EDITOR'S NOTE: This entry begins a new "filmmaker diary series" which will follow writer/director Tahir Jetter as he embarks on his inaugural journey into web series production, which, as he states below, should provide readers with some "insight into what it's like to make a quality, long-form production at a relatively low-budget." Tahir joins previous S&A filmmaker diary series feature contributed by Matthew Cherry, and Pete Chatmon - both that, based on your reactions on this site, as well as your emails to me, many of you found very valuable. And I believe that Tahir will continue that tradition, and that there'll be something in this series for everyone (whether you're a creative, lover of the web series format, or just a passerby) to be "edutained" by. So, without further ado, here's Tahir's first of several entries to come...
In the Fall of 2012, I decided to act on what was, at the time, possibly the most unwise financial decision that I ever could have made--one that could have only been rivaled by:
a) impregnating a junkie
b) investing in Blackberry stock (RIMM)
c) throwing whole reams of cash into a speeding propeller
“I,” I decided, “am going to make a Web series.”
In the Fall of 2012, I’d just been hired for my first full-time job in NYC after nearly 4 years of erratic employment. All I’d had to show for my time in the city was a bachelor’s degree in film production, the cost of which, as with many of my peers, had left my parents and I in a state of financial ruin.
After several years of experiencing (what I’d considered to be) poverty while living in NYC (and attempting to make movies), I decided that I needed to do something which I felt might quickly help to elevate my stature--something that might help me gain exposure and would give me an opportunity to make the kind of "art" that I'd always wanted to make.
“And so,” I thought, “given the fact that nobody gives a shit about short films anymore [my thoughts after having made a few] and the fact that the independent movie business is drying up faster than an old sow’s teat, the web series game will be the way for me.”
With that, I proceeded to prep a new project. To stay sane, I began journaling in my iPhone in September of 2012 while riding the subway to my 9 to 5. It was often the only time that I felt that I had a moment to spare.
Welcome to my brain. :-)
Hard Times, our webseries, was originally scheduled to be shot in Brooklyn, NY from May 2013-Aug 2014. The script began from a treatment and an episode guide that I developed with two friends back in 2010.
The total pages of this script were about 88-90 (the same as a feature-length film) and were broken up into 10-11 episodes.
Given my budget, I figured that we could more or less afford to shoot once every 6-8 weeks, should things go as planned. Things would necessarily change as I came to realize the magnitude of what I was actually doing—directing/producing a feature-length project over an extended period of time.
As of now, we’ve done:
Shoot 1: May 14-17 – Days 1-3
Shoot 2: July 14-17 – Days 4-6
Shoot 3: Aug 11 – Day 7
Shoot 4: Oct 5 – Day 8
Shoot 5: Nov 2-Nov 3 – Day 9-10
Shoot 6: Jan 4th
Though we're planning to release this April (after quite a few delays)
We dropped this teaser trailer about 6 months ago (it's dope& NSFW):
And another teaser for our website, just last week (perhaps even doper, and also NSFW):
If you're looking to gain insight into what it's like to make a quality, long-form production at a relatively low-budget, look no further. We're hoping to do a regular entry on Shadow & Act each and every week until we premiere online (likely in April). My full production diary will be available on our website, shortly thereafter.
Thanks for reading.