Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So know I know what I wanna be when I grow up.

So here’s what happened last weekend. Sorry, I was out of town… and I mean OUT of town. I was in Clarksburg, WV and then West Palm Beach, FL for work.

I couldn’t update.

I couldn’t rest.

I couldn’t obsess and watch my new short film over and over again.
(I’ve done all three since.)

Last weekend’s ridiculous, rushed, concentrated madness was the most creatively exhilarating 48 (ish) hours of my life. The back-story is that I’ve made films in college, a couple of short silly things on my own. Recently, I’ve been slaving over a keyboard for the last year plus trying to write something worth producing and directing on my own. The biggest surprise in the process was that this time I wasn’t on my own. Plenty of excited volunteers influenced, assisted and saved me in every stage of the process.

I always knew I wanted to write and direct, but last weekend I actually did. The finished product came out well and I enjoyed the work and the responsibility. I told actors, ‘try this’. I asked the DP, ‘shoot it like this’. I made tough decisions when time was short. It was great. I’m addicted.

So here’s what happened.

I spent the week before gathering a crew, scouting costume shops and trying to think of kernels of ideas that would fit each of the genres that I could possibly get. I also made a ridiculous production schedule that should not have been at all helpful, but actually was. My Saturday plan was 9 to 12 noon, buy props and gather equipment. Noon to ??? get the crew together and shoot. This actually worked, even though we had no script or idea of what the short was going to be about. Unfortunately, the ‘???’ meant midnight.

Friday night at Boston Beer Works we got our genre, our character, our line and our prop. Genre = Sci Fi, Character = J. Withers, Former Child Actor, Prop = A String of Pearls, Line of Dialog = I’m not really like this.

I must admit I had an idea of what I wanted to do if I got Sci Fi. Actually I really just had a thematic idea of what I wanted. I’ve always loved retro ideas of what the future is going to be like. I kept that under wraps for the brainstorming meeting from 8pm to 11:30pm on Friday night. About 10 people came over and we threw around ideas about how we could use the required elements and make a story that uses those elements well. I wanted crazy ideas. Stuff I wouldn’t come up with. The hours flew by as our story took shape. Either through subliminal steering of the conversations or by pure chance, we ended up with a story that involved the retro element that I wanted from the beginning. My producer friend Jen took notes and then hammered out an outline that more than helped; it was the framework for the midnight to 3am writing process.

Exhausted and wired I went to bed at 3am. I think I fell asleep at about 4. The plan was to wake up at 8 and head out to buy props. 8am came quick.

And oh yeah, did I mention we had the wrong line of dialog.

To be continued…

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