Bri Castellini AMA- producing, writing, directing, having no money


(Bri Castellini) #41
  1. There’s a long story about equipment on Brains, but the short version is we filmed season 1 on my camcorder from 2011 that I used for YouTube vlogging and bought lav mics on Amazon. Season 2 same sound set up but we brought on a DP friend of ours who already owned his own camera and lights that we used. I don’t really have a kit- I have friends who lend me stuff which is very nice of them.
  2. I’m good at producing but I’d rather not make a full time gig out of it because what I really love is writing and directing. Didn’t realize I’d like directing so much. It seemed more complicated than I would like but I LOVE it. And I’d love to act in something I didn’t write and I never want to direct and act at the same time ever agin.
  3. IT’S SO HARD YET REWARDING AND I LOVE IT. FALLOUT 5 CAN’T COME QUICK ENOUGH.
  4. Actual 3- I’ve got tons of dream projects but let’s just say “the remaining 4 seasons of Brains” for now :slight_smile:

(Jonathan Hardesty) #42

Hey! I know you! Let me ask you questions!

What’s been the most difficult part of making webseries for you? Along those lines, how have you gone about either dealing with the issue or getting help?


(Bri Castellini) #43

Stareable is my full time gig but I also do freelance voiceovers that I connect to via UpWork and I am occasionally paid to help people produce things but it’s web series so it’s rare haha. Stareable started as a freelance thing but as I got more involved it became pretty clear that I needed to be working full time to get even a little bit done so we made it official in… August? Late July? Before that I was a consultant and then a part time employee.


(Kallum Weyman) #44

Thanks for your answers Bri, Cannot wait to see what else you bring to the table in the future good luck with everything. Your incite is always useful.


(Bri Castellini) #45

None. Until the next time I have to, and then it’s that many more.


(Bri Castellini) #46

Hey! Glad to have you here! Here is everything I know about distributors (and how I got connected to a few of them!)


(Pablo Andreu) #47

I have so many projects I want to pursue, but I’m not sure I have the resources to pursue any of them, except for my web series STRAY. What do I do??


(Bri Castellini) #48

That is a… complicated question. To my program’s credit, it’s still very new so they don’t have a huge alumni group yet and are still very much forming themselves.

What was worth it:

  • Having an excuse to move to NYC
  • Meeting tons of people that I still work with today
  • Forcing me to self-produce work for class (the Brains pilot!) that started me on this whole filmmaking journey

What was not:

  • The Money
  • The Degree itself.

But most arts degrees themselves aren’t super useful. It’s about the education and opportunities more than the paper and being able to say I have an MFA on my resume. I wouldn’t be where I am without my MFA program, but not because of my MFA program, if that makes sense.


(Bri Castellini) #49

Directing: Be confident and prepared and remember to be kind to your actors because acting, even not doing a dramatic scene, is making yourself incredibly vulnerable. Also, find a good mentor or collaborator or DP to help you with the stuff you’re less confident in (for me, that’s camera angles and lighting)

Please please try not to give line readings (though trust me, as a writer I completely understand the impulse). I actually wrote an article about this! If you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it!


(Chris Hadley) #50

Thanks so much, Bri! Will definitely read that article, and I might also check out that book you mentioned, as well. Great advice.


(Bri Castellini) #51

I think you’ll always have a stronger case for yourself if you have some work to show before asking for money to do more. I think it’s up to you, though. I had only made my pilot before crowdfunding for Brains, which I think helped, and then having a full season helped when I crowdfunded for season 2. But that was largely circumstance and I’m impatient so just making a pilot seems insane to me. I use momentum to do everything and if I’m already making one episode, why not the rest? I’m insane, though, so keep that in mind.

TL;DR- if you have no prior work, making a pilot is super helpful. So it you can make a bomb ass pilot first, definitely do it.


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #52

Excellent! Do you prefer working on your own or other people’s web series? Why or why not?


(Amen J.) #53

Other than school, what is the other reason you have settled in NYC? Why not LA if you’re interested in producing and directing?


(Bri Castellini) #54

Chris Cherry still hasn’t made a Stareable account so he doesn’t get to see this outpouring of love he’s getting and that’s such a shame because YES he’s very awesome.*

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend comes immediately to mind. It’s a show that reinvents itself with its character in a believable and natural way and I love that. I love that it’s not afraid to grow and change and adapt to its own story instead of finding a structure and sticking to it forever even when it doesn’t fit the story anymore.

*Comment paid for by the Chris Cherry Compliment Foundation


(Bri Castellini) #55

I work on multiple things constantly because of anxiety and fear of failure (see an answer from earlier to @SecretLivesPS).

For focus, just give yourself structure and don’t take “no” for an answer, even if you’re the one saying it. If you want to make 3 projects, you better make sure you’re actually doing the work, so set times and days to do certain work and then do that work.


(Meg Carroway) #56

Aaah! Amazing! I made it just in time! What’s next for you?? What are you working on RIGHT NOW?


(Bri Castellini) #57

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! Rude!

I think Brains, just because it was my first, and by all accounts it should not have happened. The odds were stacked against it and I had absolutely no experience and yet it still got made and I’m in love with that world and those characters and so are at least three other people I’ve never met. And that’s so so so cool.


(Chris Hadley) #58

What is your writing/rewriting process like?


(Chris Hadley) #59

And what tools do you use for production organizing and scheduling?


(Bri Castellini) #60

Hey! I know you! Let me answer your questions!

Difficult: money, because money means flexibility and getting other people to make the thing a priority. I deal with this by doing a lot of the boring work myself so no one feels like they’re doing grunt work for free, I make other people feel empowered to make creative decisions if they have a better idea than I did, by scheduling far in advance so people can prepare and not feel like they’re sacrificing, and I make sure to surround myself with people who actually want to be there, in spite of the no-money thing.