Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scene IV Shoot, Sunday Morning

This morning, we were able to complete filming Scene IV of "Spaceland." Here is a screen shot from the actual film.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Scene IV, Film Session

Yesterday, we filmed (photos to come later) the bedroom scene of "Spaceland." This is the scene that begins to make the conflict of the story more clear in the film. I actually rewrote this short scene several times before it actually evolved probably to what it should have been all along. Yesterday, while filming I realized a couple of things. One, pre-production really pays off. Specifically, I'm referring to working and rewriting with actors to nail the performances. The curious thing is that neither actor nailed the scene perfectly during rehearsals, but by the time we started filming, it happened on camera. This, to me, is a fascinating genesis. It just goes to show how the combination of good luck, pressure to perform, practice, a live filming session, and good timing really can work together to create the moment that's necessary when you're filming. It's strangely humbling, and the thing I learned, if anything, is that in an artistic endeavor, it really pays not to force things, but to almost just have faith and let them happen.

The whole session with the actors was very interesting yesterday (and I want to talk about it more later), but also on a technical level I really began to see the benefits of shooting with the 5D Mark II. I was able to find some camera angles, and use it's low light capacity (with various lenses) to get a very distinctive look that's approbo for the film.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rewriting Scenes

I don't know what's happened to me lately, but I've been sort of bored by television in general. Occasionally, I'll sit down and watch a little bit of television, but I can't even get into shows that used to mildly amuse me. The only thing you'll catch me watchin' is Baby Looney Tunes with my son or Heroes on DVR the next day, but even that has me feeling a little "hard up."

Bored with television, I decided to rewrite some scenes in "Spaceland." Sometimes, it surprises me how much room for improvement there is in a script that I thought was "just fine." Now that I know the actors, and understand how they say lines, it it just suddenly feels inappropriate so I rewrite to suit their energy.

Today, I rewrote about three pages, and they were all pretty significant improvements It just goes to show that as long as things are in pre-production and production (at the same time), I need to constantly improve what I can while I can. If I wasn't bored by television, I would have a worst script to shoot.

Now, I truly know what people say that "it's the small things that count" and "it's in the details." It sounds like something trite to say, but it is quite valid. I'm not one to judge so I won't go as far as saying that tv is evil, but it sure sucks out our creative juices, and that is maybe a little bit evil ( if we really start to think about it).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Editing Sound for Spaceland

One of my favorite things about making this movie is working at a slow pace. It really gives me the chance to slow down, ponder everything, try again, then execute again.

Tonight, I'm working on the sound for scene II, and it's truly a humbling process, getting it all to sound professional (it's hard). I'm not shooting until Wednesday so I'm able to move forward with all that I have learned in terms of shooting and sound.

I know this sounds really boring, but the process is exciting for me because in the past, I felt like the process is what kind of stumped me. Now, well, I can certainly make a lot less excuses.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rehearsal Session #4, Scene 4

On Sunday, my sixteen-year-old assistant, Jonathan, sets up the camera for me on the ladder. This kid is good. He downloads the files off my camera into two separate sources for back-up during shooting, and he does other things I showed him how to do now quiet easily.

Tonight, it was my plan to shoot a scene in the film, but it became clear that sometimes being organized is just as important as being flexible (and prepared).

One of the mistakes I've made in the past is being in a hurry. Today, the actors who play the protagonists in the film, Samuel and Adria came, and we went over scene IV, the lines and I even rewrote some parts after they said it. It became a gradual process to understand the scene for them, and fine-tune the scene for the film.

By next week, we'll film the scene, while shooting a short scene on Sunday morning, along with some minor reshoots of scene II (from last Sunday).

By next Wednesday, I'm hoping to begin rehearsing the Therapist scene, which is perhaps the most difficult, and the longest scene. I know that at any point "the suspension of disbelief" can be lost in a film, and this is the place in the film, if anywhere in the film, it can most easily occur.

Scene IV, Spaceland

I started filming scene II of my short "Spaceland" this Sunday. It was my first day of shooting, and there were a lot of things I learned from the process. The biggest challenge in filmmaking, for me, has always been trying to be artistic, logistic and technical all at once.

Once you've made it as a filmmaker, and can afford an entire crew, you can just worry more about the artistic, and throughout this whole process, I am trying to stay focused on the "vision of the film."

I've edited the second scene, though I haven't had time to fix the sound yet. Overall, I think the scene works. I showed it to a few people, and some of them were very taken with the scene visually. It was very interesting to get the emotional response. Some of this is because the way I shot it, the music, and, of course, the actors. This is the first time, I think, my casting in a film has been ideal. I attribute this to mostly good fortune.

I am posting "test" angles on non-shooting days, but I'm not posting any footage that will be in the actual film because film festivals really want exclusivity when the film is shown in their venue. If they know you can watch it online, they don't want it, not matter how good it is.

Later, I may create some sort of "preview" of the film. I may re-shoot some parts of Scene II, depending on how I feel about it in a couple of weeks. I think one of the best things about making a film slowly is that you can learn from your mistakes as you go along, as opposed to making your mistakes in one or two very long days.

The next scene I'm filming this week is scene IV (see storyboard), which I rewrote last night.

Sunday, February 1, 2009