Arrangements: Director's Diary – introduction

Well, I’ve been asked to direct a short film for a local indie production group.

Cinemar is an organization of filmmakers local to the Santa Cruz area – students, hobbyists and professionals. They maintain a website for members to share their profiles and communicate with one another. They also hold a monthly “Schmoozfest” gathering at the largest local studio (Digital Media Factory). At the Schmoozfest, they discuss current projects, screen short films and trailers, and have speakers.

Once a year, Cinemar holds a “Get Your Short Film Made” contest… they take submissions for short screenplays with minimal production requirements that can be shot locally, and the winner gets their film made by virtue of Cinemar’s collective resource pool. This year’s winner – “Arrangements” – is the story of a middle aged man who learns he has six weeks to live. Learn more at the website –

I was invited to be on the review committee and rate the submissions. There were two, maybe three screenplays worth shooting… Arrangements being one of the top two. Seems enough other readers agreed with me, and Arrangements got the nod. Though the reading was anonymous, it turned out the writer was an old friend of mine, Skot Christopherson. He and Cinemar’s production representative were nice enough to ask me to take the helm on the shoot, and I happily agreed.

The script was chosen around September 5th, and the decision was made to try to get the film ready for submission to the Santa Cruz Film Festival’s deadline of January 15th. That meant preproduction done in record time, shooting finished by November 15th, leaving 8 weeks to cut and score the film. It’s only gonna be ten minutes long… how hard could that be, right? Just need props, crew, equipment, locations, cast, good weather, and post production resources. All of whom have real jobs and responsibilities that come first. So we can mostly only work on weekends. Piece o’ cake… right?

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