A quick depiction of Zachary Will’s first feature film experience, Grandma Werewolf.
The concept for Grandma Werewolf, my first feature, came during Thanksgiving 2015. I had recently finished writing my first feature script. Unfortunately, after a quick estimate with a budget sheet, I found the movie might cost $10 Million. Without out any millionaire relatives, I found that idea had reached the furthest I could take it at that point (and even til today).
My feature dreams were in dead water. We all sat down for Thanksgiving but we couldn’t find my Grandmother. And someone said something that inspired me. “It’s not like she’s a vampire, she can’t just up and fly away.” And I just thought “No but maybe she’s a werewolf. Grandma Werewolf.” Film ideas are kind of magical in that they kind of hit you in the most unexpected places.
“Film ideas are kind of magical in that they kind of hit you in the most unexpected places.”
I wish I had some cool story about how I finished the rest of the script. But I don’t. Writing after the basic outline is just kind of follow through. And sometimes you hit “writer’s block”. But you just have to schedule a time to write every day. And you have to tell yourself, “even if I don’t write anything today, I’m still going to sit here and put in the work.”
The basic idea of this script was to write something I could shoot. There were scenes I could’ve written that would’ve been more exciting than the scenes I wrote. Writing something with a low budget in mind forces you to focus on the characters. The action, even in a fantasy adventure movie, can’t be the main point because you don’t have the budget to make it that good.
“Writing something with a low budget in mind forces you to focus on the characters.”
I wrote the film based on a cabin (which my parents own) and on a single family (which kept the cast to a minimum). Honestly putting together a feature-length script is the hardest part of making a movie. If it’s not any good and you don’t have the money to pay everyone to be, then no one will.
You want to put together a script that is both interesting and cheap to make. This may often seem like a contradiction, but not always. One of the largest things you can do is to make interest characters who have defined wants. For example in Mr. Incredible, Bob wants to be a superhero again. Another thing that you can do is to find unique things you have access to.
Do your parents own a cabin? Maybe a friend’s dad owns a warehouse. Maybe you have some cool 60s props in your basement. Write something based on the people, places, and locations you have access to.
Honestly putting together a feature-length script is the hardest part of making a movie. If it’s not any good and you don’t have the money to pay everyone to be apart of the project, no one will want to be apart of the project. The second hardest is shooting a movie.
A lot of planning goes into feature filmmaking. Most films have hundreds working to put everything together. You have you. (Maybe some friends) You’ll need some friends if you want to make a movie.
People are actually pretty nice. Just from asking around, I’ve found plenty of people who are willing to have us film at their businesses or even backyards!
The only thing stopping you from making your feature right now is you! If it’s your dream to make a feature film, put it together! The first week of filming was some of the most stressful days I’ve had, but I loved every one of them.