My past 48 hours…

If you read nothing else than this first sentence, know that I am happy with my completed film, the turnout to the first 48 hour film screening, and that I love my job of storytelling of “everyday” life through photography and video.

Takeaway points for timed film challenge from a director/producer standpoint:

  1. get a good crew, actually at the very least just have A crew, PA, sound, editor, director, camera operator, and ACTORS (men and women), script writer, supervisor
  2. know what you want to shoot, have a vision, and then go out and shoot THAT!
  3. schedule as much as you can in advance, ie shooting times, editing times, render/burn time, and ultimately travel time to turn in destination; line up location(s) and actors, and meet with crew so they know your approach to the filmmaking process is, and your general schedule
  4. keep it simple, knowing that majority of footage is going to end up on cutting room floor
  5. tell a story that’s true to you
  6. enjoy it.

With that said… I had a wonderful weekend kicked off by photographing the Ed Hicks Imports Mercedes Benz Grand opening.  The service factory floor is clean enough to eat Mac and Cheese off of.

"Shade" decorations utilizing mechanical engineering drawings of vehicles

Then I headed over to Revolution to pick up my genre and elements, then alongside Jimmy Magel, Yvette Garcia, Michelle and Jim my story for 48 hour film festival (click here for link). I had to force myself to start filming immediately.  One of my most consistent inconsistencies during my runs in timed film competitions, is waiting until late in the game to start filming. So forced myself into shooting by picking a location, and securing a lead actor, then said let’s go!  Enter Gators!!! Which if you’ve never been visit on a Friday night (among other great nights) to check out Vent Nation and their Friday night comedy club. Kim Nelson joined our crew as grip and although she’s not be so proud to admit it, sound operator.  She also contributed to the development of our story. We had to wait to film the comedy show portion, but thankfully during this time, two groups of people joined my film. Two guys named Mike and Wesley showed up on bikes, and then a local Elvis Impersonator named Danny Lee arrived with Gina Jimenez (who was conveniently wearing some show-girl type outfit) to book John Roman for a gig.  I asked if they would like to be in my film, and they obliged and suddenly I had a bad guy “crew” and a psychic in a cool outfit. Danny and Gina were kind enough to run through a few takes, and then Mike and Wesley were kind enough to wear their helmets and jackets out in the heat, run through a few takes of a$$ kicking John Roman by way of punching, kicking, and throwing to the ground… Unfortunately along with time constraints (film had to be less than 7 minutes) there were problems with audio which forced a large portion of the comedy club shots to be taken out. Just know this, MIKE and JOHN are f-ing HILLLLLLLARIOUS (I spell it that way b/c I never remember how many L’s are in hillllllllarious)!  After we wrapped filming at Gators, Mike and Wesley, who told us about two hours prior that they had to leave but could be back but ended up staying and filming anyways, obliged by riding down Holly between Weber and Airline so that I could get my riding sequences, which appear at the beginning sequences of the film.

Day one production stills

Day one wrapped a little after 2 AM.  I woke up around 10 AM, ate a little food to break the fast, and then met a client and booked a wedding for September 17, 2011, then met with Ray to turn over my footage.  By this time he had logged and captured his footage.  Which leads me to A MAJOR POINT: film on same type of cameras #enoughsaid.  Then Kim met us and we began discussing editing process. They continued to edit Gator scene footage, then I went to go shoot a wonderful wedding for about 5 hours.

Fortunately, John was unavailable for filming starting around the time that I was scheduled to finish my wedding.  We decided to meet at the water gardens and film the “chi” sequence.  I decided to continue a tradition of playing a role in my film, enter the “master sensei in suit and tie.”  I drew upon the chinese guy from Hangover 1 and 2, in addition to paying an homage to my cc7d 2010 film by placing my “chi” in my pants.  We were able to film for about 20 minutes until John got a call that he had to pick up his brother… so we cut that scene real short.

I drew martial arts as my film genre, coincidentally my suggestion/submission, every filmmaker was encouraged to make submit suggestions of prop, character, line of dialogue, and genre.  On cc7d 2010 I was introduced to a local, talented actor and choreographer Alex Heatherley, and I attempted to have him choreograph my fight scene, I attempted to have him this go round… but he was stuck on some boat out in the gulf #hopeitwasfun! However he suggested to visit Axis Tattoo and speak to the owners for a suggestion, … we didn’t speak to them but met with Michael another point of contact for choreography only he wasn’t available until midnight Saturday. We respectfully told him that we would have to film before then but thanked him for his eagerness to help.  We drove around and decided to stage the battle scene underneath the harbor bridge area/I-37 interchange. But there was too much traffic to film in the middle of the road, so we decided to film against this garage door with some boards laid out near entrance.  We filmed the fight scene from multiple angles and while I was working out the shots with the assistant director Ray and key grip/camera operator Kim Nelson, John and Maxwell choreographed their own scene.  I think everything turned out wonderful.  I switched back to only using my cameras and set up my shots the way I preferred as opposed to the first night of filming using two different perspectives and cameras.  Thankfully we had plenty of light available during this sequence, in addition to ambient light from overhead lights, we focused all three pairs of headlights on the staged fight sequence area.

Production Stills Day 2, June 25, 2011

Maxwell lying on the ground after being shot, his girlfriend, in film and real life, waiting to see if he's okay.

John readies for battle standing so wonderfully awkward. He described himself as “a pumpkin with a head.”

Ray had to take off...

“aziz …more light”

Checking our shadows.

Filming wrapped around 12:30 I think. Maxwell and girl partied, Ray was already partying with his new girl, and Kim and I were left cleaning up the mess and heading back to our SEPARATE places.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 I woke around 10:30 AM, called Ray and Kim, then headed over to begin editing on Vegas Pro… which sucks, and I don’t ever recommend you using or recommending to anyone, even your enemies (well maybe your enemies, especially during a timed film challenge! #jk).  Next go round, I’m using my computer, my editing software I know, and using someone else to edit a rough version and then I’m going in an cleaning up project to my liking. With that said, I’m interested in cutting a “Director’s Cut” using my own footage… if I can salvage the audio from my footage. In terms of editing, it was overall a fun process to work with others and share opinions and feedback immediately. My general approach to editing was to put in all the essential elements and scenes and then flesh everything out from then. But at this point Kim and Ray had already edited day one footage, but only left a little under 3 minutes for the main part of the story to be told.  We had to go back and cut it down to be able to tell the rest of the story. Ultimately I feel the cuts I made killed the flow and screwed up the synch of sound of that scene. #badjudgementcall

But ultimately we were able to finish film, leaving soooooo much great footage in the can.  Again the fight scene was supposed to be more epic. After day 1, I realized that I needed to express my vision more clearly to the cast and crew and dictate how it was going to be captured.  Which is part of the reason I want to make the director’s cut. In addition the heckling from Mike and the jokes delivered by John are freaking hilarious and deserve to be shown somehow, somewhere.

We “finished” on time, and almost had an issue with burning the footage to dvd. I was the first filmmaker to turn in a film in fact… which is why I was the first to screen.  It didn’t click that that spot is also the most difficult played.  WAHWAH.  Besides the fact that the majority of the crowd didn’t arrive until a few films in (I’m guessing here), ultimately it was an honor to kick off the film challenge.

I’m ready for whatever 168 hours can throw at me, or … 24…

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