I’m not just a Film Critic, I’m an Aspiring Filmmaker

Chicago skyline from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo by Danielle Solzman.

I don’t just write about TV and Film. I’ve been working on a screenplay for what I expect will be produced as an ultra low budget feature film.

Earlier this year, I took Online Writing for TV/Film through The Second City Training Center in Chicago–much thanks to an anonymous donor who sent me a $500 gift card. Going into the class, I knew that I had wanted to develop a feature film synopsis.  However,I finished the class with an outline for a sitcom pilot as it was the pitch that I fell in love with.  That being said, I have been giving things a lot of thought and I had to ask myself whether the project could be made as something other than a sitcom.  I feel that a feature film is the best option. Trans stories are important and Erica in Chicago is one that I feel needs to be told more so now than ever before.

The reason why I’m now writing Erica in Chicago as a feature film is this: it’s not easy to sell a sitcom, let alone get it picked up.  I want it to have an audience.  There’s no guarantee that a sitcom pilot would get bought, let alone picked up to series.  I’m working from a five page outline.  Ideally, a feature film outline should come from 8-12 pages.  I’ll add some scenes as I get there.

Towards the end of last week, when I wasn’t screening movies and reviewing them, I spent some time researching the guild guidelines and really starting to get knee deep in writing. I expect to bring on a producer to help with handling the business side of things later this year so that it doesn’t become so overwhelming for the first time around.  At the moment, I don’t know if I will also direct but I’m leaning that way.  I may opt to bring on a co-director.  It’s been suggested to make some short films prior to a feature film just to get my name out there and build a following–to be fair, my name is out there and I do have a following but all those videos were taken offline when I went full time.

If I had to guess, I’m probably looking at an estimated budget between $70K to $100K and will turn to Kickstarter or Indiegogo for financing depending on what film production grants are available.  The other thing is that I’ll also have to set up an LLC to become a signatory and that’s not a cheap process in Illinois.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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