BPS 006: How a Screenwriter Becomes a First Time Director with Kelly Fremon Craig

I’m asked all the time

“How does a screenwriter get the opportunity to direct one of their screenplays?”

That is the question. In Hollywood, more times than not, writers don’t have the power or ability to direct their own material. It took a few screenplays before Quentin Tarantino got the shot with Reservoir Dogs. Today’s guest is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig. She got her shot to director her own screenplay on the 2016 critical darling The Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick. Check out the trailer below.

Kelly’s adventures through Hollyweird are inspiring to say the least. Enjoy my conversation with Kelly Fremon Craig.

Right-click here to download the MP3



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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Kelly Freeman. Craig, thank you so much, Kelly, for being on the show.

Kelly Fremon Craig 3:04
Oh, thank you so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:06
I'm a big fan. I loved your movie edge of 17. It's it hark back to my well, basically our time growing up in the with John Hughes films.

Kelly Fremon Craig 3:18
Yes. Oh, man. Thank you. That's such a great compliment. Because yeah, I grew up on those films. And, and it Yeah, I feel like they were especially that age. Like they're so formative, you know, he would get that feeling.

Alex Ferrari 3:34
Yes, he had he had his hand on the pulse at me.

Kelly Fremon Craig 3:36
Yeah, he totally did. He got out. Like, I think like, the thing that was amazing is he got how layered it is, you know, and messy and complicated. And, you know, he always pulled that off, which was just, which was just cool.

Alex Ferrari 3:52
So, so let's get started. First of all, how did you get into this crazy business?

Kelly Fremon Craig 3:58
I a man in college, I was, you know, I was I was an English major. And I was writing a bunch, but I didn't really know. I didn't know what I would do with it. Exactly. Um, and then I did my first internship when I was a senior in college at a at a film production company, and read my first screenplay and just kind of fell in love with with the medium. Luckily, the first screenplay that I read was was something really good. And so it just made me it made me want to try it at the time I was doing like I was, um, I was doing, like spoken word poetry, like slam poetry,

Alex Ferrari 4:41
slam poetry, that must have been that must have been a dark time.

Kelly Fremon Craig 4:46
That's like a college thing to do. Or, like, go to like, little underground coffee shops, you know, a moat, you know?

Alex Ferrari 4:54
Did people snap instead of clap?

Kelly Fremon Craig 5:00
It was we took ourselves very seriously very soon

Alex Ferrari 5:03
as you do in college.

Kelly Fremon Craig 5:06
Yeah. So, um, so anyway, so I was writing, I was writing those like little characters that were they were basically like monologues, I guess I was writing different in different voices essentially. And then when I read my first script, I was like, Oh, this is you can make all these different voices talk and things happen. And there was something exciting about that. And at that time, I just started to watch movies that I felt like, were about me at that age, like I had, for the first time discovered swingers. And that was actually one of the films that really made me like, Go, man, this can be about like me and my friends and my life, you know, movies about that. And so it made me want to just start to try to, you know, try to write something. So, so yeah, so I started and, and then moved up to LA and, you know, was like temping, and a receptionist and an assistant and that sort of thing and writing at night and then finished my first script a few years later, and, and then ended up selling that and that was probably in 2004 or five is that is that postgrad? Yes, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 6:23
how was what was your experience as a as a, as a first time basically produced writer working on a fairly decent sized budget? Film, and like, that whole experience?

Kelly Fremon Craig 6:35
It was, it was, it was wild, it was crazy. Because Because on the one hand, you're just, you're so excited that like, someone is gonna make your film like, this is gonna happen, you know, right. And then and then just sort of like the, just the excitement of all that was an incredible high, but then when you actually get into it, and you realize that, um, that, you know, you write this thing, but it's really kind of a template, and then it's, it sort of grows legs and runs away. And it's not really yours anymore, you know, um, so. And that that part, that part of it was hard. It was hard to go and like, and sit down in the theater for the first time and see it and feel like whoa, oh, my God. This is, this is so

Alex Ferrari 7:26
not what you wrote.

Kelly Fremon Craig 7:28
Not what I Yeah, exactly. Right.

Alex Ferrari 7:31
Isn't that the the the trials and tribulations of every writer in Hollywood?

