Above production still: Behind the scenes of the film, “Break Even,” directed by Shane Stanley.
“Break Even” movie trailer
Good Morning Filmmaker!
It’s a Great Day to be Alive!
By Shane Stanley
“Happy Anniversary, Dude,” was how screenwriter CJ Walley greeted me one morning during the production of our new action/thriller, “Break Even”. Off my puzzled look he said, “We first discussed working together a year ago today!” Honestly, it had felt like ten years had passed, and it was only day three into filming. Although production on this project came in at lightning speed, it had left just as quickly with the ferocious aftermath of a hurricane. Every day we got hit with something – our hero car caught fire, one of our guest stars father suddenly passed away two hours before her call time, a location blew away while filming – and that wasn’t even in a 24-hour timeframe. Honestly, I think the constant adversity bonded us closer together and we have a better movie because of it.
From March to May (2019), we bounced from island-to-island, desert-to-city, and then back to the islands, and even though we wrapped last Thursday, it all feels like a lifetime ago. What I was reminded of during this incredible journey wasn’t how ‘hard’ filmmaking can be but the relationships you forge during the battle and that everyone on set matters. Sure, without the talent, the camera and wardrobe, you can’t get much done. But don’t forget to look around, take a minute and appreciate the sound department, the hair and makeup team, the grips, the production assistants, drivers and even the man (or woman) who shows up to empty the tanks on the honey wagons.
As filmmakers we tend to get myopic. It’s easy to seal out the real world, ignore anything that doesn’t support the task at hand, and only focus on what’s right in front of you. But without all the bodies present that are listed on the call sheet, chances are you won’t get anything done. I’m a firm believer any day that you can wake up, look yourself in the mirror and say, “Good morning filmmaker”, it’s a great day to be alive. Remember to appreciate the opportunities you’re given, the people around you and to just breathe.
Filmmaking is hectic – but only if we make it that way. Your set shouldn’t be tense, filled with bad attitudes or angst. When people feel appreciated, they will go the extra mile, and when you’re making movies, you need all the help you can get. And for my entire team, I am extremely grateful.
For many of you reading this, you aspire to lead troops into battle and sleigh the dragon known as making movies – and I hope like hell it happens for each and every one of you. But along the way, be kind, tread lightly and remember…what we do is a gift. Act like it.
Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author, Shane Stanley, has enjoyed a career spanning almost five decades, which includes acting, editing, producing, writing and directing. With a #1 box office hit under his belt and several top-rated television shows to his credit, teaching the next generation of filmmakers how to have a long and prosperous future in the entertainment industry is what he finds most rewarding and considers his most essential work. To read Shane’s latest book, please visit: www.whatyoudontlearninfilmschool.com.