Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Gall Harold and Roy Finch

Gale Harold and Roy Finch on the Maine set of Wake.

Credit: Matthew Clark

Writing is mobile.

I work on a laptop, so when I’m in writing mode, I can be anywhere at all and still put in a good day’s work.

You can make a bi-coastal production.

We rehearsed in Los Angeles and then went to Maine to shoot. We utilized the best of both. By the time we got to Maine, we created a much more intimate atmosphere. We were all living in this small town together, focusing on only the film, and telling the story of Wake.

Keep it raw.

The inital idea was to create a kind of "filmed play" or "chamber piece," shoot it in a week on video and do the post-production in six weeks—keep it all very raw and Cassavetes-like.

Great acting can’t be underestimated.

Wake was all about a tight ensemble performance, and much of the focus was on acheiving that. As Susie said, "Great acting was the only special effect."

Experimentation leads to authenticity.

I like to keep the vibe on the set playful, and tried to remain open to any and all ideas. By allowing time for experimentation and improvisation during the shoot, I think it helped us all discover things about the Riven family—and added to the richness of the story.

The editor is indispensable.

It’s important to recognize the contributions of [Wake’s] editor, Gus Carpenter. His talent and thoroughness as a "storyteller" gave Wake levels which exceeded even my expectations!

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