Thursday, May 16, 2013

Life in the Desert

Having just returned last night from an overnight two-day shoot in the desert, I thought I would share our filming schedule. This is after I cleaned all sand from my cracks and crevices (pronounced CREE-VAH-SIS).  For the shoot, my responsibility was that of a Production Coordinator.

Tuesday May 14th

04:45 AM Wake up, shower, eat, jump in car and head out to Citrus College.

06:15 AM Arrive at Citrus College. I had to arrive early to ensure that all crew were assigned to the appropriate passenger vans and that no one was left behind.

07:15 AM Three passenger vans begin the two hour drive to set in Johnson Valley.

09:30 AM Arrive on set. Immediately put on suntan lotion. Begin production.

12:30 PM Break for lunch.

01:00 PM Back to production.

07:30 PM Wrap production. Jump in passenger van and begin 35 minute drive to dinner.

08:15 PM Eat dinner.

09:00 PM Leave for hotel.

09:15 PM Arrive at hotel. Check-in. Shower immediately. Consume alcohol with cast and/or crew.

11:00 PM Sleep.

Wednesday May 15th

06:00 AM Wake. Shit. Shower. Eat.

07:30 AM Back into vans. Leave for set.

08:45 AM Arrive on set. Put on suntan lotion. Begin production.

01:00 PM Break for lunch.

01:30 PM Back to production.

07:15 PM Even though production hasn't wrapped, a van of crew had to leave set due to AFI rules in regards to hours worked and food and such. I was on that van.

09:15 PM Arrive at Citrus College. Jump in car and head for home, stopping only to grab some crappy drive-thru fast food.

10:15 PM Arrive at home. Shower immediately. Kiss wife. Pass out.

More stories from the set to come...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mr. Bucky Goes to the ASC

My first official foray into Hollywood was a trip to the building which houses the ASC or American Society of Cinematographers. In case you are not aware, a lot of filmmaking groups have their own secret society. There is the Director's Guild. The Screen Actor's Guild. The Writer's Guild of America. So on and so forth. All very clandestine and hush hush. In order for me to gain entrance to the ASC I had to bring half a kilo of my firstborn's hair and a box of Fruit Loops. (Actually a paid a monetary fee) Visiting the campus was incredibly exciting. Not as exciting as being invited personally, but cool nonetheless.

They do not have their own parking area, so I was instructed to park at an underground garage down the street. Being that I am not familiar with LA whatsoever, I had no idea where I was. After parking and walking out of the entrance, I walked by the Dolby Theater (where the Oscar's are held!), on to Hollywood Blvd (the Walk of Fame... stars and such!!), and past Mann's/Grauman's/TCL Chinese Theater.  Not gonna lie, I got chills seeing all of this for the first time. My pleasure was tempered a bit by the shenanigans that happen on Hollywood Blvd. You see, it's incredibly touristy which draws a lot of panhandling, characters in costumes wanting you to give them money for pixs, and people handing out mixtapes for cash. Oh well... you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have Hollywood.

Back to the ASC. They host a breakfast lecture series. Upon arrival, a really nice breakfast spread was awaiting us. There were communal tables which is nice as I look at the events as a way to both gain knowledge and gain connections. Met some really cool folks there actually and would love to work with them at some point. After a bit, we were summoned into the big house for the lecture session. The ASC will bring in a cinematographer who will discuss their career and show clips from the movies they shot, talk about said clips, and then end with a Q&A.

The lecture I attended was a look at the career of Amy Vincent. Most recently she worked on "Hustle & Flow" and "Black Snake Moan." The program was both entertaining and educational and I'm hoping to catch the next in their series. It was interesting as it was probably the most technical film Q&A that I've attended thus far. I dig it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Greetings and Lamentations

*kicks tires... checks under hood*

Wow, this site is still up and running and shockingly not hacked by Russian Internet pirates hoping to sell you futons made out of Burmese Monkey hair. Honestly I prefer the Siberian Monkey over its Burmese cousin due to their propensity to fling less poo and such. Speaking of flinging poo, I've quit my job and moved to Hollywood! We sold our house in San Francisco after striking oil in the backyard. We made quite a bit of money off of our discovery and now live in a cozy Beverly Hills mansion. Shockingly, our neighbors don't take kindly to the nouveau rich which has led to some very very humorous situations. I may or may not be creating a sitcom about this recent period in our life.

