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article imageJulianna Ulrich discusses producing 'Last Three Days' action film Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 15, 2021 in Entertainment
Los Angeles-based producer Julianna Ulrich chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about "Last Three Days," where she worked with her husband, writer/director Brian Ulrich.
On producing Last Three Days, she said, "Producing Last Three Days was a crazy adventure. Since I didn't go to film school I was constantly learning on the job, always researching to make sure we were going about things the right way. Since I also AD'ed the film there was never a moment's rest. For example, once I had to put my 2nd AD in charge so that I could leave set to go to the bank to wire a payment for payroll since I am the sole managing member of the production company."
She continued, "Brian (writer/director), Chris (DP), and I worked 17 hour days, spending every evening prepping for the next day. It often sounded like me saying, 'Okay you have 14 hours of coverage planned but we only have a 12 hour day, what can we cut?' During production, I was managing a crew of 25 and a cast of up to 10 on any given day along with constantly shifting the schedule and finalizing our 17 locations with permits in six cities.
"There was never a dull moment, but it was also a thrill to be making this film with such amazing people who really became a family and made some wonderful memories along the way," she added.
On working with her husband Brian Ulrich, she said, "Brian and I had already made several short films together but a feature film is a different beast. I wanted to make a feature film together to prove that we really do make an amazing team and I didn't want it to cause strife in our marriage. So we hired amazing people to surround ourselves with and support us so that by the end of the project we had proven that we were an excellent team who truly were better together."
"It was also really wonderful to be able to understand Brian on such a deep level that I could tell when something was truly important to him and since I was in the position of authority, I could move everything in order to afford him more time on some pivotal scenes when he needed it. I'm excited to keep making movies with Brian," she explained.
On being a producer and filmmaker in the digital age, she said, "Honestly, the digital age both makes indie filmmaking easier and harder. Easier, because I could upload a movie to Amazon Prime Video today if I wanted to (I've done it) but harder because it means there is so much content out there that is available to watch so you have to work really hard to stand out from the crowd and catch people's attention."
"Ultimately, I love the accessibility of filmmaking for indie filmmakers. Digital cameras where the footage can all be stored on a hard drive, made a huge difference to the accessibility of making a film in comparison to shooting on actual film and having to get it processed and making everything the old fashioned way, that's cost-prohibitive to indie film," she added.
For young and aspiring film producers, she encouraged them to "never stop learning." "Read books like Producer to Producer by Maureen Ryan or Running the Show by Liz Gill. Read articles from places like NoFilmSchool. PA on all the sets you can so you can see how other people run their sets and compare what you do and don't like," she said.
"Ask industry professionals if you can shadow them. Have coffee meetings with people you respect in the industry and ask for their stories and advice. Research filmmakers you admire and see how they got their start. Stay humble, help others succeed and they'll likely return the favor," she added.
On her favorite part of making Last Three Days, she said, "My favorite part was working with amazing people who all brought their A-game and brought this story to life with such richness. From the colors and details in wardrobe and production design, to the detailed continuity in hair and makeup, the compelling performances by the actors, all the behind the scenes work that made it possible and ultimately to the beautiful image captured on screen that was so perfectly lit and framed, and then that was brought to life with excellent editing, sound design and VFX, it really was a team effort and we had such a great team through all stages of production and that's the best thing I could ask for."
She defined the word success as follows: "To me, success means that at the end of the day you're proud of the work you do and how you accomplish it. You tell a story that needs to be told that can have an impact in the world all while treating your people well, providing good jobs, and doing your work with integrity. Whether or not I ever win an Oscar, I'll feel successful if I've told stories well and have impacted people's lives positively through the film and also behind-the-scenes."
For viewers and fans, remarked about Last Three Days, "I love our movie because, despite the crazy 'time travel' aspects, it rings so true to me. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Work can be all-consuming. At the end of the day you have to decide what you truly care about and you'll have to sacrifice other things in order to prioritize that.
"To me, that's what this action-packed thriller with a lot of heart is all about. So help an indie filmmaker out, take a watch, leave a review, and if you want to know more about how we made this indie film on an ultra low budget, reach out. I'm always happy to chat," she concluded.
Read More: Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos chatted with Last Three Days writer and director Brian Ulrich.
Director Brian Ulrich
Director Brian Ulrich
Chris Haggerty
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