April 16, 1996

I spent a lot of the day talking to producers of other films, getting advice. I had a particularly nice, long conversation with Nancy Larsen, the co-producer of John Young's upcoming feature, who made some good suggestions for improving the script. She offered to help us in an advisory capacity, but she's too busy right now to work on the project--which is too bad, as she seems just the sort of person that one would like to have around.

Talking to other filmmakers is of course valuable, but there are certain dangers associated with it. If you talk to someone used to working with significantly more money or resources than you have, you are likely to hear a lot of scary things about how certain production elements, which you were planning to do without, are absolutely indispensable. On the other end of the budgetary spectrum, you hear inspiring stories of features shot with 200-watt lightbulbs and a girlfriend in the lead role. Depending on your psychology, you can wind up striving for a technical level that is beyond your reach or sabotaging your film's prospects by settling for too amateurish an attitude. Last time out, I think I sabotaged myself. I'm determined not to do that again, but a low-budget filmmaker always has to walk a line between too much production and too little, and you can't know for sure where the boundaries are until after you've finished.

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