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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monters in the Woods: 1st day of shooting.

Monsters in the Woods Production – Day 1

6 am. Didn’t have to be up til 7, but woke up a bit early.
7am leave the house, gas up the car. Pick up Norm (Assistant Editor, PA, all around nice guy). We stop by ralph’s real quick to pick up some food coloring and starbucks for a coffee traveler (which by the by, barely got touched)

8am leave Burbank heading for Malibu. I had anticipated a 45-minute to one-hour drive. It took us an hour and 10. Norm and I arrived at 910 about 10 minutes late. But, because of the remote location, it turns out we were not to be the latest. All cast and crew were scheduled by 10am. It was almost 1100 before everyone arrived.

910 -1130 arrivals and set up. The sky is completely overcast, which is ok for even lighting, but there’s also a slight mist a brewing. Rain, became a big worry. (Fortunately the weather held and the sky stayed pretty much constant.)

While most of our shoot is legit, permits, insurance, ect.. this one day of production was completely guerilla. The location is on the outskirts of Malibu in a remote ravine fairly close to the PCH. We had everyone meet on the shoulder of the PCH and then shuttled back and forth. That way only one car would be close to our actual location at a time, drawing less attention to us.

This particular trail and ravine is not traveled often. We also chose to shoot on a weekday to lessen the chances of bystanders even more. The one big draw back to the location is once you’ve made the trek into the ravine, you’re pretty much there for the duration in the shoot. It’s difficult to shuttle in and out. We made the mistake early on of not bring absolutely everything we needed. Our thinking at the time was it was best to travel light and only bring things in when needed. Well we never encountered another living soul out there and the time we wasted making trips back and forth was great.

Fortunately this was a very light day of shooting. Basically we covered the 1st three pages of the script. A sex scene in a tent. A murder outside the tent and a quick chase through the woods ending in another death.

1245 – 230 sex and 1st kill scene.

After our delayed start the shooting went fairly smoothly. It took a few takes to break the ice during the sex scene, but once everyone was comfortable it was smooth sailing. We were particularly lucky with our cast. Kristian and Jamie got along famously. I have to admit that coming into the shoot, that was one of my biggest concerns, but they hit it off well and were able to joke, laugh and then get down to business. This was my first time shooting a full nude sex scene and they both took what could have been a very awkward and uncomfortable situation and made it fun.

230 – 330 bloody running and neck gag.

Jamie then spent the majority of her remaining time, covered in sticky blood. Mostly nude, running through the thick foliage, trying to avoid poison oak and rattlesnakes. She was successful on both accounts and never complained once.

330 – 5/Turkeyneck shots and promo stills. Bravo got ants under his turkeyneck mask while putting on a bloody shirt. His screams of “The ants! The Ants are under my mask!” was reminiscent of Nic Cage’s “The Bees! Not the bees!” tirade from The Wicker Man remake.

Our schedule wasn’t exactly followed to the T, but we did finish in plenty of time and were also able to get a bunch of good promotional stills. There was no real drama, other than some misplaced keys at the end of the day. It was overall one of the smoothest days of shooting I’ve ever had. Thanks Bravo.

Special thanks to Blaine, Norm, Debra and Angela for their help and patience. I couldn’t have had a better guerilla crew. I hope they can all come along for the rest of our shoot. Which will be a lot more comfortable, for the most part.

Oh, and our food was 1st rate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monsters in the Woods starts production today

Well, kinda...

The main part of the shoot is in August, but we are shooting the opening scene, some monster tests and a trailer for our "movie within a movie."

Keep an eye for updates, photos and bts footage. Also, a major cast announcement is coming in the next day or two.

Monster's on Facebook

Friday, June 25, 2010

Calm Before the Storm

So I start principle photography on "Monsters in the Woods" on Monday. Everything is pretty much prepped. I have to say, that Robert Bravo, my producer, as done a really good job with pre-production and this is the most hands-off I've ever been in regards to a lot of the organizational work. I usually take care of most of the crewing up, contact lists, equipment rentals, ect...but for the 1st time in three movies I feel confident that things will be taken care of.

