Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Beginning Obsession

Okay it's been a while, so here goes the first installment of the beginning of the birth of my film Deadly Obsessions. Originally entitled "Broken Promises" the movie was written back in 1997, and finalized in 1998. I had started writing a journal of my progress in making the film back in Feb. '98. Till this day I still keep a journal and the one journal has multiplied to 16 journals. One it was to keep my sanity, and another it was to serve as a reminder of what I needed to do. Since I was extremely low budget I myself was responsible for getting things done. This helped and hurt me through the years of getting to the final print of the film. Before venturing into my feature I saw countless indie films both good and bad, and I made mental notes on how I should proceed. Back in 1998 digital video really didn't exsist. It was only AFTER that I shot my film that I the digital revolution started to happen with a vengeance. Shooting on film was my only choice back then, and though I could have transferred all to video and edit via video I really didn't want that because my intent was to finish with an answer print for projection. Doing a feature today I would highly advice a beginner to do it in digital video. In the end you'll still have a DVD for projection on a data video projector. But back in 1998 my choices were limited, and since I knew how to make a film from my years in attending film school I decided to go the film route. In the end it probably saved me some money because I didn't have to transfer to video, and not worry about sync problems that would have occurred had I gone the video route.

How I approached the making of the video was to make a list of my resources, and try and fashion a story around them. I had to make a film with limited locations, and limited characters that I could shoot quickly. No flashy effects were needed, but a SPX technician was hired for two days to shoot the gun play in the film. Since I loved the noir type films of the 40's & 50's I wrote along those themes trying to update it to present day. I was working as a graphic designer at the time and hating it, but when I started my film I became empowered, and though exhausted at the end of the day I found time to write.

Working on several short films, and making my own short films I was familiar what I needed to do. The challenge was to eventually break down a full screenplay by myself. I used a computer program called "Movie Magic" for this. I had written my screenplay in Final Draft, and the program imported the script into the program. I eventually fashioned a 12 day shooting schedule from this. Though I was told I was un-organized I didn't see it. I could have used another person to help me as script supervisor, but that person I had originally wanted could not do it due to a family crisis, so I had to adapt and move on. It worked out, but I would strongly advice that on your feature you have someone to help you with that duty. It will save you much grief.

The most definitive act I did was post an ad in Backstage where I advertised for my actors. That little advertisement gave me a floods worth of headshots. The headshots came by the sack full. Getting them sorted was a challenge in itself, but was one of the funniest things I did. For help I enlisted my wife Phyllis. A word here about Phyllis. It was my wife who pushed me to get this done. She was there every step of the way. Both of us were working, and had recently moved to the Philadelphia area, so it was stressful. If you don't have someone who is just as committed to the project as you are you're in for a world of hurt. So I have to say thank-you to my wife Phyllis. Without her this film would not exsist., and I'd still be questioning my talents as a filmmaker and an artist. Thanks hon!

So as you can see this is only the first part of this story. There is SO much more, but as I go through my journals I'll write more and more. If there are any questions let me know. Make a comment here, and I'll tell you. I would like this blog to be truly a two way conversation. So I hope I've helped a bit, and I'll keep writing.

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