I first met filmmaker Lynn Moody at the Alethia Truth Awards, got better acquainted at the GloryReelz Christian Film Festival, and now our films will both be screening at The Narrow Way Film Festival. Sisters is Lynn’s first feature and she jumped in headfirst, taking on most of the behind the scenes filmmaking roles. Here she gives us an inside look at all the preparation that went into making the movie.
What led to your interest in film?
I have always been interested in photography, acting and film, but the demands of life and making a living took me down several divergent paths. In 2008, I got back into the performing arts by founding and directing a theatre troop for homeschooling students. When affordable digital film equipment and technology became available, I also revived my interest in film, making a short film in 2010, then writing the script for Sisters in 2013.
What is your filmmaking background or training?
I am self-taught with the help of the Holy Spirit and the numerous generous people who have shared their knowledge in books and the internet. Though I had a photography and a filmmaking class in High School and College, that was a long time ago, and I had to relearn everything I had forgotten about depth of field, aperture and shutter speed. Then I just went for it. I think experience is the best teacher, as long as you take advantage of the many resources out there to check and reevaluate your techniques.
What was the inspiration for Sisters?
Many years ago I read a book that documented the struggles of a young boy with Cystic Fibrosis. Though I hadn’t thought of that book in years, when I decided to write the screenplay, the idea just popped into my mind. The actual thought was, “What if a young girl has a sister only she can see. And what if she has Cystic Fibrosis.” Sisters actually started as a short film, but I just kept writing and writing, until I actually had to trim the script back down to 100 pages.
How long did it take from initial idea to finished film?
Sisters was a three-year journey, starting with script-writing through post-production. I call it my three-year film school.
What roles did you play with the film (writer, director, editor…)?
I did it all, except act. From script-writing and directing, to lighting, to cinematography, to editing, and special effects. I had to hang the boom mike over the actors on a boom pole that was attached to a weighted mic stand to get sound. I even was craft services most of the time, cooking and setting up the food for the shoots. While that was VERY hard, it did allow me total control and allowed me to make a movie with virtually no money. I spent about four thousand dollars on the entire production, including equipment. I would not have been able to make a feature film if
it weren’t for this and the generosity of my talent, who donated their time.
What was the highlight of making Sisters?
The end. The final product. Watching the film on the big screen and the TV and hearing from viewers on how the film impacted them. It was worth it all! But I do love editing. That has turned out to be my favorite part of the process.
What was the greatest challenge with making your first film?
Sound. Sound. Sound. For my next film I will have new equipment, a boom operator and a sound engineer. I spent a year in post-production wrestling with cleaning up bad audio. I recommend to all beginning filmmakers that they make recording great sound a priority! Have someone on set monitoring the sound as you record it. Don’t forget to turn off fans, refrigerators, etc. while you’re shooting. Get room tone. And when you’re location scouting, record some audio as well. Some locations just have background noise that is hard to get rid of. Yes, you can ADR. But you want to avoid this if you can. Trust me.
What’s been the response to the movie so far?
We’ve had a wonderful response. From the first text screening back in October, 2015, when the audience jumped to their feet to applaud, to the film festivals we’ve submitted to this year, I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response. So far Sisters has received numerous festival nominations and 29 wins, and we’re just starting our festival journey. But my favorite accolades are the comments from viewers on how Sisters has encouraged or inspired them.
What do you have planned for the future?
Sisters continues to screen in film festivals around the country and will have its northern Michigan premiere on July 17th in Elk Rapids, MI. DVD’s and Blu-ray’s will be available in August. People can find a screening in their area and/or pre-order discs at SistersTheFilm.com right now. We’ll be closed captioning the film and distributing through Amazon in the next few months. And I am in pre-production for my next film, a faithful adaptation or a well-known children’s story. People can support and follow the making of the new film at PreciousLightPictures.com or Facebook.com/PreciousLightPictures.
To those who are thinking about or starting to make films, I have to encourage you to do it. Don’t hesitate. Get your self a good script, refine it into a great script and go make it. You can do it!