Final day of principle photography

Tomorrow is our 15th and final day of shooting. I’d originally thought that we’d be shooting for 12 days, but that hope was quickly dashed as I harkened back to past shoots I’d been on, whether behind the camera or in front of it, and, after conferring with my two co-producers, decided to lessen the amount of pages per day so that we got good performances out of everyone.

Boy, that’s a long sentence.

I’m glad that I am months away from culling the depths of my brain to list those I have to thank for making this project a reality. Last night I, Julie, Boofa (our DP), Galit Sperling, one of our actresses, and Julie and Boofa’s friend Emma, went out to dinner. It was a vegetarian kosher chinese food place and, believe me when I tell you, the food was ridiculously good.

Now, I’ve been UP for about two weeks. Energy wise. Sometimes not getting enough sleep, sometimes getting enough, It’s important to keep a steady stream of energy throughout the production, in particular when you’re the head of the project.

Well, last night was the first time Julie said ‘ok, you look really tired,’ and I realized I hit my wall, two weeks after we started. Saturday was our b-roll day outside of our major location, and we all went to Coney Island to shoot some great footage. Friday was our main exterior day, and we all braved 18 degree temperatures in Central Park, slightly warmed by the sun, but bothered by the wind blowing through one of the central thoroughfares the park has to offer.

Excellent work days, I’m very happy with the footage we got. But to end our last week of shooting with two outdoor scenes… that was rough. My thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

So, with a day off, I got some things done around the apartment, got a nap in, and now it’s just past midnight on Oscar night, and I’m still awake.

I know I have a couple of months ahead of me for editing, sound design, color correcting, and agonizing about my physical appearance and acting in the film, but there has never been a moment in my life since I graduated college that has been as cut and dry as it was the other day. Karen asked me if I was going to miss filming and I said I was. The long hours (waking up, cooking breakfast for the cast/crew, cleaning up the apartment at the end of the day, backing up footage, watching footage, trying to sleep when I don’t know my lines… etc), the hard work, the compromises, the intensity, the drain. It’s taken a long time to figure out what I want to do with my life, and this is it.

It’s been a wonderful opportunity, and we’ve got so much left to shoot. I started writing out a wish list of b-roll for the apartment and it was three pages long. We’ve luckily got the camera and lenses until Tuesday, so we’ve got time. But, still. There’s only so much one can do in a day.

Thanks for reading, and for supporting our film. I really appreciate it!

John Painz

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The energy

I’m having a debate as to why even write this blog post this early in the morning. I’ve been up for an hour. It’s 6:40am, and we’re on day 6 of 12 for the feature film Stuck.

I almost feel like I’m writing a handwritten journal, marooned on an island, writing about what people should not do and, to please, harken my warnings.

But the fact is, whether it’s nervous energy, worry, or actual excitement for the project, I can’t sleep.

We’ve accomplished a lot in a little amount of time, and have gotten three out of six difficult shoots behind us. Quite a feat for a, up until yesterday, a four person operation.

I look at the scope of what we’re shooting, and remember back to when I thought it might be a great idea for me to shoot the film myself, ala 5AM. I sit here and think back to that John a few weeks ago and think, what a moron. Not to be negative, you know, but to marvel at the naivete, or perhaps the hubris of wanting that much control over something that quite a few people have put faith into.

It was a very strange situation, how we came upon our trusted DP. A new friend of Julie’s, a volunteer, for fuck sake, who loves shooting, liked the script, and, after meeting for dinner one night, signed on to help us shoot this picture. He’s been nothing but wonderful, and if you have a chance to check out his other films, you should.

Julie’s been so wonderful these past few days. Not only as producer and sounding board, but as chef. We’ve been eating wonderfully on set, hah. Lynn, who’s in the middle of rehearsals for the latest Axis Theater project, has been invaluable when she’s been available.

Starting Sunday, we have a full time sound person, which is going to help tremendously.

We’re getting fantastic performances out of everyone. People tell me I’m doing a good job. I’m going to take them at their word.

I’m going to try and get some more sleep before call time at 9:30. This is one of our easier days, and then tomorrow we shoot a very fun scene, followed by a great dinner. Should be awesome.

Thanks for reading. Thanks to everyone for the support on Stuck. I really appreciate it!

John

Day 1 of production

Gosh, it’s been a while since I updated this.

