Update on a bunch of stuff

Hey all. It’s Monday evening, and I just thought I’d update you all on some things.

First, the pilot. Well, we had our second day of shooting, and it went fantastic. Last week I pieced all of the footage together, and Lynn, Julie and I are quite happy with it. I cannot wait to show it to everyone.

I’ve came up with a poster idea, shared it with some people, and my buddy Al pointed me in another direction. Can’t wait to share those, either. I bought a URL for the project, locked down a Facebook page, and a twitter page. We just have one more shoot to do, and we were lucky enough to land Rick Younger to help us out. We’re very excited about that.

Rick is a friend of Marc’s, and did some work on The Thing.

Let’s see, what else.

On Sunday we shot another two episodes of The Thing. What a day. It started at a quarter to 8 in the morning and ended about 7:30pm. Whew! We had some great actors show up, including Brian Barhart, Ian Bjorklund and Sloan Seaborn (from 8 for Vegas), Erin Winebark, and some Thing main characters including George Demas, Lynn Mancinelli (who’s also our AD), Robert Ierardi, and Lisa Peart. Crystal, Marc, and James rounded out the rest of the crew.

It made for a fun day. I actually went to bed early that night, which was a surprise to both Karen and myself.

Let’s see. I went and saw the new Star Trek movie with Karen. It’s quite good, I recommend it. I may actually go see it again.

Last but not least, I have been trying to figure out what kind of camera to upgrade to. After giving it some thought, I’ve settled on the Canon C300.

Yes, it’s expensive. But, not to fear. I have already started drawing my own blood to put aside for whatever blood bank will accept it in bulk. I have not started to do that with other bodily fluids. That might change.

Yes, I’ll probably drop it at least once. That’s kind of a Murphy’s Law kind of thing. Although, last year while I was in Amsterdam… was that last year? Jesus, I can’t remember. Anyway, I tripped and fell on a step that was with a bunch of other steps of different sizes and I was holding my brand new camera. I managed to hold the camera up and away from the concrete, smack my hand down, slam my knee into the edge of a coming step, twist my body to the side, and keep the camera from breaking.

Everything hurt after that, but the camera was safe. So, there’s a maternal instinct there, I guess. Or something.

For those of you unfamiliar with the C300, here’s a neat video I found on it.

Canon EOS C300 = Awesome from Jonathan Yi on Vimeo.

In the coming weeks I’ll have much more to share on the project. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you all.

Thanks for reading.

John

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The horror… the horror…

Sunday came quicker than I thought it would.

Saturday was a day filled with running around, doing some graphic design, more scheduling, and trying to sleep, which was near impossible. I might have gotten 4 hours of sleep, but I’m not sure. Anyway, who could sleep?

I woke, printed out signs for our shoot, packed up my equipment, double and triple checking all of the bags to make sure that I had everything, and got into a cab and headed to our location, Simple Studios.

We had two rooms. One for 6.5 hours, one for 2 hours. We were shooting 13 pages in what would amount to be 5 hours. The rest was for setting up and breaking down.

Now, I am sure that scheduling that tight of a day probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but after editing, re-editing, and having some short meetings with my producers, AD and 2nd AD, well, we still thought it was a bad idea. But I got home from those meetings inspired, and prioritized the shots, scheduled them down to the minute, and now we’ll fast forward to Sunday morning.

I got to 30th and 7th Avenue and left the cab carrying my camera bag, my tripod bag, my laptop bag, 3 large plastic bins, a bag of Good Will clothing, and my fig rig. It wasn’t until I could see my heart was moving one of the straps that was over my shoulder and across my chest that I realized I had been, at some point, a mule in a former life. Because I was kind of content about the whole thing.

I got to the studio, had my 2nd AD Holly and my PA Crystal head off to get breakfast stuff and some food from Whole Foods (thankfully in the neighborhood), and I headed upstairs with one of our actors, Charmaine Broad, who I’d never met before. That’s when you put on your game face, swallow all concern, and just do what you’re there to do.

Had a nice chat, and then more people started coming by. Jeremy Johnson, who is in The Thing, showed up next. He’s just fantastic, and I was so glad to be able to have him help us on a Sunday morning.

Then, a deluge of actors and actresses. Christian “Chopper” Jacobs, Erin Winebark, Luciano Rua, Johanny Mota and Jim Williams (from Internet Affairs), Katie Howe, and Adam Vasquez all showed up to help us.

