i made a movie. it stunk.

i made a movie. it stunk.

All right, I’ve been doing these goofy little videos for like a calendar year now We’ve talked about web shows movies books TV cool mysteries obscure artists fast food and even lime-green Squirt gun emoji and a bunch of you have decided to drink the kool-aid. I’ve been serving up like over a hundred thousand of you and despite the fact that I’ve served up about 70 million minutes of Entertainment in the past year I feel bad because I feel like you don’t really know me And I don’t really know you so here’s something a little different something personal I’ve spent the past year being a critic of other people’s work, but today. I’m gonna talk about mine The year was 2000 op13 I was coming off of a series of short film festival wins and on to a quarter life Crisis and the itch to make a feature film was getting past the point of variability I just had a big article published by filmmaker magazine and it likely Deluded myself into thinking that I was becoming a big deal I remember at the time it felt like I was on the cusp of a big break I was young confident cocky and so so Skinny and all the while that nagging desire to make a big boy film was growing stronger and stronger And I told myself I had one year to make it happen where I’d give up the dream go back to work at the local ABC affiliate and settle for being a lifetime Journalist or the TV news producer or whatever one year to finally make the movie or that was it I was giving up the dream I did this for a lot of reasons but mainly it was because I knew a self-imposed deadline would finally force me to address whether I was gonna be serious about Filmmaking or not if I was gonna be a filmmaker I needed to shut up and make a bloody movie plenty of people in the Springfield Filmmaking scene had talked about movies that they were going to make one day But next and nobody was actually getting around to making one and I was sick of being the stereotypical wannabe filmmaker I wasn’t gonna stand around anymore with my head in the clouds and hands in my pockets I was gonna take the jump and actually make a movie But I had no money So as was the thing in 2013 I turned to crowdfunding after putting together what I felt was an OK script I set the budget at 3 grand crossed my fingers and posted to IndieGoGo hi I’m Austin McConnell I’m a local filmmaker from South Western Reserve I need your help to raise funds from my very first full-length feature film and sprouting organs I knew I’d end up making the movie whether I hit the goal or not, but the extra $3,000 would help me recoup most of the production costs and help me submit to a few film festivals 3,000 smackeroos Probably doesn’t seem like a lot of money to make a feature film on but it was my first one so I wanted to keep The goal realistic there were about 55 people on my friends list who were fellow filmmakers in the area Maybe 40 of whom I had actually worked with at some point in my life and besides that I had plenty of contacts from working in TV news and participating in an annual local Film Festival figured at the very least I could get about 40 of these people to pitch in and I Had to angel donors from a previous job that had already told me they’d make up the difference for whatever I didn’t raise so at the start of the IndieGoGo campaign it felt like everything was going to come up millhouse but in the end eight people donated eight Oh, and one of those angel investors decided to drop out – in the end the fundraising campaign managed to raise 1245 bucks that remaining angel investor decided to kick in a thousand bucks off the books and well close enough right So before I knew it I was sending out casting calls and hiring location scouts. It seemed pretty momentous at the time I was featured in a local newspaper I was on a few podcast and I had inked an agreement for the film’s premiere to be at a local art house cinema What’s more I had an award-winning cinematographer, and my best friend Lance little who had agreed to work behind the camera I would play the film second lead And I’d hire out for the first and third I’d also juggle most of the other Behind-the-scenes stuff myself if I wasn’t gonna be in a shot I would be shooting all the post-production stuff would be done by yours truly as well all because the budget called for it the less money you have to pay people the more work You’ll be handling yourself And that was fine after all I’d done most of the behind the camera stuff for my short films anyway This wouldn’t be any different so I drew up a production schedule the plan was to have two months of shooting July would be the easy scenes August would be the hard ones We’d try and fit in some reshoots if we needed them I’d spend the rest of the year editing and have it into Sundance and Slamdance by their end of the year deadlines, yeah Yeah, I know what you’re thinking hey all that’s great Austin, but what’s the movie about so the flick was called sprouting orchids? Here’s the logline a young man and woman recover from separate tragedies Unseen forces in the universe work to bring them together for a purpose far greater than themselves Pretty big right the synopses on the back of the DVD explains things a little better Lincoln and Rachel are two strangers who have never met yet both of their lives were forever changed in the same moment It has been three years since this incident took place and the puppet master behind it all is preparing to pull one final string Hanging in the balance as humanity itself Right so basically. There’s this creepy looking alien Dude
