Posted by Victoria U Bell

I wasted 8 months of my life, along with a large sum of money, on empty promises and fraudulent contracts from a so-called "producer" who claimed he could get my movie done on a 5 MM budget.

He was an incredibly good storyteller but with bad intensions. You see, he was a very skilled con artist that dismantled the hopes and the creativity of many filmmakers.

He has been selling lies for years and many innocent people have fallen victim to his scams and still continues to do it to this day.

From the "proof of funds" to his "investors" to his “IMDb credits” - everything was fake and when I realized this, my dreams and goals of making a movie were destroyed.

I felt grief and sadness, as if my creative child had died and I fell into a deep mourning...and although you can recoup wasted money, you can never recoup wasted time.

I cried, got angry, and blamed myself for not listening to my intuition. I fell into deep despair and thought that I'll never make a feature film.

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

Behind the Scenes "Heir of the Witch"

 

For weeks I wallowed in my loss and misery, and even questioned the art of filmmaking and blamed the system for being so competitive, cut-throat and corrupt.

But then my maternal grandmother's long-lost advice came to mind. "The world doesn't owe you anything, it's up to you to go after what you want in life"

My granny lived during very harsh times, she lost her husband during WW ll and raised 7 children during the famine of '47 that killed a quarter of Moldova's population. Yet she managed to stay strong, and positive despite life being unfair to her.

I wiped my tears and put myself together. I decided to stop looking for a "producer's approval" and make my own damn movie!

First, I had to put my high-budget thriller script "FIVE" back on the shelf and write a new story that could fit in my budget.

Here is a brief rundown of my journey on how I wrote, directed, produced and acted as the lead role in my first feature film "Heir of the Witch"

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

Behind the Scenes "Heir of the Witch"

 

1. Finding the Idea/Story

The story you want to tell the world has to be important to you and have significant meaning as to why you want/need to tell it now.

Writing a script can be a lonely and intense roller coaster ride. However, you have to stick with it and keep writing even if your imaginary friends don't want to talk with you. Be patient. Be still. Do your best to silence your thoughts and after a while the magic will start to flow. When I get there, it feels as if I am in a different quantum field.

"Heir of the Witch" was woven from my own childhood. I did not want to go there and uncover the pain, the shame, and the anguish I lived for so long. But I knew I had to. The story is based on true events from my own family's past. It's very personal and close to the bone. I cried while writing it and that's how I knew that it is too real for me not to share it.

2. Keep the Budget in Mind

Write the script with your locations/resources in mind. I knew I couldn't get people to invest millions in my idea since I didn't have a filmmaking background as of yet, so I had to use the resources I had in order to make "Heir of the Witch" look and feel like a high budget film.

I included my friends' houses in my story before I even told them about it. ...and I wrote the script with my budget in mind. I knew I couldn't blow sh$t up, so I had to find affordable ways to entice the audience. I wrote every single day and night and had my first draft done in about 2 months!

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

Behind the Scenes "Heir of the Witch"

 

3. Gather your Team and Create your Tribe!

After I finished my script and did several rewrites, I blew the horns loud and clear and made the crew call announcements. The applications were pouring in, but we had to be very picky.

We wanted to gather a team that not only loves to make movies, but a team that believes in our project and are willing to endure the long days and nights ahead on this new journey.

Our crew consisted of 80% females from all walks of life. These bad-ass women are diverse, driven and uniqueness to create magic! My team was by my side from day one and supported the vision, helping daily with decisions, working the schedule during bad weather, even riding the wave through a world pandemic.

Choose your team wisely and cherish each one of them, because they will become your lifelong creative family!

4. Create a Buzz!

Now that you gathered your team, it's time to start a buzz on all platforms and your people are there to share and comment on every post, to make the audience aware of what is going on.

I also organized a "Red Carpet Gala" where I showcased the teaser of the film. It was a night for beautiful gowns, tasty food, excitement, and magic! We had people coming from all over, staying in hotels in Charlotte just to be a part of this exhilarating event. Everyone was involved in promoting the movie and shouting with pride to be a part of something magical.

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

 

5. Raising the Funds

Even in a low budget movie, you must pay your cast and crew. I am a firm believer that everyone should be compensated for their efforts and dedication.

The road to funding a movie is different for everyone and we did a little bit of everything.

I raised funds by campaigning, finding investors and as needed, chipped in our own funds.

We had a larger budget in mind and had several investors interested to come on board, but then Covid-19 happened, and many people backed out. Still, we fought, endured, and managed to get the movie done even during the pandemic which added additional costs to keep everyone safe and follow the CDC guidelines. When approaching investors, make sure to have a business plan completed, along with a pitch deck, top sheet budget and a teaser that will best describe your idea/theme/mood for your film.

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

 

6. Start Now: Start with a Trembling Heart, Just Start!

The truth is, we may never feel like we're completely ready. But the deeper truth is that our fear of failure (or success) is keeping us from taking that first step. We are storytellers and we have an innate desire to tell stories about the human condition through the prisms of our own eyes. The world needs to hear your voice and see your point of view. Do not let your fear stop you from telling your story. Start where you are, start now and stop hiding behind excuses.

At times, I also felt like I didn't know what I was doing, but the truth is, we know more than we think we do. If you don't know the answer to a question, then figure it out by researching, google it or ask fellow filmmakers.

There are so many free and valuable resources out there for filmmakers. Stage 32 is a great resource for any storyteller as they provide guidance and training thru every step of a production. You have no more excuses left!

You are holding back greatness that needs to be brought to life. Let your artistic desires be the compass to your success. They are there for a reason.

 

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

Behind the Scenes "Heir of the Witch"

 

2020 went by so fast...do not let another year go by without taking the reins into your own hands. It's your time to flourish, it's your season of blessings and there's plenty of opportunities to go around for everyone. Just start and get going!

Hard work +hard work + perseverance + belief in yourself = greatness!

I'm here cheering for you!

With all my love,

Victoria U. Bell

a fellow filmmaker

who didn't know what she was doing

but figured it out on the way...

 

About Victoria U. Bell

Use What You Have and Make Your Own Damn Movie

Victoria U. Bell is an avid actress, film director, screenwriter and producer.

She was born and raised in Republic of Moldova during the communist occupation, having only a black and white TV with limited access to information. She formed a passion for film from an early age, being inspired by her country's rich culture and history.

She started to write poems and short stories and later developed into scripts and eventually short films that she produced, directed and acted in as the principal role.

She's now in post-production of her feature film "Heir of The Witch" a psychological horror film that's inspired by the past of her own family.

She's also working on several other scripts, from thrillers to period pieces and comedy.

Her vision is to involve more women in the filmmaking world, both in front and behind the camera.

Outside of her passion for film, Victoria is involved in charities that support a clean environment and animal's rights.

 

www.heirofthewitch.com

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