In the next 14 days “RobMakesMovies” will be undergoing a major overhaul to become a new filmmaker-advice purposed weblog, rather than the personal musings version it is currently. Please be patient. I entrust you’ll enjoy the results.
Today was not a great day. It was by no means a horrible day, but there are a number of things that could have gone better. I blame myself, mostly. Today we had a plethora of actors for our shoot, but we had to get them in costume/makeup, shoot their scenes, and out of wardrobe/makeup by 12:30pm. Our day started at 7am. Oy. We scrambled together and based on the vision in my head, I replaed it over and over to my AD, DP, Art Team, and talent. It was rather chaotic, and not organized the way that it should have been. Well… lesson learned. Communicate better in Pre-Pro.
The good news is that 85% or more were beautiful shots that I wouldn’t change a thing. That other 15% is things that I couldn’t make perfect because we were crunched on time. The other good news is that we are attracting a hell of a lot of attention from Full Sail faculty and staff. Numerous teachers we’ve had before, including one that was promoted to Film Program Director, came out to check out what we were doing and snap pictures. Full Sail’s marketing department came out and shot some B-roll for a video they are putting together. Given that they were only there relatively briefly, they didn’t witness the chaos we were trying to overcome.
The bad news is that we are currently quite behind. We did 8 shots on a day where there were ~16 planned. We accomplished in 12 hours what a professional, experienced crew would do in about two. Ouch… We have a plan on how to properly work around this, though. It required me to stay up a little longer tonight in order for us to implement at 6am tomorrow in a meeting with my keys(nickname for department heads on a film project). Day 1 started slow, but by the end of day 2, I’m confident we can fix the issues we had today. On with tomorrow!
(updating with photos at a later date)
I haven’t updated my blog in MONTHS, but I’ve finally had something that is really worth updating about.
As a part of my education at Full Sail University, we have 3 different short film formats that our class will end up doing over the course of the program. Digital Cinematography class has a digital short format, obviously. Film Production’s format is on 16mm film, a film format common among television, music videos, and indie films. We’ve handled both of those formats, and they both have VERY different methods with which to shoot. The last format we work in is 35mm film, THE format of almost every theatrical film that is released. That is the format of our Final Project, the quintessential “thesis” for our degree program.
For Final Project, or “35″ as we refer to it, the instructors are relatively hands-off for. We are responsible for writing a script, hiring a crew, and formulating the plans on how to shoot the project, all before pitching the idea to the “Execs.” That all happens before we actually get into the class. I knew the process months ago, and as we were finishing up our 16mm project I began putting together my team for our Final Project. I have very high standards for any project I work on, and so I wanted to do something that was immensely challenging, capable of artistic production value, a story that is worth telling, but more than anything, fun to work on. I decided to write a script about Mikhail Kalashnikov, and the event that inspired his designing of the AK-47.
Well, the script got finished, the crew got hired(a full 27-man crew by-the-way), and we developed a number of plans and backups in order to be ready for the pitch. For the pitch, there were seven other scripts going in. Only two would get selected. For 35, that was actually really good odds. The pitch went great, as we were only supposed to be in there for 10 minutes–we were asked questions so long we were in for almost 45 and two of the “Execs” we pitched to were clearly interested in the project. Pitch was on a Wednesday, and we found out the following Sunday that it was selected as one of the two that would be made. I was THRILLED.
The script “Kalashnikov” is a 13-page human drama surrounded by war, a la “Enemy at the Gates.” I’d be insane to say it isn’t ambitious, since it involves a cast of 9 principal players, 6-10 extras, 4 different types of weaponry, 5 sets or locations, and a T-34 tank, which are all set in 1940s Russia. Perhaps I’m insane anyway? I don’t care, I love it. The story is so intriguing, and from everyone that has read the script, they have agreed. We had a cold read done by a few actors yesterday, and hearing it come to life with the Russian accent made it damn near surreal. I was very happy.
