Tell Us Your Filmmaking War Stories

Feature image “Delirium film set” © Tamara Podolchak, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s a reason I used the term “war stories” in the title of this blog post. More often than not, making a film–any kind of film, from a 2-minute short to a 4-hour epic–is like fighting a battle. Sometimes it seems like one challenge after another: script revisions; scheduling; budgeting; finding locations; finding actors; working with your cast and crew; shooting a live event; working with non-professionals; working with professionals. Quite honestly, the fact that movies and short films get made at all is quite a miracle. Especially if you’re working with team.

“Asian Film Academ” © Injeongwon. CC BY-SA 3.0

I would hazard to guess that whether you’ve shot only one film, or one hundred, you have an anecdote or two? I want to know what it is. I’m gathering story entries as possible inclusion in a special project we’re producing. If we use your story, you’ll get a special membership gift.

  • Was there some valuable lesson you learned about directing or acting?
  • Did the stars align just perfectly to help you create something amazing?
  • Did severe limitations result in something even better than you originally planned?
  • Did everything go to hell and a handbasket, the film never got made, but the story is still great nonetheless?
  • Do you have some incredible 48 Hour Film Project story to tell?

There’s got to be something worth sharing. Let me know what it is.

An Example: Two Close Calls with Fake Under-Aged Hookers

A few years ago I was shooting a narrative-style PSA (public service announcement) for an organization that ran an after-care home for teen girls in the Atlanta area who were rescued from the sex trade. We were looking to shoot the “street scene” with our fake under-aged prostitutes (real high school girls, not professional actors). This was an extreme low budget shoot for a non-profit, so we didn’t have permits (I’m sure none of you would ever shoot on a city street without permits. But I’m just a bad seed I guess. 😉 )


It was late at night and we were in some rural suburb about 90 miles north of Atlanta. As we drove up and down one particular street once too often, a cop stopped us. (Try explaining to a cop why you have four middle school girls dressed like hookers in one car and a bunch of camera equipment in another. Let’s just say it was a tad bit, um, uncomfortable.) Pretty soon, another cop car came up to join in the fun.

Luckily, the two ladies who ran the home (i.e. my clients) were with us, and between the three of us, we explained the situation.

You’ll never guess what happened next…

Not only did we not get arrested nor told to cease and desist,  but one of the officers agreed to be our chaperon. We drove into town behind a Wal-Mart (or some such large store like that) to film the scene, and the cop stayed with us to make sure we’d be okay.


And it’s a good thing he did. About ten minutes into the shoot, a REAL customer/scum of the earth drove up on one of our actresses, ostensibly to proposition her. Our new officer friend started to walk up to him, and he drove off. The officer said that had the guy actually stopped and addressed her, he would’ve taken him into custody. (That would’ve made for some great outtakes. With so much news about bad cops lately, this was a great reminder that the overwhelming majority of them are good people who take justice and protecting the innocent seriously.)

Anyway, we finished the scene, said our gooodbyes to the officer, then went about our merry way.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now I want to know your story. There are two ways you can submit your story to us:

  1. Record a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to Or…
  2. Fill out this form below.

I look forward to reading/hearing them.

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