Kelly Fremon Craig 7:37
Exactly. And so, but I think like, you know, you sort of at least starting out, you don't think it will happen to you?

Alex Ferrari 7:46
Like, oh, yeah, oh, no, I'm good. I won't fall into that trap. I know, the traps there. I won't fall into it.

Kelly Fremon Craig 7:52
Exactly. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, you're there and you're like, holy shit, it's there. Everyone's right. And that's what happens. So anyway, so, um, so. But, you know, that was a painful experience. But the good part of it, the thing I think that that was, that was positive that came out of it was it just number one, thicken my skin, which I feel like you have to, you have to be really tough to just survive this business anyway. So I think you need that. And I did not have that coming in. Um, I was just sort of starry eyed and like, Oh, my God, script like, you know, CZ, you know, um, but that yeah, that was that was a very quickly replaced by, you know, citizens. But anyway, yeah, so it was, the good part about it was, it's, um, it happened to me, but it also just made me you know, want to direct which I, which I don't know, that I would have really tried to do had I not had that experience. So for that I'm thankful for it.

Alex Ferrari 8:57
So then how did how did that experience help you get edge off edge of 17 off the ground? And how did it come together? And in general,

Kelly Fremon Craig 9:07
um, I don't know that they were related at all. I really kind of like once it was done. I was, I was, once postgrad was done. I really, I mean, I really had a moment where I was like, I think I'm done. I think I'm just done with this whole deal. I think I just need to move out of the state. I just need something different because I I just I thought, Man, this is not not what I wouldn't what I had, thought it was gonna be like, and then and then I sort of had a moment where God bless my manager, he was he at the time just was like, oh, you know, write something that you want to write. And, and just, you know, don't think about anybody else. Don't just write something for you. Because at the time, I was also doing rewrites and studio work and stuff like that, which is, you know, when you're sort of a hired gun like that, it's a different deal. You're writing. You're You're, you're an auto, you're more of an auto mechanic. You're just sort of trying to help somebody else fix something that they're, you know, that they're working on. And

Alex Ferrari 10:05
that's, and that's, and that's something I wanted to talk about real quick that a lot of a lot of filmmakers and screenwriters listening, kind of don't get sometimes, like, you know, they just see like five years in between movies, and they're like, how are they surviving? And how do you survive?

Kelly Fremon Craig 10:22
That's the thing, you know, you're doing a lot of things that, first of all, so few movies actually get made. So you're writing a lot of things, but that never get may never see the light of day. It's amazing how many things you know how small the percentages that actually gets through feel, honestly, like somebody said, like, it's actually a small miracle to get a film made. And I think that's true. It's a it's really, it's a it's a feat. So there are so many ways. So there was a lot of time in there, were just sort of writing for a doing those type of things. And then there and then there was sort of the moment where I kind of stopped everything and went, alright, let me just go and write something I really care about and just write it for me. And then that was, that was that was just 17.

Alex Ferrari 11:09
And then how did it come together? How did you get hooked up with that little producers? Names Jamie?

Kelly Fremon Craig 11:15
Has anyone heard of them? But

Alex Ferrari 11:19
ah, James Elbert James L. Brooks, for everyone listening?

Kelly Fremon Craig 11:23
Yes. Yeah. You know, um, so I had, he was used just like the guy that I, there's really, and there still is nobody that I admire more than the business like he's so his films are. So I think on so many occasions, he's made literally perfect films. And so I just had always worshipped Him. And when when I wrote this, we decided to take a shot and send it to him, even though it was like, it was, you know, everybody prefaced it with, this is never going to happen. Like just just so you know, like, it's not going to happen, but we'll try. So I was like, I was braced for like, absolutely no way in hell. And then, and then all sudden, I heard Wait a minute, he read it, and he likes it, and he wants to sit down with you. And then I was like, I can't like the week in between hearing that and sitting down with him. I like, I can't even describe to you all, like, I see that I had. No, I'm sure.

