Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For Those About to Lock.....

We Salute You!

The AC/DC homage is in reference to PICTURE LOCK, which is the glorious, stressful, liberating date in which the picture edit of my film is permanently locked in place, and will be the final cut of my film. And it's today.

Wait a minute? When we last spoke didn't you just screen the first weekend of dailies?

Yeah, yeah, it's been a while and a whole bunch of stuff has happened in the 21 days since my last post. So here's the cliff notes version.

Weekend #2 (Nov 7 - 9): First weekend at supermarket location. Mr. Derek Dion arrived to be my assistant director. Shot our big "fight scene" with the stunt coordinator and things went pretty well.

[pic 1-stunt coordinator Bill plans the fight], [pic 2-Todd and Javier: two of the best actors I've worked with], [pic 3-Derek and I watch on as my partner gets one of many low-angle shots]

Weekend #3 (Nov 14 - 15): A relatively light weekend. One night at the supermarket and shot some pick-up and insert shots at my apartment and wrapped getting the final shots on the beach in Santa Monica. Derek flew back to CHI. Had a taco wrap party. Cubs win.

[pic 1-yet another low-angle shot, while I, as the director, impart a sense of calmness to cast and crew w/ my Hawaiian shirt], [pic 2-Dion, west-coastin'], [pic 3-me, after we wrapped:Cubs Win!]
[pic 4-as cast and crew clean up, I snap a great pic from a safe distance]

Last weekend (Nov 21 - 23): editing, editing, drinking, editing.

I've got a bunch of productions still photos I'll be postin' later. For now, I am so nervous/relieved because by 1pm Pacific time my picture edit will be completed, and the only thing that will stand between me and a finished film will be hours upon hours of working on the soundtrack of the film, which involves such fun stuff as sound FX, voice recording, musical score and....eh, I don't even want to think about it.

Since picture lock is today and I knew I'd be spending crazy amounts of time in the edit lab, I sadly will not be making the trip back home for Thanksgiving. I will certainly be missing friends, family, and Apple Spice Leinenkugels at Curly's in downtown Glen Ellyn tonight. But I'll be doing my best to keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive out here when I throw a turkey in the oven tmmrw. Let's hope that bird flies.

Not, literally....


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I've been waiting for today for a long time. It's been a long, hard road, and sometimes, I even questioned if I'd actually be able to see what I saw yesterday. But now, the sense of satisfaction that came from looking at that image on the screen, I tell you, there's nothing like watching the dailies from the movie you directed.

See what I did there?

Aha! I'll get to the historic events of yesterday soon enough, but first: my movie!

Yes, this past weekend we shot and turned in all our film on Sunday night. From there it goes to the lab and on Tuesday we all get to see the footage, as a class, for the first time. This is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. If you made any errors while shooting or gave any bad direction the entire class is there to see it and critique it: yay!

However, it is also a great relief when you see your footage and discover that the exposure was by-and-large good, most (or close to all) the shots are in focus, and your film generally turned out.

That's pretty much how I felt today and which is why I began with Johnny Drama's "Viking Quest" cry of triumph. This past Sunday was a lot of work to put together and the day brought no small amount of challenges (to start, how about me forgetting to bring the film to set and having to drive all the way back to Venice before shooting even got started?), and just seeing the images come out was a definite victory.

Having said that, there are a number of things I would like to have done differently. Planning is so very, very key to having a successful shoot and getting "what we need"-which is just enough to cut the shots together so they make sense and move the story along. I need to plan more, that's for damn sure. A mountain of issues face me, and with less time to prepare since we are shooting this Friday night and the Saturday night.....from roughly 8pm to 4 am. Yikes.

Of course this leads me to another victory that occurred yesterday. And though I initially swore to keep politics off this blog, I've neglected the politics blog like George W. Bush neglected the core values of the Republican Party. Hey - oh! (sorry, but now there's only 3 more months to make W jokes).

Flashback to an icy cold winter day in 2004. I was living at my apt at 1110 Rosemont (the 2 bedroom where the "L" went by so often you didn't even notice it). One day, I was walking down Broadway and saw a sign in a window for some crazy Democrat running in the primaries named "Obama". I took one look at that sign and laughed to myself and said "I don't know who this guy is, but there is no way he's going to win in this state with a name like that."

I'm not going to say much because it will all be said tomorrow ad nauseum, but I really do hope that my many, many friends and family back in the Western Suburbs can at least recognize that the election of Barack Obama to President of the United States is a watershed moment for this country. Now, the bigger challenge is if he can deliver on all his lofty promises (my guess is.....maybe) and if he really does bring people together. But, I'd like ya'll to recognize the massive generational, cultural, and racial impact that his election will have on this great country. (And I won't even get into what it means to have a President from Chicago).....


You recognize it?


Okay, you can all go back to being mad at him for raising taxes now.

Anyway, I'm pretty pissed I couldn't be in Chicago for all this. The eyes of the world on my city and I'm watching it on TV in Venice, California. WTF?

Again, something like this only reinforces my ambition to get good enough at making movies that I can get paid for it AND good enough that I can get paid for it while doing it in Chicago. That is my dream right now: to be able to do what I wanna do while living in the city I want to live in.

Of course, that's a pretty far-fetched dream.....almost as crazy as having a black presi-