Who takes control of an? archaeologist and triggers an ancient alien beacon deep underground to alert his fellow alien dudes that the planet is ripe for Harvesting triggering this beacon sends a mental shockwave through the Earth causing a rocker girl named Rachel to suffer a severe stroke while driving down the highway Which leads to an automobile accident that kills her disabled brother at that same time on the other side of the globe a young art exhibitor named Lincoln suffers an identical stroke while on a business trip Which leaves him unable to retain his employment three years later Rachel is converted into a devout Christian and Lincoln’s doing his best to maintain sobriety and keep Job as a high school janitor they both eventually meet up fall in love share their secrets and before too long the Archaeologist tracks them down for the purpose of assimilation and to facilitate the arrival of the off-screen Alien army seems weird to me now But at the time I remember thinking that this was like the coolest story ever and I had high hopes Looking back now I can see plenty of flaws narrative Lee speaking that I should have fixed But you know behind sites 2020 so whatever so I cast the movie filled out the crew And we were ready to go principal photography for sprouting orchids took place between July 1st and August 20th 2013 I learned a lot during that time to say the least now every film production has its ups and downs And I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of empty Platitudes nor do I want to drone on and on about every step of the journey plus I mean I’m under a nondisclosure agreement So even if I wanted to I couldn’t I will however tell you about three noteworthy days from worst to best first grocery store day so Lincoln and Rachel first encounter the Archaeologists while they’re out shopping for groceries this sets in motion a short car chase Which is the first real big action scene of the movie? It’s the introduction of the story’s conflict? It’s a key scene it also ended up being the worst scene in the movie first Let’s talk about what went right, so there’s this company called high V They’re an employee-owned chain of more than 240 Supermarkets located throughout the Midwest and they gave us permission to use one of their locations to film in this was awesome It was the most noteworthy business that had ever been convinced to work with me before it was the one location I doubted that we’d ever get permission to use but we did Thanks to an amazing location manager, but what went wrong well How much time you got as? Amazing a location as hi V was They gave us all of two hours to use it that is a ridiculously short amount of time to film a key scene Additionally Lance was only able to shoot for about an hour that day And it’s really really hard to film when the only alternative Cinematographer is smack dab in front of the camera two hours to use the location and only one hour to use a cinematographer Meant shooting was rushed this led to a lot of problems later on there was a lack of coverage meaning I didn’t get many options to choose from when? The scene and the coverage we did have was shaky at best As we didn’t have time to check the quality of the shots between tanks I actually tried to mend this later on with reshoots in front of a green screen, but the results were less than stellar Oh, yeah, it was also incredibly Incredibly hot that day We were under direct sunlight Which just kind of adds to the stress you’re feeling when you’ve only got a few minutes to get something shot and due to other Factors we were late starting and late finishing Grocery store day taught me that when you don’t take the time to do it, right You’re not gonna be happy with the results and because of that one of the most important scenes of the movie looks Amateur very very amateur, but next let’s talk about art gallery day after Lincoln and Rachel escaped the clutches of the evil archaeologists they take Refuge in links old art gallery the to finally reveal their secrets they discover the cosmic bond they both share they each have a separate piece of an interstellar map stored in their minds that can guide the alien enemy to planet Earth in the script they were to Discover this bond while locked in a bathroom And they were to use the bathrooms mirror to write the map out and I know that if you’re watching this footage You’re probably thinking that doesn’t look like an art gallery nor does it look like a bathroom That’s because of what went wrong the person who was supposed to secure the art gallery location for us to film in well Let’s just say that he dropped the ball told me he had secured the spot everything was good to go and then Well long story short He just glide this all came to light right as we had arrived at the location to film Losing your location on the day nay the moment of will absolutely crippled a low-budget film for a variety of reasons First all the stage blocking and rehearsals that we done up to that point They had to go out the window because we had no way to film in the location the scene was written for this required me To completely rewrite the scene, and that’s tough to do when you’ve given yourself so many other Responsibilities besides writing we wasted two hours that we could have spent filming trying to figure out an alternative This also killed cast and crew morale You know when people don’t hold up their end of the agreement the whole production soon takes a supremely amateur vibe And folks tend to get lazy not the forth their best effort and everyone grows weary with the project and again due to all these Factors we were late starting and we were late finishing But in spite of all of that doom and gloom there was some good news to be had one of our Indiegogo backers found out that we were in a bind that evening and opened up their family hair salon for us to use instead We gratefully accepted this offer drove on over and lo and behold our new location was better I’ve rewrote the story a bit so that Lincoln had a side job Cleaning the business and as a result had keys so that the two could hide out there from the archaeologists But I mean that was a quick and easy narrative fix the real good news was that instead of a dirty dingy bathroom mirror the salon had a clear clean glass Storefront giving the scene a much more visually pleasing look we didn’t have to rush filming this either They let us have the salon the whole night So this allowed us to get plenty of coverage and to experiment with different things in short We took the time