Director Chelsea Lupkin and Director of Photography Michael Russo work with actresses, Ally Thomas and Kailee Shollenberger. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell. 

Director Chelsea Lupkin and Director of Photography Michael Russo work with actresses, Ally Thomas and Kailee Shollenberger. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell. 

I have a short film in the works and it's called "Sophie Learns to Swim" -- a coming-of-age story about a girl named Sophie who has to learn more than just how to swim if she wants to get through her summer holiday. 

The film was shot back in August and my team is just starting to work with the footage -- If you're an independent filmmaker, you know that actually getting the people and the tools to make your project is difficult. Add the fact that we had a major frame-drop issue (discovered after the fact -- I cried), making this film has been particularly hard.

When I say 'dropped frame', I mean that the camera failed to record all of the action. Despite that and having issues loading the footage into editing software and matching said footage with sound, I've been able to piece together a film that I'm excited to show.

I consider "Sophie Learns to Swim" a major stepping stone for five main reasons:

1. I worked with a casting director for the first time. (Sara Accardi found us our talented leads and thirty plus extras within two weeks. Wow).

2. I worked with young actors for the first time.

3. I faced my biggest editing struggle yet and feel that I've conquered the odds against me.

4. In it's rough cut stages, the film runs at about 6 minutes long and will be the shortest narrative I've created yet.

5. This was the second time I've worked on a large scale project with the same crew and I feel that we're really starting to become a serious production team, despite how small we are.

Do I think "Sophie Learns to Swim" is groundbreaking cinema?

No. But I'll be damned, if it didn't make me a better director.

Actors Gavin Becker and Makenna Stergion on set. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

Actors Gavin Becker and Makenna Stergion on set. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

Director of Photography Michael Russo, Head Gaffer and Sound Operator Ryan Hansen, Director Chelsea Lupkin. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

Director of Photography Michael Russo, Head Gaffer and Sound Operator Ryan Hansen, Director Chelsea Lupkin. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

Producer and part-time Assistant Camera, Kevin Johnsrud gets ready to slate. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

Producer and part-time Assistant Camera, Kevin Johnsrud gets ready to slate. Photo by Jimmy O'Donnell.

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