How a Screenwriter Becomes a First Time Director with Kelly Fremon Craig
I’m asked all the time
“How does a screenwriter get the opportunity to direct one of their screenplays?”
That is the question. In Hollywood, more times than not, writers don’t have the power or ability to direct their own material. It took a few screenplays before Quentin Tarantino got the shot with Reservoir Dogs. Today’s guest is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig. She got her shot to director her own screenplay on the 2016 critical darling Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick. Check out the trailer below.
Kelly’s adventures through Hollyweird is inspiring to say the least. Enjoy my conversation with Kelly Fremon Craig.
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Welcome to the bulletproof cream play podcast episode number 6. I try to create sympathy for my characters. Then turn the monsters loose Stephen King. Broadcasting from a dark windowless room in Hollywood when we really should be working on that next round. It’s the bulletproof screenplay on cast showing you the Crafton business of screenwriting while teaching you how to make your screenplay bulletproof.
And here’s your host Alex Ferrari. Welcome. Welcome, welcome to another episode of the bulletproof screenplay podcast. I am your humble host Alex Ferrari now Today’s Show is sponsored by bulletproof script coverage now unlike other. Script coverage Services bulletproof script coverage actually focuses on the kind of project you are in the goals of the project you are so we actually break it down by three categories micro-budget indie film market and Studio film.
There’s no reason to get coverage from a reader that used to reading Temple movies when your movie is going to be done for $100,000, and we wanted to focus on that at bulletproof script coverage. Our readers have worked with Marvel Studios CIA wnbc HBO Disney scot-free Warner Brothers, The Black List and many many more.
So if you need your screenplay or TV script covered by professional readers. Head on over to cover my screenplay now. I know there’s a lot of screenwriters, uh and up-and-coming screenwriters who listen to this show and I always get the question. How do you jump from screenwriting to directing and controlling your own material?
And that is that is the question a lot of screenwriters want to do that? But it is a difficult Journey. But today on the show. We have Kelly Freeman Craig the writer director of the edge of 17. The critical acclaimed coming-of-age comedy and Kelly is exactly that she was a screenwriter. She had written one other script prior to that called post-grad that got produced and then uh, she her journey to become not only the writer of edge of 17, but also become the director and what that process was like what she did how she actually went down that Journey.
So hopefully other screenwriters can use this as a blueprint to get. Uh to direct her own feature films, but of course you always have to. Have a good script. So there’s that before your get an opportunity to direct sometimes uh, but edge of 17 was and is an amazing film and a great screenplay. She also talks a little bit about improv how she worked with actors improvin onset and how she really encouraged it.
And also what it was like to work with a legendary writer director producer James L Brooks and how that whole relationship got together how she was able to. Get into the room with James and Pitch him and how this project got off the ground and she discusses her adventures in hollyweird. So, please enjoy my conversation with Kelly Freeman Craig.
I like to welcome to the show Kelly Freeman Craig. Thank you so much Kelly for being on the show. Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m I’m I’m a big fan. I loved your movie age of 17 it hurt back to uh my well basically our time growing up in the uh with John Hughes films. Yes. Oh man. Thank you.
That’s a great compliment because yeah, I grew up on those films. And yeah, I feel like they were especially that age like they’re so formative, you know, he was get that feeling. Um, yeah, he had he had his hand on the pulse, didn’t he? Yeah, he totally didn’t he got out like I think like the thing that was amazing.
Is he he got how um layered it is, you know and messy and complicated and you know, he always pulled that off, um, which was just which was just cool. So so let’s get started. First of all, how did you get into this crazy business? I uh met in college. I was you know, I was I was an English major and I was writing a bunch but I I didn’t really know I didn’t know what I would do with it.
Exactly. Um, and then I uh, I did my first internship when I was a senior in college at a at a film production company and red, um, my first screenplay and just kind of fell in love with. Um with the medium luckily the first screenplay that I read was with something really good. And so it just made me uh made me want to try it at the time.
I was doing like I was dumb. Was doing uh, like spoken word poetry like slam slam poetry that must have been that must have been a dark time that’s like a college thing to do to like like little underground coffee shops, you know about, you know, people people snap instead of clap yet. It was you took ourselves very seriously very soon as you do in college.
