By in Blog on August 3, 2009




1.  Dramatic Improvisation:  The nature of the director’s relationship with the actors involves collaboration when going ‘off-script’.  The sabi producer and director creates an atmosphere where ‘creative collaboration’ is encouraged, fostered, and executed in a productive way.  On our sets, we strive to make the cast feel “safe” to venture into deeply honest and emotional territory with the filmmakers.  Our features are designed to throw the script away while mid-way through production and to collaborate on-set and “in the moment” so as to encourage original characters, honest voices and truthful story ‘surprises’ that couldn’t have been otherwise planned.  This is only successful once a foundation of safe creative collaboration between actors and director and cast and crew has been fully established. 


2.  Collaborating with your Crew (Interdependent Filmmaking):  The sabi producer and director and the filmmakers that surround them are constant collaborators from pre-production through wrap.  The atmosphere that is created allows for everyone to work each other creatively and check their egos.  Each member of the creative team has their role(s) – but there is no hierarchy.  Producers preserve and protect the creative experience for the cast, the crew & the director during the actual making of the film.  From our interview process to our team-building exercises (such as our “Crew Table-Read”) – crew contributions and personal goals are evaluated to ensure the collaboration will be mutually beneficial.  Each member of the crew on our features is integral and crucial to the final creative product.


3.  Collaborating with other Filmmakers and our Audience/Focus Groups: We wanted to expand our collaborative efforts, so we embarked on “A Short Film About Letting Go” – with a group of emerging artists/directors/producers.  It is truly a case study on “collaborating on art” – in that there were so many hearts and minds working together to bring this film to fruition – and our role was “supportive” to the director/producer’s vision “to encourage” creative collaboration on set & in post-production. Additionally, we’ve collaborated with musicians and artists we’ve met on our own forums & elsewhere on the internet.  Most useful has been our “private screenings” – where our audience Q&A discussions, and our focus groups collaborate with us on “final notes” before picture lock.  We just completed our focus group on “Heart of Now.”


4. Creative Collaboration in Casting – our casting process is actually our first actor-director collaborative rehearsal.  We make sure we have a casting process that elevates the actor/artist rather than diminishing them.  Our “Casting” involves “character discussions / meetings” with the producer/director in addition to “creative auditions”.  To encourage collaboration, we often use ‘sides’ from scenes that are not in the script (but useful for character exploration), and our “Call-backs” are always entirely dramatic improvisation (complete with “silent takes” and video-taped discussions between director & actor).  We always “revise” the script for the final cast one last time before shooting.   


5.  Future Collaborative Experiments: “Eloquent Graffiti” and “A Happy Medium”Eloquent Graffiti: working intimately on crafting the characters and their journeys with 4 actors over the course of time & A Happy Medium: the intention of working with non-actors and real veterans returning from the war in creating the characters/story together through collaboration.

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