to get it right and as a result we were a lot happier Heading home that night than when we first stepped on set art gallery day Taught me that if you’re willing to roll with the punches take your time finding solutions and keep your cool during difficult Circumstances your hard work will be rewarded This is the most beautiful sequence in the entire film Last but not least let’s talk about the best day on set the last one Seriously in the final act of the film Rache and Link are taken hostage by the Archeologist and his assistant and are forced to perform a ritual that would activate the alien beacon above ground and relay the intergalactic Map to the alien army our heroes are dragged to an open field and during the assembly of the relay device Lincoln and Rach fight back and there’s a climactic showdown so the last day had one big looming problem Kyle the actor who played the archaeologist and Alex the guy who played the Archaeologists assistant had to ramp that day they were both in from, Texas And they would not be available for reshoots in all likelihood at least not at the same time as our female lead so we knew We had to wrap the scenes for both characters Rachel scenes were almost completed – and if we were lucky We’d be able to knock hers out as well this day would constitute the greatest challenge our production would face So what went wrong for starters at this point? Everybody was burned-out most of us had only done short films on Weekends this production had been going on for two months And the stress was just getting to all of us shooting out in the field also came with its own unique challenges there were bugs lots of them we had not prepared for that at all and our poor actress was getting bitten by Mosquitoes every second everyone was scared to talk on set for fear of an insect making a suicide run down their windpipe It was also hot very very hot we should have packed bug spray We should have packed sunscreen we didn’t but luckily our location manager went out and got us some without her We wouldn’t have survived on many occasions believe me shooting on location outdoors. Also meant constant power supply issues We weren’t rolling in money so camera batteries were in short supply. I was shooting with a hacked Panasonic gh2 at the time It’s a camera that is famous for absolutely eating power, and we were essentially hopping between two sets of DSLRs Just hoping that we could make both sets of footage match in post-production shooting the film’s climax also meant several Complicated setups we had extensive use of props we had to figure out quick and efficient ways to get full coverage of several moment Including the big final fight scene. Oh yeah, and as things tend to go when filming low-budget fight scenes it wasn’t too long before we had to deal with an onset injury during a scene where the Archaeologist was taking his fists to my face one of Kyle’s fake punches made very real contact actually come to think of it I think I still have that footage. Give me a second. Yep. Still got it here it is I Know what you filmmakers are thinking my nose gets cracked? And we don’t even get a good shot of it to use in the film There were however two positives to getting punched number one if someone who’s going to get hurt. I’m glad it was me I mean what am I gonna do sue myself and number two at that point everybody was so fed up with me that the punch Actually gave everyone a weird energy boost and everybody seemed a lot less stressed again Probably deserved that so after all that what went right well somehow someway We were able to shoot 17 pages That was the most I had ever done during a production there was also more energy on set most of the film is just Characters standing around talking in a hypnotic cadence these were fun scenes there was running There was wrestling there was simulated gunplay felt like we were actually making something exciting it breathed new life into the project right when we needed it the most We also had a big group of people on set for the first time I mean big for a movie with a sub 2k budget most of the time there were three maybe four people on set but we Had quite a few more for that day. We took photos on set we got to take a good long break We goofed around we visited with each other it was such a positive environment and again that punch had probably helped to I guess and Of course above all else we were able to wrap everybody seems. There is nothing more satisfying Than calling it announcing that your film has completed production in front of the entire cast and crew is one of the most satisfying Experiences that there is after it was all said and done we went out and celebrated with ice cream at Brahms. We just Down and talked about the future plans for the movie things we wanted to do next Lessons we had learned the stress was finally gone. We could finally just take a breather and be happy that we had completed What seemed like an insurmountable task it was a good kind of tired? the last day taught me that there is nothing quite like the feeling of a group of people rallying together on the final lap when They see the end in sight, but of course for me It wasn’t really the end the rest of the journey would take place in my small one-room studio apartment in front of my computer Editing there’s really not much to say here at least nothing that would keep your attention Editing is often slow and monotonous work It is not glamorous And there’s really no way to tell a fun story about how I would spend 18 hours a day Staring at an Adobe Premiere timeline listening to the same 30 seconds over and over and over again Assembling the best angles and doing my best to make it all look good Sorry sprouting orchids first cut was completed on September 18th 2013 Just in time for the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festival deadlines the final theatrical cut was completed on October 1st of that year Now needless to say sprouting orchids was not accepted by the Sundance Film Festival It was not accepted by the Slamdance Film Festival It was not selected