Indie Film Blog

                                                 One Vision's Long Journey into Reality

  

A diary of my arduous process to develop, finance and produce a totally independent, digital, feature film.  Come along for the ride, comment if you like, and maybe we’ll learn something, and of course have a little fun.  Originally I gave myself from March 15, 2005 to September 15, 2006 to turn my dream and vision into reality, with only my imagination to guide me.  Since we all know film development can be unpredictable and full of unanticipated obstacles, a self-imposed deadline should not jeopardize the project's quality.  My new timeline will remain more flexible and production will commence when the script is where it needs to be in order to tell an engaging and original story.  Check in regularly for my ongoing progress ...  J Alden


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Archive Twenty-one

November 3, 2006 - The Polish

Shine baby shine, your day is coming up on the far horizon ...

Been going over the latest script analysis with some finely-tuned eyeballs and an even more sharpened mind.  Intriguing.  I guess if I was in school and being graded, it would probably be a B or an A-.  Not bad, but certainly not good enough.  For there to be any chance of this written work giving birth to a memorable piece of fine cinema it has to be a solid A or A .  At the very least.  Cause once we break it down, prep it for production, put it into production and finally post it, a lot can happen from point A to point Z.  Meaning it has to be the very best it can be to have any chance to turn out memorable on the other end.  And that means, back to that keyboard, monitor, computer to make those words shine even brighter.  Anyway, forget that grading stuff, and let's get back to current reality ...

When I first dreamed up this story idea it was just going to be a nice little family drama with some subtle mystical elements.  After several incarnations it's morphed into much more.  Now it's a mystery, adventure and drama all wrapped into one, where I not only take on the personal ghosts most of us have to deal with at some level, but now the grand forces of the universe.  A Pandora's box has opened and there's no way to close it.  Why would I anyway? ...

So, this is where the script stands right now.  I have a secondary plotline grounded in the back story that I need to clarify.  A few details are too vague.  Not a problem.  I have a tertiary plotline that's too underdeveloped and I need to beef up.  Again, shouldn't be a problem.  The characters are well-developed but there are about three or four scenes with touching/emotional moments that need some work.  Mostly more focus and some dialogue work.  These won't be easy, as it will require me delving into the characters' psyche more, and solidifying a couple relationships going on.  One old, one new.  Need to make it as real as possible.  As much as we (writers & audience) have to suspend our disbelief about unbelievable plots in films, we (writers) have to at least make the characters real people.  And that is how we (audience) buy into some really out-there stories.  Next, about the middle of the second act we fall into the doldrums a bit.  A common problem, but I have to address it.  As it stands now, I'm trying to give all the characters a bit of a breather.  But nowadays with our MTV reality attention spans seem to have shrunk ...

Hold it!  Wait a minute.  Should I buy into that?  Hhhmmm.  On second thought I'll reconsider this.  However, it does appear at this script juncture I may need to pull the audience a little deeper into the mystery of the story.  Just a little, mind you.  Don't need to hit you over the head with it.  And finally a couple plot points need cleaning up, as well as some reconstruction of the resolution.  Ha, some R of R work.  Anyway, I don't usually do this, but I've relied on some narration at the end to clean up some loose ends.  For the most part that's not the right way to go.  My inclination is too dump it because narration is usually a crutch.  Although I have seen it work at times.  Hhhmm, well we could always add it in post to see how it plays.  If it doesn't work we'll trash it.  But then, if I need some of the dumped info I'll have to have it in scenes somewhere earlier and I may not have shot it.  Ah, an unsolved problem here.  Time to get back to work.  Where's that damn shoe shine kit? ...

Tidbits:  A couple interesting items to check out; a Wired article on Meganiches, and a blog post from your favorite billionaire on the Long Tail Ghetto.  Double hhhmmm ...