Usually in the days leading up to a shoot I'm running around like a chicken with his head cut off, but today, I'm finishing up actual director prep, going over my shot list and storyboards, doing some last minute tweaking of the script, talking to the actors...and then I'm going to do something crazy. I'm going to take it easy. Hang out at the pool with a few of my very best friends, have a few drinks, watch Jaws...bake some chicken. Then tomorrow I'll double check on Robert's prep work, go back over my stuff and get ready for the shoot.

Oh, by the by, saw Toy Story 3 and Karate Kid. They both definitely didn't suck.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's in a "Name?"

The Holy Grail for micro-budget productions is securing a “name” actor. (An actor who with enough recognition to get the movie financed, sold and making money) The actor certainly doesn’t have to be Brad Pitt or someone of his ilk, just someone who the intended audience will recognize, giving the movie legitimacy. As far as distribution goes it also helps if this actor has appeared in or headlined other flicks that have made that distributor money in the past. Many times filmmakers seek out actors that were once big and have faded from the public eye a bit. Actors like C. Thomas Howell, Michael Madsen, Glen Plummer, Lance Henerickson, ect.. may not appear in as many A list projects as they used to, but they still continue to work steady and by simply appearing for up to 15 minutes in a micro-budget production, they can give that movie the legitimacy that it might otherwise be lacking. Having an actor like this in a micro can almost guarantee distribution of some sort. If the movie is otherwise marketable and the costs are low, it’s a pretty safe bet that the movie will make money. Most people would be surprised at how little money it takes to get a known actor for a day or two of work, depending on the timing and project. It also helps to be friends or know someone who is.

I bring this up, because yesterday “Monsters in the Woods” secured such an actor. This is a really big deal for our little movie. We already have a very marketable script, written and aimed for a specific audience. Distributors are already interested and this is with no knowledge of our “name.” No footage as even been shot yet. It’s taken me five years and 3 three movies, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to make money at this. Not owning an Island kind of money, but enough to make a modest living without a day job to supplement income and benefits.

When the contracts are finalized, I’ll “name the name.” But there are still a lot of things that could go wrong, and we could still potentially lose our “name.” Either way it’s an exciting time for me and I fully expect “Monsters in the Woods” to be a success.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Look Ma! I Make Movies!

As I work through pre-production on my 4th feature as a writer/director, I still feel like haven’t proved I am a moviemaker. By the way, I use the term “moviemaker” as opposed to “filmmaker” because none of my movies have been shot on film. It just doesn’t seem right to me. But whatever, what I was saying is that I still feel like I’m not seen as a writer and director by most who know me. I’m the little, dorky kid from high school, that sarcastic, dry-humored, barista in Burbank, or that asshole I dated once. Very few see me for what I am, a guy who makes movies. Sure, I have a day job that takes 30-40 hours of my week, but it does not define me. I know what others think shouldn’t be important, but it is. I never had a great desire to be famous or even rich, but I do yearn badly for respect, respect as a moviemaker. I don’t really even care that much that people like my movies. I just want them to know I make them.

I made my first movie in 2003 in New Orleans. Rise of the Undead, I wrote and directed it with my buddy Shannon Hubbell. It took us two years to complete and get released. IT GOT RELEASED. A little 4000-dollar horror movie, that honestly wasn’t great, but it got released. My mom liked it. Folks all around the world saw it, maybe not that many, but it was sold all over. It even got a few positive reviews. Once I got to LA, I worked as a DP, Assistant Editor and Editor on another dozen features. Title such as, Pastor Jones: Lord, Help My Daughter (or whatever the final title ended up being), Miss B’s Hair Salon, Grace and Mercy, Butcher House, Legend of the Sandsquatch, Nuthouse. Sure most of them are low to micro-budget affairs most people have never heard of, but if you look them up, you can find them on Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, ect… Good or bad, they’re real movies. More importantly, I learned a lot while making them and I grew as an artist. I think that growth shows in my 2nd feature, Edges of Darkness. It’s still no Citizen Kane, but I truly believe it shows progress, as a writer, director and editor. It got mixed reviews from fans, but got a ton of good press reviews. And it actually made a bit of cash (not necessarily for me) but quiet a bit for a movie at its budget level.