From this point we are finalizing locations, set design, preparing to cast(auditions on the 12th of December at Full Sail), and I’ll be developing the shot list and storyboards. I’ll update more as I go along with this. It’s not my first time directing talent, but it is my first short film production that I’ll be directing solo.
I just saw this in an update by one of the news sites I frequent, and thought I’d pass it along.
I’m also adding in the trailer that was released at Comic Con. It’s AWESOME! Check it out in HD at Trailer Addict.
Since really getting into understanding film through my Cinematography class(we’re shooting a MOS short on 35mm on Saturday), I’ve been growing more and more interested in shooting parts or the entirety of some small projects on 16mm film. Last week we were given the option of taking out a 16mm wind-up camera and a 100′ roll or two of 50D (ISO Film Speed 50 Film balanced to 5500 Kelvin, or Daylight). I didn’t because I wasn’t going to be able to shoot in a group over the weekend(Nicole and I went to Jupiter, FL, to see a friend of hers). Nevertheless, I’ve still become more and more intrigued by the use of film. Something about it just makes all of us feel more legit as filmmakers. Strange, I know, but it does.
So I’ve been out doing research about products and techniques for shooting with a 16mm wind-up camera. A lot of research. After doing this for a while, I’ve settled on a few items:
Krasnogorsk 3 Super 16mm Film Camera w/ M42 Lens Mount – ~$350
Carl Zeiss Jena Primes (M42 Mount):
Zeiss Distagon T/2,8 25mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$825
Zeiss Distagon T/2 35mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$825
Zeiss Planar T/1,4 50mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$550
Pentax Super-Takumar Primes (M42 Mount):
Pentax Super-Takumar f/3,5 24mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$100
Pentax Super-Takumar f/2,0 35mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$100
Pentax Super-Takumar f/1,4 50mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$70
Pentax Super-Takumar f/1,9 85mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$150
Pentax Super-Takumar f/2,5 135mm Manual Focus Lens – ~$80
Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III Analog Incident and Reflected Light Meter – ~$180
Here’s a music video shot with the Krasnogorsk 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-jrm0wvtk0
With these tools and ~10,000 feet of Kodak Vision2 film, I could shoot a feature film. Fear not, I’ll be adding more to this list as I find reasonable additions.
Anyone that’s been around me over the past weeks could probably tell you how psyched I am to see Transformers: ROTF in IMAX opening night. I’ve been annoyingly persistent about having my friends buy tickets to got with me, regardless of the fact they’re $17 a pop. I don’t care, it’s going to be fuckin’ SICK!
Anyway, here is the newly released music video for Linkin Park’s “New Divide.” This single is the theme, so to say, of Transformers 2, like “What I’ve Done” was for the first one. Well folks, here’s the video:
I kinda like it, but at the same time, I hate the paint blurring. I want to see the sweet effects, not a series of smudges. The infared I’m okay with for certain parts, but there were far too many uses of it in this video.
What I did, for my own benefit because it flew by so quickly, was to screen-capture the TF2 clips that I found in the music video. I’ve uploaded them below. Sorry for the low res, they came from the MySpace video player. Still capable of seeing what they are though. Enjoy:
So who else is ready for this movie to come out?
I’ve been following Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell film as it has gone through the process of finding a studio to fund, getting the production rolling, and getting a distributor. All throughout the process, Tucker would update his blog with words of encouragement to his fans, “This movie is so fucking awesome, I am convinced it’s going to be a hit…” and so on and so forth. Recently he announced the film had picked up a Distributor… Yay. He never really got into who it was, or anything else. As I was perusing Box Office Mojo today, I found out.
Freestyle Releasing, known most recently for spreading more Uwe Boll trash, such as In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, has picked up the distribution rights. Now, the reason this is a bad, is because of the initial release that is currently listed. According to Box Office Mojo, the September 25, 2009, release of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell is set at 450 theaters. Source. What makes this BAD is the fact that Freestyle’s history of films making a decent theatrical gross, especially with films budgeted at $10,000,000(Like Beer In Hell was), isn’t good unless there is a release of 1,600 or more theaters. The films that Freestyle Releasing has that had ~450 theaters on it’s initial release made no more than $4,078,607. That number is Freestyle’s August 2008 release Bottle Shock.