Alex Ferrari 12:30
I mean,

Kelly Fremon Craig 12:31
just like your stomach and knots and like rehearsing every last thing I was gonna possibly say. And then and then I sat down with him. And, and I also in my mind had decided that, you know, I really wanted to direct it, I really want to hold on to it. And I had decided that at some, some point down the line once I had, hopefully, you know, buttered him up. It convinced him that, that I that I should do it. Um, but it turned out that in that first meeting, when we sat down, he said, I think I think you know, I think the voice is really specific to you. So I really think you're the right person to direct it.

Alex Ferrari 13:11

Kelly Fremon Craig 13:12
I mean, I, I can't, I wish I really wish like, I had like a video of that whole reading the absolute utter shock on my face. So, um, so anyway, yeah. So I and then it ended up that we, you know, he helped us out. And we went and made it a few years later.

Alex Ferrari 13:35
So yeah, I wanted to ask you, because a lot of films, a lot of screenwriters kind of don't understand the business side of it, in the sense of from the first draft, to first day of shooting, how many years was that?

Kelly Fremon Craig 13:46
That was four years.

Alex Ferrari 13:49
So I preach a lot of the grind, and the hustle that you have to do and, and you have to show up every day, and you have to keep pushing every day.

Kelly Fremon Craig 14:01
Amen. Because you know what? The thing is, like, I think it's very easy when you see something on the internet, or something. You think a person is just like, you think it's just happened overnight? Like it seems like it's just like, Oh, it's just happened. But yeah, you don't see the, like years and years and years of work to get it there and the and the amount of nose that you have to turn into yeses. And you know what I mean, there's there's a whole big mountain to climb to get there. You know, it's, it's fascinating. Most of it, yeah, most of the job. It's fascinating

Alex Ferrari 14:36
that a movie like just 17 could get made, just in general because, you know, in today's world of, of, you know, multi blockbusters that a studio could get behind if a film like that is awesome, but yet also that hope, that hope development stage. How many projects I'm sure have you've heard about from other people or have been involved with that book. through that development stage, and just die, like five years in, they're like, oh, there's a change in the studio or all. It just goes away. And then you're just heartbroken.

Kelly Fremon Craig 15:09
Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. I think it's, it's so many different things have to line up for it to work. And, and it's also, you know, I think you have to you have to care about the film that you're making so much that you are able to withstand the, the, the slog of it, you know,

Alex Ferrari 15:39
the brutality, the brutality.

Kelly Fremon Craig 15:40
Yeah, exactly. And just the, you know, I mean, also just having to live with live with it for four years, and love it still, and be passionate about it still, even after you've been so in it that you can't, you don't I mean, I mean, it's like, when you're in the editing process, like, by the time you use, you know, you get to your test audience, you've seen the movie, like 500 times, so every joke, like nothing makes you laugh, nothing makes you cry, like, there's, you don't feel a damn thing because you're just, you're desensitized, because you spent so much time with it, you know, and you somehow I think, have to be able to get through that and, and reset and reset, and constantly somehow, like fresh in yourself to experience emotionally knew over and over and over again. And that also, I think, is something people don't really talk about as part of the process. You have to like, be able to show up and feel it again and again and again. And again. You know,

Alex Ferrari 16:45
you get no till you get dull, it just nullifies your feelings towards it. Because you know, I mean, I've been editing for 20 years, and sometimes when you're on a project and you edit a feature again and again, like you forget the jokes, what made you laugh three months ago? Doesn't make you laugh now.

Kelly Fremon Craig 17:02
Now just yeah, now it just makes you want to, like, you know, pain your head against the wall. And you know that it's yeah, it's it's really, it's a Yeah, it's a part of it is really exactly what you said. It's the grind of it. It's hard.

Alex Ferrari 17:17
Yeah. Now, what was it like working closely with James Ellis Brooks? I mean, he's obviously a legend in the industry. What was it like working with a legend?

