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“LITTLE BIRDS” | writer-director, Elgin James

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, Jan. 23, 8:45 pm — Library Center Theatre]

I thought the hardest part, at least emotionally, would be bleeding it all out on paper when I wrote the script. Little did I know the truly raw part hadn’t even begun. Working with actors is like falling head over heels in love — a dizzying rush to learn everything there is about each other. Just a little window of time to build enough trust to take a gigantic leap of faith.

Before making Little Birds I’d always thought it was an actor’s job to show up, turn on and perform. But I quickly realized I didn’t want performances, I wanted the truth. So it was my job to create an environment where the actors felt safe enough to dig deep and access that truth.

But we had to do it quick. An 18-day shooting schedule, no rehearsals. Always fighting the sun, always hours behind schedule. So it was hushed conversations out of earshot of the crew. Just a few minutes between shots to bare your souls to each other. Secrets you don’t tell friends or even loved ones. I wanted them to rip themselves open so I did the same. And to my surprise, each one of them returned that love. And each one of them took that leap with me. And I’ll be forever grateful.

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