Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gathering Steam

Four reasons why today was a good day to be working on TRIGGER. To wit:

1. A local "rock star" cinematographer and I are scheduled to meet.

2. One of my mentors gave me positive feedback on the script (plus the usual "it's too long" critique of which I am most definitely guilty).

3. One of my fellow directors at the UW (though she a Theater MFA) actually wants to be a producer for film/TV and wants to collaborate with me.

4. And one of my former video store co-workers who now works as a costume supervisor on films, responded positively to my script and is already drafting ideas.

Now, four reasons why this week is a good week to work on TRIGGER:

1. I brokered my way into an invitation-only, project-based fund-raising website kickstarter.com. It seems to be working wonders for its members and I'm hoping to add my success to their pool. Nothing but a profile yet, but: kickstarter.com/profile/eledrew

2. For that, I am drafting a teaser poster of sorts through the steady hand of my sometime-graphic-designer fiance Marie. Per my request, she's producing it in the spirit of these: shoottheglass.bigcartel.com & exergian.tumblr.com

3. Further, I'm drafting the script of a short "pitch" for TRIGGER that will be shot on the Red and star yours truly as a dashing, romantic adventurer-filmmaker. Shouldn't be too hard to pull off.

4. Lastly, I've locked down my plan for the TRIGGER prototype: "a trailer for a film that doesn't exist"! I can't believe it took me this long to think of that. Seems like a no-brainer in hindsight. It'll be just like my glory days in the experimental video series.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thesis Experiment

My thesis experiment is a 1m 10s video haiku starring the reliably-bearded Paul Maupoux(!). It is shot at sterling 24fps 4k RAW on the Red One camera; gorgeously lit with a match, candle and bounced 4-bank Kino Flo; and photographed with an 85mm f/1.4 Nikon Prime - a "handsome lens", as Barry Sonnenfeld would say (re: the long lenses he used for "Miller's Crossing"). Add a FADE IN and a FADE OUT, plus a re-timed, re-mixed track from Vangelis' "Blade Runner" score -- and you've got yourself a nice, ambient little film.

This little film was conceived as a "Lux" test for the Red vs. the HVX. Lux is a term referring to the light sensitivity of the hardware. A Lux value of '1' means the camera can get a good exposure based on the light of a single candle. A value of 1 is top of the market. It goes on down to 10.

My thesis screenplay TRIGGER takes place in the wilderness at night, so the purpose of this test was to get an idea of how each camera handled extremely low-lighting conditions. True to it's reputation, the Red performed phenomenally (as you will see once I get a streaming version posted). The HVX (settings: f/1.8, 1080i24p, 1/24s exposure) performed ably, but I didn't even bother capturing the footage. Simply put, it paled in comparison to the Red.

As one of my mentor/teachers said after I showed him this Red-photographed haiku: "That's a $200,000 shot." A $200,000 shot produced for $50? Yes, sir.

Malcolm Badewitz - AC, Lighting Tech
Ryan Irilli - Lighting Tech, Grip, docu footage
Paul Maupoux - star, add'l Grip
Marie Whitney - Crafty, Still Photog
(Dir, writer, editor, photog, etc. Yours Truly)

The file is too big to post on YT or Vimeo, and it'll take all night to re-compress from 1.5GB down to 500MB or less, so you'll have to wait on a streaming version.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Running (Late) Man

This has been a late week for me, just generally speaking. Late to bed, late to the gym, late to class, late to life. So in the spirit of late-ness, here is this LATE blog post:

I have finished the first draft aka "Madman draft" of my screenplay TRIGGER. It is 30 pages long. No, I don't know how I am going to do it. Yes, I am going to do it. No, I don't need your help reminding me that I don't know how I am going to do it.

Because I am going to do it.

It will be edited down to 20-25 pages ultimately, but as of right now, its a very, very tight 30 pages. It's currently sent out to my trusted readers, and I'm awaiting feedback.

Revisions schedule is as follows:
Feb. 12 - Architect draft
Feb. 19 - Carpenter draft
Feb. 26 - Judge draft
Mar. 12 - Final polish

While writing this post, FCP was ingesting the RED footage I shot last weekend. The shoot went really well and I had a blast improvising a video haiku out of my experiment's contraints. I had a small crew and I basically had a candle and a kino flo light kit. One of my crew was the actor and we staged a little micro-narrative for the RED. I'll have more details on this experiment as I review the footage for my presentation Wednesday.