Kelly Fremon Craig 17:27
You know, what's amazing to me is that, you know, sometimes you meet your meet your heroes, you meet those legends, and you're like, Oh, he's just, you know, a mortal man. He said, Yes. But with Jim, I swear to God, it's like, the closer I got to him, the more I just was enamored and blown away by his his genius. Like, he's, he's literally, he's a genius. He's, he's also like, I've never seen anybody who has a more lightning fast mind. That's the other thing. Like he's, he is able to, he's able to articulate things so beautifully and poetically, and, and hilarious, in the most hilarious way imaginable, and off the top of his head in like, a half a second. And I don't, there's so few people on earth that can do that, you know, and you can also distill something down to its essence, in a second and a half. And he's, I mean, I just, I feel like I'm, I, it's, I only and more. They only worship and more, I'm only more in awe of him. I feel so lucky that I got to be in the presence of that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 18:48
if you had one lesson to take away from working with Jim and I call him Jim not because I know him obviously. But it from from working with Mr. Brooks, what would be that one lesson be like, Oh, my God, this is that nugget of that, that gold nugget of information that just is invaluable.

Kelly Fremon Craig 19:05
I'm a to two things actually, the first thing was, and this totally changed my life really, really, really. He said, when we first sat down, and we're starting the development process, he said, The most important thing you have to figure out is what do you what do you sing about life in this story? And I thought that was that's it's so important because there's so often you can get caught up in the mechanics of storytelling and jokes and you know, and everything, but at the end of the day, if a film needs a thesis, it needs to say something about how we live, you know, something about our experience as humans and and it's amazing, I think actually how Frequently that question is actually asked, when, you know, when when people are making a film. And I know, I don't know that I was asking myself that question before. I've worked with him. And now I've never, I never approached to a film. You know, as I'm looking at a new project and starting new things, that's always the first question on my mind to the point where I'm probably annoying everybody. Because I'm like, but what is it saying?

Alex Ferrari 20:28
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor.

And now back to the show. So what does it mean? What is the meaning of life in this store?

Kelly Fremon Craig 20:43
Exactly. I mean, that's really, but when you think about it, like, when you really think about your favorite movies, you can, you can do that you can say, it's saying this, it's a it's really about this, like, there's something that you take away. And so that was a really, that was life altering, honestly. And and then the other thing was, he really, he encouraged me to go spend some time with teenagers just research it spend time with the people because there's something about that, that. First of all, there's it, they give you little details and insights that you can't, you can't just make up. And they also it's suddenly you have a face. For you. It's it's, it's it's like you have a little constituency or something. Right? It's just a gives you a different, I don't know, a different level of mission or something. Because you're like, oh, man, but these are the people really actually living there. So how can I try to really capture that in a way that they would go? That's it. That's the line, you know,

Alex Ferrari 21:55
to honor them? Yeah, exactly. Their struggle, because it is not easy. Being a teenager is not easy. I cannot even imagine being a teenager today with us.

Kelly Fremon Craig 22:07
I've got you know, what is you know, it's so amazing to like, the other day, I'm driving along, and I was driving along with my husband and I heard a song from from the 90s When I was a teenager. And I was it just like, it did that thing where just hit me like 100 bricks. And if I was just my stomach was in knots. Like, holy, like, I was like, I was back there immediately. And I was with Whoa. I mean, it's it's it was a amazingly powerful time in life. Oh, I'm happy to be past it.

Alex Ferrari 22:45
Yeah, it's no, no, I mean, but just the brutality of social media and teenagers I cannot even imagine.

Kelly Fremon Craig 22:53
Oh, god, yeah. Now it's now it's so much. It's got to be. It's it's got to be worse. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 22:59
Oh, it's, it's without question. It's worse. We were growing up, it was just much more innocent. And then,

Kelly Fremon Craig 23:06
yeah, you will. And that's the thing. Like, you could kind of get away from it for a second. No, you're this like fishbowl at school, but then you could go home and kind of like, forget, but now it's just everybody's gonna force all the time, is doing all the time and compare yourself to it and wonder if you're, you know, how you're, you're always I think in this like, weird, like, comparison of where you are on the social spectrum and how you're doing in life. And that is absolutely, like, I think maybe the most crazy making like biggest mindfuck there is that age, you know? Right? Also, like, Who

Alex Ferrari 23:43
are you and where are you? Like, where do you rank in the social hierarchy. But as you and I both know, it means absolutely nothing. All the problems that you see in high school, in the grand scheme of things is a blip on your

Kelly Fremon Craig 23:56
Yes, exactly. Like the end of the world when you're there. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 24:01
God Yeah, though. I didn't get I didn't get that A I didn't get that be really? Yeah.

