Oct. 11--LOVE, Loss, Grief And Anger -- usually a filmmaker wants to temper his scope when making his or her first full-length movie.
Warrensburg, Mo., writer-director Nicholas Schreck is not one to hold back, as he proves with his first film "Disheartened," available on DVD and online.
Receiving a warm response at signings in his hometown, Schreck will be selling and signing copies of the 90-minute film at Hastings from 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 11 and noon to 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.
When Schreck first started writing the romantic drama, he says while his creative paths were endless, he didn't want to overshoot his budgetary limits.
"I knew I wanted to make a movie, and I knew my skill set, which at the time was not CGI skill set, so I thought 'Let's not do action or bombs exploding,'" he says.
Coming off of a long-term relationship, Schreck decided to write and direct a borderline romantic tragedy centered around the character Jeff Simmons, played by Mississippi native Adam Quirch, an Army veteran who arrives back home from Afghanistan to find out that his father has died, leaving him without a home to return to or any money.
While trying to figure out how to make a living, Jeff meets Kate, played by Shirley Norris, a woman with no self-worth who is stuck in a toxic relationship.
Originally getting together almost by mistake, the two find comfort in their companionship until Kate's ex-boyfriend returns in an attempt to sabotage whatever good luck Jeff has left.
Shot in three weeks and edited over the course of two years, the movie is Schreck's first foray into feature filmmaking. For him, it was both a frustrating challenge and a fun adventure.
"I haven't had much sleep," he says, laughing.
Sitting in front of a screen for hours on end and sourcing scenes out to other filmmakers for feedback, Schreck says the process was often long and painful, but it helped him hone his craft and deal with criticism.
"That helped me because I got some ... 'I see this or that or the other thing,'" he says. "I didn't always listen to the criticism. I just tried to look at it with intellectual honesty."
Schreck and his crew encountered a lot of the typical first-movie problems -- actors getting sick, miscommunication with location shoots and rights issues.
Still, he says, the product came out well, and he's been happy with the response from viewers. It can only mean bigger things for the future.
"Kevin Smith says, 'The movie industry is one in which we fail upwards,' and that's absolutely true because whenever you do the piece that you're working on is, you look back and realize all your mistakes ... and then you do it again and it gets better," Shreck says.
Taking a cue from other independent filmmakers and artists, Schreck is not only offering the movie at the website, www.disheartenedthemovie.com, but it's also free on YouTube.
"What we're asking is if you watch our movie and you like it, to share it. Just share it with people because we really want to get our name out there and get recognition for the people that put the work in," he says.
Schreck says knowing people see it is more than enough reward for the crew and his work. Hopefully, he says, it will be enough to support future projects
"We figure at this point, anything that we can re-coup is just going to help us in the future, and anything that we can't re-coup is fine as long as it's getting it out there," he says.
Andrew Gaug can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPGaug.
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