Making ‘SWALLOW’ — Entry #4


“Life is too short to work so hard.” – Vivien Leigh
“We work to become, not to acquire.” – Elbert Hubbard

Last week, I set the goal of finishing the first finished draft of “SWALLOW” by the end of the week. Between working on the distribution phase of “The Other Side of Paradise” and the production and post side of “3 Thumbs Up,” I have to admit that I am finding myself pretty stretched thin, especially on time. Finding and allocating the specific times to just write, and not worry about the “producer” side of things, has been a challenge to say the least. As soon as I settle in and start typing a few lines of dialogue, the telephone rings, or gmail chat pops open, or the dogs have to go outside … the distractions have been aplenty! But it’s all for the better, because it’s forcing me to grow and discover new ways to be efficient within my hectic schedule. As of last Friday evening, that goal was accomplished! I’m thrilled with this initial draft and have now started fine-tuning and expanding on the story. The finished script will be done very soon!

“Life is short, and it is here to be lived.” – Kate Winslet
“It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.” – Pablo Picasso

Ken Mora

Also last week, we officially launched our crowdfunding via IndieGoGo for “SWALLOW.” On Sunday, I had set a goal, to see if we could raise $2,000 by the end of the week. Much to our delight, Ken Mora, a talented filmmaker we met while attending a festival in LA, made an generous challenge to that goal. Ken stated that if we reached our 2K goal by the end of the day Sunday, he would donate $1,000 on Monday and give away his “walk-on role” perk to the highest donation within that week. Well, I’m very pleased to say that with all the help from fans, friends and family, we hit that goal! It was quite overwhelming to witness the flood of support for the project. As of now, we stand at $3,155 (which is a whopping 32% of our 10K goal mark and 16% on the way to our final $20,000 goal). Thank you everyone for your support and helping us accomplish this!

“Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.” – Victor Hugo
“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” – Thomas Edison

After all that, I’d like emphasize that the three producers behind Striped Socks Productions all have day jobs. We each work 40-plus hours a week, at a job that is not film-related. Surprise, we’re not millionaires! I’m an award-winning filmmaker and have been making films since I was a child; however, I also work in sales/retail full-time to pay the bills. Although I look forward to the day when filmmaking is my only job, I’m so thankful that I’m in a position where I have the flexibility to make the films I want to make with the people I want to make them with. That is a joy and privilege that is worth every day-job I’ve had to work, to maintain that opportunity. When I say our films are “micro-budgets,” believe me that they REALLY are. Striped Socks Productions consists of three passionate people doing everything they can to keep their filmmaking dreams alive. Am I running on empty? No. Am I starting to feel a little spread thin on time? Yes. Will it stop me? Never. Whatever your goal is or your passion, do whatever it takes to make it happen. Time should never be wasted on things that don’t make you happy. Work hard and endure whatever it takes to pursue your passion!

From left, Justin D. Hilliard (holding Larry David) and Arianne Martin

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.” – Hugh Hefner
“It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.” – William Faulkner

And finally, I’d like to finish this entry with some fun announcements. With Ken Mora’s challenge being met, our highest donation was $301, and it came from Michael Magnus of Arlington, Texas. That means he won the “walk-on role” perk that Ken received with his donation. Thanks Michael! But that’s not the surprise news! Since Ken was SO generous and key to us already having raised $3,155, we are still going to reward him with his very own walk-on role in “SWALLOW.” Thanks again Ken for your incredible support!

. . .

“Making SWALLOW” — a weekly column exclusive to It’s Just Movies — is following the film from pre-production through distribution.

Justin D. Hilliard is a writer/director/producer and co-founder of Striped Socks Productions. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington and received his BFA in Film – Cum Laude in 2004. His previous films are “The Other Side of Paradise,” “3 Thumbs Up Doc” and “Wednesday.”

13 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    I admit I was disappointed when I didn’t see a new entry on Sunday, but I’m glad to see a new one now. Cheers.

  2. 2

    Yes! So glad to have this entry….What great news! So happy for everyone involved! We all have so much to be thankful for! 🙂

  3. Mo GB #

    Nice going, Ken. 🙂

  4. RyanH #


  5. Q #

    There’s never enough time anymore, is there? Nice column, by the way.

  6. mimicuriel #

    “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” Emile Zola.
    I like the Edison quote, but the Hubbard one is supreme. Hope the time when your living and working are one and the same comes soon.

  7. 7

    Thanks for reading everyone!
    & Mimi, thanks for the kind words…your quote reminds me of another one of my faves – “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

  8. 8

    I am loving the column! So entertaining, uplifting and, mostly, human! I enjoy sharing this journey with you, my friend.

  9. Don #

    I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  10. Jen #

    I’m glad to see Ken still scored a role!

  11. Marty #

    What would you do without Starbuck’s? It’s the drink that Texas runs on. It’s Great your on target for your goal. Thanks to all who have supported this wonderfull team. C’mon let that tape keep rolling…..

  12. Marsha #

    Very enjoyable series, Justin.

  13. Dane #

    i envy you for the way you can express yourself through words. indeed you are talented.