"When Everything's Gone" is a post-apocalyptic drama about a man named Rory (Alex Alessi), whom has survived a devastating plague by hiding out in solitude for over a year only to be haunted by the the loss of his brother Chris (Gabriel Rush).
We spoke with Writer, Director & Actor Alex Alessi about his new feature.
Filmmaking is important to me because it can be used to express yourself in so many ways, through so many genres and themes, and a single frame of a film can say more than an entire book if filmed right. My life has been greatly influenced by filmmaking, forming lifelong friendships through a shared love of film, and great films and filmmaking experiences have shifted my points of view through out my life and shaped me as a person at my core.
Budgetary restraints have been by far the biggest obstacle to over come, and I'm thankful I've had a support system help me raise funds for my work, but even those funds provided limitations and with those limitations comes opportunity to be creative and find solutions with your creativity. When budget failed I was able to rely on the love of my fellow filmmakers to help finish the film and I was able to take on as many roles as possible and learn new skills to complete different aspects of the film without the budget to hire a pro for it.
My film 'When Everything's Gone' is a film about how we process loss and how important the human connection is especially after something truly traumatic. I was exploring what I had around me to work with to tell a story and when I took those elements into account, the location of a heavily wooded area, the desire for a smaller cast and the access to a house, the idea of a post-pandemic world and a man trying find his place in it just flowed into existence. The seed of the story was grown from practicality and it evolved over time and through collaboration with producers, my co-director and my director of photography we really found something special together and the story became even more timely in 2020 as some of themes and the catalyst of a pandemic became much more of a reality.
My crew for the film came together through past projects, I was able to put a pitch trailer together and with that I got interest with in my network. The cast I was able to do a search for with Backstage and we had hundreds of submissions to find most of the cast, with the exception of Gabriel Rush, who I'd seen in Moonrise kingdom and I stumbled across his backstage profile and sent him the script and thankfully he really liked the part and came right on board. Through all the filming the crew went from mutually acquainted to really connecting through our love of film and the love of the project, even working for deferred payment when the budget wasn't enough. The cast was also really on board with the entire experience, and I think it all came down to having a clear vision for the project while we shot and making sure we were all on the same page and communitcating. The good food provided by friends and family also helped keep us going.
I think that a good film has great thematic elements that tie the story together and every scene tells a mini story that helps advance the main plot threads and develop characters throughout. All of these things at the core of your story help to enrich the narrative and keep the plot moving. I also feel like a good film tries to let the audience participate in the story by not over explaining plot points, but just giving enough for viewers to discover those beats as they watch. No matter what genre, budget, or length a movie may be, I think keeping these things in mind for your story can really make it great.
The biggest change I'd make to the current industry is finding ways to make it more accessible to upcoming and unknown talent while also creating smaller personal stories with that talent as opposed to the current star centric blockbuster mindset.
The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to work in filmmaking is to always be creating and planning on creating projects. Even without a budget, there's always a way to tell your story, so find that avenue and just make the films you want, and find fellow filmmakers to collaborate with to make films they want. It's a great community and every project is an opportunity to advance your career.
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