Monday, May 30, 2005

Almost Done

So here’s what I’m going to talk about in this second to last post about my experiences in the 48 Hour Film Project:

Working with actors
Somebody else shooting

So this wasn’t the first time I had worked with actors. At my day job, there is always someone on the other side of the camera, but I rarely tell them more than where to stand to get the best light. Now I had to tell them stuff like, you’re supposed to be nervous, but not scared. The intimidating part about that is that I had to know why he was supposed to be nervous but not scared. I wrote the guy, I made him up out of thin air (thin air + brainstorming with story folks). It was a thrilling experience not only because I did know why my actor had to act like that, but also because they listened to me. It proves one of my life theories that many people who are successful have more balls than talent. If you can convince people that you know what you are doing, it’s almost as good, and probably more necessary, than actually knowing what you are doing. Example; I’m pretty sure that last sentence was grammatically wrong and at the very least poor English... but I wrote it, you read it and my point is that it’s out there and like my movie I didn’t let a thing like making sure it was right get in the way. (I did it again.)

I had planned to shoot my own film. Luckily a director I worked with got very excited about the prospect of working on something different and volunteered to do anything on the film. I gave him the camera. He is a brilliant director who used to be a brilliant shooter. Well, he still is a brilliant shooter. His ability to light, shoot and select some shots allowed me to be a director. It was a strange sensation to have someone else set up for me. But if I didn’t have someone so focused behind the camera I wouldn’t have the film I have now. An experienced person suggesting shots and set ups is invaluable. As a director he also knew what shots would cut together and which would not. I tried to be in every decision about shot selection and the look of the film, but that proved impossible. My favorite shot in the film actually was conceived, executed and ‘printed’ while I was talking props on the other side of the studio. It was bittersweet to think I had nothing to do with it, but it is a great shot and I can only say I’m jealous for not coming up with it.

More later about:

Fixing the wrong line
The competition

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I promise

I will post copiusly very soon.

So Sorry

I dropped the ball and haven't been updating. I was out of town for work for a week and then on vacation for a week. At least I was in LA. Although no one offered me any work...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I made these 'lobby cards' for the movie... instead of writing, of course. Lobby cards from the 40's and 50's are my favorite kind of movie promotion, especially for bad movies. These are very modern. I might try to make some older looking ones soon.

Places everyone...

... this string of pearls.

Behind the scenes... not really.

The two Jays.

The time machine!!!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Another angle, there's always another angle.

The view from way back.

The ever important 'sitting in'.

A wide establish shot of a tight shot.

We all didn't move this fast.

I'm Getting There...

When I got on the set I realized, with the help of some very astute teammates, that the script was long… damn long. If you subscribe to the ‘one page, one minute’ theory, I had a thirteen minute script for a movie that at maximum could be 7 minutes. The people in charge of the project stressed that shorter is better and by no measure was the script I wrote short. This led to a meeting of knowledgeable teammates that eventually inspired wholesale cuts in the script. Funny little aside jokes were cut. Redundant explanations were removed. Ideas that I wanted to add as we filmed were discouraged. This was painful. Unfortunately we only whittled the script down by a few pages and it was still a long movie when it went before the camera. More pain would follow in editing.

As the noon call time arrived, everyone I invited (or asked, or begged) to show up, did. It was thrilling to see people gathering around to create something. It was some time, possibly two hours, before we rolled on our first take. The energy was still there when we finally got a good take (after about 3) in the can, and surprisingly it was still there about 10 hours later.

One thing I learned about not being the sole producer while trying to direct: I found myself answering my cell phone while I was trying to make creative decisions. As the only real contact person, I handled just about every question about just about everything. Not a good plan. Next year someone else will know the answers and will be holding my cell phone.

The closest thing I had to another producer was my darling wife. She not only allowed me to use our family savings account to pay for the film, she also assisted at every turn when asked or when not asked. She seemed to enjoy herself and we’re still married, which is impressive by Hollywood standards.

I’ve decided shorter posts might help me post more, so more on this subject later… maybe tomorrow.