Then my 3rd movie, Trap takes that growth even a bit further. The budget on Trap was lower than Edges, but I believe we rung more production value from Trap. In the end it might not sale as many copies as Edges, but I think it is artistically better.

Which brings us to “Monsters in the Woods,” my fourth movie. We’re 7 days from starting principle photography. I hope to take everything I’ve learned from all my past movies and make the best and most commercially successful movie I’ve put out so far. COMMERICALLY SUCCESSFUL?! WHAT A FUCKING SELLOUT!
Well, another thing I’ve learned is that if you make movies and want to continue making movies, they have to make money. Unless you independently wealthy or someone’s nephew your movie has to make money. So, here’s to making some money!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Monsters in the Woods enters active Pre-Production

Today we had the first official pre-production meeting for Monsters in the Woods.
Follow our thrilling half-day below....

Pre-production Meeting: The Expectation

It’s 9am Saturday June 19, 2010. I’m a few hours away from a pre-production meeting on Monsters in the Woods. The meeting is between my producer, Robert Bravo and myself. The main shoot is in August, however we’ve decided to shoot the opening scene at the end of this month. Just to try out a few of the monster fx and to get one particularly difficult scene out of the way. The agenda for today’s meeting is as follows:

1. Go over Cast and Crew list. Create contact list.
2. Go over equipment. Create checklist.
3. Go over fx. Do we need anything else? Blood Splatter?
4. Go over edit/dump workflow.
5. Talk costumes or lack thereof.
6. Reserve rental car.
7. Check schedule
8. Send notices to cast and crew.
9. Go over scene in script. (changes?)
10. Only when all concerns about June shoots are answered do we move onto August.


# 1 and 2 are pretty straightforward. The only snag is we’re 10 days from shooting and don’t have a solid sound guy. The guy we used on Trap was fantastic, but unfortunately he’s moved back to France. It’s hard finding a good sound guy on such a low budget film as the regular salary of an experienced sound guy with his own equipment is out of our budget range. Because of this, I don’t really like posting Craiglist or Mandy ads. I try to find crew through friends or past work. Bravo (my producer) has a line on some sound equipment, so I believe we’re covered there. I just have to find someone to operate. If worse comes to worse, my trusted 1st AD and friend Blaine Cade will step in. We’re only shooting 1 scene and the dialog is fairly minimal. I did have another friend who works in post sound. He records ADR for a big audio company, but he couldn’t do it because of a prior work commitment. The rest of the crew as far as I know is locked. I’ll be making sure of that at the meeting and getting the contact info for all involved.

The edit workflow is currently my biggest concern. We’re shooting full HD onto cards, which wouldn’t be that big a deal except we are shooting in the woods with no access to electricity. We’re renting a small “silent” generator and will be dumping the footage onto a laptop and external hard drive. If anything goes wrong, it will be hard to adjust as the closest house we have access to is a half hour drive away. And the location is in a fairly hard to reach ravine.

Costumes are fairly simple, it’s a sex scene, the actors are nude (mostly), but we have do have to discuss how we’re covering them between takes and how we’re going to make them comfortable in the outdoor setting.

Got to rent a car. I don’t like to drive and got rid of my truck a few months back. Production is the only time I slightly miss it. But car rentals are fairly inexpensive and can be worked into even the lowest of budgets.

Then we’ll go over our shooting schedule. It’s based upon storyboards, script breakdown and shot list. I just want to double-check our times. After that is done and the contact list is complete, we will send out notifications to all cast and crew.

Lastly we’ll go over the scene to be shot, see if there’s anything else we can do to strengthen the scene. Once everything for next week’s shoot is covered, we’ll go over some issues regarding the main shoot.


Pre-production Meeting: The reality

10 – 11 pm
A lot of personal catching up. Bravo and I had seen each other in a little while. But we got down to business around 1030 got the contact and equipment lists complete by 11. I feel pretty good about our crew. Still wish we had a sound guy, but I think we’ll pull through this day ok. We just need to nail down a good guy for the main shoot.

11 - noon
Spent about 5 minutes trying to show Bravo how to follow my blog. Then moved on to make up and fx. Got everything for June figured out. I’m still a bit weary of the blood spray effect, but I’m sure he’ll work it out. Plus, Bravo has his sketches for our August monsters done. They look really cool. I think we’ll scan and post a few of them over on the Monsters in the Woods Facebook Page.

