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Monday, July 19, 2010

How to Make a Movie in 6 Days (give or take): Monsters in the Woods

Over the next two months I’m going to chronicle step by the step the preproduction, production and post production process for monsters in the woods. I think it will be a fun exercise and it will be cool to look back at it later to point out where things went right and where things went wrong.

July 18,2010

The main part of the shoot is still a little over a month away. We’re shooting 2 days in Big Bear. Due to our limited budget it’s all we can afford. We also have only one day with Glenn Plummer up there. He plays a major role in the movie and we have to get 24 pages of material done in a day, at least his parts.

We then will have another 2 to 3 days of shooting in a smaller locale in Malibu. The same we shot the opening sequence in. The final 2 to 3 days on a stage cave set somewhere in the city.

Today, I’m finalizing the breakdown for the 2 days in Malibu, creating a cast/crew contact list, going over contracts and release forms and then heading out for a photo shoot with our still photographer at Grithith Park at sunset.

Organization is the number one word for preproduction. When working on Edges, my favorite AD/Line producer created a hardbound copy of the script for me, placed it inside a huge 3-ring notebook and organized it. This is a great tool. As I break down the script, I start to arrange the pages in order of shooting. I make duplicates where scenes over lap.

Then in the back, I have another copy of the script in linear order, so that I never lose sight of the project as a whole. Or how one scene or sequence leads into the next.
This takes a little time, but is a very useful tool on set. It basically becomes my bible for the next 2 to 4 months.

In the front of the book I have all my breakdown sheets. They give the order the scenes will be shoot in on any given day. They also list cast, crew and props needed, as well as other things. Because I like to keep things fluid, I tend to print these out in bulk and hand write the info in as opposed to printing. It just saves time in the long run.

The cast is filling out. There are only a few parts left to cast. My plan is to have it done by the end of the coming week. Looks like I’ve finally found an Ashley, which, as been a hard part to cast. I’ll have confirmation on that part and Thomas in the next few days. I’m reconsidering playing the part of the cameraman myself. There’s little face time and I will be operating the camera anyway. Plus I have to admit that I miss acting a bit from college. Reading opposite our callbacks on Trap was a big highlight of that production for me. But we’ll see.

So I went over the 24 pages of scenes where Glenn’s character appears. If we shoot just his coverage and wides where he appears we’re looking at a 14-page day. At the end of the day, time permitting we’ll pick up as much of the other coverage we can and get the rest the following day, along with the massacre scene and 4 pivotal smaller scenes in the 3rd act. One thing working in our favor is most of the scenes were Glen appears are shot 1st person from the perspective of the behind the scenes camera.

Any little bits we miss will be picked up when we move to the Malibu section of shooting in Sept. This week we’ll be setting the Malibu and stage shoot days.

More on pre-production and prep this week…





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