The true Hollywood story is that we started saving up over time, sold our house and moved to LA so that I may give screenwriting/directing/filmmaking the old college try. Yes, my wife is indeed amazing. We relocated in the early part of January and I really haven't had much time to devote to writing as I played the role of Mr. Mom until we got our son enrolled in to a pre-school. Now that that has occurred, I'm balls-deep in screenwriting and such... more like ankles deep if I am to be honest. All incredibly exciting truth be told. Having started just recently, I don't have much to report gentle reader, but please keep your eye on this site as I am will be covering the following items shortly: my trip to the ASC, my 1 & 2 year plan, daily/weekly routine of a screenwriter, souffle recipes.

Oh! It was good of you to pop in. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Film school is over... now what?!?!

Happy New Years to you and yours!

One of my big gripes about film school at SFSDF was that at no point in the curriculum did they address life post-film school. No classes on film festivals, job searches, networking etc. So I've been fumbling through the process on my own as I've intensified my focus on my film life over the last couple months. Not sure what's working and what's not working as it is still too early to tell but here is what I've been doing:

-This blog. I have made some connections through people finding my blog and it has been really nice to have a dialog with film minded people. The blog also helps me distill my thinking on goals for the future.

-Business Cards. I had a hard time referring to myself as a filmmaker as it felt poseurish and even more so with creating and ordering business cards, but I was starting to network more and I didn't want to be that guy who was ripping pages out of my moleskin with contact info on it.

-LinkedIn Account. This also felt a bit foreign creating a profile exclusively for filmmaking... but I did it anyways.

-Networking/Groups. I've found some groups through and facebook and have started to attend those meetings. The groups tend to fall in the screenwriting and filmmaking category and are not only networking events but they do tend to help with feedback for both screenwriting and filmmaking... duh. The other events I've been attending has been... well, events. While there isn't a ton of established screenings/talk in the Bay Area, there is still enough for to me to attend in my what little spare time I have. Last year I saw Ed Burns, John August, and the cast and crew of Young Adult. Each event had a Q&A and "mingle-time" post.

-Film Festivals. This entry should and will have its own blog entry, but I've gotten to the point where I am proud enough of my work to enter it in to festivals and have gotten rejections, acceptance, and even managed to win an award. Lots of great learning and networking at festivals... and honestly they are both fun and exciting. Actually a lot of what I listed above I view as fun and exciting.

-IMDB Page. I have a fancy dancy IMDB page.

Film Society. I joined the San Francisco Film Society as there are benefits for filmmakers both in financial discounts but also in awards/grants and residency and services.

-Watch movies. Read screenplays, film theory, American Cinematographer, and film criticisms. One of my new favorite film theorists/critic has been Hulk. Serious.

-Increase my output. I am still working the film festival circuit with my last short and editing another short and writing my next short. This is obviously the most important thing I am doing as I need the most practice here and need to increase the quality of my work. I can have all the networking connections in the world, but it wouldn't matter if I was constantly putting out crap or nothing at all.

So there it is. My plan. It definitely feels like a lot of spitballing to see what works and I will continue to talk about what area I have the most success in. If you have any tips, please send them my way!

What I've been digging as of late: Downton Abbey, Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, Undun by the Roots, How Do You Do by Mayer Hawthorne, who kill by tune-yards.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Young Adult Movie Screening

One of the amazing things about living in a big city like San Francisco is that movie studios pander to the city relatively frequently. Growing up in New Albany, Indiana you just didn't have the opportunity to see artists talk about their craft live and in person. So when that happens here, baby-sitter permitting, I jump at the chance particularly when it involves movies.

A few weeks back, the amazing Sundance Kabuki theater hosted a Pop-Up Secret Screening of the new movie Young Adult with a Q&A post with cast and crew. You weren't told what movie you were seeing until you were let in the theater which is kind of exciting but honestly kind of pointless. Cast and crew that were there included Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, Patton Oswalt, and Charlize Theron. Jason Reitman, the director, explained that they are taking a grass-roots marketing campaign with this movie as it is going to be a tough sell to the general movie going public. It's amazing how much technology has changed in the last few years as he specifically asked the audience to talk about the movie on Twitter. They over-book these screening to ensure a packed house and we were the second to last people to be let in the door...

I agree that the movie is going to be a tough sell as the main character is completely unlikeable. In fact, during the Q&A Charlize Theron said that at one point the director told her to be more "cunt-y." She is that kind of character. The thing that really surprised me was how great Patton Oswalt is in the movie. I found myself waiting for him to show up again when he wasn't onscreen. Not surprising was how entertaining he was during the Q&A. He was incredibly funny and quick-witted.