Noon – 1230
Brunch at Granville. A Saturday in Burbank is not a Saturday without a Granville Brunch. (BROUGHT TO YOU BY GRANVILLE).

1230 – 130
Went over the costume issues. I have to cover this with the actors soon.
No need for the rental car. I guess Bravo has access to a vehicle. We’ll pick it up the day before.

130 – 230
Drafted a notice to cast and crew about the shoot. Bravc will send them out tomorrow.
We also covered the script. No real changes to speak of.

I’ll feel pretty confident for the June shoot. We spent a little more time going over the August shoot; intended cast, budget, rough schedule. I think we’re going to pull this off swimmingly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Micro-Budget Blues or How to Make a Movie in 6 Days: Part 3

Locations

Use what you have access to. In Edges of Darkness, my producer had a friend who owned a warehouse we could use on weekends. So we built up our apartment sets inside it. My producer also happened to be a fairly competent carpenter. He and a few friends built the whole set of a few hundred dollars. If you don't have a friend with a warehouse, people rent warehouse spaces for as low as $75 bucks a day, even in LA. You just have to do some looking. We couldn't have a working shower on set, so I used the line producer's place. On Trap we utilized my condo, my line producer's house and an actors place to shoot that movie. If your script calls for expensive locations you can't get access to, lose the locations, rewrite around what you can get or chose another script with easier to get locales to shoot.

Final thoughts

It's very hard to make any movie, but it's even harder to do it with little to no money, if you're going to go through the process, make sure you have something to say. And be able to live with the product that this amount of money can buy. Because contrary to some, money does buy a certain level of quality and if you can't live without studio polished sound, visuals and performances than don't make the movie. Try to raise more money. If you do make the money, don't waste time making excuses for any short comings that are due to budget. At the end of the day, people don't care how much your movie cost or how hard it was to make it. They just want to be entertained or challenged.

My new flick Monsters in the Woods starts shooting next week. I'll be giving a day to day account right here and on our official facebook page.
MONSTERS IN THE WOODS FB


Wrote this last post a little tipsy. My first buzzed blog.

Micro-Budget Blues or How to Make a Movie in 6 Days: Part Two

Fundraising

I wish I could say I knew the magic “secret” but the truth is, there isn’t one. Fundraising is and always was fairly straightforward. It’s someone without money asking someone with money for it. In the past, I’ve raised money through employers and networking. On Edges of Darkness, the financing came from the producer, who I had worked for as a camera operator on a comedy documentary. On Trap, it was through a producer who was new to the game, that I met working my day job. Then of course there’s also self-financing, and on a micro-budget this is doable. Trap was shot (production) for just over 5k. There are plenty of avenues out there; you just have to be able to sell yourself when the time comes. These days part of being a filmmaker is being a salesman.

Actors

Working with actors on a micro-budget movie is a different experience for me, then what I have witnesses on bigger sets. First off, on a micro, time is really against you. I chose to pay actors and crew, even if it’s just a little. But this also puts my micro on a set schedule. There is no overtime or reshoots. What I get is what I get. During a typical day I get anywhere from 1 to 3 takes and very little rehearsal. If, by the 3rd take the performance isn’t there, I HAVE to move on. Otherwise the movie will not be finished. Of course this is a general rule and there are scenes and takes that I make exceptions, but in general this is a rule I have to stick to. Therefore, I try to look for actors with as much experience as possible and that can come in a give a serviceable performance with as little help as necessary. I try to set up a rehearsal period before the shoot, but this is usually un-paid, so I always leave it up to the actors.

Post Production

This is where a lot of micro productions get killed. It’s such a skilled job, it’s hard to find someone good to edit, do sound design, fx, art…ect. I’m lucky in that I started as an Editor and own my own equipment. So far, I’ve edited all of my own features. I do this not out of wanting to be an Auteur, but because I have to. When I can afford to turn my work over to an experienced, competent editor, I will. But until then I will continue to edit my own work. Also, over the course editing my own and a few others, I have also been forced to learn sound design. If you watch all three of my movies the progression of sound is one of the most noticeable improvements. One of my best friends is a web and graphic designer. He donates art and does web work for me usually as a favor. If I didn’t have him, I’d probably have learned myself. These days, you have to be kind of a one-man army, especially if you have no money.