Yeah, so, um, so anyways, I was writing I was writing those like little characters that they were basically like monologues. I guess. I was writing different in different voices essentially and then when I you know read my first script, I was like, oh this is you can make all these different voices talk and things happen and there was something exciting about that and at that time I just started to watch movies that I felt like, um, uh, About me at that age like I had for the first time discovered swingers.
Um, and that was actually one of the films that really made me like go and this can be about like me and my friends and my life, you know movies about that. And so it made me want to just start to try to um, you know, try to write something. Um, so so yeah, so I started and um, and then uh moved up to LA and.
Um, you know was like temping and a receptionist. I mean assistant and that sort of thing and writing at night and then um finished my first script a few years later and uh, and then ended up selling that and that was probably in two thousand four or five. Is that is that post-grad? Yes. Uh, yeah, how was what was your experience as a first-time basically produced writer working on a.
Fairly decent sized budget, um, uh film and like that whole experience. It was it was it was wild it was crazy because because on the one hand you’re just you’re so excited that like someone is going to make your film like he’s gonna happen, you know, um, and then um, and then just sort of like the um, just the excitement of all that was.
An incredible high but then when you actually get into it and you realize that um that you know you write this thing, but it’s really kind of a template and then it’s it’s sort of grows legs and runs away. It’s not really yours anymore, you know. Um, so and that part that part of it was hard it was hard to go and like and sit down in the theater for the first time and see it and feel like oh my God, this is.
This is so um, not what you wrote. Not what I yeah, exactly, right? It’s isn’t that the the the trials and tribulations of every writer in Hollywood exactly and some but I think like. You know you sort of at least starting out. You don’t think it will happen to you. I feel like oh, yeah. Oh, no, I’m good.
I won’t fall into that trap. I know the traps there. I won’t fall into it. Exactly. Yeah all sudden you’re there and you’re like, holy shit. It’s their everyone’s right. That’s what happens. So anyways, so, um, so uh, but the, you know, that was a painful experience, but the good part of it the thing I think that was.
That was positive that came out of it. Was it just number one thickened by skin which I feel like you have to you have to be really tough to just survive this anyway, so I think you need that and I did not have that coming in. Um, I was just sort of starry-eyed and like, oh my God script like this is you know, it’s easy, you know, right.
Um, but that yeah that was that was a very quickly replaced by you know citizens. So, um, but anyway, uh, yeah, so it was the good part about it was it. Um, it happened to be habitat. Also just made me, you know want to direct um, which I which I don’t know that I would have um, Really tried to do had a not have that experience.
So for that I’m thankful for it. So then how did um how did that experience help you get edge off age of 17 off the ground and how did it come together in general? Um, I don’t know if they were related at all. I really kind of like once it was done. I was I was. Uh was post-grad was done. I really I’m in a really had a moment where I was like, I think I’ve done I think I’m just done with this whole deal.
I think I just need to move out of the state. I just need something different because I um, I I just I thought man, this is not what I would not what I had thought it was going to be like and then and then I sort of had a moment where um, Uh, God bless my manager. He was he at the time just was like, oh, you know write something that you want to write.
Um, and uh and just you know, don’t think about anybody else don’t just write something for you because at the time I was also doing rewrites and Studio work and stuff like that, which is, you know, when you’re sort of a Hired Gun like that. It’s a different deal. You’re writing your your. You’re an auto you’re more of an auto mechanic.
You’re just sort of trying to help somebody else fix something that they’re you know, they’re working on and that’s and that’s not something I wanted to talk about real quick that a lot of a lot of filmmakers and screenwriters listening, uh, kind of don’t get sometimes like, you know, they just see like five years in between movies and they’re like, how are they surviving and how do you survive that’s the thing, you know, you’re doing a lot of things that.
First of all, so few movies actually get made so you’re writing a lot of things but that never get made never see the light of day. It’s amazing how many things you know how small, um, the percentages that actually gets through honestly, like somebody said like it’s actually a small miracle to get a film that I think that’s true.
Um, it’s uh, it’s really, uh, it’s a fee so there are so many ways. So there was a lot of. Time in there. We’re just sort of writing for a doing those type of things and then there and then there were sort of the moment where I kind of stopped everything and went. All right. Let me just go and write something I really care about and just write it for me.
And then that was um, that was that was at just 17 and then how did it come together? How did you get hooked up with uh, that little producers name’s Jamie. He was part of them. But um, uh James James L Brooks for everyone listening. Yes. Yeah, I you know, um, so I had he was used just like the guy that I there’s a really and there still is nobody that I admire more like he’s so his films are so I I think so many occasion Seas made literally perfect films.
