The Sharpen Experiment
Written by Kelanie Aragon

In my first writing class in college, my professor assigned us a short article called, “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lammot. Lammot explained that all first drafts are, well, shitty. But, unless you start, you won’t get anywhere.

This idea stayed with me for a long time, but I didn’t know what to do with it. Lammot is talking about writing narrative essays, short stories, and novels, but my passion lies in filmmaking and cinematography. So, where was I supposed to start? I knew I had potential, but I didn’t know where to begin.

An opportunity arose this past summer. Alyssa and I were talking about our career goals. We were discouraged that we still hadn’t done much along the lines of filmmaking–we weren’t good enough. Then I remembered: shitty first drafts. “How about we do ten bad short films,” I said. We had nothing to lose.

So, we set a goal to make ten short films from scratch to learn and master pre-production, production, post-production and distribution. We decided to be okay with making a few shitty first films, and The Sharpen Experiment was born.

first 3 filmslast 3 films
So, how does it work?

First, we aren’t trying to make bad films on purpose. However, we are okay with starting with what we have: one location, two actors, a three-page script. Then, with each short film, we will assess and improve in our problem areas. Our goal is that by our tenth short film, we will have mastered the process of short filmmaking.

On this blog, we will share our successes, our failures, and the things we learn while making each short film.

“Almost all good filmmaking begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper/camera.