Distribution

I’ve heard for years that it’s hard/almost impossible to sell a movie. I’ve found this not to be true. I’ve had no problem finding distributors for all three of my movies, so far. These are not all great movies, some are not even very good, but all had certain sellable elements that low budget distributors look for when it comes to putting out a movie. In my experience, it’s pretty easy to sell horror, especially if you utilize some kind of creature or monster. Zombies are an easy sell. Slashers in the woods, not so much. For me the trick isn’t so much getting the movie out there, as it is getting my fair piece of the pie. While I have made some money on my works, I am still working a day job and the projects are not yet 100% feeding the next projects. Although, they are getting very close. It helps to talk to other filmmakers who’ve sold to a company before jumping right in. Get as much info as you can. Sometime, just getting your movie “out there” is good enough and there are plenty of distributors who will do that. But as you progress in your career, it becomes crucial that the movies are making money and that you or your producers are seeing a fair amount of that money.



Micro-budget filmmaking is hard. It takes all of your energy, time and focus. Everything is a favor; every day is another new hurdle. But, the results are yours and yours alone.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Trap Follow-up is Going to be a “Monster”

After stretching creatively with Trap, I’m moving back into familiar horror waters with my latest “Monsters in the Woods.” It follows a micro-budget movie crew that goes into the woods to shoot monster scenes to insert into their drama feature that they have been unable to sell. They soon find themselves lost in the wilderness and in the middle of a real horror movie of their own. It’s loosely based on events surrounding Trap. There was a time, when faced with distributor rejection that we were considering splicing horror elements into Trap (at the request of a distributor – who will remain nameless.) Of course cooler heads prevailed and Trap was self-distributed, but I thought it was a cool set up for a horror flick…hence “Monsters in the Woods.”

“Monsters in the Woods” is shooting on location in Malibu and Big Bear, CA in August. Scale-wise, it’s my most ambitious project to date. It has an energy and fast pace that has been missing from my past work. It will be a bloody-fun monster romp.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Micro-budget Blues – Or How to Make a Movie in 6 days: PART ONE

What exactly is a micro-budget movie?


Well this is what wikipedia has to say:
“A micro budget film is that which is made on an extremely low budget, sometimes as little as a few thousand dollars.”

I’ve spent the bulk of my movie career, so far, working on micro-budget movies. I consider a micro-budget movie to be “any movie shot for under 50k. Anything over that, qualifies it as low-budget, at least in my mind, because it’s right around that budget that you can afford to pay for “name” talent (at least for one day of shooting.” Plus you can rent at least some "real" equipment, maybe even get some permits and paid locations. A micro-budget movie usually has no “name” talent, is comprised of a non-union (usually low or no paid) crew and is most likely a complete labor of love for the creator.

All three movies I’ve written and directed were all micro-budget. The largest budget of the three was “Edges of Darkness” which came in around a whopping 20k, give or take. It was shot over the course of 6 days on a location that the producer had free access to.


What is the biggest drawback to making micro-budget films?

The biggest drawback is, well, there’s no money, for anything. The producer has to convince an entire cast and crew to work for much less than they’re worth without looking like they’re taking total advantage. This often times means employing friends, in-experienced talent and volunteers. On Edges, I got most of the FX work down for only the cost of material, because the FX artist owed me a favor. Typically the filmmakers work day jobs, some in some out of the industry, while struggling to bring their visions to the screen (or DVD which is more often the case.) We burn the candles at both ends. During the production of Trap, shot over three consecutive weekends, I worked 5 days a week without a rest at my day job, all while prepping for the shoot, holding auditions, rehearsals and dressing the set.

Are there any advantages?

