Four and a half years ago an incredible opportunity presented itself. I was hanging around a ragtag group of young idealists who were about to make their first feature film. They were incredibly passionate about what they did and I wanted to be a part of it. I asked if I could be part of their journey, despite the fact that I had absolutely no training or experience in filmmaking.
The name of the feature was The Umbrella, and the young idealists called themselves The Initiative Production Company.
Jason Solari, the fearless leader of this ragtag group saw something in me and gave me an opportunity that would alter the course of my life in ways I have yet to fully realize.
Hungry for knowledge, I read all the filmmaking books I could get a hold of to prepare for the journey I was about to go on.
I was given a warm welcome into the filmmaking family and immediately put to work building equipment like rain rigs and apple boxes under the supervision of the zealous construction coordinator and sound mixer, Jonathan Proby.
When production started I was put in the position of a Grip, a humble but important position on set.
I learned about setting up equipment like complicated camera rigs, dollies, cranes, rain rigs, lights, diffusion etc. I learned a lot about cinematography just from watching the DP, something that benefited me greatly when I did film school half a year later.
Throughout the production I even got to try my hand at other things like; booming, stand in, water safety, “underwater” gripping, acting (ha! look for the yoga instructor when you watch the movie) just to name a few.
But more than anything I learned about the culture of a filmset.
I learned that working on a feature film you are all there for one single purpose. To serve something greater than yourself and that is the story. You are like a body, the director is the head and the grips are like the hands and feet.
This was the start of my crazy journey into the world of film, a space and an industry few people understand.
Even though the people I joined had past experience in filmmaking, this was our first feature film as a company. We were about to join a select body of people who have succeeded in making a feature film.
We are lucky to be working filmmakers, paid or not. People dream of doing what we do and I am incredibly thankful for the amazing opportunity I was given.
This Friday the 12th of August at 7 pm EST, our first feature film; The Umbrella will premiere in the United States on the brand new pay per view platform; www.flixpremiere.com/film/the-umbrella The day we have been waiting for (and I know many of you have too), is finally here!
I urge you to watch this project, some of our finest moments and also some of our finest failures are on that screen. This film represents the start of a bright future for our ever expanding group of ragtag, talented, strange and idealistic individuals called; The Initiative Production Company!