Now does my concern seem validated? Now I don’t have the background details, so Tucker’s blog post stating,
We still haven’t decided precisely how many screens we will open on or in what cities. This has become a very interesting discussion: Do we open relatively small the first weekend and open on 500 screens in the key 50 markets only, which will get massive per screen averages and build buzz for an expansion (like Slumdog Millionaire), or do we immediately open wide with 2000 screens in every market (like most studio movies)?
may be the truth, or might not. He has no reason to lie, unless he knows it would sound bad that the movie based on his bestselling book is in the shitter. He does have a massive tour designed to hit up damn near every major college in the U.S., which is definitely a great way to generate additional buzz, but it still seems strange that the Producers would keep the 450 theater release as an option, if this was “going to be a hit either way…”
Something doesn’t smell right about this. Far too many good things to set this film in motion, only to be halted here. It seems to me like someone either got greedy with their contracts, or made a dumb decision.
I guess we’ll all have to see how this pans out.
I have many friends that like different types of films, but the one season where our tastes merge is generally during the summer blockbuster season. This year, even that is different. The summer blockbusters are:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Released May 1st
Star Trek – Released May 8th
Terminator Salvation – To Be Released on May 21st
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – To Be Released on June 24th
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – To Be Released on July 15th
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra – To Be Released on August 7th
Among all of those tentpoles, my greatest desire is to see Transformers in IMAX, on opening night. Most of my friends are more excited to see Terminator, but I have my doubts about it after seeing a very slow cut action sequence. The feeling just seemed very off for an action film, much less a Terminator film. THR already issued a review blasting the film. Other reviews have stated that the action carries the film because the drama is very lacking.
Honestly, if McG fucked up this film. Fans will want to tear him apart worse than Star Wars geeks hate George Lucas for Jar Jar.
P.S. Here’s a TV Spot that should show you why I’m so psyched to see Transformers:
I was just pointed in the direction of some new renders that popped out of RED a few days ago. These pics show either models or working prototypes(I don’t know because no test footage has been released as of today). All I know is that I’d like the EPIC S35 Pro Cinema camera they release during the summer/fall of this year(supposedly).
Today, well yesterday to be ‘technically’ correct, I had the experience of a lifetime. I shot Super 16mm Film on an Aaton Xtera film camera. Though I plan to do this for years to come, it was so amazing to actually be the one selecting the shot, focusing, and rolling the film through the gate to be exposed at 24 frames per second. Basically, I had my filmmaking cherry popped, and it was an orgasmic experience.
At this point I’d happily switch between shooting film and HD video. I had a feeling this would happen once I shot on it, and it definitely did. As so many people say, “It’s just more organic to shoot on film.” I whole-heartedly agree. If I had the money to do it, I’d buy a 16mm camera tomorrow. The advances in the scanning process have allowed Super 16mm to be transferred over and projected in 35mm projectors with near lossless quality.
From here I definitely want to try and shoot a short on Super 16mm. The biggest “issue” is the one that is the primary reason for going digital: cost. Shooting on film is expensive. Money goes into lab fees for processing and digital transfer for editing, not to mention the cost of actually buying the film. Renting isn’t as much of a cost(especially with student rates available most places), but insurance to get the rental and permit fees can be pricey depending on the subject matter and location.
Filmmaking is a business-based form of art. I’m not blind to that fact at all. I just prefer handling the art side first. I don’t like the idea of being a “suit” except for the creative-control part of being a Producer. I’d happily create debt to be a filmmaker. Hell, that’s what I’m doing going to school(student loans). I haven’t decided if I want to stay another year for a Masters Degree in Entertainment Business, but it has been floating about my brain for the past month or so. I don’t know… we’ll have to see.