Wednesday, June 28, 2006

FOC2 Wrap Party Teaser

I threw it up--it's pretty rough and unpolished, since I did it for the wrap party we had the day after we ended filming, but it's got some neat scenes.

And yes, I'm trying my best to have it finished for a premiere in October--it will be tough.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Casual Filmmaking

Ok, I'm gonna have to go off a little here. If you're one of the cast/crew who this applies to, and you get offended...well, screw you. I don't care.

I guess I was in a haze during much of the filming--there's so much on my mind that I really kind of take things minute by minute. I have to be prepared to change the plan at a moment's notice so we don't lose any time, so I'm wrapped up in my own mind a lot.

So I guess I never really quite noticed, to the full degree, just how amateur a lot of my cast/crew was. I'm speaking particularly of their habit of chatting during takes.

Seriously. I'd say roll sound, the sound guy says "Speed". Typically, on a real movie set that's where people shut up. Then I call "Action!".

But I guess I never realized just how bad it got on FOC2 until now, when I'm going through the footage. On just about every take you can hear either myself or Mun(the DP) saying "Be quiet!" or "Shut up!"

Nevermind that you'd think it was obvious that once I call action, we're taping sound. So if you're talking--DUH!--I'm going to hear your fucking voice when I later listen to the takes.

And nevermind that there are actors attempting to concentrate and put themselves in a mental place where they can believably portray a character, and hearing people whispering or giggling in the background doesn't help them.

For Christ's sake--you're on a movie set. Mun actually asked members of the crew, during more than one take, "Have you ever been on a movie set?". Mun works on real movie sets for a living, and he couldn't believe the lack of professionalism displayed.

But now it's really starting to come across now that I'm hearing it in tons of takes. And it's really pissing me off.

It's going to cost me literally WEEKS of extra work, as I go out and record a lot of foley effects I wouldn't need to--my back-up mic had excellent audio of that car driving by, except for the fact that there are people chatting in the background.

As Mun said in exasperation a number of times, "Casual filmmaking at its finest." Well, I know a number of people who won't be returning to the set of my next film.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Busted By The Fuzz Pt 2

Ok, this is probably gonna be anticlimactic; I only ended it where I did because I ran out of time, not for dramatic pause.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the cop tells us he's gonna call all this in and come back to us. He goes to his car and starts talking into his radio. I tell Mun to keep shooting, then I covertly tell one of my guys to go make sure my other fake police officers don't wander outside.

Meanwhile, we take the police lights off of the last fake car on the road. (the funny part is, the cop can't see the side of the car that says "COUNTY POLICE" or he'd probably have made us take those off too)

The cop comes back. He says they won't make any decision until tomorrow when it goes to the administration board. But he says we can't shoot off of Frank's property. He says they can't really stop us from filming on our own property.

Sounds like a plan. We act suitably chastised, and pull the van into the back of Frank's house, then we set up lights around it. Mun does a nice setup so, from the inside, it looks like it's still parked on the street.

We get our shots and then eat dinner. Then the tougher part: Frank needs to walk out to his front sidewalk wearing the gun and badge--he sees a clown standing on the sidewalk down the street, and he draws his gun. All of this happens while one of our fake police cars is parked at the curb.

And we have to shoot every part of this scene multiple times. Laws we are breaking: Frank wears a fake badge/gun, Frank draws a replica weapon and points it at someone, that someone is dressed in a costume, and oh yeah, we have a fake police car on a public street.

We put crew members on every corner with walkie-talkies. Every time they see a cop round a corner they squawk us--we pull the police lights off the car, Frank hides his gun/badge, and the clown ducks into the shrubs.

This is how we spend the next four hours. Shooting, and being interrupted every 15-25 minutes by a police drive by.

This filmmaking is SO much fun...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Busted By The Fuzz

Ok, I have a number of funny stories from the set. I'll tell ya about us getting busted though.

As you know, I shoot mostly guerrilla. When we shoot on a city street, for instance, we don't get permits. Run and gun. Most of the time it's not a problem.

We're in Easton, MD. Not my town. It's the producer's town. He had assured me it was a great place to shoot. Everyone's friendly. The town loves people shooting flicks there. The movie he just finished was shot entirely there.

Good deal. We have a scene where two police cars pull up, and two actors dressed as cops gets out and walk over, and chat with a detective. Then we see that the clowns are down the street in their van watching this exchange.