for studio distribution, and it never will be it did hit a few festivals however most notably sprouting orchids was an official selection in the 2014 no glass Film Festival and at a very brief theatrical run over in the UK Wasn’t able to go see it none of us did actually we just couldn’t afford a trip overseas Actually, I didn’t go to any of the seven film festivals of play dad four of which were in the United States Why I was broke it is Well, it’s tough Not being able to afford to go see or support your own movie by the way critical reviews were bad Nothing like reading the very first foreign magazine article about you and getting absolutely trashed Here’s an abridged rundown Sunday’s new full-length film sprouting orchids was an intriguingly Wonderful mess of a film and a monument to where ambition and budget to come apart sci-fi elements are slowly introduced But the era of mystery that was being Cultivated at the beginning his sadly dropped in favor of a why what where did that come from? Sudden shift in narrative pace and action at the midway point that signals the exact moment the film becomes messy confusing and at times confused Its story ideas are excellent, and there are some brilliant shots and moments peppered throughout But a few issues sadly spoil it not least the strange sound issue where half the dialogue is heralded by a cackling background buzz artifacts of improper mixing and a villain with all the threat and appearance of a middle management accountant doing his best Agent Smith impression It’s over ambition out stretches its budget But for all that sprouting orchids is an enjoyable sci fi inflected then dominated drama with a director with great promise Thank you mr.. Sam Co which my last name was Co. That’d be awesome Anyway, sprouting orchids us theatrical release was on January 31st 2014 We eventually had a screening at the art House theater that I dink that deal with in Springfield on May 11th of that year Mother’s Day. I invited a list of 250 local filmmakers and friends to the movies premiere and eight people showed up Not counting me and three of those were on the production team I didn’t actually watch it on the big screen when it was showing I stepped out before it started. It was just I don’t know Without a distribution deal in place I decided to just sell the film on demand for a little while on Vimeo and Amazon But eventually the one-year contracts with them both lapsed and there wasn’t much desire by either party to renew the total box-office and on-demand Earnings managed to barely earn the initial budget of the film back But additional production and distribution costs were not recouped Sprouting orchids resulted in an overall financial loss And if judged solely on monetary return would be considered a complete failure But if judged on experience gained and practical filmmaking lessons learned I consider it a success Some people pay exorbitant amounts of money to go to film school they spend two or three years there And they learn next to nothing of practical value, but this this was my film school from a certain point of view While Disney said we don’t make movies to make money we make money to make more movies now That’s pretty easy to say when you have literally all of the money, but I get it and it is true See it’s not just that I like to make movies. It’s that I need to make movies I need to tell stories And I need to be able to find self expression and self Fulfillment in my craft the goal isn’t to get rich the goal is to tell stories and hopefully Teach people something meaningful about life, and that’s why I don’t really like talking about sprouting orchids I don’t know what this movie was supposed to be teaching. I guess that’s its biggest flaw I didn’t create sprouting orchids to teach or entertain I created it So I would feel worthy enough to call myself a filmmaker I didn’t want to make a movie because there was a story I was burning to tell I wanted to make a movie to say That I had made a movie that’s vanity not art, and it’s one of sprouting orchids core shortcomings Don’t get me wrong the fact that the core idea behind the film was flawed didn’t make the production of it any easier I kept a production journal the whole time We made it and I wrote down some of the mishaps and some of the Sacrifices that were made while bringing the picture to life During production of sprouting work is I was actually in the process of moving to a different city? It was the toughest move of my life for private reasons Our cinematographer Lance he was also moving into a new house Separate situation by the way oh and our actress she was in the process of moving to a different city as well That’s one of the reasons we had a rappers scene so quickly that’s three key people all going through Individual life changes moving is not easy and it added to the stress of things Lance also got into a wreck one night and totaled his car That prevented him from being available for a little while during the filming two production members lost their jobs shortly before we started shooting The rest of the production team were juggling their full-time jobs with helping to get the movie completed my editing system broke Completely one night and it had to be rebuilt I was extremely lucky not to have lost any footage during that whole debacle if that had happened the movie would not have been finished During production we had four key locations drop out on us at the last minute And we had to find workarounds for every situation we had 30 planned shooting days And we ended up taking 34 that doesn’t seem like a whole lot more but on an ultra-low budget Film that kind of stuff can kill the goodwill that you’ve worked up with people who are helping out only five days of our 34 actually wrapped on time I grade each day in my production journal by poor good or great and only four were considered great days I guess the point I’m trying to make is that
none of this was easy Some people like to joke about going