J-Alden

 

Comments -- Check out the Indieclub Fall 2006 Newsletter -- 11/8

Indieclub Member Lands Distribution Deal with Warner Brothers

Interview with Edmond Allmond - Composer, Sound Designer

High-End Post-Production Company in Miami Caters to Indie Filmmakers - Cineworks

Kim Fishman, former Dallas Group Director, Takes On Los Angeles Group

Puzzles & Mystery - Games to promote a movie?
 
http://www.indieclub.com/newsletter/fall2006.asp

 

November 9, 2006 - Killer Camera Rigs

Do it yourself rigging ...

If any of you are planning a shoot any time soon and want to do dolly, crane, jib, or other rigging camera work, but can't afford to rent (or certainly buy), you really need to check this book out: Killer Camera Rigs You Can Build.  I just got it and have been devouring it.  Not greatly mechanical myself, but I'd bet I could build most of these pieces of equipment (11 in all).  And best of all, they all cost less than $100 to build ...

In fact I just got an email from the Dan, the author, who volunteered to give me some new custom plans he has for shooting in the wild.  (I had told him where I was shooting.)  Anyway, he's got this dolly rig that is suspended and you hang it upside down over rough terrain.  Intriguing.  More later ...

On another subject, I've cranking on the script polish and it's really tightening up (that's good).  Dialogue's growing more solid, drama's peaking, plots are moving, subtext is brimming full, suspense and mystery is dripping, and hell, I'm only a third of the way through this pass.  This may turn out grander than my craziest dreams.  More of this later, too ...

Tidbits:  Another reality show, this time indie filmmakers being the theme (or target or victim, depending on your point of view), called ON THE LOT, starting next spring.  I don't know, seems the effort and time one could put into this would be better spent getting your own project off the ground.  But then I guess some filmmakers are probably hoping for this type of lotto Hollywood break ...

J-Alden

 

Comments -- IndieTalk's Script to Screen Challenge -- 11/9

Call For Entries!  It's FREE to enter! PLUS - Chance to win a Glidecam 2000 Pro, Final Draft Screenwriting Software, Production/Scheduling Software (Gorilla, CompanyMove, SunFrog), and More!!

Phase One - A Screenwriting Competition. Phase Two - A Filmmaking Competition. Enter one, or enter both!

The first phase of the challenge is the screenwriting competition. You can write a screenplay solely for this challenge, or, you can submit an existing screenplay. It has to be no more than 10 pages. Three screenplays will be chosen for the filmmaking phase, and winners will receive an award and prizes.

The second phase of the challenge is the filmmaking competition. Filmmakers will be able to read the winning screenplays online, and choose one for their production. Then, you must produce the film within a six-week period. Yes, if you are one of the winning screenwriters, you can produce your own script.

Call For Entries for Screenplays (10 pages or less, any genre) ends Dec. 9th!

All of the info is here:  http://www.indietalk.com/challenge

 

Comments -- Calling Submissions for Declaration of Independence Film Festival -- 11/14

Announcing the first film festival in Europe dedicated to American and Canadian independent films. The Declaration Filmfest will take place in London, 12th - 21st April 2007.

Submissions are now being accepted in all categories. The closing date for entries is 29th January 2007. Please visit www.declarationfilmfest.org to submit your film and for further information.

 

November 15, 2006 - Pertinent Events

A little music, a few visuals ...

This past weekend I went to an Armonica concert.  A what, you say?  No, not harmonica.  Armonica.  A musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin, which is practically extinct today.  I first saw one last May at the Boston Fine Arts Museum and was intrigued by it.  So I've been researching it online and listening to a few MP3 excerpts.  Very unique sound, actually quite mystical in quality.  Anyway, I got to thinking about its possible use for the soundtrack of my film.  Mainly for the unique sound requirements which will be required to tell the story the way I want.  I found someone who actually travels around giving concerts with this instrument, seemingly the only one in the world who does so.  So I wound up in a castle on a hill in an intimate setting with a small devoted crowd, and listening to some very sweet, finely-pitched sounds.  Turns out he not only plays but composes.  Looks like we'll be getting together some time in the future to see if there's a fit for the soundtrack ...

