, “Especially at HUB-BUB and The Showroom. The Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival is just another way Spartanburg shows hospitality to emerging artists.”

As co-executive directors, Chris and Emily plan to build on two years of incredible success, extending that Spartanburg hospitality around the state with more screenings and more prizes and perks for filmmakers and writers. All while maintaining the festival’s grass roots, hometown feel.

“We want to make Expecting Goodness even better,” Chris says, “Emphasizing not only the importance of great stories as a basis of great films, but community-building as critical for emerging filmmakers in South Carolina.”

The Whites know the value of both story and community as it relates to film. They have independently produced three feature-length movies and a dozen short films in the past three years, all from their home in the Upstate of South Carolina. With Hollywood calling, they remain committed to their home state and to the process of “handmade films for friends.”

the Scared is scared: Changing Messages

I think the phrase “wisdom from the mouth of babes” is rather fitting here. 

I wanted to share this short film because, as it was shared with me, it has a message that somewhat changes… it evolves and becomes something much deeper. 

This process is one that, I’m sure, was replicated among our filmmakers and writers as they were crafting their films and their stories. What started off as a simple journey of two animals having a great time at the pool turned into a stance on closure, fear and letting go. 

As our artists started their stories, did their message change? Did it grow into something deeper? 

Even looking at this film, it’s easy to tell that, for just seven minutes worth of film, it took a lot of people and work to make it come together. Each person involved in the film added their own touch of personality–whether it was in the music, costume design or in the set– and added to the filmmaker’s original design to make it… more. If say, for example, the music had a rockier, harder sound, we might think quite differently about the message of the film. But all of the film’s components came together, meshing with the theme of the story and producing something that we all can think about when times get rough: “the Scared is scared of things you like.” 

What will our artists say with their works? And, likewise, what will their works say to us? 

Thanks for watching! Don’t forget to get your tickets now before we are completely sold out! 

 

Best, 

Alf the Intern 

A Great Journey

by Abe Duenas

A lot has taken place since launch night of this festival back in October.  Pre-production online meetings, storyboarding, scouting, casting, online meetings with a CGI animator in Brazil and countless other related tasks.  As I type this, I will have completed 95% of my principal photography.   I know my other fellow filmmakers are just as hard at work crafting their stories. I have heard from the underground com lines that we are all in for a treat come “Premiere Night.”  For me, this has been a truly satisfying experience not just because of completing a film, but mostly due to the experiences shared during this voyage.  There is Peter, who is my lead, an extremely gifted actor about whom some may say is in the twilight of his career, but has shown me that he is still in his prime.  

Peter and Abe on the set

There is Fabiano and Renato out all the way in Brazil, who have worked tirelessly on creating a character who I thought would have to be played by a folkmani finger puppet.  The amount of hours they spent on just one shot dwarfs any other task I had to complete.  Working with them has really impressed me how hard artists will work on a labor of love if they believe in the story.  There is also Earl from Earl’s Tire here in Gaffney, who willingly allowed me to shoot at his location.  Sometimes as artists we feel that the community will not support our work because they don’t always support us with their checkbook.  But I appreciate his contribution more than if he would have given this film money. I still cannot believe how perfect the location was for this film.  I cannot forget people like Billy, who lent me his Gramophone, or  the wonderful ladies of downtown Cowpens antique shops who opened their arms to this film by lending us tons of props, and other passerby people who would give me a good lead on a hard-to-find prop.

Abe Duenas and Peter with the gramophone

 

Ian, an extremely talented photographer, also helped light my scenes with the always willing Joe and Beau. I can’t forget Jeanette helping out as AC and April– she is like the person in jail who gets you stuff you need. I had the support of Emily and Katherine for the film with their acting.  All of these experiences occurred because we simply wanted to tell a story. 

Lighting on the set and getting ready for filming

Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos, at it’s core, is a film about friendships. I am glad to have been able to come away with many of these because of this project. This will mark my most creatively ambitious film to date.  I hope the audience is entertained and I look forward to making new friends come Premiere Night.

Abe Duenas's Movie Poster for Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos

The Festival: Eight Weeks and Change Away

Greetings EG Fans!

With the holidays behind us and our festival fast approaching, it’s time to kick our outreach into high gear and share the hard work and vision of our diverse and talented group of filmmakers.

Each week, we want to post a wealth of content from the upcoming films and filmmakers. Clips, pictures from the set, stills and abstracts, and posts from the filmmakers themselves will see their way to the EG Blog, so keep checking in with us each week for updates. We’re also keeping the doors open for guests to write blog posts for us on a wealth of topics related to film and writing, so be sure to contact Alf at Alicia@hubcity.org if you want to be featured on our EG Website Blog.

Tickets for the festival will be going on sale SOON. You can purchase them January 19th (this Saturday!) starting at 6 a.m. for $15. We were completely sold out last year—so expect another sold-out show and get your tickets early!

We hope to see all of our fans on March 23rd! Mark your calendars and Expect Legacies!

Best wishes,

Alf.

THE EPIC SPARTANBURG

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spartanburg, you should know that it’s quite epic.

Yes, 2011-12 HUB-BUB Artist-in-Residence Steve Snell created the adventure art project THE EPIC SPARTANBURG at the beginning of the year. Steve invited the Spartanburg community to tell him about adventures they’d like to have–adventures that he could capture on film and turn into videos that truly made them look epic.

I (Kari) went out into the woods south of Spartanburg with the mission to build my own shelter for the night. I had never been camping before, so a large part of the challenge for me was the idea of sleeping exposed outside. I was afraid of snakes, of bears, of rain. I won’t tell you what happened, but I will say that it was instantly epic for me, an experience that I will always remember as something that changed me. 

Thus was my adventure, and you’re going to have to come to The Showroom on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7pm to see how epic I and my fellow Spartanburgers became.

So, watch this video and get excited. (And ignore the call for adventures.)

How it’s done

We’re a nonprofit, as you know, which means we often have (and get) to be creative. Well, we did just that Monday night when we held our first-ever livestreamed event to select the filmmakers and stories/writers that would be a part of the 2013 project.

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Stephen tests the lighting and the sound in our makeshift set in our Hub City Writers Project office as we get ready to go live.

lighting
Lighting is very important when you’re drawing names and building a statewide project.

decided
It’s decided!

Only the registered filmmakers and writers could watch Stephen, Alf, and I as we drew names to determine the 7 emerging and 7 experienced filmmakers and their selected stories that would make up our project (MEET THEM HERE). We can also now reveal that our surprise 15th filmmaker is Abe Duenas, whom we have invited back as our 2012 Best Film winner for The Widower’s Pearls. (And whoever wins 2013 Best Film will be invited back in 2014.)

We’re thrilled to introduce the 15 filmmakers and 15 writers to you at Launch Night on Saturday, when you can meet them and sign up to help on the films. In the meantime, here’s a look at them by the numbers:

  • 6 of the 15 stories are South Carolina Fiction Project winners
  • 11 women are in as writers or filmmakers
  • 8 of the 30 participants are from Spartanburg

Let’s look at it in map-form, shall we? I think we can safely say 2013 is a statewide film festival. So exciting!