Oh, yeah, and um, So I just had always worshipped him and when when I wrote this, um, uh, we decided to take a shot and send it to him. Even though it was like it was, you know, everybody prefaced it with this is never going to happen like just just so you know, like it’s not gonna happen, but we’ll try you know, so I was like I was braced for like absolutely no way in hell and then and then also and I heard.
Wait a minute and he likes it and he wants to sit down with you. And then I was like, I’m the kid like the week in between hearing that and sitting down with him. I like I can’t even describe to you. I that I had you know, I mean, I’m sure I mean just like your stomach in knots and like rehearsing every last thing I was going to possibly say and then um, and then I uh, I sat down with him and um, And I also in my mind had decided that you know, I really wanted to direct it.
I really want to hold on to it and I had decided that it’s some some point down the line once I had hopefully. You know, uh buttered him up convince him that uh that I thought I should do it, but it turned out that in that first meeting. Um, when we sat down you said I think I think you know, I think the voice is really specific to you.
So I really think you’re the right person to direct it. Wow. I I mean, I I can’t I wish I really wish like I had like a video of that home eating absolute utter shock on my face. So, um, so anyway, yeah, so I and then um, then deduct that we you know, he held the that and we went and made it a few years later.
So yeah, I want to ask you because a lot of film a lot of screenwriters kind of don’t understand the business side of it and the sense of from the first draft to first day of shooting how many years was that that was. For years, so I I preached a lot of the the grind and the hustle that you have to do and and you have to show up every day and you have to keep pushing every day.
Amen because you know what? The thing is like I think it’s very easy when you see something on the Internet or something you think a person is just like you think it’s just happened overnight like it just like I was just happy. But yeah, you don’t see the like years and years and years of work to get it there and the and the amount of knows that you have to turn into yeses.
And you know, I mean, there’s there’s a big mountain to climb to get there. You know, it’s it’s fascinating of it. Yeah, most of the job. It’s fascinating that a movie like age of 17 could get made uh, just in general because you know in today’s world of. Of you know multi Blockbusters, um that a studio could get behind the film like that is awesome.
But yet also that hope that whole development stage how many projects I’m sure have you heard about from other people or been involved with that go through that development stage and just died like five years in the like, oh, there’s a change in the studio or all of it just goes away and then you’re just heartbroken.
Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. I think it’s it’s so many different things have to line up or into work and and it’s also you know, I think you have to um, you have to care about the film that you’re making so much that you are able to withstand the the. The the slog of it, you know the brutality.
Yeah, exactly and just the you know, I mean also just having to live with live with it for four years and love it still and be passionate about it still even after you been so in it that you can’t you know, I mean, I mean it’s like when you’re in the editing process like. By the time you you know, you get to your test audience.
You’ve seen the movie like 500 times. So every joke, like nothing makes you laugh. Nothing makes you cry like you don’t feel a damn thing because you’re just. You’re desensitized because you spent so much time with it, you know, um, and you somehow I think have to be able to get through that and and reset and reset and constantly somehow like freshen yourself to experience.
It emotionally new over and over and over again. And that also I think is something people don’t really talk about as part of the process. You have to like be able to show up and feel it again and again and again and again, you know, yeah, you know, you get null to you get dull it just another phi’s your feelings towards because you know, I mean I’ve been editing for 20 years and sometimes when you’re on a project and you edit a feature again, and again like you forget the jokes what made you laugh three months ago doesn’t make.
Laughs now now just yeah, I just makes you want to like, you know in your head against the wall and you know that it’s yeah, it’s it’s really it’s a yeah, it’s a part of it is really exactly what you said. It’s the grind of it. It’s hard. Yeah. Now what was it like working closely with James L Brooks?
I mean he obviously a legend in the industry. What was it like working with a legend? You know, what’s amazing to me? Is that. You know, sometimes you meet your Meet Your Heroes you meet those Legends and you’re like, oh he’s just, you know Immortal man. Yes, but with Jim I swear to God. It’s like the closer.
I got to him the more I just was. Enamored and Blown Away by his his genius like he’s he’s literally he’s a genius. He’s also like I’ve never seen anybody who has a more lightning-fast mind. That’s the other thing like he’s he is able to um, he’s able to articulate things so beautifully and poetically and.
