One June 27th, we wrapped Day 13 of filming for Chronicles of the Dead Season 2. Why haven't you heard about it until now? I've been really busy. That's actually the main focus of this blog. When is enough, enough? How do you know when you've achieved greatly?

The only thing I can compare writing and film making to are the jobs I've held in retail and fast food. Although those jobs are challenging, the goals are clear. I always know what number we have to hit before the hour is up. I always know the goal. We work hard and we either meet, exceed (or sometimes completely miss) it, but damn-it we WORK!

But how do you do that for film and writing? How are you supposed to outline goals if you don't even know what your goals should be? I know that I want to reach as wide an audience as I can, but how can I do that if I can only get three of my 600+ friends to share it on Facebook? 

The market for online media is inflated nowadays that it's a wonder anybody ever gets noticed at all. At least on TV, shows are picked and set. On the internet, it's a big free-for-all. Everyone is doing back flips and waving signs that say "look at me" and you're trying to get a bigger sign than the other guy. It's overwhelming.

Aside from that, our new main focus has become editing. We're trying to fix every problem that we possibly can by taking our time and really paying attention to what's going on. We could rush and be done with everything in a month, but then the quality would really suffer. The last thing we want to do is make everyone look bad, especially ourselves! Things are still new. We're still learning. We've avoided old mistakes but found that we made new ones. Whatever the outcome may be, we hope you watch!


Back when I was more of an idiot writer, I'd do this thing where I'd finish a draft and immediately start trying to "fix" it. What I would usually end up with afterwards was another first draft. Somehow in my efforts to make the story better, I ended up making it different and more complicated than I ever planned to. After years of doing this, I figured out some tips to help me. Here they are.

1.) Stop adding on!
Imagine that your story is the earth. You have land and sea. Don't try to add more land. Leave it alone. Have some confidence in the story that you wrote and trust it.

2.) Solve your world's problems!
Make sure that your story stays true to itself. If you establish a key plot point, don't change it halfway through. Are your characters consistent? Do you break your own rules just to make the plot easier? Then don't. Find them and fix them.

3.) Fix your grammar!
Seriously. Spell check--twice if you must. Nothing ruins a story faster that grammatical errors and fragmented sentences.

4.) Ask someone to read it to you!
It helps. If you cringe at the sound of your words coming out of someone else's mouth, you might want to think about making a few changes.

5.) It's ok to change goofy dialogue!
Sometimes we write things and they just sound stupid. Especially if you have a character that just curses all the time. Find something else for them to say. Be creative. Have fun. Your story will thrive because of it.

Above all, remember that rewrites aren't about doing more, they're about doing less. The bulk of your work had already been done in the first draft. 


PictureJoseph Baca and Erin Feaster
Let me get this out of the way first, I have never gone to a film school. I never went to; LA Film School, New York Film Academy, Full Sail University, or The Art Institute. Nor did I go to ; USC, UCLA, or NYU film schools. So how do I know what a film school isn't going to teach you? Because I've noticed a few things, SCHOOLS LIE. Just like they told you in math class: 8 - 5 = 3 but really it's: 8 + (-5) = 3 because there is no subtraction only adding negative numbers. Film is the same thing. They only tell you what you need to know. It's once you start doing it you learn what is really happening.

My experience as a filmmaker has been small but very concentrated. I wrote, directed and am in the process of producing a web series and we're in production of season two as i'm righting this blog. Check it out HERE . I'll admit the first season was a little rough, but season two will be well worth your time. So stay updated. Now, on to the list:

1. It's Fucking Hard. And I don't mean like breaking bricks or brain surgery is hard physically and mentally hard. I mean filming will challenge you in ways you've never imagined. Each shoot will be different each day. One day this is important the next day that doesn't matter. Priorities change with the wind.

2Use Common Sense. They don't teach you this in school because really you can't teach it at all. In whatever job you are doing, add common sense to it. For example, if you're going to slate, pay attention to the order of numbers and alphabet. Know  what scene you're doing. And for the love of God, don't walk on set without a script in your hand.

3. It's a business. Never forget it. You may love every aspect of film making. But you can't build a house without supplies. Sure you'll get lucky with passion projects in life but it will come at some compromise. The only way you can make a movie is with some hope of making a return on the investment. Period.

4. Beware what you write. Especially in independent film making you are limited in how you can tell a story. I don't care if you have the best interpretation of Hamlet and all you need is three castles and half an army. It's not going to happen on a small budget. That means you have to write smaller; which is tricky and something you can't work around. Sure a good story is a good story but if you don't have the means to tell it properly then what do you have?

5. It's not always fun.  When things go wrong, and they will, it will hit you hard. That's if you care. When you're trying to plan your shooting schedule and no days match up and it takes months to film. That sucks. When people miss days or come late or you forget a prop. That sucks. Things just not going your way, editing footage for hours and seeing every mistake you made. That sucks. Spending hours of hours of timing on a video and only a few people watch it. That REALLY sucks. Sometimes the only thing you've got going for yourself is your love of the project and the people helping you make it real.

All that being said, independent filmmaking is hard. You've got to appreciate the small things. Take it one step at a time and remember that mistakes happen. Things are going to turn out shitty sometimes, but if you believe in your work and you've got a kick-ass cast a crew like we have, you can't go wrong no matter what happens. No film school can teach you that!

Happy film making!


PictureThe new face of COTD, Elizabeth Smith.
Chronicles of the Dead is back with season 2!

Did you miss us? I hope your answer is an emphatic yes. We've worked long an hard on the scripts to make them pop in the right places. 9 episodes later...after auditions and location scouting...we dived into our first day of filming.

We've learned from last year's mistakes and we don't plan on repeating them ever again. Will we make new mistakes? Probably! I guarantee it!

There will be lots of behind the scenes footage to check out and we also have a teaser uploaded that you can watch on the home page. (If not there, then definitely on YouTube.)

I really want to make a "Previously on Chronicles of the Dead" video to catch everyone up on the story (Gee, it's complicated!) so look out for that as well. Other links you can check out are Facebook and IMDb. Above all, we promise that this season will blow last season out of the water. Don't miss out!

-Monica Louise Bryant