Craig Trow has had an idea for a short film for 13 years.
He has written iterations of the script, secured actors and crew, and solidified a story about a man who lost his job when his company closed in the recession.
Now with the aid of a 2021 Indie Grant, the South Carolina filmmaker finally can begin production on his short film, The Manager Position.
Trow, a North Charleston resident for 11 years, is one of three home-grown recipients of the grants program, the S.C. Film Commission said. The filmmakers will receive funding to produce their short films, and their crews will receive training with a professional crew, highlighting South Carolina’s ability to create viable and interesting visual arts.
Matt Storm with the S.C. Film Commission said the grants program is one of a kind in the nation.
“It gives the next generation of professional crew a bridge to employment, while at the same time sharing South Carolina stories with the world,” Storm said.
Other Palmetto State projects to win funding include Day Pass by Cole Stamm of Greenville and This Too Shall Pass by Frazier Bostic and Natalie Harris of Taylors.
“I always knew that [the film] resonated with something that was very personal to lots of people,” Trow said. “The idea of the short has to do with the struggles of kind of keeping up with the Joneses a little bit, building a life and putting those pieces in place.”
Trow has been in the industry for more than 30 years, working most recently as an editor fixing other people’s mistakes, among other things.
“This year, however, I thought maybe I need to fix my own, and one way was to take this idea that’s in my brain and take it forward to make something,” he said. “Over the years, I had been able to build a lot of relationships with people production wise, actors and actresses in major markets, and I was able to put together a healthy pitch.”
As part of the grant’s pitch process, submitters package together a script, production strategy, a budget and a schedule — as much information as possible to show they’re ready to go once financial support is available.
Grant money, if approved, arrives in increments. There are checks in place to make sure the money is spent properly, but Trow explained the distributors are hands off and ask nothing of the winners, who keep all rights to the project.
“The grant is there to support creativity and open up some of those avenues, that stops someone from making something for 13 years,” he said. “It’s a massive stepping stone to get to where I needed to be.”
Right now, Trow is in pre-production with a potential start date for filming in January. He’s trying not to put too much pressure on himself to create the masterpiece of a lifetime, but he also is realistic in that he might never have an opportunity like this again.
“I feel like I turned 40 this year, and I’m at the point where someone’s like, ‘Okay, build something for yourself,’” he said. “I’ve shown enough in all these elements of my life and taken enough experiences and now it’s time to make sometime for me.”
Collaborators and presenters include Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter of Titanic and Avatar 2, actress Anna Camp of Pitch Perfect and Perfect Harmony, and casting director Avy Kauffman of Succession and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.