New Film Paints a Pretty Picture for Indie Production


An Addicting Picture is a psychic’s evidence that her client’s fiancé is an addict; the man must prove otherwise if he hopes to tie the knot, in this feature-length supernatural drama set to release in 2017.

For those without psychic, or deep-pocket connections, the golden threads that weave a dream into reality for low-budget filmmakers are hard work, a great team and a stroke of luck. And for many, such as writer/director Jacob Stuart, their dream’s budget has them looking beyond Los Angeles for location.


An Addicting Picture, a feature film slated for spring 2017, follows the path many indie films have taken…right out of California. Budgeting factors such as location licenses, crew wages and even state tax incentives have landed quality contenders outside of Hollywood. Based in Ohio, Stuart teamed up with Chicago-based producer/co-director Puja Pandey for a five-day film shoot in The Windy City. Many indie filmmakers utilize online resources to reduce casting costs, and that’s exactly what Stuart did. “I cast the entire film over skype, YouTube, phone and email…I had no way of holding a casting call in person in Chicago.”


Once on set, the actors were “a lifesaver”, according to Stuart. The film, which was a one-location five-day shoot, leaned heavily on characterization, rather than special effects or expensive sets to bring the story to life. With no time for rehearsal, Stuart and lead actors Sarah Jeanette Taylor, Michael Herman and Madeline Gross met each other for the first time in a quick production meeting two days before the shoot and determined to run lines briefly. Instead, they became engaged in a lively discussion on the film and Stuart “picked their brains, asked them what they thought about the script, how they interpreted the character.” This synergy led director and cast to swap funny stories and share personal experiences that could lend to playing the characters. And when it was time to shoot, “they became the character, brought their own amazing take to it…suggested better ways to enhance their character. This also goes for my day players: Colleen Mooney, Sam Sweis, Todd Netherton, Cassie Negron, Aaron Smart, and John Prevost.”

A film crew with the talent and flexibility to pull off a feature with limited time and budget is the last essential ingredient of indie filmmaking. Stuart feels incredibly lucky to have “superior talents and creatives” to make his film a reality. “No egos, no divas…To make a film in that amount of time, Puja and I knew, as directors, that we needed to be open-minded to any and all creative and technical suggestions. My main crew-Tom Dallis, Christian M. Wilson, Kevin Hicks, Rose Nobs, Barbara Dageforde, and Kevin Veselka-did just that. I’d work with every single one of them again…and plan to!”

Will the husband-hopeful prove his innocence to his fiancé or will she follow the psychic’s advice not to marry him? Audiences will have to wait and see if the couple has a happy ending in An Addicting Picture later this spring. One thing’s for sure: this ‘picture’ proves that indie films can beef up their budgets with innovation and talent, and may find their limited dollars stretch farther outside of Hollywood.

Katherine King is a writer and actress living in Santa Monica, CA


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