grey getting a movie made But it was not a joke in my case our angel investor took a before and after photo with me and he remarked that I looked like I had aged five years and three months I was not a fun person
in the final weeks of post-production I can assure you I could tell the movie was going to have its flaws But it became imperative that I finish it and get it in on time before the festival deadlines Finishing that movie became my life by the very end I was sleeping about three or four hours a day I was way too caffeinated, and I had isolated myself from friends and family and For what I actually had the thought that if I didn’t finish that movie if I failed in completing it I would end everything I’m embarrassed now looking back to admit such immaturity But it feels absolutely necessary to mention because it gives you an idea of just how deep into the rabbit hole I had gone. My desire to finish the movie, the desire to finish it at all costs Even the cost of my life shows the dangerous and unhealthy mindset that I had allowed myself to develop This is not art. It is not fun, and it is in no way praiseworthy I am so much better at keeping things in perspective nowadays I guess you could say I grew up making this movie It feels so cheap to throw around the phrase ‘Post Traumatic Stress’
when it comes to something like film making But I most certainly dealt with a lot of that. A few of my short films were
touring the festival circuit in Arkansas and when asked about my
experience with Sprouting Orchids I often turned into the proverbial deer in the headlights. Sprouting Orchids scared me off Working with other people for a long while because I guess most of all there was this feeling that I had let down People who thought the film would be a huge success, and I didn’t want to do the same thing again. Also there was guilt: I had just enough budget to pay the other actors and our location manager but my best friend who filmed about 40% of the movie Took nothing. A close friend of mine who designed several props and was more than willing to be our grease man when needed took nothing. Our angel investor another friend of a friend who believed in me and wanted to see me get a big break received no return on investment besides I guess a DVD in a signed movie poster. Some friends and some family Lost respect for me. Either they thought the movie was poorly executed or they thought my attitude about the whole thing was overwhelmingly pretentious. I’m sure I took the whole foreign Film Festival
success a little too seriously And I was disappointed that many people in the Springfield filmmaking community who in the past had expressed a desire to collaborate with me were Completely indifferent when I offered them opportunities on this film to do so. My pretentious attitude Probably didn’t help matters. I should have kept things in perspective I should have said “thank you” a whole lot more than I did. I should have apologized a whole lot more than I did too, and I should have planned many, many things better. I should have paid my friends, and I shouldn’t have relied so much on the blind faith of strangers I’m trying to be a better person than I was back then. Sam Peckinpah – nice last name – said the end of a picture is always an end of a life, and I think that’s true. I am so different now than I was back then. I’ve matured a lot And I am forever grateful that I was allowed this wonderfully disastrous and disastrously wonderful learning experience John Huston said the directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a Controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That’s all there is to it. The truth is I can’t watch Sprouting Orchids anymore. I mean I could barely watch it back then partly because I had to watch it about 500 times while putting it together But mainly because when I watch it now I see nothing but its flaws. When I look into the frame I don’t see what’s going on on the inside I see everything that’s happening just outside of it. I don’t see the story. I see the duct tape just off-screen. I don’t see Lincoln talking to his girlfriend during a business trip. I see me exhausted and stressed at the Anaheim Convention Center in Los Angeles. I see Lance in the camera movements Frustrated that he’s been dragged to the other end of the country to film pickup shots during VidCon for a movie written by a friend he is growing increasingly tired with. I don’t see Rachel doing her morning prayers as she sits in her bedroom or washing her hands in the sink after she tends to her garden. I see the place my mom had to move into that year because we were broke and had just lost her house I see the uncertainty of my early 20s. I don’t see two characters flirting in the rain and falling in love I see the cheap now-closed movie theater where I had my first kiss in sixth grade from a girl named Sarah I don’t see cute moments during the movies romance montage I see the annual fourth of July fireworks show I see Andy’s frozen custard I see Hammonds Field in downtown Springfield where I’d stand out in the pouring rain with my closest friends and watch the Cardinals play a home game And I wish those days didn’t have to be over I see Springfield I see home and I miss it And I miss it And I don’t see an award-winning actor or a sci-fi mystery that has a sudden shift in narrative pace at the midway point I see a scared obsessed an angry 23 year old who knows he’s not going to be the thing he told himself He’d be by 24. I don’t see the movie I see me and I don’t like looking at pictures of myself at 23 And most of all I see a shadow but not the very image a potential this might have been to the outside observer one giant failed leap for glory and maybe that’s true but I do know that I want to try this again. I know I can do better and I mean – I Have things that I want to say stories, I want to tell and when the words finally come and I’m finally able to speak I Hope you’ll listen So Hi. My name is Austin, and I don’t know how you ended up here or why you stuck around, but… I’m glad you’re here, and as long as we’re both here. I’ll try and keep the conversation lively. deal?