If you are a filmmaker or a movie-nerd in general these type of events are both entertaining and educational. Lots of talk about the making of the movie and the marketing. Of course there is a lot of self-promotion but that is the point of the screening. Now if my two year old son could start watching himself, I could attend a few more of these events.

*The gorgeous poster at the top of the post was made specifically for this screening and was numbered and handed out to the audience members. Score!

What I've been digging as of late: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Community TV Show

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To answer your question...

When I won the audience award (yes, I am bringing that up again) at the BHOC, I didn't realize that entitled me to screening my short again. Evidently, they ask the award winners back to screen their films and to participate in a Q&A session post. Fast forward to last Tuesday and I am on my way to standing in front of a live audience and fielding questions about filmmaking. Surprisingly I wasn't all that nervous. I contribute that to a few things: the crowd, while it was standing room only, was only about 50 deep; I had about 6-8 friends in the crowd for better or worse... ; I love talking about film. Seriously, I could and can talk about films and filmmaking for hours.

There were a total of three shorts screened but only two of the filmmakers were present. The first two screened and I brought up the rear. The big speedbump of the night is that a rough cut of my short was shown on accident. This rough cut had no music, no sound balancing, no color correction, no opening titles or closing credits, poor editing, etc. Mind you, this is a rather large speed-bump, and I'm still bothered that most people in the room were introduced to my work for the first time through this. It looked and felt amateurish. Seriously bothered by it. Woke up thinking about it the next day. Throughout the day I kept telling myself "Let it go... let it go." Hah and ugh.

After my screening, I jumped up and fielded questions. That portion went off really well! As far as I can tell... I completely forgot to ask my friends how they thought I did. Speaking of which, thanks to all that came out and supported me! I was asked questions about my film and films in general. Some lesser known filmmakers were brought up (Bertolt Brecht & Eric Rohmer anyone?!?!) which shocked me. But in hindsight, I guess it shouldn't have as this audience is the type that go to film festivals so I assume this type of film-goer would be more knowledgeable in regards to film and film history. I think my Q&A session only lasted about 10 minutes. I think.

Next up... well I am not too sure. Still waiting to hear back from some other film festival and in the meantime I am writing and editing. Both of which are incredibly solitary, but I will save that for another entry. I know you are excited about that...

What I've been digging as of late: BBC. BBC. BBC. Lots of great shows airing on BBC America right now. Downtown Abbey, The Hour, Whitechapel, Dr. Who, and I am getting ready to tackle Dead Set.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Since we last spoke....

Greetings. It's been a bit... It's nice to see you. Since my last entry, I finished the short film I was working on and started submitting it to film festivals. The first festival where it was accepted, it won an award. (Pictured above... the second picture is of all of my rad friends that came out to show their support. Thanks for being the camera-guy, Omar!) The award was the 2011 Audience Award at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival in San Francisco. It felt really good to win an award voted on by the festival attendees. A lot of hard work by a lot of people went in to the project. Therefore, this entry was written by an award winning filmmaker. Please don't look me in the eye or speak until spoken to next time you see me.

I've got the same short submitted to a few other festivals and am waiting to hear back now. The film festival process is incredibly interesting, fun, nerve-wracking, expensive, rewarding, etc... This go round with the Bernal Festival was the first screening where I invited friends and family to attend, which was great... but then a few days before it hit me. Oh shit! Everyone is going to see my short. While I'm standing next to them. I was more nervous than I thought. It wasn't just friends but folks in general. It's hard to show your project to a room full of people after you've watched it 5,000 times on your computer at home and have lost all perspective on it. Thankfully, everything worked out great, and the short played really well to the audience. However, I was glad I had a beer or two before the screening.

Once the festival was over, I was ready to jump in to another one. Navigating the submission process is new to me, as this is the first project that I've completed where I've been proud enough of it to send it out. Some festivals don't accept submissions if they have previously been online or if it premiered somewhere else or they want a disc not an online submission or they want an online submission and a disc... A learning process. So I got an withoutabox account which led me to an imdb page (I've got an imdb page!! Crazy...) and I was off and running. Even though I felt incredibly poseurish doing it, I also got business cards made up to hand out while networking at film festivals. That seemed more professional than tearing out a page from my moleskin and scribbling my contact info on it.

While waiting, I am also editing an unfinished short from film school. I want to be able to do something with that project as well, but if it looks like a step backwards creatively, I will probably pitch it and reshoot it as I am in love with the script. I've also begun writing another short film and really can't wait to get back on set. I miss filming.

Things I have been digging as of late: Drive (the movie & the soundtrack), Moneyball (the movie but loved the book as well), Wilco: The Whole Love, & Dr. Who