05 October 2011


There's a point in every project where you have to either have to push all your chips in the middle or save them for a later hand. You can this at any point, but the quicker it becomes clear, the better everyone will be. You don't want to get all the way to the end and find yourself drawing dead or holding a pair of Jacks against a flush.

So I'm pulling the plug on UNTITLED LUCAS MCNELLY PROJECT.

Sort of.

After a long phone call with Marty Lang, it became evident that we can do this same film, in the context of A Year Without Rent, and do it so much better.

More on that later.

It's one thing to make a film in two weeks when you live in the city and have a team in place. It's something else entirely when you don't know the city at all. Can it be done? Of course. I have no doubt that we could have gotten this film made. Would it have been any good? Maybe.

But when people started dropping out due to scheduling, it became clear that we were going to be making it with a pretty rag-tag team of people. But even that isn't all of it.

I simply don't have the energy to get this film off the ground this quickly. I'm too fucking tired. AYWR is a grind. It's one thing to be part of a crew, but to compress an entire pre-production into this short of a time frame just isn't something I felt the fire to do right now. And more than anyone, I know what this sort of thing involves. And I just didn't want to do it.

That was probably it more than anything.

Apologies to everyone in Denver who put in work in these early days. Hopefully it wasn't wasted effort. If nothing else, I got to meet some really cool people in a town where I knew almost no one.

But all is not lost. Marty's still working on the script. We're going to bring the film back in a bigger, better, and more interesting way. It'll still be cool, and it'll still be fun, and maybe we can get some of those people back we lost. With a little more lead time, we can probably even get more of a wish list together.

The current theory: why do this now when we could do it at the end of AYWR as the last film in the project?

The whole point was to prove it could be done. And last night I realized I just didn't care. I've already proven it could be done. So let's prove we can do something else instead.

Filmmaker Lucas McNelly is spending a year on the road, volunteering on indie film projects around the country, documenting the process and the exploring the idea of a mobile creative professional. You can see more from A Year Without Rent at the webpage. His feature-length debut is now available to rent on VOD. Follow him on Twitter: @lmcnelly.