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  1. Thank you to everyone who has sent me support and their own stories over email, private message, and comments here. I'm working on responding to them. If you want to support my next project, check out my Patreon page. http://www.patreon.com/austinmcconnell

  2. One of my best friends went through almost exactly the same thing. I helped out in a couple of projects and eventually I fizzled out as I realized ever more deeply how much it was an obsession with something unwholesome and unfruitful (yeah, I regret that at the time I mostly cared about how fruitful it was).

    I've since had my own, similar obsessions (video games, certainly not movie making, but still a massive undertaking if you like to dream up ambitious ideas). I never had a hard crash. My projects are mostly solo and could be picked back up at any time (almost). My crash is soft, and feels more like going senile than going psychotic. I don't burn friends, I simply stop spending any time with them. And I don't have my work critiqued and exposed for what it is when I finally present it to someone. I realize over the months and years I spend working on it that I don't like it anymore, and I still have years to go to complete it.

    What I'm realizing now is that young success never comes to those who aim for it. If you aim for young success, you think it's something that can be planned on. You're deceiving yourself into thinking that all of the people who had lots of talent didn't also need a lot of luck and a heads down attitude, never confused when things turn out to be harder than expected. You place unrealistic expectations on what you are creating and suddenly you see each setback as a cut into your potential. You see years falling off of your life as the goal moves from a 1 year, to a 5 year, to a 15 year, and that doesn't leave the room to do all of the grand things you see yourself doing.

    Now I feel like a drunkard. I can't touch creative projects because I always get carried away with them, like some ex-alcoholics can't touch liquor. It's some kind of addiction. I think an addiction to the excitement of dreaming about success, and dreaming about the potential of a project. I can start a project with a clear mind, but the more I work on it the more that old ambition and self-glorification takes over, and eventually it ends up in the same place as all of the projects that came before.

    Now after so many years of experience, it's hard to bear letting all of that work going to waste and just living life without elaborate goals, but the skeptic in me knows the hard road is probably the right road. There is such a thing as waste, and those years are likely a part of that. Perhaps I learned humility in all of the struggle, but I know that pride is ready to rise up and take hold the moment I entertain the hope that it's possible. I hold all of the same hopes for glory, but perhaps now I more often remember I'm not worthy of it.

    Yeah… sorry for the melodramatic rant. Hopefully it gives somebody insight into their own similar such frustration. I guess… take heart in that you're not alone. Most of us are not getting up at 5 AM, making all of the right decisions for our future and our friends' and family's future. So many of us are just wishing we could get some positive attention, a safety net that tells us we did it, we're worth something. Well, the best I can figure is you look to your friends and you look to your family. If you serve them, you're worth something. And there isn't any movie or book or video game or beautiful painting or iphone app that's so irreplaceable as somebody's best friend. Do not look to strangers to tell you you're valuable, and never sacrifice a friend for even 1.7 million strangers who you've never even met.

    It's not a sacrifice for those strangers, it's a sacrifice for ambition, and ambition is a terrible master.

  3. Austin. This was sad, inspiring, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story with us and I look forward to many more stories.

  4. The idea had a lot of potential. Just need some re-writes, top notch actors, and better equipment and editing.

  5. I love this so much. Best 30 minutes of content on this platform. Keep up the great work Austin. Also, from the shots you showed in this video, the cinematography/videography and colour grading looked incredible, so although I didn't get to see the plot play out, the visual aspect looked amazing.

  6. You need to make a mother movie but this time TAKE YOUR TIME like really take your time if you will you will find the movie will be a lot better and then you will have more fun take a year or 2 to make it not 2 or 3 months

  7. At 23 y.o. with a full movie release with 8/10 at imdb.com... don´t be that hard on yourself. The production cost always cripples a film and you learned that the hardest way.