Yesterday I went to the first public screening in LA (already previewed in Amsterdam and New York) of footage from the new Red camera, supposedly creating digital images with film-like quality, way more Hi-Def than Hi-Def.  There's been a lot of hype surrounding this camera for about a year.  Now we've got some images from their prototypes, but the camera has yet to be released.  I guess the big deal isn't just that it's supposed to have the highest digital resolution of any camera (4K), but that at a very affordable price (under $20K).  Course that's just for the body, as lenses and accessories are extra.  The images were great, but this was just a glorified sales presentation, as no Q & A followed.  Hhhmm ...

Heading off to the DV Expo this week, as well as a Scheduling Workshop this weekend ...

J-Alden

 

Comments -- Love Your Blog -- 11/18

Hi!  I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog.  You have some really great insights about the process. I am a writer to and I sometimes have serious writer's block.  To get inspired, I watch short film.  The
narrative in some of these shorts inspires me to look at my own longer works in a different light.  A great site that I love is http://pawky.com.  They have a great library and the site is written well.

Much luck with your work & I will definitely keep reading!

Jane
A Fan

 

November 21, 2006 - A New Development

Some actual work experience ...

Looks like I'm going to be working on a feature film starting next week.  A friend of mine, writer/director Mark Kelley, starts shooting his film UNDER THE KNIFE on 11/27.  I will be assisting the camera crew, as well as shooting behind-the-scenes footage for the DVD extras and doing the still photography.  Plus, when they need a second cameraman, I'll be it, as I'll be using my HD camera (HVX200).  That ought to keep me hopping ...

There are several reasons I decided to do this, other than of course helping him out.  First, he's using the same HD camera setup I will probably be using and thus I can learn more about actual production workflow in the field.  Second, his budget, crew and cast is very similar to mine.  Third, his schedule is exactly the same number of days I plan mine to be ...

Of course, there are differences.  He has one main location for about all the action, and I have several locations.  His is a suspense thriller, mine obviously is not.  He's doing it under the SAG Ultra-Low Budget Agreement, and me...well, I still haven't decided which direction I'm going there ...

But anyway, the main reason for doing this is obvious.  It will be quite a learning experience, which will whet my appetite, fire me up and get me ready for my little production extravaganza.  More later on how this goes ...

J-Alden

 

Comments -- Tam Tam Digifestival -- 11/24

Tam Tam Digifestival sponsors IPSE DIGIT, a competition reserved to digital audio-video productions. If you have realized only by digital a videoclip, an Internet documentary, a mobile movie or a newsreel reportage, please send your work to: Coop. Tam Tam, Via Ugo Niutta 33, 80128 Napoli / Naples - Italy. It can last from one minute to one hour.
 
The competition is from October 1st to December 31st 2006. It will award 5 between the best works in each section (Digi Music, Fahrenheit Planet, Mobile Tales, By-Web-Movies). Winners will be notified by February 15th, 2007. If you have not been contacted by this date, you may assume that your entry is not a finalist. Winners entries will show during the second part of Festival (February 21st -25th 2007).
 
Works will not returned.
Festival Director: Giulio Gargia,  Festival Organizer: Pietro Pizzimento .
Deadline: December 31, 2006 
http://www.tamtamdigifest.com

 

November 28, 2006 - First Day

Lots of ups and downs ...

Just a quick note.  First day of production on UNDER THE KNIFE was quite hectic and unorganized and only shot about half of what was planned.  But probably just first day jitters.  Things should straighten themselves out soon, once everyone gets used to working together and knows what they're doing ...

I mostly shot stills and helped offload the P2 cards from the cameras, as well as various other tasks.  Sally Kirkland is in the film and seems to have taken a liking to me, as she quite often wants me to take her picture (course that may be why).  Sometimes though it's been for hair and makeup continuity.  She's a nice lady though and has great stories about some of the films she's worked on, as well as the directors and actors she's worked with.  Today the lead Jeremy London shows up.  Got to go.  More later ...

J-Alden

 

 

 

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