Filming 'Summer' (2014) during the summer of 2014 was logistically challenging, even though we primarily filmed at one location. Besides that, the experience working with Logan Davids and Alyssa Lang (now Alyssa Noel Stockford) was a delight. Originally, Logan wasn't even going to be in the film. Alyssa and I had someone else in mind, but when Alyssa was rehearsing, she had help from Logan. Our first choice fell through, but Logan ended up being the best choice. Their dynamic nature together helped keep the film afloat as the film's weight was on their performances.
Truthfully, I was nervous heading into production. On the day of, I actually had to change my shirt because of nervous sweat (TMI). The reason why I was so anxious about this shoot was that it was my first production back after I fell ill that spring. I had an identity crisis as an artist, and I did not know if I had what it took to make this film. Fortunately I put myself out there by continuing to move forward.
Now let's fast forward to last summer (2018). Alex Sales and I were sitting in a coffee-shop, mulling over his first JN Films production 'The Usual' (2018). We had no cast, but we had a script that he revised. Spoiler alert: that script was the pre-shooting script for 'Summer' (2014). I wanted give Alex a foundation to develop his talent and abilities with, and that script was perfect for those conditional measures.
So yes, we revisited/remade 'Summer' (2014). I loathe the idea of reusing the same story over and over again when we have so many wonderful storytellers within JN Films. This was a perfect exception though. The script for 'Summer' (2014) is a very dialogue-y/theatrical production, so there's a lot of room for varying directorial takes on it (a la 'Romeo & Juliet').
Weeks later two frequent JN Films-ers*, Phil North and Emily Lackner, came on board and embodied Alex's vision. Their dynamic nature was their own while complimenting what Logan and Alyssa had previously done.
To be honest for a second, I could have given Alex some more creative freedom at times. I have had a lot more experience producing a film that I'm directing versus a producing a film that someone else is directing. I've better developed my boundaries creatively as a producer, but this was a good learning experience for the both of us.
Looking back at everything now, I am at a loss of words. Not in a bad way, but I'm just unable to sum-up two productions separated by four years. If there's anything else to say, it's this: allow yourself to have perspective while being able to re-open the past in order to learn.
* = Should that be the plural personified for JN Films?