And hilarious and the most hilarious way imaginable and off the top of his head in like a half a second and I don’t there’s so few people on Earth that can do that, you know, and you can also distill something down to its Essence in a second and half and he’s I mean, I I just I feel like I’m I it’s I only and more um, They only worship and more I’m only more of him.
Um, I feel so lucky that I got to be in in the presence of that. You know, if you had one lesson to take away from working with Jim and I call him Jim now because I know him obviously but um from from working with uh, mr. Brooks, uh, what would be that one lesson be like, oh my God. This is that nugget of the that gold nugget of information that I just invaluable.
Um, uh two two things actually the first thing was and this totally changed my life. Really really really he said when we first sat down um, and we’re starting the development process. You said the most important thing you have to figure out is what do you what do you thing about life in this story?
And I thought that was that’s it’s so important because. There’s so often you can get caught up in the mechanics of Storytelling and jokes and you know and everything but at the end of the day a film needs a thesis, it needs to stay something about how we live, you know, something about our experiences humans and um, and it’s amazing.
I think actually how um, infrequently that question is actually asked, When uh, you know, when people are making a film and I know I don’t know that I was asking myself that question before. I worked with him and now I’ve never I never approaches a film. Um, you know, as I’m looking at a new project and starting new things.
That’s always the first question on my mind to the point where I’m probably annoying everybody because I’m like, but what is it saying? So what does it mean? What is the meaning of life in this story? Factly? I mean, that’s really but when you think about it, When you really think about your favorite movies, you can you can do that.
You can say it’s saying this it’s really about this. Like there’s something that you take away. And um, so that was a really um, that was life-altering honestly and um, and then the other thing was he really encouraged me to go spend some time with teenagers just researchers spend time with the people because there’s something about that that.
Um, first of all, there’s they give you little details and insights that you can’t you can’t just make up. Um, and they also it’s suddenly you have a face for um, it’s it’s it’s it’s like you have a little constituency or something right? It’s just a gives you a different. Um, I don’t know a different level of.
Um Mission or something because you’re like, oh man, but these are the people really actually living this. So, how can I try the really capture that in a way that they would go? That’s it. That’s the feeling, you know to honor them. Yeah exactly their struggle because it is not easy being a teenager is not easy.
I cannot even imagine being a teenager today with all the. I got you know, what is you know, it’s so amazing to like the other day I driving along and um, I was driving along with my husband and I heard a song from um from the 90s when I was a teenager and I was and it just like it did that thing where just hit me like a ton of bricks and if I was just my stomach was in knots like I was like I was back there immediately and I was.
Whoa, I mean, it’s it was a amazingly powerful time in life. Oh, I’m happy to be passed it to ya. It’s no no, I mean but the brutality of social media and teenagers I cannot even. Oh, oh God. Yeah now it’s now it’s so much. It’s got to be it’s got to be worse. Yeah. Oh, it’s it’s without question.
That’s worse. We were growing up was just much more innocent. And then yeah, you will another thing like you could kind of get away from it for a second this like Fishbowl at school, but then you could go home and kind of like. Forget but now it’s just everybody would have all the time. He’s doing all the time and compare yourself to it and wonder if you’re you know, how you’re you’re always I think in this like weird like comparison of where you are on the social spectrum and how you’re doing in life.
And that is absolutely like I think maybe. The most crazy making like biggest mindfuck that age, you know, also like who are you and where are you like, where do you rank in the social hierarchy, but as you and I both know it means absolutely nothing all the problems that you see in high school. In the grand scheme of things is a blip on your yes.
Exactly. Yeah. It’s like the end of the world when you’re there. Yeah God, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get that a I think get that be really yeah, exactly. Yeah. So now you worked with some fairly popular and legendary actors as well and you were a first-time director. So how was it? Like, how do you direct Woody Harrelson and character Cedric?
Oh man, you know so this is also a credit to Jim. Um, when we went when I was gearing up to um to go into production. Um, Jim said, okay, the thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to go sit in the back of Larry mosses class now, Larry Moss is a he’s a very famous acting coach. He’s he’s you know, Coach like Leonardo Dicaprio and he hooked Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets and um, and he puts up these um these classes where essentially like actors go and they they put up a little.
They put up a scene from a movie or a play and and then he directs them and you see something just bomb and then you can give these adjustments where all of a sudden the scene just like just bursts to life. It’s amazing. It’s amazing to watch the transformation. Um, So sitting and watching like a master do that and you know, I’m really watching him for hours.
