Monday, April 11, 2005

The beginning of my long Obsession

I'll try and deal with how I became involved in my film, and how long this obsession has been raging on. i had always wanted to do a feature. There were several times where I thought I was going to actually make it happen, but always the plans fell through. SO I decided to put the burden on "myself" alone. The old saying: "if you want something done right, do it yourself" actually has a lot of truth in it. I had written my screenplay two years earlier before production began. In that time I was consumed by how I would get the film off the ground by myself. I used Final Draft for my screenwriting program, nad I used movie magic for my scheduling software. Movie Magic allowed me to import my screenplay from Final draft, and create my schedule for shooting the film. I figured that it would take me 12 to 14 days to shoot the film since my film was limited in location, and in actors. I should have found someone to help me, but I could not since I had no firm date on when I was going to shoot the film. The responsibility of breaking down the script and scheduling it fell to me. Luckily the program Movie magic made it extremely easy to do so. If you are going to go this route, and do almost everything yourself I have one bit of advice for you, and that is be prepared to go in for the LONG haul. Since I could not devote all of my time in getting the film off the ground I had to manage my time. Bills had to be paid, groceries bought, and life always seemed to get in the way. Hence the long process of getting this film to screen. How long you ask? Five years.

Yes Five years to get a film together, and still I am struggling, but this time to get it seen not just produced. But that's for another time. Right now I'll talk about the early days of the film. The fortunate thing was that I had some time before production to plan my film, and set aside some money for the film. I shot in 16mm because that was the professional gauge I wanted to shoot in, and I liked 16mm. I could have rented a camera, but since I was also shooting my film I bought an old Arri BL, and learned all it's eccentricities. Today I would not recommend this course of action since renting is better, but I was obsessed in knowing all about the camera, and I loved to do my own camera work. Of course there comes a time where you can do no more then set a date because you've done all that you can do. Once you set the date for production it becomes a reality, and you can now move on to auditioning actors, and interviewing people for crew. I was originally going to shoot in July, but I pushed it to early august, and it worked out alright. the open thing I cannot stress enough is that you NEED to pay your cast & crew something. I was a nobody who wanted to make a film. The only way I can convince people that I was serious was through money. I did not offer extrodinary amounts of money to any, but enough to say that I want and need you for so long, and I value your time. Everyone had a flat fee, and I did go through the screen actors guild (SAG). I had to give a deposit which was put in escrow for the actors. This was to insure that I did not head south of the boarder with the production funds once production began. Through SAG I got grade-A quality people. Professionals who took their craft seriously, and who would show up on time, on the days that I needed them. So don't skimp on the payroll for your crew & cast, and just as important don't skimp on the food you feed them. My cast & crew always were well feed, and taken care of. The shoot was uncomfortable due to the production taking over my apartment & other locations. It was hot, cramped, and fast paced. I did not have a video playback, so I had to rely on what my eye saw through the viewfinder. Being the editor, and writer, and director helped me since I was so intimately involved with the production, but I still wish I could have worked MORE with the actors.

This is my first entry about my film, and how it all began. I hope to have more in the coming weeks or months. I will detail the good, the bad, and the ugly of the filming of my movie "Deadly Obsessions". Any feed back is welcome, and questions are always welcomed. My desire for this website is to pass on knowledge about filmmaking from the trenches. Hopefully someone will be able to use this information, and build on it, and create their own film. Till next time.

The above picture is of me shooting a short film enttled "The Last War". It won two Nova awards for best dramatic film, and best ecological film.

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