First, the cop cars. We had a real cop car a few nights ago, but the guy couldn't make it in time. So we took 2 cars that look reasonably like cop cars, and we added stripes and COUNTY POLICE reflective stickers I had ordered. Then we added police light racks to each car(a cop buddy of mine had gotten me 5 of them)

So to really sell the cars, I figured: Hey, let's hook the lights up so they're flashing.

We do it. We shoot the scene. It's funny, because people are pulling over to let our cop cars come through. It's even funnier because they only have stickers on ONE side of the car(the side the camera was seeing).

We get that shot, and then shoot some other stuff. The we move down to the van where the clowns are. At this point, we have one pinhead crewmember walking around with the clown's axe, Frank is walking around with his prop gun and badge on, and our other two cops have luckily gone inside.

Dave and I are shooting inside the van when we see the real police car round the corner(we kept shooting, and you can clearly see the cop car). He pulled up next to us and got out, started asking me where's our permit.

I try to be nice, only later realizing I'm wearing a shirt that says "Do I look like a F&!@*cking people person?". I tell the cop that I think the producer got permits. I send someone to get him, then I climb back in the van and tell Dave to finish getting the shot, because we're probably getting shut down.

Up walks Frank--he's still wearing his badge and gun. Not a great idea. The cop tells him to take it all off, slowly. Frank explains that he didn't get a permit. He acts like he didn't know he needed it.

The cop is pissed. They've been getting calls about fake police cars driving around, and his sargent was interrupted out of a meeting about it all. Now the cop's gonna call it in, and he says there's a chance someone's going to jail. (It appears it might be Frank)

We all act appropriately apologetic. I'm not used to cops being so dickish. Most of the time they try to ingratiate themselves so we'll put them in the movie or something.

This cop, while he's waiting to hear back from the precinct, also tells us about a little-known ordinance in Easton. It is ILLEGAL for anyone over the age of 12 to wear a mask or a costume within the city limits.

I'm floored. I'm shooting a movie about CLOWNS--how exactly can I shoot that when they can't wear costumes or face paint(which is considered a mask)?

To be continued...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Know what I love about Uwe Boll movies?

They take me back to my teen years, when I used to fast forward through a movie just looking for the scenes with T&A. 'Cause after attempting 10 minutes of any given Boll movie, that's inevitably what happens.

Case in point: Bloodrayne. Jeeze.

Where does this guy keep getting money to shoot these? Someone's giving him MILLIONS of dollars each time around. Where's it coming from?

(sorry, the report from FOC2 will have to wait)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

FOC - A Million Dollars

Ok, I'm gonna give ya a little inside information. And before you go thinking I'm buying a Ferrari and moving to the coast, understand that I don't necessarily see any of this money.

What you see above you is a tracking chart on how FOC has done from its release on Feb 28th up to June 6th. Yep, as you can see, it's made over a million dollars in rentals. Not too shabby for a film that cost under 50K and had NO none actors whatsoever.

What's interesting to me though is what's going on in the past two weeks. There's actually an UPSWING in viewers--I would assume a movie comes out and then decreases until it's no longer doing any business.

Sure, you could say a one-week upturn is just an anomaly. But FOC increased one week by 6% and then the following week by 29%--and there's been no press that I know of to spark the sudden re-interest.

But hey--my picture has made over a million dollars. Sure would love to get my hands on the sales figures though...

Monday, June 12, 2006

New Week

Ok--the shoot is over. We had a great wrap party that finished at the local strip club--that's where we found out who the real men were. The wussies went home prior to that because they really needed to check their myspace accounts or something.

Yeah, you know who you are.

So...where do I stand? I'm feeling incredibly tired still. I'm not sure why.

We shot 31 hours of A-Camera footage, about 6 hours of B-camera footage, and I believe the technical term is "a buttload" of BTS footage(Behind The Scenes). We still have what appears to be 4 good-sized scenes to pick up, and 1 tiny portion.

I'm backing up the footage now, which involves making a new master of all my footage(and will take about 2 days to do) and then I have to log all of the footage(which will take about a week if I'm fast).

Then editing. I'm going to try to move pretty fast. My biggest worry right now is that our second mic appears to have quit halfway through the shoot--many times we just didn't have time to set up primary audio so I said screw it, let the backup mic(which is always hooked up) get it.

And now we may not have it. That means I'll have to spend a TON of time doing foley, not to mention the looping of the actors. Not fun.

But tomorrow I'll give you a few funny stories about the filming of FOC2.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I Live...Barely

Back from the shoot. Today was the last day. I got 2 hours of sleep last night, so I'm going to make this short. More to come soon.

We got good, we got bad, and we got great behind the scenes stuff.

I will elaborate soon. I promise.