Guest contributor: Vasilios Asimakos

Bad Advice Wednesday: Make Your Own Work

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour / Movies


Vasilios Cray

Vasilios, cast and crew, Sixty Grades of Cray


Last November, I directed a movie from a script I had written.


I wrote the damn thing- a comedic short meant to send up trashy literature-  two years ago, then was at a loss for how to produce it.  The actor I wrote it for moved across the country.  I shelved it to focus on my own acting endeavors.  After appearing in dozens of indies, industrials, and commercials, I wrote and acted in another short and learned a bit about bringing people together.  Continued to act, but the work dried up.  Grew despondent and looked for a way to kick the millstone feelings.  Started listening to a podcast featuring an array of names from the entertainment industry.  They all said the same thing: “make your own work.”  A local actor doing just that inspired me and I was resolved.  And who would direct?  “I’ll direct it,” I declared, surprising myself most of all.

On a suggestion from a writer-director I respect, I asked a talented cinematographer I’d once worked with if she was game to come play.  She agreed, and her enthusiasm buoyed me.  She suggested a gaffer she’d like to work with, someone I knew personally and really liked.  The gaffer agreed.  My sound wizard friend agreed to jump on, bringing along his longtime collaborator.  One of my best friends lent her support as a producer.  Two more of my friends opened up their home for us to shoot in, and we gratefully and energetically annexed it.
Then came the casting…
I’ll say only this: in the end, the actors that arrived on set were exactly the ones we were meant to have, and the result was wonderful.
On this set, patience, industriousness, creativity, supportiveness, and good humor reigned.  The director shuffled about on two canes: one fashioned by the experience of his cast and crew, the other by their talent.  And leaning on those two canes, he learned and learned and learned from those he was directing. More often than not, the images glowing on the monitor greatly surpassed his preexisting notions of what the movie would and should be.  And he gleefully realized this didn’t concern him, but thrilled him.  “This is why I write movies,” he concluded, perhaps much too late.  “So they can be made.”
There was a lot more to be done, of course, but I have to take the time to acknowledge the shoot’s profound effect on me.
The two days of shooting were too much of a whirlwind to allow me to make a speech or thank anyone properly when we wrapped.  So I’ll just say here what I’ve come to realize.  A comedic video for the internet though it is, this project is my art.  Without my art, no matter its present level, I don’t consider myself to be much of anything.  So I owe to this wonderful team much more than gratitude.  I owe to them a piece, perhaps the most important piece, of myself.  Without you guys, Kat, Paul, Georgia, Steve, Kisha, Beth, Bryce, Alex, Charles, Jamie, Alex, Jaime, Amanda, Skippy, George, Dave, Rob, James, Bobby, Sarah, And Cameron, I wouldn’t … be.
And after nearly a year of post-production, here it is.  For the sake of those who worked so hard on it, view, vote “Funny,” and share.

  1. Debora writes:

    Vas! (Ha! Just messin’ with ya, Vasilios!) I’ve been wondering about you. Happy to see some of your work–most excellent short. Really enjoyed it. Did you end up with an apartment and a new car too, or was all of that back burner-ed?

  2. Vasilios writes:

    Thank you very much for your words of encouragement and praise, Tommy! I did write another one, it has been shot, and is now in post-production. It’s a suspense thriller, wonderfully produced by some very talented filmmakers.

    • Tommy writes:

      Fantastic!! Next question (from the business side): How can you speed up post-production? (Not easy, I know, when you’re trying to do this in your “spare” time!)

  3. Tommy writes:

    V, I watched, I liked, I voted “Funny”! Congratulations on taking an idea you had, and bringing it to production!! WELL-DONE!! Keep building on your successes!! The key concept I learned here is collaboration! The star of this production is the sound/music! Everything else is pretty good. Loved the surprise ending! Now go out there and write another one!! And share it with us when you’re done! 🙂