COLUMN: Don't cast friends (Bullshit. Do it!) and other advice from deadCENTER
A budding film student working for a newspaper will have a lot of advice thrown her way during the five days of deadCENTER Film Festival.
From “Your underwear is showing through your skirt” to “Very few people know how to make a good movie these days,” I got advice left and right.
It was fascinating, really. These people have a common livelihood in film. Most of them eat, sleep and breathe it. Yet they have such differing views of what works and what doesn’t.
“Don’t cast your friends,” co-producer of “Odds or Evens” John Venable said. "Just because someone is funny in life, doesn't mean it will transfer onto screen. Never, ever do it."
This is advice I see logic in — and generally agree with.
Whenever people begin working professionally with a preexisting friend, they usually find that friend to be a completely different person.
I asked them what they thought about the advice to "never cast your friends." Each of them agreed with a single-word answer: Bullshit.
"Everything depends on established relationships," Ray said. "I had previously worked with Gary King, our screen writer. I was working with Joe (Shermann) in Les Miserables in New York. We knew where the popularity was heading with "Glee" and "Smash" and it just clicked that we should work together."
They all told me how they met Debbie, the leading lady, singing in "No-name bar." (Check out Debbie's single here.)
"You have to do what you love. You have to, because you will be mediocre at everything else," said Ken Lampl, the composer for the film.
Another important piece of advice to get into the film world? Get out and try it, said Geoffrey Boyd, the producer of a short film called "Lovely Day."
"You can learn some in class, but you can only get so far," Boyd said. "You don't have to be using the nicest camera in the world. Hell, use your iPhone, but I guarantee you learn 10times more out there in production than you can in a film class."
In general, Al Ruddy and Gray Frederickson had this advice for students: "At the end of everything, you need a story. I always do simple stories. If you can tell a story, and people are halfway interested, you are making a movie."
This weekend was unforgettable, and I learned so much. I can't wait for next year.
Mariah Webb is a film sophomore.