The last three months of quarantine and the continuing saga of isolation might feel like Groundhog Day all over again. Normal work routines, which invariably keep the average person motivated, on time, and on schedule, have been turned inside-out, upside-down, and backward. Some have confessed to feeling unmotivated, even depressed, and indulgent in self-destructive behaviors. After all, the simple pleasures of eating out, bar-hopping, sightseeing, and harmless socializing have all but ended.

At these times, actors, producers, directors, or artists might very well be feeling the pressure to maintain direction in a languishing career and a waning industry. They might feel a desperate need to hold onto their dreams with both hands as very little seems to be happening in the entertainment business.

So, as an actor, what are you going to do during these daunting times? Well, how about make a movie? 

Homemade is a Netflix anthology series featuring short films by a gauntlet of virtuoso filmmakers and thespians from across the world with “no crews, no budget, shot in isolation.” The homemade films showcase the work of Cate Blanchett, Christopher Abbott, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristen Stewart, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Many of these films are lyrical, inspired, beautiful, and innovative. However, there are others that are just so-so.

In the comments section, one reviewer put it this way: “So, a bunch of privileged people whine about feeling slightly less privileged because they’re, um, kinda bored?” And another had this to say: “This is honestly so extraordinary and thought-provoking but also extremely unique and inspiring.”

The point is, good or bad, these little pieces of global cinema were done on a paltry budget by very resourceful people. But can any less be said of you? Aren’t you hard-working, perspicacious, and diligent? Those are the qualities it takes to create a homemade project. With an iPhone and a scoop of creativity and ingenuity, perhaps you could be the next wunderkind filmmaker. 

Why not give it a shot? If your short film turns out to be not so good—so what? It will assuredly be an educational venture and an exercise in DIY filmmaking. Think of the experience you gain, not to mention how much you can learn. Bottom line, if you’re interested in making a short film in the age of lockdown, or perhaps even a feature film, then go right ahead; the world is your oyster. That is, if your current existence is contained to a single room or a one-bedroom apartment, don’t downplay what you have to offer. Dare to think big in a small world. You can make a storyline as simple or as complex as you like. But most importantly, you need to have fun with the creative process and the adventure. Give it your all. Ignite and unleash a passion that is uniquely yours. Think back on why you got interested in acting and filmmaking in the first place. Did you think it would be easy? Did you think you wouldn’t need to use every bit of your intelligence and resources and mental capabilities? Of course not. It’s time to get back to that pioneering spirit, that tidal wave that washed you up on the shores of Southern California. And now is the best time to do it because, well, what else do you have to do when so much of the world is shut down?

The problem with many short-film anthologies is that the shorts are often dissimilar in terms of themes and subject matter. However, the 17 cinematic contributions featured in the Homemade anthology are all centered on narratives within a world in the maw of a novel virus. The coronavirus provides a cohesive thread and an interesting flow of ideas and anecdotes. It’s like looking at a nautilus from many different angles; it all looks similar, yet every crevice is unique. 

Homemade is now showing on Netflix.

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