Honestly. That was that gave me I had something to shoot for I had something to go. Okay, that’s the thing to be after um, and I think a knot and that helped me tremendously. Um, because I think had I not had that experience. Um, I I think I probably would have gone into um gun into the. Gone into production not necessarily a little bit rudderless not knowing what the thing to shoot for is, you know not knowing what good directing really looks like you know what I mean?
Oh, um, so honestly, I think that that helped tremendously. I mean no matter what it’s still Woody Harrelson and I mean, you know, I mean when the first time I met him, it’s like it’s terrifying. What do you ever said? Um, but he’s. So such a just cool warm wonderful person that he he helps that Melt Away really easily and he’s also somebody who’s really committed to the work doing great work, you know, so that makes it easier because everybody’s sort of wanting to do the same thing.
Um, so yeah, he keeps kind of like he keeps the um, he puts the bar High. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah now um, do you have any tips on how like, how do you actually adjust? You know a movie star it’s supposed to you know, is there a difference or are they just actors when they’re on set with you? And I know that’s kind of a weird comment, but do you know what I mean?
Sometimes there is that baggage of a movie star as opposed to just an actor trying to get a scene with a director? Do you talk to them beforehand because I had another director on first-time director on and he had a blue. He did a movie with John Malkovich and he actually asked John Malkovich. How do you want to be directed?
Because it’s John Malkovich. I mean seriously. Yes. Yeah. What a great question. Yeah, how do you want to be directed? Because you know, I’m not gonna sit here and give you motivation. That’s why I hired you Elson. So like are there any techniques or tips that you can kind of throw at us? Um, You know, I I oh, I really always try to do it as as a um as playing and trying things, you know an exploration.
So my Approach is it’s never like I’m never like you did that wrong. Can you do it this way? This is the right way. I’m I’m everything is like, hey, let’s um, Can we try one where we do blah blah. Let’s try this this time. Let’s try that. Let’s try let’s try these different things because that to that’s me at least imagining myself in an actor’s shoes.
That’s an exploration. That’s not. You know you’re messing up. Could you do it could you do it right not the could not the Kubrick way which is um, which also by the way, you don’t know you you really the other thing that I think is so important when you’re directing is like is getting choices. And that’s another thing that Jim drilled into me.
It was just like get you know, get what you um, you know, what you had in mind is the writer, but then get a lot of different iterations of it because. When you’re in the editing room, you’re going to want to be able to move the scene along a spectrum and not just be stuck in, you know, because you have five takes that are angry, you know, I mean, like if you have versions of a line then all of sudden you can actually have the tools to shape a scene in the edit, you know, otherwise you have many less tools.
Um, so so that’s also helpful because it just becomes the. Um Direction really just becomes about trying things, you know and choices. Let’s get one like this and lets you know, so we have options. Um, and I think that also that just. But eases everything off that eases the pressure off and also gives um, I think the actors permission for them to try things.
That’s the other thing. I want the I like I never give direction in the beginning, um of a scene like, you know, we’ll go over the blocking but I tried never to you know, I tried never to say anything because. I loved what they would come out with, you know, I loved watching. Oh that’s their interpretation of that and sometimes it’s much better than what I had imagined.
So, um, so it’s nice to just let everybody um explore and play the play. Yeah, and we’re making a movie for God’s sakes. Yeah exactly how much improv was there on set? Um, uh, It depended on the actors, um, uh Hayden veto who plays um, or when uh, he’s just he’s such a wonderful improviser. So, uh, so I mean really everybody was Haley is a wonderful improviser as well and would really, you know, everybody on there was um, but I would say probably with Hayden.
Um, it was just really fun to let him riff like do his nervous Rift because they would just they were so endearing but if I just let the camera roll or I just say okay, you know, just try try something try something. Um, try whatever you want to do. Like, let’s shake it up after I have the scene letting him kind of just play.
Um, really. Really resulted in I think some great little moments that are that are in the that are in the movie that wound up in the movie. Um, you know when he yells off the uh, Ferris wheel. Yes fucking right that’s improved. That’s him improvising. So and there’s so unheard laughing is how genuinely laughing, you know, but anyway, so that’s the best but thats that’s perfect because they’re not acting anymore.
