Devil's Hollow Directed by Chris Easterly

It Started with Desperation

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I sat across from my literary manager as we ate lunch in the airy, sun-lit dining room of the Los Angeles Tennis Club. We met here every few months to assess the state of my Hollywood writing career. That afternoon, he looked up from his Cobb salad with a bemused smile.

“Where did you get the confidence to direct?” he asked. I knew it wasn’t confidence, so I admitted what it was. “Desperation,” I said.

And it was true. We were discussing a feature film I’d written and planned to direct, though I had never directed more than a couple short films and indie music videos. My first-time directorial project was a journey that had started nearly two years earlier, and it had indeed started with desperation…

For several years, I had been making a living as a writer on hour-long TV dramas, a cable movie-of-the-week, and other miscellaneous gigs (a network TV outline here, a webisode there). In the spring of 2014, I launched myself into that grueling annual gauntlet known to television writers as “staffing season,” wherein scribes take whatever meetings they can get with TV producers, in hopes of getting hired to work on a show.

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filmmaking

The Highs and Lows of Filmmaking

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Making a movie is neither a smooth nor quick process. It happens in fits and starts. It’s long hours spent getting the script in great shape. It’s hopeful meetings with agencies pitching “name” actors for lead roles. It’s late night phone calls with producers in different time zones. It’s fun and grueling and discouraging and exhilarating.

Recently, I posted an article about the making of my first independent feature film Devil’s Hollow. In real time, I will tell the story of how me and a talented group of indie filmmakers—from L.A. to Kentucky—have banded together to produce a low-budget movie. That story is still unfolding.

The perennial challenge to making a movie is finding the money. When you don’t have the backing of a major studio like Warner Brothers or Paramount, it’s up to you to identify investors and persuade them to write checks to fund your project. And that’s where we find ourselves with Devil’s Hollow; the script is written, locations secured, actors interested… but it simply takes time to raise all the money.

So I asked myself: What does a storyteller do when he finds himself in a holding pattern like this?

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