If you go and look up your favorite director, you will likely find that they started by making low-budget short films. Today, I compiled the short films I have created over the span of a few years. Note that I made all of these films with no crew: just me, a camera, an idea or a script. I edited, I directed and most importantly I learned.
In film, like many other aspects of life, you learn by doing, and that is precisely what I did. It took so much courage in me to start making films. I was so afraid that I would create something horrible. But, over time, I learned firsthand that you learn by doing, not by thinking about doing it.
Cheers to dreams and doing what we can to make them happen.
1. My first short film.
I created this film for a contest. I remember finding out about the contest and using it as a reason to finally make a film, instead of just reading about filmmaking. So I actually DID IT. For this contest, the short film had to be filmed on a phone and had to completed in a week.
I chose the category of a documentary and made the film focus on my grandfather and his daily life. I followed him around and filmed some of his daily events.
2. My second short film.
I created this short film for a contest to be able to work with Disney. Find a pattern here? In the beginning, having a set due date helped me get working and come up with a plan. That being said, this film was a huge undertaking. I had so much footage and the only thing I could edit on was an old iPad. On top of that, that said iPad kept crashing and I had to keep re-editing over and over again.
When you watch this, you may not think that it is much, but the meaning it holds is strong for me. I also spent 100 + hours editing it. YES, you read that right. My iPad kept crashing, as I said, and I just kept powering through. This film made me realize how much I love film and how determined I am to tell stories.
3. An experimental film.
This film was highly inspired by the films I was watching in my World Cinema class, specifically by Italian Neorealism. When you watch it, look for notes of Fellini, Bergman, De Sica, etc.
I based this film on a poem I wrote. Looking back now, I probably should have made a voiceover to go along with the film. But this was largely experimental, so I am ok with how it turned out. I just wanted to try something new and be creative.
4. YouTube videos.
Then I took a short break from making short films and started to work on YouTube videos. I was posting twice a week and sometimes more. I filmed some reactions to movie trailers, movie reviews, recreated scenes from my favorite films and made some kind-of “comedic” shorts. Here is one of them.
If you have seen the movie, The Room (2003) by Tommy Wiseau, you may appreciate this video. But if you have not seen that movie, you will just think I am crazy and weird, which is ok too.
5. More YouTube videos.
I continued making some YouTube videos to express myself. I had been watching a lot of SNL, specifically Stefon clips, and I was urged by my inner self to create this film. I won’t give this any context except with the fact that John Mulaney has some comedy specials. In one of his specials, he says how people thought he was an Asian American woman. Now you are free to watch the video.
Enjoy it, or just be alarmed at my weirdness.
6. Inspired by a dream.
I have some really crazy dreams. I know a lot of people say that, but believe me, they are pretty unique. This film was based on an idea that I thought about and then had a dream about. This concoction of ideas led me to create this. Again, I have a lot to learn about directing and such, but I am limited to a crew of 1 (me), so this is what I ended up creating.
I love the writing process and acting the most, but filming, directing and editing all by myself can add up to be quite a trek, especially for a newbie like me.
7. Inspired by a movie and a poem.
I write almost everyday. I write poems, short stories, screenplays, anything to get my ideas on paper and projected from my head. This was a poem I wrote that was inspired by the movie First Man (2018). That film is about Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his journey to the moon. I was proud of the poem and wanted to create something to honor Neil. This is what I came up with.
8. Motivated by quarantine to tell a story.
Being stuck at home left me feeling some kind of way, so I went to get my camera and just started filming around my yard. I edited the clips together and got my microphone ready. I recorded the first words that came to my head. I did not plan anything, I just said what was on my mind. Here is a raw piece from my thoughts.
P.S. I am genuinely a very happy person, regardless how I sound in this short film. 🙂
9. Inspired by quarantine feelings. (hey, that should be a title of a song)
Another short, brought to me by my feelings during quarantine. Imagine if I was quarantined with a film crew and a director, I would be creating so many films right now. But I fit all of the above job descriptions, so I have some limitations.
Wow, my creativity is just flowing, man. Creating is how I live, it’s how I deal with feelings of unease and stress. I was just inspired to create this film and I tried to make this one a little more comedic than the last. If you love Hannah Montana, you will love this film. (insert winky face here)
10. Let’s get to know each other!
I am always looking to meet new people who are also interested in film. None of my friends enjoy film like I do. I have met numerous people at film festivals, but many of them reside in L.A., so it is hard to collaborate and stay in contact.
Whether you are a seasoned director and are interested in being a mentor to me, or if you are also an aspiring director, writer and actor, I would truly enjoy getting to know you better.
Looking forward to hearing from you,