I don't know if I can express how many times this has been said to me, or any of my crew for that matter. I'm not mad I get asked that; it means I did something right with the first one and people are looking forward to the next. I've related this question to that of what people say to moms as soon as they have a baby: "So are you planning on having another?" While I'm no mom myself, the analogy seems right on to what I've experienced with making movies.
Would I have loved to jump right into pre-production on the next feature right after Wandering Off? Hell yes. (Well after a couple weeks off in between - the brain and body need it). So why hasn't that happened?
The latest script was in a good enough place shortly after Wandering Off wrapped, and riding the high of finishing a feature, I was ready to go. The crew was ready to go. We knew this one was going to be a higher budget than before, and after learning a bit from our first trip to AFM, we knew what we needed to get in place for this one.
So we got things in place over the next few months. The script went through multiple revisions. We perfected our pitch over and over and over and over. It was time to travel to pitch this thing to financing/distributing companies.
Our first stop: Nashville. (Well, technically Detroit airport when our flight got delayed 8 times then cancelled then no hotels or car rentals available and we got thrown a blanket and a bottle of water and slept on the floor till someone swept my head and then I ate 2 egg McMuffins at 4am and then we finally got on a flight thanks to Connor not letting us get bumped again because they had a 48 seat plane for the 200+ of us waiting for it).
We didn't know what to expect in Nashville, and so we kinda just experienced everything as it came at us. We met a bunch of people that were also pitching for financing and met some other people that have helped us along our journey since then. After our 3 days pitching there (and some fantastic BBQ) we were headed back to the Northeast figuring out how to tweak our pitch even more.
Then we really got into the headspace to get ready for AFM. We knew what to expect at AFM. We knew some of the companies there. We felt comfortable, and more importantly, we really knew this movie inside and out. After all, by the time we got there, we had been sitting with this project for about a year.
We had some good meetings there. We had some great meetings there. We had a lot of people say they love the concept of the movie and how timely it is. But the budget was too small for them to take on. A few of those companies/people said if we increase the budget they'll want to talk to us.
"But Britt AFM was months ago, so what's happened since then?" Well, we've changed some things up and are still in talks with a bunch of people.
Things don't take a short amount of time when you're no longer self-financing (includes crowdfunding). You're not on your schedule anymore when you decide to take your productions to the next level. Other people need to be involved and more opinions need to be considered. If you're wondering how many days it takes studios (which already have financial resources) to go through this process, here's a fun chart I found at https://stephenfollows.com/how-long-the-average-hollywood-movie-take-to-make/.
I'm hoping we can get this project off the ground soon. It's the right time to put this out on your screens because the story is relevant to our current society. I'm also extremely passionate about it. And I'm ready to get back onto a feature set.
In the meantime, my crew and I continue to make a bunch of shorts to hone our skills even more. Every movie is a learning opportunity. Every meeting, every pitch, every time someone tells you "no"; they're all learning opportunities. We're putting all of that to use.