Making an Impossible Film

    It feels like just yesterday we were wrapping on principal photography for The Umbrella. So to announce its US release on Flix Premiere is beyond exciting.

    The Umbrella is the first feature film from our company, The Initiative Production Company.

    The story follows Jared Evans, who, when confronted by uncomfortable circumstances, hides beneath an imaginary umbrella. It’s only when he’s forced to see a psychologist about his coping mechanism, he realises his umbrella has kept him from wonderful experience too. But will he let go of his umbrella?

    Pre-production

    The Umbrella is and always will be a very special piece of filmmaking to me. It is the first feature I had significant input in.

    I was a part of the pre-production team — helping create promotional packages, stamps and organising the casting.

    Helping cast the film was one of my favourite aspects. I love getting to meet local actors and to see the unique talent of each person.

    And of course there were those few who blew us out of the water with their performance and were cast in the film.

    Specifically, I remember when Belinda Raisin first auditioned for us. She came into the room and we chatted for a bit before jumping into the audition sides. I was reading with her.

    It was an emotional scene and her choices brought tears to my eyes. I was amazed.

    As we talked afterward, she said something that made me pause. She’d done the entire audition in an American accent (in front of three Americans), but her natural Aussie accent came out at the end and I was speechless. I would never have suspected it.

    Principal Photography

    When it came to actually shooting the film, I was so nervous. As the 1st Assistant Director (1st AD) it was my job to put together the shooting schedule.

    Scheduling a short film can be complicated enough. You have to take into consideration the actors schedules, when the location will be free and if shooting outside you have to try and pick days you think the weather is going to co-operate.

    Thinking about all this on a script that’s over ninety pages long was definitely a challenge, but I loved it.

    I remember one day where I’d scheduled for us to film indoors but it was raining outside. This wasn’t a problem, but instead of sticking with the schedule, the director suggested  we get some of the outdoor scenes where it requires rain instead. Wanting to take advantage of the weather.

    I immediately started thinking of all the work that would take to change and felt the adrenaline kick into high gear. It would have easy to become really stressed by the change in plans, however, I knew he was right so wanted to make it happen. It was a lesson in how to be a fast and efficient people mover and I definitely learned a lot!

    If you have seen the trailer, one of the scenes shot that day is where are main character, Jared, is standing at a bus stop and a girl with a red umbrella comes to stand near him.

    Re-Shoots

    Probably my favourite experiences came during re-shoots. By that time most of the crew had left. Which meant that our roles did a lot more overlapping, making for a fun challenge.

    I remember vividly texting one of our actors to remind them about the shoot the next day and having her message me back that she’d cut her hair! But I didn’t have time to freak out, so myself and our Post Production Supervisor, Proby, took off to the local shops to see if we could find a wig that would work to cover her new hair cut.

    We asked several stores for advice, but pretty much everyone said it was impossible to fix.

    That didn’t work for us, so we kept searching until we finally found a solution, which you can read more about here.

    But I’ll never forget the feeling of finding success in an impossible situation.

    US Release

    Probably the best thing about shooting The Umbrella, is getting to share it with all of you in the US.

    This film was a huge part of my life for about four years and getting to share the final product is so exciting.

    We’ve partnered with a ground-breaking company called Flix Premiere. What we love about this company is their passion for independent film. To be a place for great stories that might not otherwise find a platform to promote them.

    The Umbrella was released in the US just over two weeks ago. For those of you in the UK it will also be released there later this year. Keep a lookout on Flix Premiere and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram to learn when it’ll be released in the UK!

    This film was a huge part of my life and getting to share the final product is so exciting.

    The Umbrella will always hold a special place in my heart. I grew a lot during this project. As a filmmaker and as a person. It opened my eyes to see I was capable of more and I will always love it for that.

    Even more than this though, is how important I think the story is. Every single one of us have our own umbrellas and it’s important to confront them. For all of you in the US, I encourage you to jump over to Flix Premiere and watch The Umbrella tonight.

    It’s a great story that will inspire and challenge you.

    I know it inspired and challenged me.

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    • Charis Joy Jackson

      Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

      Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson

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