The Beginning

The following is a journal entry following the development, production, and post-produciton of my new short film: Monsters and Miracles.  Please join our community at the film’s website to receive exclusive access to behind the scenes content, chances to see early cuts of the film, and to participate in this film as a mutual collaborator.  You can do so at our website.

When I first moved to Austin, one of the first screenplays I wrote was the first draft of what would become Monsters and Miracles.  I wasn’t sure what it’s purpose was, but I knew it was a more stripped down, basic, approach to storytelling than any of my previous narrative short films.  And yet I felt the themes it investigated were somehow more substantive than many of the themes I had frequented in previous years.

I began working in the industry around Texas, and enjoyed the work I was doing on television and independent productions.  I would continue my research projects in filmmaking, and continue writing scripts and essays over the next two years, but I wasn’t directing content that was driven by my passions.  The content that I began to direct, more frequently, were commercial projects for clients and businesses in town.  These are all projects I have been more than thankful to be apart of.  But as one continues down such a road, the sense that you are becoming increasingly disconnected from that well-spring of making things becomes deeper and more difficult to endure.

I started to feel as though a dense fog had descended upon my thinking.  I started to feel profoundly lost.

Ever since I was a little boy, theatre productions, and then eventually film productions, were the great passions of my life.  They were the wind in my sails.  And each project I completed seemed to somehow intersect with the lessons I needed to learn as a person at the time I made that particular film.  Beyond my own growth, each film was a tremendous adventure taken with close friends growing closer along the way.

And so, after two years of building an infrastracture for myself in a new city, Austin, I have finally decided to pursue my filmmaking again in a concrete way.  I’m moving forward on my firstpersonal narrative directing project in a long while.

That’s where this script came in.  It had been lurking in the back of my mind since composing it after moving to Austin.

The deceptive simplicity of it, the dependence on strong performances from young cast members, these are all aspects of the film that I will explore in more detail as I continue to write here throughout the journey of producing this film.  These are all the reasons I ultimately determined I would move forward on producing this particular script.

As we move forward, I will update this journal.  This is to be a detailed record of what occurs through the process of making this film, and then ultimately releasing it.

I am dedicated to the belief in a cinema that proceeds on uncertain terms.  I believe that we should ask the questions we don’t know the immediate answers to.  I intend to bring this into my filmmaking.  I will pursue a truth that I believe exists in this screenplay, but adapt my pre-conceptions to the reality that is discovered with my team members, and most importantly, with the actors embodying the material.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.  Please subscribe to our email list for future updates on the journey of making this film, and for exclusive content.  Subscribers are members of our film community.  They will receive early access to the film, and will be taken seriously as collaborators on this journey.  I appreciate you’re time and consideration of this, one tiny film in a world of many films.

-Travis Lee Ratcliff

Writer, Director, Producer

Monsters & Miracles