Filmmaker and Sundance Lab alum Joey Ally has made three short films. She talks about what she's learned about writing scripts, translating them to her crew, and how learning to attach everything to story has prepared her for her first feature.
Key Insights

  • Making short films allows you to learn the many aspects of filmmaking which can prepare you for larger projects and deepen your creative conversations.
  • A screenplay is a roadmap for what you’re going to see and hear; if you’re both writing and directing the short film, you can include more character direction, camera movement, and scene description.
  • When rewriting for budget, establish and communicate the essential scenes to tell your story. Pare everything back to these essential beats and make sure it fits your budget, then add a few extras if you have the money.
  • Always tie everything to story - that way whatever challenges arise, you can have a clearer view of the choices you need to make.
  • It can be tempting to try and rush your career. Allow yourself time to learn and build your skills, so that you can be the best version of yourself as a creator. 

Filmmaker
Los Angeles, CA, USA
JOEY ALLY is a filmmaker who seeks to address the crises of our times through comedy. She recently completed and is currently in post on her feature length debut, THE HATER, which she wrote, directed, and starred in alongside Academy Award Nominee Bruce Dern. She developed the project as a part of the Sundance Director’s Lab 2019, and Catalyst Program 2019. Before moving behind the camera Joey grew up singing opera, graduated from Amherst College with a political philosophy focus, was an acting apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and studied improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater NYC, and the Groundlings LA. Joey got her education in filmmaking assisting Megan Griffiths, then Lynn Shelton, on set. As a director, Joey's work includes shorts MINIMUM WAGE (PSISF 2015), PARTNERS (Sundance 2016; Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere), JOY JOY NAILS (Tribeca 2017; The New Yorker’s “The Screening Room”), two episodes of Women in Film's gender parity satire "Flip the Script," and a corporate spoof of "The Office" she made for WME|IMG, for which she won "Video of the Year 2015". As an actor, she co-wrote and starred in dark comedy ARE YOU STILL SINGING for Turner and Refinery29’s Shatterbox program (BFI:London; Vimeo Staff Pick), and starred in independently produced UPROOT (Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere). She is the 2019 recipient of the The Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers Grant on behalf of the Sundance Institute, as well as an alum of the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women, Tribeca/Chanel “Through Her Lens”, the AFI/Fox Directors Lab, Universal Pictures Directors Intensive, and the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab and Sundance Creative Producing Summit 2018. Her work has also been featured across the internets including by Indiewire, Slate, Short of the Week, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and Elle. Joey is from New York, lives in LA, and wants to make you laugh, cry, and think. more...

Join the Discussion