  8. Even the super cheap mega hit "Paranormal Activity" had near ten times your budget, and it was filmed in 7 days. They spent your whole budget in a single day of shooting! That is closer to reality. I am not a film-making buff, but I hear that pre-production is the key part, and rushing it only claims for failure. But that is true in every enterprise. You will learn to be patient and cook things in due time. My best luck to you telling new stories. This behind the scenes one is pure gold.

  9. Watched this video quite a few times and watching once more now,

    I really want to see this movie actually…

    Maybe one day you could put it on YouTube, and hoping even higher; maybe in a far future you could remake this movie!!

  10. This is pretty awesome. It’s a coming of age story. It’s your story. It’s growing up and realizing that you are learning getting better at your craft. Keep telling stories. Now excuse me while I binge watch everything.

  11. At least you tried though the final product suck. It will help you be better in your craft. Make it more simplier and relevant. It works.

  12. ive made short films all through my 20s and its always a magical experience but still so odd how pain staking the work load is just for the release to come and go with no one paying attention.

    I've been leaning towards giving up filmmaking lately and just settling into my local tv job. I believed in all my projects but I just can't bring myself to run in circles one more time

  13. Are you really unable to see that all of the positives that came from that punch was the catharsis yielded from punching you: the source of ire for the past month and a half?

  14. You earned my respect, I just another human being in highschool but I just wanna say your'e an amazing human being and you didn't give up.Somehow you changed something in me that I never felt before, I don't know it but I felt something.You changed me, thank you.

  15. I understand the being punched in the face part. Years ago, my friends and I were making making a short movie (it’s mediocre) and there was one scene where my characters little sister hits her on the head with an alarm clock to wake her up. First take, I don’t think she understood that she was supposed to fake it. I had a bruise for quite some time.

  16. In the future, you should totally try to re-make this movie, i think the movie's concept is unique and intriguing, and maybe if you gave it a second try, you could make a wonderful movie with a wonderful story and wonderful cinematography…

  17. I watched this video a while ago, but never got to the end of it. I just now watched it again, this time all the way through. I realize, now, how big of a mistake it was to not do so the first time.

  18. Dude you are so brave putting out there all of your flaws as a person not as a filmmaker, you deserve a lot of credit for that. It's not your mistakes that make you who or what you are its that you learn from them, take this as a cathartic or epiphany type of thing that will only make you better. I hope it works out well for you.

  19. Austin McConnel (austinmcconnell) BIG Kudos great job on this video to you as like you I can relate to the ups and down of a dream, vision, goals.. I myself lost count how many times people say I should make a movie of the legacy of my grandparents of course most of it will be my grandfather,, after all I am named after him and when I laid him to rest in 2005 I made a promise that included a letter I buried with him as I done with my grandmother, that I would make his name shine and never forget where I came from and always making them bought proud of me to keeping what they both taught me and his legacy as if it weren't for them I am not sure how long I would push myself each day. I myself want to make a movie, however now living in Las Vegas, lost my job , homeless countless of times that I lost count, and when just like most thought of a fund raiser like you mention here in the video of those that were not supportive in anyway and not pitch one red cent however they all wanted to getting paid, all my closest friends here in Las Vegas and some in my home town Albany New York said just do it, who care you don't have the money, your bright in what you do and will figure a way to using what you have to include a very vivid mind to making this movie of the legacy of your grandparents and mostly of your grandfather as each time you speak very highly of both, I command you on your ups and downs your mistakes and what you learned in the end , as for me how would I begin myself and I see me in you, with you in me through out this entire video , how true the mentions you bought out and in the end you can now breath and can only imagine when those they bring up your movie, I would say the following you know what it may have not been the best of the best or won honors and such and paid anything,, the lessons I learned are more far valuable then a trophy or money in anyone's pocket, as it should have been all about SUPPORT, with RESPECT from all, why well lets face it we all want respect, and seeing my core values of not forgetting where I came from RESPECT, Morals, Values, Goals, and Dreams is always the main key thing—— To the very best to you Austin Mc Connell in all your endeavors as you are a hero and great inspiration to bring to many people who look with there open minds and not for the money…

  20. From one filmmaker to another, Bravo. Lots of that couldn't have been easy to admit but it's relatable and bold. Great job and good luck!

  21. A huge thank you for sharing so honestly. I get the feeling that it felt good to do so. I've always loved your channel but this video just kicked it up quite a number of slots on my mental list.

