@BrisOwnWorld – ‘I’m in my head’

by Bri Castellini

I talk a big game about being an indie filmmaker, but the truth is, at this moment in time and space, I’m struggling with it. There are two reasons for this: Trump and knowing what the hell I’m doing. Let’s, as they say, explore!


One of my favorite descriptions of the person (source?) currently in charge of this country is “screaming carrot demon.” Thank you, Samantha Bee. The country is in chaos. We thought it was bad that he was a nominee for the presidency, and now we’re really seeing what this baby-fisted garbage cheeto is willing to do with his newfound power, people are understandably afraid and enraged and compelled to action. In particular, artists and comedians.

This administration is crippling my creativity and my confidence in my work, but not for the reasons you’d think.

I am not an apolitical person. I have a lot of opinions and a lot of friends in underrepresented demographics and I am absolutely horrified by the state of the country I was taught to all but worship during my childhood. But I am not a particularly political writer, at least not up front.

I’ve tweeted about Brains seasons 5 and 6 being incredibly political, but that’s because they’re the fifth and sixth seasons of a show that started with a girl getting horny post apocalypse and shoving her camera in unwilling faces. I couldn’t have done a political first or second season of that show- it had to get there naturally.

The thing is, I’m not able to produce any more of Brains. It’s too expensive and time consuming at my current level, and that’s ok. But it means that I need a new project, and in this current climate, writing anything that starts out less political seems like a slap in the face to the millions of people attending marches every weekend and the millions more in literal mortal danger because of the diapered citrus baby’s fifteen thousand executive orders. If I, a person with incredible privilege in our current system, don’t write a show or a film that scathes and enrages this administration, then what’s the point? Why is my voice valid? Why don’t I care about anyone other than myself? God, how selfish this cis white girl is.

On one hand, I understand this is irrational, at least to a point. There’s an incredible value in creating art that isn’t about our current dumpster fire of a world, to give people a little bit of a reprieve. I know I need that reprieve myself. But it’s hard to detach myself from how selfish and inconsequential it feels to write something silly about a spaceship or an overly analytical female character struggling to navigate the complexities of “normal” human relationships while cracking jokes with her male best friend/roommate.

In conclusion, the diseased peach president of my country of origin is cramping my style and the effort to overcome the guilt of not attacking him directly with my art is actively impeding my efforts to make art at all.


All things considered, Brains should not have happened. It’s insane that we made it, insane-er that we made a second season, and insane² that we have two extended universe projects. And in all honesty, we only made it because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’d never been on a real set before. I didn’t know what the difference between an executive producer and a pooper scooper was. But in our ignorance, we plowed forward, and managed to do some pretty impressive things. That was then.

Now, I know too much. I know what a pain it is to location scout, and to ask friends to volunteer their time and talents and give up days off or picking up extra shifts to pay their exorbitant NYC rents. I know how much of an imposition asking for a multi-day commitment is, and how difficult it is to find music for traditionally filmed scenes and how useless found footage is for actors who want to use the scenes they pour their hearts and souls into for their reels.

I’ve written like 6 different web series pilots in the past few months, and I can’t commit to any of them. This one has too many locations, this one requires a cafe that I no longer have free access to, this one has too big of a cast, this one has too many props I don’t already own, etc etc etc on and on. Are these things I could overcome if I concentrated and plowed ahead? Of course. Does that knowledge matter when I’m trying to write? Not at all.

I’m in my head. In order to respect the time and effort of my wonderful and talented friends, I am attempting to write the cheapest possible web series that is still good and still something they’d want to work on that I can then show to my new web series community friends on Twitter to raise my indie film profile and eventually make a career out of all this free work I do because I “have dreams.” That’s a tall order. And it’s killing me.

I have no shortage of ideas. I know I can survive this industry, because it is the only thing I’ve ever done that completely fulfills me creatively. But some days and weeks and months it’s easier than others.

Also, like, fuck Donald Trump and Mike Pence and President Steve Bannon. Seriously.

Bri Castellini is an award-winning filmmaker as well as the Community Liaison at Stareable, a hub for web series. Check out her award winning web series, Brains, and the rest of her stats on IMDB.

This article was first published on her very informative blog.

What I’ve Learned as an Indie Producer

by Bri Castellini

Now that I have two complete seasons of Brains online, a short film about to be sent off to festivals, two spin offs of Brains (that I wrote/ co-wrote and helped produce), and my friend Chris’s web series Relativity (that I produced, among other things), I feel confident in calling myself an “indie filmmaker/producer.” As such, I thought I would impart some things I’ve learned in reaching this new level of broke artist, both tangible and intangible.

    1. If you can do it yourself, do it, but also sometimes it’s ok to delegate.
    2. Only delegate after having more than one conversation with someone about what said delegation entails. You cannot expect someone you’ve just met to do things the way you want them to, because you just met them and how are they supposed to know all of your insane rules??
    3. Good audio is worth taking time on/throwing money at
    4. Good audio is the hardest thing to attain with no time or money, but it is more important than almost anything else
    5. Ask for help, even when you don’t think you need it
    6. Be prepared to do everything yourself, but try not to
    7. Always have food available
      1. Bonus lesson: people really like fruit snacks
    8. Write within your means, but remember that your means can expand the more people you meet
    9. Latch on to talented people, continuously thank them for their help, and praise them incessantly so they’ll be inclined to help out again in the future
    10. Be nice to everyone. Not only should you do this anyways because common decency, but also because the indie film world is small AF and you can’t afford to burn bridges
    11. Don’t start production before you’re ready- a healthy and thorough pre production process will make everything better and smoother at every step.
    12. Sometimes you’re going to have to start production before you’re ready.
    13. Communication is more important than anything, even audio.
    14. Don’t fight on set.
    15. Fight after set, then make an effort to fix the problem. It’s not about winning, it’s about effectively solving issues and finishing the project.
    16. Press releases are super important. They are also a bitch to write.
    17. Reaching out to press is super important too, and it’s the most awkward thing in the world.
    18. Create a project-specific, production company-specific, or otherwise seemingly third party email address with which to reach out to press with. This way you don’t have to send emails like “Hi my name is Bri Castellini- please write about me and my show. I am amazing and you should promote me”
    19. Learn to say “ok- how?” instead of “we can’t do that/that won’t work.” I’m bad at this but I’m working on it.
    20. Schedule people as far in advance as possible, then periodically remind them about it.
    21. Have a plan B for everything, from locations to cast/crew. As Kate Hackett once told me on Twitter, “anyone can be written out.”
    22. Don’t tell people you didn’t sleep before coming to set until after you wrap for the day.
    23. Learn how to do your makeup so it doesn’t look like you didn’t sleep before coming to set.
    24. Love what you do
    25. Only say yes to things you actually want to do/make
    26. Fake it ’til you make it, because no one actually knows what they’re doing so you may as well throw your hat into the ring.

Bri Castellini is an award-winning filmmaker as well as the Community Liaison at Stareable, a hub for web series. Check out her award winning web series, Brains, and the rest of her stats on IMDB.

This article was first published on her very informative blog.