Sunday, August 20, 2017

Part 2 Down!

Stopping in quick, just to say that shooting on part two is in the can!
Much like P1, this shoot was fast and furious.
I only had time to rehearse once... the day before the shoot -- and we had to get everything I needed in just 8 hours.
Thankfully, I got it all and in exactly the 8 hours allotted!
Now I'm moving into deep post production -- basically, just a crap ton of color grading (and editing).
I'm about 65% done with post on P1 and still have all of P2 to do yet, but things are moving along.

Figured I'd post the official title card (since I don't have anything else I can show you).

Later.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Part 1 is Done (aka: Who Knew Kids Had Short Attention Spans?)

Part one of the craziest shoot I've ever done is in the can!
We managed to get nearly every shot needed -- some things had to get cut, however. But that's just  the way things go when time is ticking and you've got no budget.

We were on a 4 day schedule that went something like this:
Day 1) 9am-4pm.  Set-up the room. Hang posters, arrange chairs, check light levels... sharpen pencils with the worst pencil sharpener in Ohio.

video
(of course I didn't sharpen them, I'm the director, my job is to delegate, not sharpen pencils)

Day 2 & 3) 10-4pm approx.  Shooting, panicking, shooting some more.
Day 4) 10-3.  Clean-up: put the room back as we found it, leave no evidence!

Our first actual shoot day went by like a breeze. We were even a little ahead of schedule. 

That should've been a red flag.

Because once day 2 came, all bets were off!
Basically, we ran into all the same issues that any indie filmmaker does: No time, light changes, various things breaking or just going wrong, etc. 
However, all this was made 5 times worse by the fact that we were only able to shoot 6 hours for both days.
Why... KIDS, that's why. 

With such limited time (and of course, limited crew) I was forced to move as quickly as possible, only grabbing the most essential parts needed to tell the story.
So, in the end, I'm saddled with two extremes: shots that are absolute gems, and others that just don't work.
Naturally, I'm going to have to do the best with what I've got, and if it's one thing I've learned over the years of doing things by myself, it's how to "polish the poos." (-- insert image of super shiny bear of very little brain.)

Anyway, I'm working hard in post -- color correcting, compositing, all the usual.
But there's one new trick to add to my bag this time around: Split-Comping.
If you're not familiar with this concept, check out this link here.
I think it's going to be an incredibly useful, if not incredibly difficult, technique that I'll employ to try and fine-tune the performances of my child actors & extras.

I'll be moving forward with part 2 next month. Which means rehearsals, casting, a whole new location, and set decoration are all in the process as we speak.
So, it'll be another whirlwind week, and then a long, tedious time in After Effects for the rest of the month.

Later.

Monday, July 10, 2017

One Day Away From The Big Shoot & Teeth

Hey hey, everybody (I say this as though thousands read these ramblings).
Got some big news!
I'm going on location tomorrow to setup for the new short being filmed this Wednesday and Thursday!
And yes, I can even tell you what the title is:

This will be -- and I am aware that I say this every time, but it's always true -- the biggest thing I've tried to do to date.
Now, "big," I realize is a relative term. When I say 'big,' I don't mean big as in this kind of big. 
What I really mean is, 'big' in terms of how many people are involved, how much work it's been/going to be, and how many new things I'm having to learn just to make this happen.
This will be the first time I've every had to shoot with synch sound. 
It will be the first time I've ever had to shoot with child actors, or shoot a location that wasn't my house (or a friend's). 
Just like last time, this production will stretch the limits of what a few people and a shoestring budget can do -- maybe to the breaking point, who knows! Everyone keeps telling me they can't wait to see it, and frankly, neither can I.  It'll be just as much a surprise to me in the end.

It's interesting, well, I find it interesting -- that one could call this my No-Film-School-Film-School-Blog, as I've been chronicling my adventures in independent filmmaking for the past 8 years now.

Honestly... I don't really know where I was going with that tangent.... maybe I was going here.

Anyway, this film is gonna be (hopefully) really cool when it's done, and the date for release is most likely going to fall... somewhere in the fall. 
So, keep an eye out for it.
I will try to post as much as I can, without spoiling too much.
But in the meantime, here's some teeth!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sneak-A-Peek

Greetings!

Once again I find myself absent from the blog.
Well, the thing is,  I've been working furiously on a new project. And of course... I can't tell you what it's about (isn't that always the way).
However, I can give you a few hints -- the first being: that it is another live action short.
The second: that it has a cast of 15, and it takes place in a school!
Yes, I seem to be moving into bigger and (hopefully) better territory.
So, until I can say more, check out this weird interlude:
video

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Orson Played AIFVF

Just a quick update here, 'F' for Formula was selected to play at this year's Athens International Film + Video Festival!
He was also featured here on Film Shortage a little while back.

I know I'm a little late with this news, but I've really been busy pulling strings behind the scenes -- gearing up for a new short (or maybe two, if I'm lucky).
Last year saw a lot of new challenges met -- like shooting my first ever live action short, the fastest turnaround in (my personal) animation history, and getting into film festivals.
I hope to continue in this momentum and push forward with more new and exciting projects -- of course this means even more live action, and way more VFX!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Halloween Shots (BTS)

Ready? Here we go:
This project was a very last minute thing. In fact, the timeline on this was probably the fastest turnover I've ever done – from concept to final film was three weeks exactly! 
So there was no time to experiment, and no time for mistakes. Thus, the day after I came up with the idea, I was already making puppets. 
First up, was the Snickers Bar, which was never supposed to be in the short in the first place. 
The original idea was for a horror trailer about killer Halloween candy. But, realizing that my time was limited, I decided to cut everything down to the bare minimum – however, as Dad and I talked it over, we just loved the idea of the Snickers so much, that we had to put it in.
So, the bar was made of upholstery foam, wire, and a liquid latex skin, which was then glued down and painted with PAX paint. I purchased a real candy bar (ate it) and lined the wrapper with foil so it would stay in place.

That was the easy part. 
The "Caramel Crab-Apple" was the real trick.
Seeing how I had no real plan, and did't have access to the usual materials (like foam latex or other molding materials that I'm comfortable with) I ended up MacGyvering it.
The puppet was made from a hollow plastic ball, coated in Super Sculpey, where the face and other details were sculpted by my dad. The clay was baked/hardened, and other details (and fixes) were made with epoxy putty.

The legs were made of wire and molded in Echoflex silicone. 
Now, I've only worked with silicone once before, and I'll be honest with you, it was a disaster. 
So naturally, I was scared to try it again. But as I said before, the clock was ticking, and ordering foam latex would've taken way too long to arrive in the mail – so I held my breath and remarkably, the silicone worked.
In fact, I had just enough to finish the apple, and not a bit more.

The legs, then, were affixed to 3 inch aluminum plates. Both of which were lined with magnets – once the legs were pushed completely through the holes, they would stick and were stable enough for animation.

The Crab-Apple on set. Filmed on a green screen, comped into the pre-filmed background.

He was rigged from below with a small ball & socket piece attached to a tripod.

Lastly, I took a day for sound design. I recorded things like celery cracking (when the legs first break through) – drumming on a wood table (for scampering) – hissing, cackling, etc. 
Everything was mixed in Premiere Pro and uploaded right before Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

BEWARE – Happy Halloween!

So here's a short piece that I threw together over the past couple weeks -- and got it done just in time too.



It's just a quick little thing -- and was made completely on the fly -- but I hope it makes you all think twice before biting into that first piece of Halloween candy.

I'll be sure to post some BTS shots soon.

Till then, have a happy All Hallows' Eve!