Friday, May 18, 2007

Concertina Prospectus

For my midterm/final in the Creativity class I'm currently taking (mostly as it relates to business however, not something I was warned of in advance) we were charged with coming with a creative Idea (midterm) and then taking the first step toward realizing it (final).

For mine, I proposed a short film that I may try to shoot sometime this summer, that I was kicking around as one of the possible projects for me to do as my video thesis. Of course I chose the more ambitious projects for my thesis, but I still quite appreciate this idea.

The pitch: A young man tries to protect a ball of bloody razor wire from a group of worshippers who would take it from him.

The first step: drawing three Anchor Images.

Diagnoses: on videos and westerns

Although I'm in a huge time-crunch with Invert at the moment, things seem to be going reasonably well with it. Except for final trimming and audio, it looks as if I'm pretty much finished with the first and last shots, which together amount to about 1/6 of the running time. So for two days spent on 1/6, that leaves me ten days to do the rest. That's not too bad. Although, I'm also hoping that now that I have After Effects a little more under control and my workflow down, that I'll at least be able to shave 1/4 that time off. I need to leave two days for the title sequence and end-credits, and two days for the audio--which leaves me 10 to finish keying and compositing. Not too bad. A little tight, but not too bad.

It seems I'll also be reshoots a shot or two this Saturday, and picking up two or three as well. My only worry is accomplishing that in three hours' time.

But that's pretty much it for the video--fingers crossed, it's all down hill from here.

My only other major concern is being able to finish my animation for the humanities class I'm in. But as video is my priority, that's where all of my effort's been going. We'll see what that bodes for getting into either of the animation classes next year--not that I have a choice.

Just watched: Seraphim Falls and there really is no excuse for Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson to be starring in an R-rated, independently financed Western that is essentially a two-hour chase sequence and for it to SUCK. Well, it's not awful. But man, oh man, is it ever lame. Never did I think that I was watching anything more than two modern actors (who are usually so much better) playing dress-up in New Mexico. Although I'm sure my reaction to this tepid western has something to do with recently reading Cormac McCarthy's savage Blood Meridian...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007



The shoot went.

Mollie, Ryan, Collin, and Chris (Waldon) came through in a big way for me. Having such an intelligent, hard-working, enjoyable crew really made me feel like I was actually directing. It was exhilarating. And I don't mean that in a power-hungry way. Just that I was able to focus mostly on the creative aspect of the filming, while others capable and willing would translate my idea to reality. It was truly exhilarating.

Now this didn't last the whole time, only a couple of hours really, as staying for the whoole shoot was really out of the question for everybody except me--and my actor.

Speaking of which, Thomas Heasley also came through in a really big way. A self-described drama-dance artist, Thomas was one of two people to respond to my request for actors, and he was a perfect fit for a non-speaking, physically specific role.

He had no previous film experience after this short, he isn't too interested in much more--although, as he said, it gave him a new-found respect for film actors, as they have to stay in a moment over and over again when nailing a take. His one critique of me when we were finished was that in stage drama, it's considered bad form for a director to model how an actor is "supposed" to act, as it constricts their creative freedom. Observe:

On the other hand, he conceeded, film is different than the stage as there are specific shots that need to be acted a certain way. Not so on the stage, where an actor is free to "interpret" the material in their own way. So other than the practical lessons learned from my first extensive greenscreen process ("necessary evil" comes to mind), the biggie that I learned on this shoot is really about myself: for better or worse, I'm very hands on with directing actors.

As for the footage itself, I haven't actually captured any yet--I'm giving myself a day off. From memory however, some of it looks fantastic, some looks overlit, some under--but I don't think anything looks awful. My main concern at this point is that I still need to capture an underwater image and I may need to shoot an additional shot or two for the climax. More logistics, essentially.

We'll see what happens though. In the meantime, there are some fantastic movies playing that I'm going to try to make time to see (in-between work, or course) this week.

I'll put some more pictures up on my next post, and tomorrow I'll see if I can't put up a frame-grab.

Watching: The Incredibles