Kelly Fremon Craig 24:06
Exactly. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 24:08
So now you worked with some fairly popular and legendary actors as well. And you were a first time director. So how was it? Like how do you direct Woody Harrelson and keep your character Cedric?

Kelly Fremon Craig 24:23
Oh, man, you know. So this is also a credit to Jim um, when we went when I was gearing up to to go into production. Jim said, okay, the thing we've got to do is we've got to go sit in the back of Larry mosses class now Larry Moss is a he's a very famous acting coach. He's He's you know, he's he's coached like Leonardo DiCaprio and he coached Helen Hunt and as good as it gets and and he puts up these these classes where essentially like actors go and they, they put up a little, they put up a scene from a movie or a play and and then he directs them and you see something, just bomb. And then you can give these adjustments where all of a sudden the scene just, like just burst to life. It's amazing. It's amazing to watch the transformation. So sitting and watching, like a master do that. And you know, and really watching him for hours, honestly, that was that gave me I had something to shoot for. I had something to go okay, that's the thing to be after. And I think and and that helped me tremendously because I think had I not had that experience. Um I think I probably would have gone into I'm going gone into the gone into production, not necessarily a little bit rudderless, not knowing what the thing to shoot for is, you know, not knowing what good directing really looks like, you know what I mean? So, so honestly, I think that that helped tremendously. I mean, no matter what, it's still Woody Harrelson. And I mean, you know, I mean, when the first time I met him, it's like, it's terrifying. What he said, you know, but he is also such a just cool, warm, wonderful person that he he helps that melt away really easily. And he's also somebody who's really committed to the work doing great work, you know, so that makes it easier because everybody's sort of wanting to do the same thing. So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 26:49
he kept he keeps kind of like he keeps the he puts the bar high.

Kelly Fremon Craig 26:53
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 26:55
Yeah. Now, um, do you have any tips on like, how do you actually adjust? You know, a movie star, as opposed to, you know, is there a difference? Or is there are they just actors when they're on set with you? And I know, that's kind of a weird comment. But do you know what I mean? Sometimes there is that baggage of a movie star as opposed to just an actor trying to get a scene with a director? Do you talk to them beforehand, because I had another director on first time director on and he had a movie, he did a movie with John Malkovich. And he actually asked John Malkovich, how do you want to be directed? Because it's John Malkovich. I mean, seriously? Yes.

Kelly Fremon Craig 27:31
Yeah. What a great question.

Alex Ferrari 27:33
Yeah. How do you want to be directed? Because you know, I'm not gonna sit here and give you motivation. That's why I hired you. You are Woody Harrelson. So like, Are there any techniques or tips that you can kind of throw at us?

Kelly Fremon Craig 27:45
Um, you know, I Oh, I really always tried to do it as as a as playing and trying things, you know, an exploration. So my approach is, it's never like, I'm never like, you did that wrong? Can you do it this way? This is the right way. I'm, I'm everything is like, hey, let's, um, can we try one where we do blah, blah. Let's try this this time. Let's try that. Let's try. Let's try these different things. Because that to that, to me, at least, if I'm imagining myself in an actor's shoes, that's an exploration that's not, you know, you're messing up, could you do it? Could you do it right?

Alex Ferrari 28:25
Not the putting out the Kubrick way.

Kelly Fremon Craig 28:28
Which is, um, which also, by the way, you don't know, you, you you really, the other thing that I think is so important, when you're directing is like, is getting choices. And that's another thing that did, Jim drilled into me was just like, get, you know, get what you, you know, what you had in mind as a writer, but then get a lot of different iterations of it, because you, when you're in the editing room, you're gonna want to be able to move the scene along a spectrum and not just be stuck in, you know, because you have five takes that are angry, you know, what I mean? Like, if you have versions of a line, then all of a sudden, you can actually have the tools to shape a scene in the edit, you know, otherwise, you have many less tools. Um, so So that's also helpful because it just becomes the direction really just becomes about trying things, you know, and choices. And let's get one like this. And let's, you know, so we have options. And I think that also that just that eases everything off. That eases the pressure off and also gives, I think the actors permission for them to try things. That's the other thing I want that I like, I never give direction, in the beginning of a scene, like, you know, we'll go over the blocking but I tried never to, you know, I tried never to say anything, because I loved what they would come out with, you know, I loved watching Oh, that's their interpretation of that. And sometimes it's, it's much better than what I had imagined. So, um, so It's nice to just let everybody explore and play. Play.