Yeah, there’s little money at stake, so you can take bigger creative risks. If these movies bomb, suck or are never even released nobodies financially devastated. No mortgaged homes or loans that take a life time to pay back. With so little money at stake you can really push the creative limits of storytelling. With Edges of Darkness, I experimented (to varying degrees of success) with 3 fairly non-conventional stories that were intercut with little concrete connections between the three. There were strong thematic connections, all three dealt with loneliness, broken families and people trying to reconnect with each other or their humanity. Then I set these stories against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, not exactly mainstream cinema type stuff. It was a risky project. With Edges it paid off and the movie made quite a bit of money, especially given the budget. However, if it would 500k, the producer wouldn’t be so happy.



How do you write a Micro-Budget screenplay?


Most screenwriting books will tell you not to write with budget in mind. But, when you are writing a script to be done on a micro-budget you really need to take into consideration what you have access to; locations, actors, equipment, FX, ect… Then ask, what kind of narrative would best utilize these things. Usually, I limit the number of characters and locations to cut down on costs. When writing Trap, I created a story with only three main characters and most of it took place in a single location. The location was donated by one of the three main actors, who also acted as a co-producer. If you’re goal is distribution it also helps to do some research on companies releasing micro-budget movies. What kind of movies are they putting out?

More to come…………

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inside or Out?

Coming out of college, a lot of aspiring filmmakers got to work right away in the industry. They usually start as a production assistant in whatever department will have them and work there until they can worm their way into their department of choice. Then they work towards advancing in that department in hopes of becoming “the” production designer, casting director, key grip, ect…ect. Along the way, most settle into a position somewhere in between P.A and department head. For the unfortunate few of us that just have to pursue a career as a writer, director or DP, the final goal is, more often then not, never reached. You could work the whole rest of your life on studio features, diligently working towards becoming a director and never make it. In fact, the odds are more likely that you won’t.

This was my train of thought five years ago when I decided to work outside of the industry and make movies independently. My rationale was that a full time industry job wouldn’t leave me with the time or energy I needed to develop and produce my own work. If I started in the industry and did slowly advance, as the money became better and I my lifestyle became more comfortable, I was afraid I lose my hunger to be a writer/director, making it easier to give up. Instead, I chose a job-type-job outside of the industry. A job that would pay my rent and bills, but would leave me ultimately unfulfilled. This way I would stay hungry and pursue my dream with even more conviction.

Six years later, I’m directing my forth feature. My first three were all distributed and my last actually made a little bit of money. I am still working that same day job. I shoot, edit and write on my time off. I live pay check to paycheck and project to project, the very embodiment of a starving artist (or pop artist.) This life style was kinda cool when I was fresh out of college and in my mid 20’s, but now well into my 30’s, I sometimes question the path I’ve taken.

But then, time and time again, a thought occurs to me: “I wouldn’t have it any other way!” I might live paycheck to paycheck, not own a nice car, or know exactly where I’ll be or how I’ll be doing a year from now, but I am (RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW) living my dream. I make movies, movies people actually see, hate, love, talk and/or write about. How many folks in this world can truthfully say that they are living and pursuing their dreams? And for me, that dream is growing and evolving. Here’s to the next five years of struggle!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another One Slips Through...


As I emerged from morning showing of SPLICE I had an increasingly infrequent thought: Damn, that studio has balls. In what other studio movie do you recall something akin to two geneticists having sex with their creation, one consensual, and the other forced, after the creature undergoes a sex-change. It’s not too often these days that I walk out of a major chain theater feeling like I’ve seen something, smart and fresh that pushes taboos and boundaries. The cool thing here is that it all made sense in the context of the narrative and didn’t feel too exploitive or b-movieish (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

 The last two movies I felt like this about were District 9 (which I loved) and Crank 2 (didn’t love it so much, but goddamn if it wasn’t ballsy). When movies like these and Splice get major releases by major studios, it gives moviemakers like me hope. Even my more grounded (i.e. reality based) stuff deals with extremes of human nature and behavior. While I do have love and respect for blockbuster type entertainment, it’s not necessarily what I want to do. It’s nice to see that similar work is getting the kind of recognition it deserves. I only hope audiences respond and support them. 


Go see Splice as soon as possible. (Don't illegally download it)




Friday, June 4, 2010

When Day Jobs Consume

How long can one work a “day-job” before it becomes who they are?

When January rolls around 2011, I will have been working at my “day-job,” on and off, for 11 years. I started my freshman year of college. I’ve left a few times, but have always come back in just under a year’s time. How long can I stay there before the job defines me?

