Joshua Moore is writer/director of I Think It’s Raining, which ran the festival circuit and recently became available via digital download, thanks to distribution by FilmBreak, a data-driven marketing platform that connects fans with filmmakers.
Starring actor/musician Alexandra Clayton, I Think It’s Raining is Moore’s portrait of a young woman at odds with who she once was and who she will become. Moore talks about his creative process, plus offers insight on film festivals and filmmaking.
What inspired you to write I Think It’s Raining?
The film was inspired by a personal relationship I had with a woman some time ago and it was my attempt to understand her point view that I told the story from Renata’s perspective. The funny thing that happened though was that the more I wrote about Renata the more I realized how similar I was to her.
I met Alexandra through a friend after I had difficulty casting the part, and immediately upon meeting her I knew she was perfect for Renata. We just clicked and ended up spending a year prior to shooting, work-shopping the character together.
What is your writing process?
I’m actually not a very disciplined writer. I don’t set aside specific time each day to write. I prefer to write in bulk periods. Before I even start writing I mostly spend a lot of time thinking about the characters I’m creating and the story I want to tell, taking a lot of walks, just going through it all in my head, and then taking some notes. When I’m ready to start writing I just start, and I write pretty fast just to get it all out on the page. It’s the re-writing that takes much longer. As I mentioned, Alexandra and I work-shopped the character for a year and, through that intense collaboration, I would make changes to the dialogue and the scenes. Alexandra brought a lot of herself to Renata just as I did. I had her create the diary that Renata uses in the film and write all the entries in the voice of her character and the illustrations too. This was very important to me so that she could really connect to Renata in a personal way and understand her history. The songs she sings in the films also emphasize this.
What was your favorite part of writing the film? The greatest challenge?
The most enjoyable part of the writing process for this film was actually in the re-writing phase which came out of Alexandra and I work-shopping the character together. I wrote several drafts right up until shooting, and the script keep getting stronger and the character more defined. The most difficult aspect of writing this film was the fact I that I made Renata’s past so mysterious. It was always my intention of focusing on her present rather than her past. I wanted the film to put the audience into her shoes, er… cowboy boots, and have them experience what she experiences, and only know things about her that she reveals throughout this brief time period of transition in her life. No flashbacks or needless exposition. All that being said, it’s a fine line with how much information about character should be revealed to an audience and I skated that line very closely.
How did you decide which festivals to submit the film?
I wanted to start with A-list festivals just to see if we’d get in and luckily we did! The world premiere was at Karlovy Vary, which was a pretty amazing experience. It’s one of the top European film festivals and takes place in a beautiful small town outside of Prague. I attended along with Alexandra and my producer, Brooke Dooley. Showing this little American film to a European audience was truly thrilling. After that festivals contacted me wanting to see the film which helps a lot, and of course, not all of them said yes, but we ended up having a pretty good run.
What were the biggest lessons you learned from going the festival route?
I had underestimated the importance of having a publicist for the film. Trying to get press coverage for a small indie film all by myself was very difficult and a professional publicist would have been great.
How did you connect with FilmBreak? And how is that helping you get the word out about your film?
My producer, Brooke Dooley knew one of the founders and told them about I Think It’s Raining. They liked the film and I met them at Sundance earlier this year, and they told me they’d like to distribute it. FilmBreak has helped a lot by being able to give the film a home. My festival run had ended and there was no way of any one else being able to see the film until it was distributed on VOD. I’m really thrilled more and more people can now watch the film on a so many different digital platforms now.
What are three things new filmmakers considering submitting to festivals need to know?
Well, this isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It really depends on whether you’re submitting for the first time and whether it’s a short or a feature. Premiere status is critical for features and much less important for shorts. If you’ve never been in a festival, start with the top festivals if your film is strong, but know that the likelihood of getting accepted is very slim unless you have a strong personal connection to the festival or a recognizable star in your cast. If you’ve already screened in festivals, mention those those prior screenings when you’re submitting to more. It really helps a lot. The most important thing is to not rush your film for a festival deadline. You should concentrate on delivering the best film you can. When it’s truly ready, it will find it’s way to an audience.
Advice for screenwriters?
Write something you care about. This sounds simple, but making a feature film takes a lot of time and energy, so at the end of the day you need ask yourself why you care so much about this particular story and why it’s worth writing.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before becoming a writer/filmmaker?
Filmmaking, like anything else in life, is a constant learning experience. You can never really know enough and each time you make a film, you learn a bit more, and with that comes confidence to try new things. I’ve learned to give myself permission to always be learning.