Michael Keyloun, Melanie Ryan, Kelly Grant, Derek Blythe, Galit Sperling, Kelsey O’Brien, Regina Betancourt, Rob Wilson (from Off Off), and Brian Sloan were there the entire day.

All in all, we had 18 actors and 8 crew, which is the most I’ve ever worked with, and would normally seem to be a recipe for disaster.

But it was a GREAT DAY!

The schedule was almost perfect. The actors were almost all 100%, and if they weren’t, it didn’t take much for them to get there, which was fantastic.

It’s hard to say whether the general tone of the script lent to the personalities that our actors brought to their roles. My friend Marc said that my script was interesting, in that the dialog could be read in a number of different ways and could/would work with many interpretations. At least, I think he said that. He might have been insulting me, I don’t know. But I’ll take it as a compliment for now. Watch your ass, Marc.

We didn’t have time for a rehearsal. We did do a reading, and I was quite happy with what I heard from the actors in that 1 hour together… but they all did such wonderful jobs with little-to-know coaching. I was so greatly impressed and thankful for the casting choices we made.

Mia Bauman, who did our make-up, did a fantastic job with the time she had to do it in. I had my friend Crystal assist her all day, and thank god I did, because she was a huge help.

Mike Wallach, our sound guy, did a great job, too.

Everyone pulled their respective weight, but I could not have done it without these three:

And Holly, not pictured (sorry Holly!). From the left, Lynn Mancinelli (Co-Producer), Katie McHugh (Assistant Director), and Julie Sisson, (Co-Producer).

They were all so fantastic, I can’t even begin to say. They made this day really go by smoothly.

I have watched a handful of the footage, in between trying to calm down from the high of the day, playing Call of Duty (which had originally been banned from the apartment due to rising tempers, etc), and generally just laziness. Oh, and I edited episode 9 of Internet Affairs, so. I accomplished something. The footage is awesome.

We have one more day of shooting, which is on Sunday, the 12th. A much easier day, but none-the-less exciting. I’m really looking forward to it.

I have been working on a teaser poster, finding the perfect URL for the project, and getting ready to start a crowdfunding campaign that will hopefully speak to a lot of people. Fingers crossed.

I will have title, the synopsis, the poster, and some great behind-the-scenes photos (shot by Rob Wilson) posted in the near future, both here and on our new Facebook page.

Thanks, again, to my cast and crew for such a wonderful day. I really appreciate it.

I shall leave you with this 2:30 short animated film, Omelette. It’s awesome.

Omelette from Madeline Sharafian on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading.

John

Pre-production insanity

It’s a testament to my being a control freak that I’ve gotten to this point, where words, columns and figures were moving about the page in front of my on their own accord.

I’ve exhausted myself with excitement and nervousness for our shoot tomorrow, and it’s with little to no real need for concern. Everyone who will be there, roughly 30 people, are all solid performers that I’ve worked with in some way, shape, or form. They wouldn’t be attached otherwise.

The original pilot that we were shooting was 33 pages, give or take.

I was able to whittle down our shoot tomorrow from 23 pages to 13 pages, taking out what can only be considered extraneous dialog, scenes, and references that only I would laugh at. Still, I miss those bits and hope that they get left for the much larger project we all have in mind.

We’ll see.

I have completed my shot list. I’ve scheduled the day’s shoot. I have finished what little graphic design is needed. The batteries for the camera are charging and the CF cards are empty, waiting to be filled with wonderful performances.

Tomorrow will be a good day.

Two days ago Julie and I found out we did not get into the Manhattan Film Festival, which is a shame. It was, by far, the most money we spent on a festival. We decided to spend the money for the simple reason that staying in the city was more cost effective than traveling. That’s not to say we thought it was a slam dunk. It’s just disappointing. The good people at the MFF are allowing us a waiver for next year’s festival. That was very nice of them. Perhaps next year we will have a completed feature to put out into the festival world.

Today, Karen and I went to see Iron Man 3. I’m a huge comic book fan, having been turned on to them by my father who was probably a bigger fan of comics than I was. This movie was so much fun. I’ve actually enjoyed all of the Marvel films of late, but there is something to be said about the charismatic quality of Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark. I cannot remember a better casting choice for a genre film such as this.

Everyone attached did a wonderful job. I’ll probably end up going to see it again. If you go, stay for the end credits.

Wish us luck tomorrow. In the coming month I’ll have lots to share about this project, it’s future prospects, and what I hope will be the beginning of a long and fruitful production.

I leave you with this very clever short film, Room 8.

Room 8 from Bombay Sapphire on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading.

John