FILMMAKER Q&A – The BIRDWATCHER – Michelle Shaay – Writer and Producer

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

MS: The BIRDWATCHER was genuinely and truly inspired by the unrest brought on by this current, unexpected pandemic. As a “Creative” the desire to continue telling stories during the best and worst of times never goes away and the idea of one fine actor safely driving a timely and unique Story was all that we needed to capture and create the imagery on film.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

MS: Great question.”The BIRDWATCHER” is based on a written short story I penned originally as a spooky tale that centered around a sinister but symbolic bird. Halloween 2020 was the catalyst. The actual film conception though came roughly 4 months later, scouting viable locations occured weeks later, and the Production schedule was finalized 72 hours before My Birthday(4/20) The Day Of Filming. It ONLY TOOK OUR TEAM 3 1/2 Hours To complete the film shoot and I am immensely proud of our accomplishment.

So from humble beginning to ambitious end “The BIRDWATCHER” was essentially a 6 month birth of a gem.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

MS: I think essentially the most challenging aspect of working in any short film format is attempting to keep your story entirely engaging, energetic, dramatic, and thoughtful for the audience. My objective is for them to have an experience and even be a little surprised about the impact something so “short” made sense and that it was thought provoking too. It’s difficult sometimes to even decide in post production what should be edited or deleted when the rawness  of what has been captured on film day is so beautifully and pleasantly unexpected.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

MS: Wow it would have to be the time management aspect of the entire project. The Director (Jibril Haynes) along With the fabulous Atlanta based Actor and Acting Coach (Todd Anthony) were both super about managing other creative obligations and projects while giving “The BIRDWATCHER” extraordinary time, talent, and care wholeheartedly without one complaint about their time and that made for an amazing creative process.

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

MS: Yes and it is to Simply Make YOUR film. The beautiful attribute of film making is it visually tells a story someone you don’t know wants to see and hear.

Fear of how it will turn out should not be a hindering factor for Us, thecreatives. This is the process that helps develop our skill and craft. It includes it all when you consider writing, acting, directing go hand in hand. Also find a team you can work with who will guide and contribute to the project freely and objectively. The synergy among you will matter and the film will be a reflection of the collective collaboration. 

Lastly, allow yourself to consider any genre of film and try not to place invisible restrictions on how the film will be made or received. It’s Your Freedom To Create Endlessly.