by Bri Castellini
I talk a big game about being an indie filmmaker, but the truth is, at this moment in time and space, I’m struggling with it. There are two reasons for this: Trump and knowing what the hell I’m doing. Let’s, as they say, explore!
REASON #1 I AM HAVING DIFFICULTIES STARTING NEW INDEPENDENT FILM PROJECTS: DONALD TRUMP
One of my favorite descriptions of the person (source?) currently in charge of this country is “screaming carrot demon.” Thank you, Samantha Bee. The country is in chaos. We thought it was bad that he was a nominee for the presidency, and now we’re really seeing what this baby-fisted garbage cheeto is willing to do with his newfound power, people are understandably afraid and enraged and compelled to action. In particular, artists and comedians.
This administration is crippling my creativity and my confidence in my work, but not for the reasons you’d think.
I am not an apolitical person. I have a lot of opinions and a lot of friends in underrepresented demographics and I am absolutely horrified by the state of the country I was taught to all but worship during my childhood. But I am not a particularly political writer, at least not up front.
I’ve tweeted about Brains seasons 5 and 6 being incredibly political, but that’s because they’re the fifth and sixth seasons of a show that started with a girl getting horny post apocalypse and shoving her camera in unwilling faces. I couldn’t have done a political first or second season of that show- it had to get there naturally.
The thing is, I’m not able to produce any more of Brains. It’s too expensive and time consuming at my current level, and that’s ok. But it means that I need a new project, and in this current climate, writing anything that starts out less political seems like a slap in the face to the millions of people attending marches every weekend and the millions more in literal mortal danger because of the diapered citrus baby’s fifteen thousand executive orders. If I, a person with incredible privilege in our current system, don’t write a show or a film that scathes and enrages this administration, then what’s the point? Why is my voice valid? Why don’t I care about anyone other than myself? God, how selfish this cis white girl is.
On one hand, I understand this is irrational, at least to a point. There’s an incredible value in creating art that isn’t about our current dumpster fire of a world, to give people a little bit of a reprieve. I know I need that reprieve myself. But it’s hard to detach myself from how selfish and inconsequential it feels to write something silly about a spaceship or an overly analytical female character struggling to navigate the complexities of “normal” human relationships while cracking jokes with her male best friend/roommate.
In conclusion, the diseased peach president of my country of origin is cramping my style and the effort to overcome the guilt of not attacking him directly with my art is actively impeding my efforts to make art at all.
REASON #2 I AM HAVING DIFFICULTIES STARTING NEW INDEPENDENT FILM PROJECTS: I KNOW TOO MUCH
All things considered, Brains should not have happened. It’s insane that we made it, insane-er that we made a second season, and insane² that we have two extended universe projects. And in all honesty, we only made it because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’d never been on a real set before. I didn’t know what the difference between an executive producer and a pooper scooper was. But in our ignorance, we plowed forward, and managed to do some pretty impressive things. That was then.
Now, I know too much. I know what a pain it is to location scout, and to ask friends to volunteer their time and talents and give up days off or picking up extra shifts to pay their exorbitant NYC rents. I know how much of an imposition asking for a multi-day commitment is, and how difficult it is to find music for traditionally filmed scenes and how useless found footage is for actors who want to use the scenes they pour their hearts and souls into for their reels.
I’ve written like 6 different web series pilots in the past few months, and I can’t commit to any of them. This one has too many locations, this one requires a cafe that I no longer have free access to, this one has too big of a cast, this one has too many props I don’t already own, etc etc etc on and on. Are these things I could overcome if I concentrated and plowed ahead? Of course. Does that knowledge matter when I’m trying to write? Not at all.
I’m in my head. In order to respect the time and effort of my wonderful and talented friends, I am attempting to write the cheapest possible web series that is still good and still something they’d want to work on that I can then show to my new web series community friends on Twitter to raise my indie film profile and eventually make a career out of all this free work I do because I “have dreams.” That’s a tall order. And it’s killing me.
I have no shortage of ideas. I know I can survive this industry, because it is the only thing I’ve ever done that completely fulfills me creatively. But some days and weeks and months it’s easier than others.
Also, like, fuck Donald Trump and Mike Pence and President Steve Bannon. Seriously.
This article was first published on her very informative blog.