Last weekend, my beau sent me a picture. He said this picture got the "gears turning" in his head. I replied, "For a dark version of Jacky?" (his original character in my short film), and those gears began to turn even more. So far, we have a premise for a short film, about a thrilling dream sequence taking place in a creepy circus. Before giving away any spoilers, let me describe the creative process that got us to this point.

1. The First Flicker Of Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere and we never know where one idea can take us. One picture and one comment led to a series of other questions. I asked where the picture was from and Beau explained that it was from a game taking place in a dream. This sparked the idea of "Dark Jacky" being the alternate version of him in Zinnia's (my original character in my short film) dream.

2. Brainstorming Conversation

We agreed to talk about this more after my shift at the coffee shop was done. I bought us some snacks, walked over to his place, and we brainstormed together.

3. Sketching

Because more images were coming into our minds, he and I decided to sketch out a storyboard for the sequence of events in our short film and started designing the original characters. We did not sketch that very day because the idea came out of nowhere. I had no sketch pad on me and he misplaced his, so storyboarding had to wait until the next day.

4. Writing It Down

We recorded these ideas with pictures, mostly, but writing down ideas as you brainstorm is another helpful way to organize your thoughts and remember them.

5. Seeking Further Inspiration

Now that we had a basic idea, we looked for more inspiration. This came from watching videos on YouTube of the genre we were aiming for, looking up pictures of scenery, costume, and character designs. When I was over at his house, we watched some clips of that dream-sequence game and others like it for ideas. (I really don't care for jump scares.)

Along with "Dark Jacky", we came up with a few more original characters. I was looking at Steampunk outfits on "DeviantArt" to inspire the design for the hypnotist, who induces Zinnia's strange dream. On the spot, Beau gave him a name.

6. Gathering Materials

Beau did not hesitate to buy a mask he thought would be perfect for "Dark Jacky". I considered a change of Zinnia's outfit for the dream sequence as well. I searched for possible costuming options but then decided to wait on it. There are still bigger questions regarding tech support and set. We are amateurs doing this for fun, after all!

7. Assemble A Crew

There is only so much a studio of two is capable of, especially when neither is great with technology. We are still reaching out to find possible connections and maybe other actors, depending on how many more characters we add. Reaching out will incorporate the skills others have that you lack on your own and (hopefully) may get you connected to the resources you need.

8. Putting The Project Together

After designing it, the bulk of it is making it come alive. We have not come this far for our short film, though, and this is applicable to other art forms too, of course. Beau and I are both writers, so for that department, this would mean writing out a draft.

9. Editing

Of course, the first draft is not your final presentation. That raw footage needs to be edited and polished into the final presentation. Bring the video, music, and special effects (basic at our level) together and our passion project will (hopefully) be complete after working all summer on it.

10. Spreading The Word

When this is done, it will be published on our channel, "The World Is Our Stage". The video will be shared on social media platforms in hopes it gets more views and making others aware of our work. Of course, we will tell our families, friends, and coworkers so they'll be our first audience.