Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scene 2, Part I

I've been struggling with how to film a scene that is essential, but finding the right way to do it so it's fresh has been quite a challenge. I contracted the services of a storyboard artist to give me some ideas on how to approach the visual narrative here.

I struggled with where and how I should do the scene in which the main character hears a voice inside his head. He has sacrificed his life, and he has finally achieved his very important is time for his reconciliation.

Spaceland, Scene I, Part II Storyboard

Storyboarding "Spaceland" (the short), Scene I, part I

Experimenting with Wide Angle

Experimenting with Wide Angle

Wide Angle Beach Footage

Walk-Through: 24-70mm Lens with the Canon 5D Mark II, movement (walking through a restaurant in New Orleans).

24-70mm Lens with the Canon 5D Mark II, movement (walking through a restaurant in New Orleans).
VIDEO: The Commander's Palace entranceThis gave me some idea what it's like to walk with the Canon 5D Mark II camera, and how steady it is when handheld.

Band Footage:Testing The Canon 5D Mark II with the 24-70mm lens

Testing The Canon 5D Mark II with the 24-70mm lens

I went to go dine at a restaurant in New Orleans called "The Commander's Palace." My inexperience with the lens is apparent as I film the live band at our table, but the content is rich, and I eventually figure things out - VIDEO: Commander's Palace Band

The Cast, So Far

Casting Noemi

Casting Noemi

Casting: Emmanuel

Location: Opening Scene with Main Characters, Emmanuel and Noemi

Location: Opening Scene with Main Characters, Emmanuel and Noemi

The Therapy Session Location

The Therapy Session Location

Designing a Workflow

Workflow is basically is thinking of a process of how to work creatively in a smooth, thoughtful manner that allows you to function on an artistic level. For someone with limited resources, like me, designing a workflow becomes even more important so that I have a way of easily accomplishing some of my most repetitive actions.

Technologically, this is my breakthrough - The Canon 5D Mark II. This camera changes things for me because I know how to use, and because I no longer need a lighting or sound crew to tell my story. Basically, all I need is this camera, several different kinds of tripods, a good microphone, a digital recorder and some ambient lights from Ikea.

Artistically: I have to be able to write a compelling story in locations that I could use at my own will, meaning that if I have to shoot a scene again with actors, then I can easily use that location again at the same time as before.

Talent: I found a couple that had the charismatic presence to be in the film. Although their acting experience was limited, my interaction with them made me comfortable that a few extra rehearsals would ensure that the integrity of the final product.

I am attempting to make my workflow organic. My actors are physically close to me and see them several times a week. We have a place to rehearse and we work on scenes until they're perfect (this is a luxury). The equipment I'm using is revolutionary, requiring very little lighting, and the sound, along with some decent headphones can be monitored by me while I'm filming. Also, my inexperienced actors don't have to deal with the pressure of working in front of an entire crew. This, of course, puts them at ease and makes a good performance easier to achieve.

Documenting the making of "Spaceland"

I came to Los Angeles to become a filmmaker, and it's been fairly competitive. I haven't broke through, I think, for several reasons, but the most important of those reasons is that I feel now, in retrospect, that I wasn't quite ready. That is, with the right story, and with a specific process that allowed me to realize my vision as a filmmaker.

Several things have happened that have created a re-ignited my artistic ambitions:

1) The Evolution of Filmmaking Technology: Before filmmaker's used to make a big deal out of 24p with the use of cameras like Panasonic's HVX200. Having owned that camera, I wasn't quite feeling the inspiration, and the workflow was so cumbersome and expensive that it was hardly worth the effort. Something happened though. A new camera with better, more impressive technology was released by Canon - The 5D Mark II. I will explain later on why this camera changes everything. For now, let's just say that for a relatively low cost of entry, someone like me can finally work in artistic, paced fashion, rather than getting caught up with the logistics of filmmaking. You don't realize what a big deal this is until you've actually attempted making a film.

2) A Compelling Story - Spaceland: Since USC, I have been a fiction writer, and, I have become distracted, even though I have confidence in my creative abilities. For a couple of years, I even went into advertising in Los Angeles, which was interesting and taught me some lessons, but ultimately, I found unfulfilling and relatively cumbersome. I've written about ten screenplays, some really good and some not-so-good. By writing 120 pages stories, however, I developed the ability to outline ideas in my head without having to sit down and write at all. In other words, I evolved from not knowing what I was going to write to a point where I could think of the entire film, then write it down. Artistically, this was an internal break-through for me.

3) Barack Obama: I'm inspired by the election of this man.