Making A Feature Film Is The Scariest Thing For A Filmmaker – Frank Coraci

Making A Feature Film Is The Scariest Thing For A Filmmaker – Frank Coraci

Film Courage: Your first film (a feature film) was
M Innocence? Frank Coraci, Director: Yes, it’s kind of like I lost my virginity?
Film Courage: okay, I hope she called you the next day? Frank: Literally okay. It was funny. I had
made short films. I had made a thing with Adam [Sandler] I did a short Adam Sandler cuz he
was I was he was a SNL and I had this real I put together of just anything and
everything I could shoot I had a PSA and and I was I was obsessively trying to
put this reel together because I thought the reel was gonna be the way I I got to
be a filmmaker I had in my head from being at NYU that all my favorite
filmmakers Scorsese Coppola Spielberg like everyone had made a movie before
they were 30 and I had this like self-inflicted I have to do with him oh
that’s it I’m not gonna make it and I lose in the other thing room like 20
hours and I had some weird visual reaction seizure thing and I gotta rush
to the emergency room and while I was in the hospital i sat there and i thought
the dumbest thing i’ve ever thought was like that does a number I go if I’m
really a filmmaker I don’t care if I’m 40 50 60 70 I’m never gonna stop until I
make movies and it was almost like I had to have that revelation because the
following week I was on Long Island with my girlfriend at the time and a video
story I think it was a blockbuster they were still around and I turned the
corner and this guy’s hitting on my girlfriend and he’s like I’m a filmmaker
and the reason and then I’m like yeah I’m a filmmaker too he said yeah what’d
you do I go you want to see my reel he’s like yeah I’ll see you real and then he
saw my reel and he had it was this guy Fred Carbon who had made a bunch of
Indies on Long Island and he goes that you’re good man
you wanna you want to direct this movie you have 14 days and we have like you
know $200,000 I’m like carried the script I’m like yeah so I read the
script and it was just like really bad police drama and I had seen his other
movies and they were kind of these weird B movies were always Gary Bergdorf as a
serial killer best at zero killer I thought kind of
cool my first opportunity to make a weird movie
I read the script it was all like police talk but kind of like corny TV police
talk so I I called up one of my buddies from NYU Steve perros and he’ll read the
script I get to make this movie but the script is not good at all and they go
well you rewrite and I’m like yeah and I’m like she do you think and then he
goes well you love film noir and I’m like yeah it’s like this kind of corny
dialogue can be easily shifted to like varnish kind of dialog and it had this
whole flashback of murder that happened in the 70s and so we we whole I said I’m
gonna rewrite he goes you have two weeks to rewrite it we rewrote it and we had
Jason Miller was cast in it who was the priest in The Exorcist he was nominated
for that and he also wrote that championship season beautiful man he
passed away a few years back he loved what I did with the script it had a lot
of depth it was a dark dark story I think we got a seventeen body count by
the end of movie it had to have that I had to kill a bunch of people I had a
blow-up a car and so we made the story with the parameters that the producer
one and the other parameter was the producer had to be the lead oh wow
and so we wrote a role that you know we kind of made him under his breath and
then he blows up and gets angry and and I kind of we put together a movie that
was like kind of weird and cool very blue velvet influence cuz I had seen
that at the time so it was quirky weird talked about totally strange movie and
you know I didn’t get to cast everyone I wanted it was like the visual effects
the special effects guy had to be the bad guy so the level of talent was a
little bit all over the place so because I knew that I played it a bit campy
again with blue velvet as an inspiration and so it was this weird dark kind of
funny movie which has one of my favorite final shots in it because I was a huge
fan of the Graduate and my favorite last shot of that movie is he finally gets
the girl and the two of them on the back of the bus and and Mike Nichols is
it just leaves the camera on them till it just gets uncomfortable and this home
I might in my movie they’re doing all the stuff running killing other and they
finally get away the girl and the guy and the camera does this creepy just
pull back and inspired by my my pickles shot and and it’s like okay now they
have each other now what but yeah I got to make this cool movie and the first
time you make a feature film you think something about if you really want to be
a filmmaker the scariest thing in the world is to make a feature film because
you could think how can I hold all this in my head
and I did it and I was like this cool and then Columbia TriStar had seen in
his days of home video and they bought it immediately and they got it went to
Home Video I don’t think it’s available on blu-ray or anything now but it would
be great for us I I just got honored in the festival in Switzerland then they
showed it so the first time I had seen it years in front of an audience it was
dubbed in German seemed to go over pretty good okay so so you literally got
this job by being at a blockbuster video yeah and having a hot girlfriend I guess did you believe and what going back it
was Fred Carpenter yeah and that’s what was so did you believe him at that point
like when he died I think I was I was in my hometown my parents had showed me an
article hey look at this I was in films you know I came out of film school look
at this guy in our town it was like an expose and Newsday or something and so I
knew I kind of knew small town I grew up and I was like oh yeah that’s that guy yeah and then you co you then helped
reshape the script yeah and the funny thing is is so I had like I didn’t even
have a real crew we had like a guy who did like our gaffer did like industrials
you know is this about long deep Wang Island and the crew was all Hofstra
students and they were like first second-year students they didn’t even
have the equipment that I had at NYU’s they were like really green and but I’m
good at rallying the troops and getting them to believe in the movie and
14 days shoot went for like 38 days because I got people to work for free
for me and you know but like I bought in with film it was like that kind of thing
where like I used my credit cards and you know I didn’t take any money I think
I was supposed to get paid I need to direct it and I just put that into the
film and yeah Lenny Weintraub was this an investor he was a real really sweet
real estate guy and he invested in the movie and was excited to be a part of
Hollywood weren’t quite Hollywood then but there was some relaxants Ellen green
she was if the at Racal actress she was in the movie she was in like Little Shop
of Horrors on Broadway then around that time yeah so we just we just pulled the
pulled it off cut it on film my editor Tom Lewis has edited most of
my movies yeah they like film school buddy yeah the guy who was a
cinematographer on my travel documentaries was the cinematographer so
there was a bunch of NYU people came together to help me out so it goes to
home video how long before then you get your next job which is the wedding sings
so meanwhile you

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Bad title. He said it’s scary because “How can I hold all this in my head?” If you’re curious about his experience of getting his first directing job you can keep watching.

  2. Beg to differ, I'd say the scariest would be not earning much in your film's release.

    All that money, work, and time sacrificed, not just in making the film, but also distributing and marketing it… All of that only to earn you at least a $100 (I'm exaggerating w/ the number)

  3. You have to think long form,and about eating whole chunks of your life. Did it as as pseudo doc ,Deemed unwatchable by interfering producer.

  4. I can't relate to making my first feature, but making my first short film was even a bit jarring because my main focus was on not messing it up rather than just trying to get it done. You want to come out of the gate swinging, but don't realize that it's just not realistic. Your first film won't be the best, but as long as you're dedicated to making it, everything should turn out just fine, and you'll grow when making your next film.

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