A few months ago I realized something pretty awesome – that I made my first short film, Piece of Cake, ten years ago. 2006 was the year that I decided that I would write and direct my own project, after years of helping others execute their own in various capacities.
I’ve told the story before on here, but it all happened when I noticed a screenwriting class offered by Elizabeth Hunter (then Elizabeth Bradley) at WorkPlay in Birmingham, AL. I was a little hesitant in my abilities as a writer, but a few words from Elizabeth made me confident enough to give it a go. I ended the course with the screenplay for Piece of Cake, which I then went on to make with my friend Alison Britt (producer & star).
It was an ambitious first project. We hired Mo Rocca to play a lead role, and we raised a good bit of money to make the film (through old-fashioned methods, as Kickstarter formed a few years later). We mailed letters, wrote emails, scheduled face-to-face meetings, and had fundraising events. Those were different times, and in the not-so-distant past.
We made the film in the best way we knew how, and we were proud of the end piece. It’s no where near my best work, but it was my starting point. I was a professional wedding videographer at the time, so a lot of the script was based on things in my then current life. Also a fun fact – my sister Rachel played one of the bridesmaids! 🙂
I ultimately don’t show it in my director’s reel nor my portfolio of work. Mostly because it doesn’t align with what I consider my style/voice to be now, plus let’s be honest, I was a real newbie at writing/directing. But I’m still very proud of it, and wouldn’t trade the experiences or lessons for anything. I tracked down some NPR interviews from that time that you can listen to here, and I’ve got some old photos from MySpace which are now on FB (aka they are teeny tiny in size). I wish I had taken better care to keep track of all the making-of and press bits. There was also an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary made by the wonderful Rebecca Sansom, but I can’t for the life of me find it. I’ll keep digging.
This is an appropriate week to reminisce about this special anniversary, as the 18th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival starts this Thursday. It was here that Piece of Cake first premiered at the Alabama Theater, and won the Audience Choice Award. I plan to do a silent cheers to mark the occasion. I look forward to seeing what the next 10 years will bring!