Director, Dan Fowler lets slip some behind-the-scenes faux pas on the set of his upcoming short film, Lip Service.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?
What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The lead in the film was cast a total of 3 times before we locked it in. Not necessarily fun, but it is true.
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 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?
I 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.
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
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.
“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.”
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!
Alf the Intern
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Welcome! We’re glad you’re interested in participating in the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival, a unique project that pairs South Carolina writers and filmmakers in an effort to build a community across genres and showcase our state’s talent. You have the opportunity to create a film adaptation of an award-winning or recently published story by a SC writer.
Simply, it’s like this: You apply. If selected, you pick a story from the collection we send you. You have four months to use that story as inspiration for a 5-10 minute short film. We premiere your film on the festival night. We celebrate.
We are accepting applications from November 1 – December 31. You must be a resident of South Carolina and 18 years or older, and be able to meet the stated deadlines in order to be eligible to participate. You must provide all of your own equipment and materials; Hub City Writers Project and HUB-BUB are not responsible for any production costs.
There is a small application fee of $10.
A maximum of 5 emerging and 5 experienced filmmakers will be selected to participate. We will announce our selections in January of 2014.
EMERGING FILMMAKERS have completed short video projects and have access to equipment and knowledge of use, with a desire to broaden their experience with filmmaking and the industry.
EXPERIENCED FILMMAKERS have completed at least one 5-10 minute short film, have access to equipment and knowledge of its use, and have professional film or video production aspirations or credentials.
All filmmakers are eligible for all audience and juried awards, except experienced filmmakers are not eligible for the Emerging Filmmaker Award.
Cash prizes for the following categories will be awarded on the June 14th Festival night:
Audience Favorite (Audience; $500)
Best Film (Juried; $500)
Emerging Filmmaker Award (Juried; $250)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Filmmaker project schedule:
Dec. 31, 2013: Registration deadline
Jan. 13, 2014: Story selection due
Jan. 25, 2014: Launch Night
May 26, 2014: Film due
Jun. 14, 2014: Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival in the David Reid Theatre in Spartanburg
Last year, the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival sold out three weeks prior to the day of the event. The festival had more participants and more attendees from all across the state. None of this would have been possible without an overwhelming surge of support from our community and our corporate sponsors. In our third year, we hope to continue to grow, but we’re going to need your help.
Want to help the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival have a successful third year? Here are four ways that you can get involved.
1. Become a Festival Sponsor. (Download the full Sponsorship Packet)
Festival sponsors see high visibility for their organizations via event postcards, posters, radio and media publications, and the event website and program. As a sponsor, you can expect to:
2. Become a Friend of the Festival
Can’t be a sponsor but still want to support Expecting Goodness? It’s easy! Simply click HERE to make your tax-deductible donation. Just be sure to type Expecting Goodness or EGSFF in the Program line so we’ll know how to apply your contribution.
All Friends of the Festival will have their names printed in the festival program, will receive a “Friend of the Festival” badge to display on Facebook and Twitter, and will receive an email to purchase advance tickets one week before they go on sale to the public. Pretty cool.
3. Donate Gifts-in-Kind
For year three, we’re hoping to make Expecting Goodness even better — with more prizes and more perks for our participating artists. We like to think of Spartanburg as a place that shows generosity and hospitality to the community and to those who visit, and you can help us extend our hospitality this year.
There are hundreds of possibilities: we need to host a VIP Party, host a filmmakers reception, host an after-party, feed judges, and fill Swag Bags. If you have a product or a service you’d like to promote, contact us. We’ll figure out where to plug you in.
4. Volunteer on Festival Day
We can also use manpower. And womanpower. If you like to put in sweat equity and be at the center of the action, consider volunteering on the day of the festival…and the weeks leading up to it. We can always use more hands.
If you are interested in sponsoring our festival, donating a gift-in-kind, or volunteering services, please contact Emily Reach White at emily@ExpectingGoodness.com or 864.320.3081.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about this little thing we’re calling the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival, but you really should. What’s our mission here? COMMUNITY BUILDING. And here it is in film form.
Two weeks ago, we had the filmmakers who registered to make a film as part of the project gather at The Showroom for the launch. Seven guys showed up to take the challenge: Porter Blackman, Andrew Doughman, Abe Duenas, Adam T. Gordon, Jason Kruczynski, Wade Sellers, and Chris White. They each picked a story from the Hub City Press collection Expecting Goodness & Other Stories: The Essential Fiction of Spartanburg. So, here’s connection number one: South Carolina filmmaker selects Spartanburg writer’s story to use as inspiration for a short film.
Over the last two weeks, the filmmakers have been living with their chosen stories, creating storyboards, writing scripts, and building their teams. Many of them have met with the writer of their story, and many of them have been scouting filming locations in the Upstate.
Then on Saturday night we invited you to Film Fan Night at The Showroom, where you could meet the filmmakers and even sign up to help them on their films. And that was connection number two: bringing the films and filmmakers to the community at the beginning. You get to witness and/or be a part of the progress of these seven films that will premiere on the big festival night of March 24. You get to vote for your favorite to win the $500 Audience Favorite Award. You get to witness the talented people of the Upstate in this, HUB-BUB’s first film festival.
I have zero experience with film–only the several videos I’ve made over the last few months for HUB-BUB and Hub City–but I’m so into this project. Our filmmakers are excited and talented, and we can’t wait for you to get to know them over the next two months. Starting in the next few days, you’ll meet each filmmaker here on the blog, starting with Andrew Doughman, who is a reporter at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal right across the street from the HUB-BUB building.
So come hang out in AiR Steve Snell’s studio with us on Saturday the 4th for the Heroic (re)Production community film workshop to act out a scene from hero movie history and learn some aspects of production. It’s free! And Steve will cut all of the scenes shot throughout the day into a video that will make everyone involved epic.