Yeah. Yes exactly. So like so I Jimmy to give everybody a lot of room to just try. Play is I I found um was really the the best way to do it. Um for me the um, I don’t I I found just allowed everybody to use their talents to the you know to the best of their use the best of their talents, of course now, I’m just curious because it was talked about.
Uh, you just said the word camera. What did you shoot this on because it looked gorgeous. Oh, thank you. It was Alexa. That’s why I thought it looks it looked very very pretty. Oh, thank you. No, um, do you think writing is a good doorway into getting into a directing job? You know, I I have to say I don’t know how anybody gets into directing without writing.
That’s my own process, but I um, I absolutely think that that’s a great way to get into it. Because if you write a piece of material that that people like the great thing is that you can have let you know you have leverage because it’s yours and you know, you can more easily say well, but I’d like to direct it, you know, and that’s you know, it’s a everybody has a hard time taking on a first-time director.
Um. It’s nerve-wracking for everybody. But um, but I think if you if you’ve written the material then you automatically have your automatically closer to it. You have more of an intimacy with the characters and everything else so you can make a good argument why you’re the right person to do it, you know the Frank Darabont way of going about things.
Yeah, you know, I mean, I’m sure mean you know that story, right? I don’t tell me so obviously you know who Frank Darabont is uh, and and Shawshank they offered him. Uh, hi seven figures for Shawshank as they should because it’s arguably one of the best things ever made. Um, and he said, nope. I have to direct so he ended up with $250,000 for the script and then he got to direct.
And and best best decision ever at best. He’s like, I’m gonna be a director and this is what this is how I’m Gonna Roll and God God bless him. He turned down the money. But in the long run, it was a great investment in himself. That’s right. Yes, exactly and arguably turned out one of the greatest movies ever made.
Yes. Yeah exactly now, um, what are some of your writing and directing influences? Um, uh, Jim Brooks, obviously, um hammer Crow Alexander Payne, uh, um, I gosh I mean I missed mr. Hughes. Uh, yeah for sure John Hughes. Yeah. Um, yeah, I um, oh, um, uh Richard linklater love love. Um, Before sons are Before Sunrise.
Oh that whole that whole that whole series. So beautiful sear. He is so good and they just wrote it with the he wrote it with the doctors. I mean, it’s yeah, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. I love I’m so I mean there are certain filmmakers that I’m just so um, I’m like, so thankful for them. You know, I mean, I feel like every film is just um a gift, you know, I I’m.
I don’t know. So um, so yeah those um, those are some of the guys now, what is the biggest lesson you took away from making age of 17?
Um, and it was you know, it was there were so many because it’s just as a steep learning curve as a first-time director. So it just every single day or learning something new. Um, but um, But uh, I think I think ultimately that um, I you know your your net the thing that I that the Jim said a lot and that and that always that really stayed with me too is that you know, when you’re on set the thing that you’re the thing that matters most is what ends up on film, you know, because there are a lot of things.
It’s um, it’s you know, first of all, it’s a whole sort of army of people and different fires to put out and every help. Um, that’s just the nature of it anytime you’re going to do anything like this. That’s the nature of it. But if you can just clear all of that away and silence that noise and just worried about what’s on film and and sometimes even if that means, you know, there are some there were some things where.
You know, we had to go 20 takes and it was but you have to because it’s you just have to you know, oh and when and when it’s happening, it’s you’re Sweating Bullets because you can feel everybody being like are you kidding me take 20 out of curiosity and that that specific scenario like what was the purpose for you?
Just not getting what you wanted or you just exploring a lot? Uh, you know it well in this particular instance I’m thinking of it was like there was a hole there was a bunch of extras there was a and it was uh, it was just having to get um having to get a very specific moment, um between the actors and having the extras.
Doing the right thing at the right time and having the camera move in the right way and captured at the you know, it was just a lot of moving parts. And so it just took a lot to get there. It was hurting it was hurting wet cats. And so but there are certain things where you go, but it’s but it’s important we have to do it even when.
You know, even when everybody’s tired and it’s you know, it’s or a.m. And you know, like you just have to know that you don’t want to be in the editing room later. Just kicking yourself because you didn’t you didn’t go one more and just get it, you know, so that part’s I think I just remembering that and somehow shutting out, you know.
