Hi friend! My name is Jenn Quaglio. I'm a New York based actor turned writer turned filmmaker. I know, a lot of turns.
I know what it's like to feel completely overwhelmed starting out. I studied Theater Arts and Creative Writing (along with dance and interior design! Had to keep it fresh) and when I graduated college, I was so excited to start working, except I didn't realize "start working" meant entering another creative school, the creative school of life.
What schools don't teach is that independent filmmakers, just like actors, have to know the business side just as well as the craft. There are so many aspects and variables of filmmaking.
Like how to produce, hire crew, work with deal memos, attain funds, pitch your work, write an actual film or series, create a pitch deck to pitch, actually pitch your ideas, write a treatment to hire a writer, form an LLC or S-Corp, purchase insurance, sleuth through legit film festivals that are worth the money, handle your own PR, find your directorial style and mastering networking.
This all takes work and skill. Yes, even networking is a skill. And if you've never learned these skills, how the hell do you do it?
I mean, besides Googling until 3am crying your eyes out over a pint of Ben & Jerry's - how do you do it? Over the years, I've had a lot of conversations with actors and independent filmmakers, and the one thing that stood out was that filmmaking (and acting) was such an elusive process. And those who were starting out seemed to think the FOMO emails they receive and ads online from companies that help them "break into Hollywood overnight"might be the way to go, but they're not. Those are scams. This isn't Disney, there are no fast passes to starting your career. You must put in the time, work, effort and energy otherwise it isn't going to happen.
WHY I TRANSITIONED INTO INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING
I grew up watching films, a lot of films. And I fell in love with acting, but I also love writing and creating a world from the ground up. And I'm really good at making sh*t happen, so I naturally fell into producing.
In college, I was really disgusted with how many roles on casting sites and college projects involved playing the secretary or the girl that needs to get naked for literally no reason at all, especially for no pay. When I was starting out, there really wasn't many meaty roles that I could audition for without having any prior networking experience or an agent. I dabbled with the idea of making my own work, tested it out with my first short and then fell in love with it. Cinema was a natural progression for me, especially that my career goal is starring in my own series on Netflix or Hulu. Michaela Coel and Mindy Kahling are #goals. My route is anything but traditional, but this journey has taught me invaluable lessons, some harder than others and I'm here to help others become multi-hyphenates.
It was a learning curve at first. Why? Because most of the resources out there are geared towards teaching people how to set up a shot, how famous filmmakers work - there's a huge difference on limitations when you have a $2000 budget vs a $200,000,000 so what Zack Snyder is currently doing isn't what you'll be doing. And, most resources are kind of pessimistic and beat the phrase "don't quit your day job" into you. Which, if you're just starting out and already feeling overwhelmed, it scares most people away from even trying. If you love filmmaking and want to become a filmmaker, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. I learned through my own experience and listening to the experience of others, that there are hundreds of ways to go about this journey. And there is no one size fits all as many of these resources will try to make you believe. It's a journey, not a race.