A FiLMLaB Inspiration

by Ruth Witteried


Inspiration SS Title Page


The second annual FiLMLaB short, Inspiration, made its debut last Friday night at the Willamette Writers Conference. Scheduled from 7-9 pm, I spent most of the hours preceding it worrying whether author Barbara Thomas would actually arrive in time for her own premier! Flying in from Dallas that afternoon, with the country on a high security travel alert, her arrival in Portland in time was nothing short of a miracle; a very stressful miracle.

But arrive she did, with her mother beside her, to witness the debut of her winning short script, meet the cast and crew that worked so diligently on her behalf, and to answer audience questions about FiLMLaB and the art of collaboration. I will leave it to Barbara to share her experience in her own words in a later guest blog. I, for one, was just glad she made it on time.

Inspiration SS Greg Alexander

Greg Alexander in Inspiration

A few things we tried to keep quiet in order to preserve the element of surprise for the first audience; that the film was almost entirely in black and white, for one, and that it was silent.

Yes. Silent. As in no words. No dialogue. No lines to screw up.

When we called it Film Lab, we weren’t kidding.

Ruth Witteried, Brynn Baron and Greg Alexander on the set of Inspiration

Ruth Witteried, Brynn Baron and Greg Alexander on the set of Inspiration

Barbara will be the first to tell you that what debuted was not exactly the film she wrote; that once the collaboration began with director, set design, actors, etc.; her story became part of a collective process where her voice was not necessarily the one that won the day. Especially when producers started talking about budget.

What debuted Friday night was exactly what FiLMLaB set out to do: to introduce untested, unknown screenwriters to real world filmmaking. And thanks to the talents of stage actors Brynn Baron and Greg Alexander, this little experiment crackles with physicality and nuance. Thanks to the talents of cinematographer Eric Macey and production designer Emily Wahl, the scenes are artistically consistent and visually arresting. Thanks to the vision of director Christopher Alley, everything came together more seamlessly and beautifully than we had any right to expect. And special thanks to author Barbara Thomas, who provided the inspiration in her short script that moved FiLMLaB forward.

The film is still awaiting its final cut before it will make its way, we hope, to short film festivals, imdb, general viewing and the writers ownership. We are grateful to everyone that participated in this year’s contest, who contributed to the making of this film, and those who came out to support its debut on Friday night.

Brynn Baron and Greg Alexander on the set of Inspiration

Brynn Baron and Greg Alexander on the set of Inspiration

Ruth Witteried is the Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference  and Executive Producer of FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Facebook at FilmLab and SitYourAssDown; Twitter @sityourassdown1, or as RH Cohen on her Young Adult website zombienoel.com.

Ruth Witteried

As Visual Media Director, Ruth Witteried works with all programs based in the visual arts, including screenwriting and film production. As Executive Director of the FiLMLaB competition and project, she produced the 2012 FiLMLaB short, Alis Volat Propriis, winner of the 2013 OIFF Best Comedic Short; 2013′s Coffee.Table.Book.; 2014's Unwelcome Guests, and in 2015, The Return of Bug Eyed Bill. She acted as Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference from 2011-2013 and occasionally teaches screenwriting at Clark College. She currently is Executive Director of Willamette Writers' FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Twitter @sityourassdown1 or Facebook at FiLMLaB. Contact her. (visualmedia@willamettewriters.org) 


  4 comments for “A FiLMLaB Inspiration

  1. maru :)
    August 6, 2013 at 8:09 am

    OMG! The rough cut was pretty awesome as it is! So can not wait to see the final cut now! It was an inspiring and encouraging experience for me! A lot of great talent here in Oregon! 🙂 Wow and thanks! 😀 And can hardly wait for what’s to come for FilmLab 2014 too! I will be there. 🙂

    • WW_Film
      August 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

      We’ll keep you posted, Maru! Parkside Pub wants to do a viewing for everyone who helped out (including their staff!), so we’ll let you know when that hits the calendar.
      Did you get called up to take your bow at the WWC debut along with the rest of the cast and crew?

      • maru :)
        August 31, 2013 at 11:03 am

        Although the big Friday night premier was great and I had a good time, I humbly declined my being up there on stage with the others. As I still insist to have done the least amount of work on set. So I consider my generous film credit, undeserved grace! 🙂 And I had a lot of fun!

        So thank you much for the experience and the big night premier–one of many to come, I’m sure!

        • Ruth Witteried
          September 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

          You are too humble, indeed. You were a tremendous help during production and we appreciated all of your help.

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