by Allison Vanore, Producer of "Hopelessly in June"

There’s nothing better than a well oiled machine.

These two weeks in August are really the busiest and most important weeks of our entire production. With a sudden influx of talent and resources, we are kicking it into gear and pumping out the film in a few big days on set!

Really it all comes down to preparation. All of my work is done before we even set foot on set (for the most part). If we’ve done our job preparing then it goes smoothly. What this preparation means is having all of my duties complete. A peek at my “to do” list... [more here]

Check out Allison Vanore in her interview about her work on Hopelessly in June.

An Interview with Allison Vanore

"...When I first met Vince, they seemed to be “half done” with production.  Soon after that the production team and writers sat down and decided they needed a complete script overhaul and plan because this short film (it was originally going to be a 30 minute short) was going to be a feature film...."

Check out the entire Hopelessly in June blog here.

Writers are a breed unlike any other.  They are usually the first glimmer of light, the first spark of imagination, the first stroke of a pen, the first click of a key in any project.


I don't feel like there is a specific type of personality for a writer - they come from all backgrounds and with varying imaginations.  I know writers who are very big on research and technical information while I also know writers who are about discovering something completely odd or something unimaginable.  A writer must be dedicated to their craft and must find the way writing works for them.  I know for me, when I write, it's not until I've worked out the story and the ideas and the characters all in my head before I even put pen to paper.  Yes, a pen.  I write everything free-hand.  It's only for the second draft that I'll type it onto my computer.  Transcribing allows me to edit while I type.  For other writers, it's all about outlines, character background, timelines, and research before writing anything in script format.


Once the script is handed over to a Producer, Director, or Executive Producer, the writer needs to be open to suggestions, changes and additions.  A writer is usually just thinking about the story and the characters and the world that is created can be anything on paper. However, as a producer I see a script differently.  The first things I think when I read a script are...

  • Is it innovative and well written?
  • How many characters?
  • How many locations?
  • Are there special effects required?
  • Are there visual effects required?
  • Is it set in present time or is it a period piece or future/sci-fi?
  • Is it marketable?

All of these items, except for the first, are a big deal when you talk in terms of money and logistics.  If you come to me with a script that takes place in one apartment with two characters and no effects then it's going to be much easier and faster to pull off then a vampire period piece with 10 main characters and 100s of extras.  That said, a two character drama might not be as marketable as a vampire movie (at least now, in 2010)... so it all depends on what your abilities, goals and resources are.


Once production starts, changes to the script need to remain minimal however as the actors get into the script with the director, this is the time that the writer needs to be willing to see, hear and adjust.  One thing I recommend is having a table read as production starts so everyone, including all key production personnel can hear the script read out loud.  We recently did this for a project I'm in pre-production on.  We had our Director, Writer, Executive Producer and Art Director all in attendance to hear the script.  What this does is make it real for everyone.  It allows you to imagine it on a different level - it's the words coming to life.  A sentence that is genius on the page may not read the way you intended or a line you deemed serious could come off extremely funny.  It is that moment that a writer needs to recognize that changes will happen and you can either be a part of it or not - we hope you are.

Tips for a Screen Writer

If you are making edits, let your film crew and cast know.

The worst thing to do as a writer is to constantly make changes without letting anyone know.  I have worked on a handful of films where the writer is making changes up until the day of the shoot.  This becomes a problem for everyone if they aren't aware that changes are coming.  Actors need time to prepare their lines (at least 48 hours) as well as all other key crew are affected by changes.  If you change: INT. OFFICE DAY to EXT. PARK BENCH DAY because it shows more of a bond between the characters that they spend time together outside of the office, this affects Art Department, Grip and Electric, Location, Transportation, and other set logistics.

Stay involved in the production.

Don't consider your job is over when you hand a script over to a production team.  You should be a part of the process - it will only make the film better.  Even in the editing process, if you are able, you should be in the loop.

Listen and watch your team.

Whether it's a table read or a rehearsal, listen to the words and watch the body language and choices of the actors.  If something isn't working and the Director is having a hard time making a section work, make suggestions and adjustments.  Keep that communication open.

Recent Writers I've Worked With

Elias Benavidez writer of A Note to Etienne

Jonathan Nail writer of "S.O.L.O. The Series"

Boris Kievsky & Konstantin Lavysh writers of "Purgatory, Inc."

Marty Blackshear & Vincent Brantley writers of Hopelessly in June

Over the next few weeks I'm going to talk about the different members of an indie film crew and what I feel is important for these individuals to possess. It'll be the do's and don't's and I'll even feature some of my favorites and a few true stories!  From Make Up Artists to Production Assistants... it will all be here: From a Producer's Perspective.

Purgatory, Inc.

If you follow me on Twitter or if you are friends with me on Facebook then you probably think, "Oh Allison, that super busy producer who runs around L.A. like she owns the place?  Yeah, she's working on everyone's project."

Well that just about sums it up. My philosophy is to figure out what it is that you love to do and then do it with passion and vigor and at some point it will all pay off.  Since coming out to L.A. in 2004 I have produced over 100 DVDs (menus, games, features, read-along's (and read-to-me's) as well as my fair share of short films and PSAs.  While I'm still doing all of these things on a limited basis, it's been since the end of 2008 that I've been engrossed with film productions big and small.

SOLO Day 3 Episode 1
SOLO The Series

What I am most excited about is that the feature film and the two webseries I'm producing are all at that figurative edge of the cliff and the F18 of hard work and opportunity is about to wiz by and take us on a journey.

Hopefully you'll be right there with me enjoying Hopelessly in June, S.O.L.O. The Series and Purgatory, Inc.

Check back with me here - there will be updates and I may reveal scandelous info (and pics!) about the cast and crew I work with (my attorney is shaking his head "no way" and my publicist is clapping... we'll have to wait to see who wins...).

Hopelessly In June