Alex Ferrari 30:06
Yeah, we're making a movie for God's sakes. Yeah, exactly. Now how much improv was there on set?

Kelly Fremon Craig 30:12
Um, ah, it depended on the actors. Hayden Zito who plays Erwin. He's just he's such a wonderful improviser. So, and so, I mean, really, everybody was Hayley is a wonderful improviser as well and would ever really, you know, everybody on there was, but I would say probably with with Hayden, um, it was just really fun to let him riff, like, do his nervous riff, because they would just there was so endearing. But if I just let the camera roll, or I just say, okay, you know, just try try something, try something. Try whatever you want to do. Like, let's shake it up after after I had this scene, letting him kind of just play, um, really, really resulted in I think, some great little moments that are that are in the that are in the movie that wound up in the movie. You know, when he yells off the Ferris Wheel?

Alex Ferrari 31:08

Kelly Fremon Craig 31:10
Fucking right. That's important. That's him improvising. So, there's so add her laughing as hard genuinely laughing because, you know, but anyway, so that's

Alex Ferrari 31:23
the best. But that's, that's perfect. Because they're not acting anymore. They're actually Yes, exactly.

Kelly Fremon Craig 31:27
So like, so. To me, like to give everybody a lot of room to just try stuff in a play is, I found was really the best way to do it. Or for me that I found just, it allowed everybody to use their talents to the, you know, to the best of their use the best of their talents.

Alex Ferrari 31:54
Of course, now, I'm just curious, because it was about just that the word camera. What did you shoot this on? Because it looked gorgeous.

Kelly Fremon Craig 32:01
Oh, thank you. It was Alexa. That's my

Alex Ferrari 32:03
thought. It looks it looks very, very pretty. Oh, thank you know, um, do you think writing is a good doorway into getting into a directing job?

Kelly Fremon Craig 32:15
You know, I have to say, I don't know how anybody gets into directing without writing, but because that's my own process. But I, um, I absolutely think that that's a great way to get into it. Because if you write a piece of material that that people like, the great thing is that you could have let you know you have leverage because it's yours. And you know, you can more easily say well, I but I'd like to direct it. You know, and that's, you know, it's a everybody has a hard time taking on a first time director. It's nerve racking for everybody. But But I think if you if you've written the material, then you automatically have, you're automatically closer to it, you have more of an intimacy with the characters and everything else. So you can make a good argument why you're the right person to do it. You know,

Alex Ferrari 33:13
the Frank Darabont way of going about things? Yeah. Yeah, you know, I mean, I'm assuming you know, that story, right. I don't tell me this. So, obviously, you know, the Frank Darabont is and Shawshank they offered him high seven figures. Uh huh. For Shawshank as they should, because it's arguably one of the best movies ever made. And he said, Nope, I have to direct so he ended up with $250,000 for the script, and then he got to direct

Kelly Fremon Craig 33:44
and, and best best decision ever best

Alex Ferrari 33:47
that he's like, I'm gonna be a director. And this is what this is how I'm gonna roll. And God God bless him. He turned on the money, but in the long run, it was a great investment in himself. That's right. Yes, exactly. And arguably turned out one of the greatest movies ever.

Kelly Fremon Craig 34:01
Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 34:03
Now, um, what are some of your writing directing influences?

Kelly Fremon Craig 34:09
Um, Jim Brooks, obviously, Cameron Crowe, Alexander Payne. I gosh, I mean,

Alex Ferrari 34:21
I Mr. Hughes, Mr. Hughes?

Kelly Fremon Craig 34:24
Yeah, for sure. John Hughes. Yeah. Yeah, I Oh, Richard Linklater, okay, I love I love before sunset or before sunrise.

Alex Ferrari 34:38
Oh, that whole that whole that whole series is so beautiful.