  22. Never thought I would watch something to inform myself about being a beginner filmmaker and end up balling my eyes out. So motivational. You keep doing your thing, I support.

  23. Anyone who wants to make a movie NEEDS to watch this. Austin, I don't know you. But this video spoke from the heart. Worthy watching.

  24. Your all-encompassing saga reminds me of my miserable thesis writing but you're beating yourself up way too much. 🎬 Many people wouldn't have had the guts to even start what you did. 📽 Besides which, now you can make your first sequel!😎

  25. The fact that you placed so much emphasis on making the film, to the point of thinking of ending your life, is really a reflection of your age at the time, the need to achieve something as a sign/result of being no longer a child or adolescent but an adult

  26. I'm a teenager about to apply to college. I plan to study filmmaking. I want to be apart of great movies and make gripping stories. But this video did not just show me the good or the bad of my possible future in the world of film, it showed me reality. I'm still a kid and I do not know how I am going to steel myself for the impending difficulties my life as an artist is going to entail.
    I guess… I guess all I can do is remember to have fun and smile because that is what can keep anyone going.

  27. I’m not sure how I came across this video. Prior to watching it I had no idea who you were but man do I have respect for you after seeing it.

  28. you know…..if you had just abandoned the M. Night Shyamalan bit with the Aliens and replaced the archaeologist with a fun loving grandpa type bartender figure who always sees the two of them sitting alone at different nights it could have been an ok movie. Or hell, just take out all of the first section of what you explained and leave the jobs they had after their strokes and you could make a half way decent romcom.

  29. It was bizarre that all these people working on the film couldn't be there when you needed them! It's like, are they working on the film not?? They should have either gotten their priorities straight or NOT signed onto the show.

  30. Every once in a while I come back to this video because it makes me emotional every time. Honestly my favorite video.

  31. I felt this way too much. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a project that isn't working right. People think editing is sitting in a chair and pushing buttons, but you can't understand the physical and mental toll until you're actually in it, and that's especially true (and worse) when it comes to passion projects. I've made a couple. They've all made me hate life. Those early 20s man….

  32. Your movie sucked because you focused a little too much on producing and selling the movie, rather than making a good story that people were willing to watch

  33. The crap? Did I really just tear up to a YouTube video? Yes. Yes I did. The story crafted in this is beyond incredible. I look forward to the day you make a feature film. You bet I'll watch, despite barely being acquainted with your channel.

  34. i'm so sorry that your first film didn't do well, I wanna be a filmmaker too, and I want to start already, except i'm only 14 years old, I can't make a movie anywhere except on my own property, I want to tell fantasy stories, whether they are set in an entirely different dimension, or just really far into the future, or a different version of this reality, I want to tell fantasy stories. how do you tell one location fantasy stories?! it's pretty much impossible, I came up with an amazing story that I want to tell, but I can't. I came up with another story that I could tell, but it's a cliche, and I don't even want to tell it because of how awful it is, and it's barely a fantasy, other that the fact that it's about a ghost, see what I mean about it being a cliche? and I just came up with it to make a movie that I can make money from so that I can make better movies, movies that I actually want to make. does anyone have any advice for me?

  35. 8:01
    Seriously? Lens flares & shaky cam? Why are all indie filmmakers obsessed with trying to mimic Hollywood blockbuster tropes that audiences don't even like Or like at 10:53 – the handheld camera movement is really unnecessary. This isn't a mockumentary. Contrast this to 10:26 &10:30, which are locked down – this shot actually looks less "amateur" because it's not trying to imitate Hollywood film tropes. But then at 10:38, you switch to a handheld for the close up. Why??

    I mean, I hate to be overly critical but it seems like modern filmmakers have totally lost touch with audiences. Viewers DO NOT like excessive shaky cam, handheld, lens flares, rapid jump cutting, etc. Directors may think they're being "artsy" with these techniques, but the reality is it's only "art" as long as it's unique. Now everyone does it because everyone wants to copy what everyone else does because it's trending. Viewers don't give rip about Hollywood filmmaking tropes. They just want to be shown a good story with likable characters.

  36. “I worked hard on that song like day and night. That whole song made this one verse crazy right? I guess it all goes somewhere, you know that?” – Childish Gambino. That whole film failed to make this amazing video. It all goes somewhere, just know that.

  37. I have a 2k budget. So far between cast and crew on 2 days of shooting we've had almost 60 people total. We have a body count of 21, so far… and we're only about 15 minutes into the movie.

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