We’re about a week out from principle photography on Stuck. I’ve been up since 5am because of the situation with the new cat. I found a close Starbucks that was open at 6am. Reasonably close. Now I have the jitters along with exhaustion, if that’s possible.

First, a couple of things. We added some cast. Brennan Lowery, who helped us on 8 for Vegas, Apophis, and Untitled Zombie Project, and Christian “Chopper” Jacobs, who I met through my friend Katie McHugh, and who helped us with Internet Affairs and UZP.

We’re very close to a complete cast. We’re also 5 days out on our fundraiser.

Here’s a teaser we shot for the film:

Interesting story. I spent about three hours one day trying to shoot my scene in the teaser. And I kept screwing up. Not good. Julie came by the following day and helped me out with what we released.

Now, the original plan was for Julie and I to take turns with the camera work. But after my foray into the teaser, I gave up on those plans. It wasn’t a control freak scenario, you understand. It was more of a budgetary issue, and working with what we had.

Luckily, Julie has a friend who was interested in helping us with our project. His name is Boofa, and he’s a very talented camera guy. We got to meet him and chat and got along quite well. Here’s a teaser for a documentary he shot/directed:

So. We’ve got most of the components set.

Yesterday, we shot some footage for the film with Britt Genelin. She’s an Axis theater member, she’s been in plenty of episodes of The Thing, are we’re all huge fans of hers. We were lucky enough to secure a great location from Marc Palmieri, and had a blast with the shoot.

I know I said we hired a DP, but he wasn’t around yesterday, so I shot those scenes.

If that work was any indication of the two weeks of production to come, this is going to be a very touching, very funny film.

Let’s see. What else.

We’ll be picking up a 2×4 Kino Flo on Tuesday and doing lighting tests with it and my other lights, which should be fun.

Rehearsals today and tomorrow. And then it’s basically continuing the break down the script, send out the schedule, and get started.

I couldn’t be more excited to get this project off and running. Even in my exhaustion and jitters I am feeling really great about things. Julie and Lynn have been simply wonderful.

That’s about all I’ve got right now. Follow us on Facebook, check out our new website for the film, and spread the word! Five more days to donate, and then we’re in the shit.

Thanks for reading.

John

The damn cat and the new movie

It’s 2:26am on Saturday morning, or Friday evening. I never know how to say that. And I’m up. Like, AWAKE awake.

Karen and I got a new cat about a month or so ago. He did that thing where he was trying to get adopted so he put on the song and dance of not being the fucking Exorcist of cats. He’s a good goddamn actor. Get him home, was supposed to be a she… long story. Suffice it to say, no surface, no object, no limb is safe.

Still, he’s a cutie.

Name is Shazam. I’d make a joke about how I wish there was a Vietnamese restaurant around, but you’ve heard it before.

Problem is, my cat Doc is 14. Shazam is like 1 or so. There is no balance of power. So they have to be separated. Doc sleeps with us, Shazam has the rest of the apartment. Well, Doc’s not happy about that, and around 4am or so, he cries until he gets let out. Since Karen works, I take the night shift and get up.

I haven’t had a full nights sleep the entire time we’ve had this new guy. It all culminated to me falling asleep at 8:30pm last night, and now I’m awake. If I was an alcoholic, none of this would be a problem.

So!

Here I am. 2:32am. Friday, Saturday, I don’t know. But let me give you the scoop.

Stuck, the film we’re all making, is happening. Got some cast members, got a location (my apartment, big stretch), and we now have a fundraising campaign. Check it out.

This is the campaign video we made on Friday of last week:

And the first promo image:

So, yeah. Off and running.

We have some great people involved. First, Julie, producer Julie, along with Lynn Mancinelli, who helped us on Untitled Zombie Project. Very happy to be working with both of them again.

Everyone looks so happy.

Out of the 8 or so roles, we’ve got 5 or 6 cast… I’m not sure. 6. Including me. Let’s see. We’ve got Britt Genelin, who I’ve worked with on The Thing. Galit Sperling, Satomi Hofmann, and Katie Howe, all of whom helped us out on Untitled Zombie Project. And a few… no. Maybe one more, a guy. But we’re locking him down now.

Great looking cast, right? Very excited about it.

We’ve reached just over $1,200 so far, out of $7,000. I figured since this is mainly a blog about filmmaking, I would break down what we’re trying to achieve with the budget.