Kelly Fremon Craig 34:42
Series is so good. And

Alex Ferrari 34:44
they just wrote it with Yeah, he wrote it with the actors.

Kelly Fremon Craig 34:47
I mean, it's yeah, it's amazing. It's amazing. I love I'm so I mean, there's certain filmmakers that I'm just so I'm like, so thankful for them. You know what I mean? Like, like every Film is just a gift. You know? I'm, I don't know. So, um, so yeah, those,

Alex Ferrari 35:08
those are some of the guys. Now what is the biggest lesson you took away from making edge of 17.

Kelly Fremon Craig 35:20
And it was, you know, it was there were so many because it's just it's a steep learning curve as a first time director, so just every single day you're learning something new. Um, but, um, but I think, I think ultimately that, um, you know, your, your note, the thing that I, that the gym said a lot, and that, and that always, that really stayed with me too is that, you know, when you're on set, the thing that you're, the thing that matters most is what ends up on film, you know, and because there are a lot of things, it's, it's, you know, first of all, it's a whole sort of army of people, different fires to put out and every, you know, that's just the nature of it, anytime you're going to do anything like this, that's the nature of it. But if you can just clear all of that away and silence that noise and just worry about what's on film. And, and sometimes, even if that means, you know, there are some, there were some things where, you know, we had to go 20 takes and it was, but you have to because it's you just have to, you know, oh, and when and when it's happening, it's you're sweating bullets, because you can feel everybody being like, Are you kidding me? Take 20

Alex Ferrari 36:48
out of curiosity on that that specific scenario, like what was the purpose? Were you just not getting what you wanted? Are you just exploring a lot,

Kelly Fremon Craig 36:56
uh, you know, it Well, in this particular instance, that I'm picking up, it was like, there was a whole, there was a bunch of extras there was. And it was a, it was just having to get having to get a very specific moment between the actors, and having the extras, doing the right thing at the right time, and having the camera move in the right way and captured at the right, you know, it was just a lot of moving parts. And so it just took a lot to get there.

Alex Ferrari 37:29
It was hurting, it was hurting my cats.

Kelly Fremon Craig 37:34
And so, but there are certain things where you go, but it's, but it's important, we have to do it even when, you know, even when everybody's tired. And it's you know, it's 4am and, you know, like, you just have to know that you don't want to be in the editing room later, just kicking yourself because you didn't, you didn't go one more and just get it, you know, so that that part's I think I just remembering that and somehow shutting out, you know, the noise is I think important.

Alex Ferrari 38:06
Now, what advice would you give a filmmaker who was wanting to make their first feature film?

Kelly Fremon Craig 38:13
Um, oh, man. Um, I probably pass along that Jim Brooks advice about get choices, you know. So that they have room to play in the edit. And, and also to sit down with everybody you possibly can to get advice and ask, Where are the landmines? You know, I tried to do that before I started and people, you know, I sat down with a number of directors that were just were really gracious about it. And were like, okay, you know, this, you know, this may happen, this may happen, this may happen. I suggest this. I said, like, get every bit of advice you possibly can. Um, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 38:59
People who've been down the road a bit and can warn you about the landmines.

Kelly Fremon Craig 39:03
Yeah. Because a lot of because the problem is, you know, going into going into my first thing, I knew that there were things I know, I knew, I didn't know. But the much scarier things were the things I didn't even know. You know what I mean? All I do is a big, you know, that was, there was a big section of that, you know, and so I was trying to shrink that box as much as I could before I went into it.

Alex Ferrari 39:28
Yes, yes, I know. I know that very well. Yeah. And now what is now what this is, this is my Oprah question. So prepare yourself. Okay. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life

Kelly Fremon Craig 39:49
I feel like I need to like lay down on the couch.

Alex Ferrari 39:52
Tell me, tell me Kelly, how were you when you were a child now?

Kelly Fremon Craig 39:57
I'm a man. Um, oh, that is? Um Oh, god that is I'm really, like,

Alex Ferrari 40:12
there's something that comes to your head as fide.