It’s an ordinary, job-type job, the kind you’d expect to see recently graduated high school kids, college kid or other professionals supplementing their income and benefits working.  Let’s just say I use the phrase “What can I get for you” a lot... I’ve always avoided advancement in order to stay open for my movie making. My schedule is very flexible and I’m able to take long periods of time off and come back pretty easily. However, as I grow older (hell I’ve been working there for a decade and started in college, so you can guess at my age) advancement is starting to sound appealing. I will never give up on my movies and will make them until the day I die, but I am considering putting more into what in the past years as become my primary source of income.

Recently, I changed day-job locations (for personal reasons) but this has opened up advancement opportunities that may have been present before, but were never so “in my face.” My main concern in taking the promotion is that it will impede my movies. I mean, can I handle working full-time and still make my own movies. While the hours will not change for me drastically, the ease with which I take time off or change my schedule around will. Also, the amount of mental energy I expend there will increase. They days of leaving it “all at the door” maybe coming to an end.

I sold my 1st movie in 2005. Since, I’ve written and directed 2 more, am shooting my 4th in August 2010 and have edited or dp’d another 6. I’ve gotten paid for much of that work and consider myself to be a professional filmmaker. However, I’ve not made enough to keep myself afloat financially over extended periods of time (I’ve had good and bad years) and find myself again and again back at the “day-job.”

I find myself responding more and more with the “day-job” response when people ask what I do. I guess this “day-job” is on the verge of consuming me, if it hasn’t already.

Or maybe I'm just being melodramatic.




Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Day in the Life

Never really blogged before. I always thought it was a bit dorky. I've made fun of Shannon for it for years. "Why don't you go blog about it dork!" Then I'd smash him in the face with a pie or nearest convenient pastry. It still feels kinda like a dear diary/narcissistic kinda deal. But, hey! That's me in a nutshell and I've been told I need to do it or it's fun or helpful or something. So here it goes.

A very typical day.

8am - wake. no day job today. plan to spend about 10 minutes online, checking email, facebook ect... I just put Trap online for sale last week, so I'm getting a little obsessive about checking it's stats and looking for new press items online for it. That 10 minutes turns into an hour. It amazing how much time one can waste just generally surfing the net. And it's also kinda cool just how many mentions a little movie like Trap can get in a short amount time.

9am- make coffee (gourmet type shit! and oatmeal.) It's my standard breakfast. Followed by a large glass of water.

915am - I write. I'm trying to finish a new screenplay "Monsters in the Woods." It's been a little tough getting through this one. I guess I better finish soon, cuz we're shooting the bulk of it in august. Why such a rush? When an opportunity to shoot presents itself, sometimes you just gotta jump. It doesn't make it any easier having a few other completed scripts I'd rather shoot 1st. But, in the end I think this will be a very fun movie.

Noon - head upstairs to the gym for my daily half an hour run. No weights today. I've also become fairly obsessive about my health and fitness. See a personality pattern emerging?

12:30 prep 6 screeners of Trap to send out to press for review. Burn labels on the dvd's and epks (Love my dvd label burner) and recheck email, facebook, ect...

1:30 head out to mail the screeners. Make a little snack for lunch. Slice ham on rye. a few chips.

1:45 continue writing. This screenplay is one of toughest I've ever written.

6pm wrap up writing. Recheck email, facebook ect...

7 pm change from my day-wear (shorts and white t shirt) into my evening wear (jeans and same white t shirt. I feel like a princess) and head out to dinner with my very good friend Kimmi. Stuffed and then some from Chevy's (Those Cabo Wabo drinks are awesome, thank you Ted Nugent) Ran into a girl I used to date on the way home (thought we left things on decent terms, kinda, but we barely exchanged glances. In my defense, I did attempt a friendly smile and wave, not returned of course. oh well...)

9pm get home recheck email, facebook, ect... Hey! Sold a few more copies of Trap. Boss!
Maybe I'll try and write a bit more then go to bed.
Gotta be up at 330am for my day job tomorrow.

Damn, I got bored just writing that. Hopefully, I'll get better at this as I go.