Directing a Film Isn't All Terrible

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A dispatch from a first-time filmmaker chronicling his experience for The Atlantic

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Making a film with limited resources can certainly be a struggle. But I feel like readers of this column—not to mention friends who flinch at the bags currently under my eyes—may have been misled to think that the past couple weeks of shooting have been nothing but a succession of trials. Not true at all. Last week, while complicated by tight scheduling and even tighter locations, was filled with high points for me. For one, we had our first real celebrity cameo: Readers of the Atlantic may recognize the dapper dude dwarfing me in the photo above. Also, we shot a sequence that will, in all likelihood, be the opening scene of the movie. It looked awesome and it helped me see the finished film in my mind more than any other scene yet has. Even more exciting: Last week we were joined by several other principle actors: Darien Sills-Evans, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and Zachary Booth. We shot our first scene with the rapper Jean Grae as well—but more on that later.

Today, we shoot a very funny bit with Lucy Walters, the lovely actress who silently enthralled Michael Fassbender in the opening of Steve McQueen's Shame. I'm jazzed—and not just because there are so few white people in my film. If you think Walters is captivating in the clip below, wait until you hear her, yunno, say words.

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Neil Drumming is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and journalist. He is a former staff writer and editor at Entertainment Weekly, and his work has appeared in Wired, The Washington Post, Vibe, Rolling Stone, Essence, and Vanity Fair.

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