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.


  1. It amazes me that anybody would let you rent a car after riding with you in high school. And I still contend it was not my fault that you blew two tires ramming a curb trying to pick me up!

  2. My driving improved just a bit since. Were you with us when we got stuck in the movie theater parking lot trying to drive over a meridian?