The noise is I think important now what advice would you give a filmmaker who is wanting to make their first feature film? Um, oh man. Um, I I’d probably pass along that Jim Brooks advice about get choices, you know, um, um, uh so that they have room to play in the edit. Um, And um and also to sit down with everybody you possibly can to get advice and ask where are the landmines, you know, I tried to do that before I started and people, you know, I sat down with a number of directors that were just were really gracious about it.
And we’re like, okay, you know this, you know, this may happen this may happen this may happen. I suggest this I said like get every bit of advice you possibly can. Um, um, Yeah people who’ve been down the road a bit and and and can warn you about the land mines. Yeah, because a lot of it because the problem is and you know going into going into my first thing.
I knew that there were things. I know I knew I didn’t know. But the much scarier things were the things I didn’t even know. You know what I mean? Oh, I do is a big, you know, that was there was a big section of that, you know, and I’m sorry. I was trying to shrink that box as much as I could before I went into it.
Yes. Yes. I know. I know that very well. Now what is not what this is? This is my Oprah question. So prepare yourself. Okay, um, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business? In life, that is a good I feel like I need to like lay down on the couch. Tell me tell me.
How were you when you were a child now. I’m Joe. Um, oh man, um, that is it. Uh, um,
God that is I’m really am like so something there’s something that comes to your head is fine. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I think you know, I I think I I think probably um finding if okay, I’m gonna try to figure out how to articulate this but for me it was. It was and is always important especially as you know is a person trying to tell stories to find that um that part that actually hurts, you know, like whether I’m watching actors or.
You know watching a take or writing a scene to find that thing. That actually makes me go. Oh, oh my God. I know that I feel that um, and I think like in a way, um, if I can boil it down, it’s probably just about like, um compassion, you know, I think that the whole. Experience of the movie and looking at every different character and writing each character and watching the takes and working with the actors is all about sort of finding compassion for each different, um, which each different person and moment and so I I I guess that’s.
That’s what I take into the into the few in the future projects sort of trying to find that in each character and story and I guess that kind of bleeds over into life, you know, everybody you meet even if the when somebody’s an asshole, if you can sort of reach past it and find um find the like pain that it’s coming from the truth the truth.
Yeah truth of that person or that character. Yeah, yeah, that was a very deep answer. You can get off the couch now. Um, now this question might be even tougher so and this is a I asked all my all my guess is question. Um, what are the three of your favorite films of all time? Oh man, um any through that come to your mind, uh, you know, yeah, this is always so so hard to do to fake to narrow down, but I would say.
Um, uh sideways is one of my favorite films by Alexander Payne. Um, uh As Good As It Gets. Oh, it’s movie. So brilliant. Oh, it’s so brilliant. It’s so brilliant. Um, and uh, and I’d say The Breakfast Club. Yes. Yeah, I think there was rumors that they were going to make a sequel to The Breakfast Club.
Oh God, they were gonna get they were gonna go to their High School reunions. And then they were all gonna get locked up in jail for something that happened and it was just gonna be them in jail. When was that that would John John was still alive back then. Okay, John with yeah. Yeah, John was still alive back then watch that or was he part of it?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t remember if that was I think he squashed it, but there was there was there was a story floating around about. Hey, let’s do it. Let’s do a ten year later 20 years later. You know High School reunions of what happened to these characters, which arguably I kind of interested to know what it’s like, I don’t know whether I want that or whether I am like no no like I don’t want that.
I really I’m like almost equally. It’s like this like I’m equally want I don’t want it. I would want to see it personally, but I don’t want anybody else to ever see it. Yeah, exactly if that makes any sense like I’m curious to see what happened, but I don’t want it out there. Yes. Yeah. Yeah now where can people find you online.
Uh, I am I I’m on Instagram. Um, and I’m on Twitter. I think K Freeman Craig on Twitter and Kelly from Craig on Instagram. I’m not I’m not Super Active on those things. But um, but but all in there. Okay Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the to the indie film also tribe and and share your uh, your your journey of making 17 and thank you so much.
I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you. I really appreciate you having me man. Kelly’s story is pretty inspiring and I hope it inspires you guys to uh to start writing more man. Get out there start riding pitch those scripts make your movies. There is no excuse anymore. So just go out there and do a guys.
Now if you want links to anything we talked about in this episode head over to indie films. That’s be bulletproof screenplay BPS 0 and guys. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. Uh, the the subscriber base has grown so fast and we’re getting downloads like crazy. People are talkin it retweeting, uh the show already.
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