A director—who also happens to be somewhat of a special effects wizard—will be producing a horror short I wrote.
This director and I met initially late in 2009. He had read the script and thought it was just what he was looking for. We discussed some minor changes (i.e., tweaking the original ending somewhat and trimming things up by a couple pages so we can keep the run time down), which I agreed to. So I went away and did a polish, then waited and waited and waited while this director completed other film obligations.
Well, the director recently sent word that the project is now a definite “go,” with shooting scheduled to begin the first week of September.
I think I’ve written a solid short. If this director does his job properly, and I think he will, it’s gonna make a nifty, horrific little flick. We’ll see.
For those of you saying, “But, Jim, there’s no money in short films!” Yes, of course you’re quite correct (at least for the most part). But gosh, it’d be pretty sad if everything we did was for the almighty buck.
Over the years I’ve had a blast working on projects that paid me very little or, frankly, nothing at all. One project that leaps to mind: doing some sound effects work on the James Cameron movie True Lies. My buddy and I were brought in by the sound editor (who has since won a couple of Oscars) to provide gunshot sound effects. We spent a good portion of the day out in a huge, desolate field in Frazer Park, blasting away at various surfaces (wood, metal, tin, brick, etc.) with a wide assortment of firearms—and we were using live ammunition! (And yes, in case you were wondering, we did manage to destroy one or two microphones in the process.) My buddy and I were paid some sort of token payment, maybe received a nice lunch out of it, but that's OK cuz we sure had some fun out there.
I guess what I’m saying here is: Don’t be afraid to get involved with low-paying/non-paying gigs. If it sounds like a worthy project, if it sounds like something that can be a learning experience, just go for it. After all, you never know who you might meet—and you never know how much of a good time you’ll have doing it!