Kelly Fremon Craig 40:14
Yeah, yeah. Um, I think, you know, I think I think probably finding if, okay, I'm gonna try to figure out how to articulate this. But for me, it was, it was it is always important, especially as, you know, as a person trying to tell stories, to find that. That part that actually hurts, you know, like, whether I'm watching actors or you know, like watching a take or writing a scene to find that thing that actually makes me go, oh, oh my God, I know that I feel that. And I think like, in a way if I can boil it down, it's probably just about like, compassion. You know? I think that the whole experience of the movie and looking at every different character and writing each character and watching the takes and working with the actors is all about sort of finding compassion for each different each each, each different person and moment. And so I guess that's, that's what I take into the, into the few into future projects, sort of trying to find that in each character and story and I guess that kind of leads over into life. You know, everybody you meet even if the when somebody is an asshole if you can sort of reach past it and find find the like pain that it's coming from.

Alex Ferrari 41:52
The truth that yeah, truth. Yeah, that person or that character? Yeah. Yeah. See, that was a very deep answer. You can get off the couch now. Now, this question might be even tougher. So this is a I asked all my all my guests this question. What are the three of your favorite films of all time?

Kelly Fremon Craig 42:14
Oh, man,

Alex Ferrari 42:17
any three that come to your mind?

Kelly Fremon Craig 42:19
You know, yeah, this is always so it's so hard to do to think to narrow down but I would say, um, sideways is one of my favorite films by Alexander Payne. Um, uh, as good as it gets.

Alex Ferrari 42:38
Oh, it's such a good movie. So brilliant.

Kelly Fremon Craig 42:42
It's Oh, it's so brilliant. It's so brilliant. Um, and, uh, and I'd say the Breakfast Club?

Alex Ferrari 42:51
Yes. Yeah. There was rumors that they were gonna make a sequel to The Breakfast Club. Oh, God, they were gonna get they were gonna go to their high school reunion and then they were all gonna get locked up in jail for something that happened and it was just gonna be them in jail. Like, when was that? John? John was still alive back then. Okay, John. Well, yeah, John was still alive back

Kelly Fremon Craig 43:12
then. Watch that, or was he part of it?

Alex Ferrari 43:14
I don't know. I don't know. I don't ever remember if that was I think he squashed it. But there was a there was a there was a story floating around about hey, let's do let's do a 10 year later, 20 year later, you know, high school reunion of what happened to these characters? Which arguably, I kind of interested to know.

Kelly Fremon Craig 43:32
Right? It's like, I don't know whether I want that or whether I am like, no, no, no, like, I don't want that. I really I'm like almost equally conflicted, like I equally want and don't want it.

Alex Ferrari 43:44
I would want to see it personally. But I don't want anybody else to ever see it.

Kelly Fremon Craig 43:50
Exactly. If that

Alex Ferrari 43:52
makes any sense. Like I'm curious to see what happened but I don't want it out there. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Now where can people find you online?

Kelly Fremon Craig 44:01
I am i I'm on Instagram. I'm on Twitter I think Katie Freeman Craig on Twitter and Kelly Green Craig on Instagram. I'm not I'm not super active on those things. But um, but he but I'm on there.

Alex Ferrari 44:16
Kelly thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the to the indie film hustle tribe and and share your your your journey of making Niger 17 And thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Kelly Fremon Craig 44:28
Thank you so much. Thank you. I really appreciate you having me.

Alex Ferrari 44:34
Man, Kelley's story is pretty inspiring. And I hope it inspires you guys to to start writing more man get out there start writing pitch those scripts make your movies there is no excuse anymore. So just go out there and do it guys. Now if you want links to anything we talked about in this episode, head over to indie film hustle comm forward slash b p s 006. That's be bulletproof screenplay BPS 006. And guys, thank you so much for the warm welcome. The subscriber base has grown so fast and we're getting downloads like crazy people are talking and retweeting the show already. So thank you so much. We're already getting to that almost that top spot in iTunes under screenwriting. And we're actually I think the number two for, for filmmaking even. So that's really, really exciting. And again, I want to get this information out to as many screenwriters and filmmakers as possible. So if you're listening, please tell five friends about the show. And and have them tell five friends and so on and so on. So we can get this information out to the people that need it. And if you haven't already, head over to screenwriting podcast.com And subscribe on iTunes. So as always, keep on writing no matter what, doctors.

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