We have a very small crew. VERY small. It’s basically me and Julie. And Lynn, although she is in the rehearsal stages of a fantastic new play happening at Axis Theater called Nothing on Earth. It’s about Houdini, and I am really looking forward to seeing it. Lynn will be on hand when she can.

So, small crew. That being said, we are hoping to get a higher quality camera for the shoot. We’re looking at two different options. The Canon C300 or the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Not sure which, yet. Have to see what we raise. But, here’s a breakdown.

First and foremost, we want to pay our actors. They’re giving up their time and energy on the project… it’s only right that they get compensated. That is roughly 16% of our total budget. Food and transportation for the cast/crew, that’s 15%. Equipment rental. We’re looking at the camera, lenses, and sound equipment (lav mics and a mixer). 40% of our budget.

Hard drives – 10%. Rehearsals, 5%. Incidentals (meaning, short here, short there) 5%. The remaining 9% is for post production.

Fingers crossed, we make our budget. Worst case scenario (which isn’t even that bad), we get to pay everyone, feed them and we use the equipment we have. I am really hoping for a better quality of image, but we’ll see how the fundraiser plays out.

I’ve gotten a wonderful response from friends who’ve read the script. Over the course of the last year and a half I’ve met some wonderful people who are extremely talented and would love to work with on projects. The biggest problem, or I should say the hardest choice, was shooting the entire film with non-union actors.

It was also the easiest choice, because it was a matter of finances. Shooting a SAG film has it’s issues. Salaries, insurance, hiring a payroll company, and the 4.5% royalties deal attached to all SAG ultra-low-budget film productions. For those of you who do not know what that is, I’ll see if I can explain it.

If you make a SAG ultra-low-budget feature film, you’re paying your SAG actors the minimum their union will allow. Roughly comes out to $100 a day, plus medical insurance, pension, taxes, I think… comes out to more like $136 per day.

Now, because you’re paying the minimum, and the union wants to protect their actors, one of the agreements you set up with SAG is that if your film gets distribution, SAG requests 4.5% of the gross (I think… seems silly if it was the net, what with Hollywood accounting and all) receipts. Now, over the course of the last year or so, I’ve read a handful of horror stories where films that did well at festivals, the filmmakers were approached with sales deals. But the distributors would not agree to paying the 4.5% to SAG. So, these filmmakers would either accept the deal presented to them, or be out of luck.

The problem is, since the distributor is not on the hook for the 4.5%, the filmmaker is. And if the film makes any money in distribution, the filmmaker is responsible for that money. So, if I were to sell a film for $50,000, and the film, best case scenario, makes $1,000,000, I would owe SAG $45,000. To start.

So, add to it all the additional costs of a SAG film… this makes it a hard sell.

Finding out that such talented people we’ve worked with in the past were all non-union… I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled Julie and I were.

And so here we are. It’s 3:25am, and I’m still awake.

Thanks for reading. I have to publicly thank a bunch of people for their donations. I’ll be doing that soon.

All the best,

John

2013 – a re-cap

Not much happened in 2013.

Ha, ha.

Let’s see.

Julie and I produced 5AM. We got into two festivals, and that was awesome.

Julie and I also wrangled up some great people for a re-boot of 8 for Vegas. Drew Jeeves, Ian Bjorklund, Marc Palmieri, Lynn Mancinelli, Kelly Grant, Brian Sloan, Chantal Ngwa, and Heather Cambanes made it such a great project. We shot it for a Comedy Central pilot competition.

We followed that up with Lynn on the Untitled Zombie Project. Michael Keyloun, Melanie Ryan, Kelly Grant, Brian Sloan, Galit Sperling, Kelsey O’Brien, Derek Blythe, John Carrey, Rick Toscano, Satomi Hofmann, and a bunch of others gave us two fantastic days of shooting in April. It’s out two festivals right now, and a bunch more next year. Fingers crossed.

Marc, Lynn, James Honderich, George Demas, Spencer Aste, Joe Fuer, and a bunch of others continued to produce episodes of The Thing. I’m very proud of those episodes.

Marc, Jeremy Johnson, Jill Helene, and I shot this short sonnet for The Shakespeare Exchange:

I shot a feature film for my friend Kelsey O’Brien. She had some great people involved. Sam Garland, Sibyl Santiago, Mark Parker, Cat Cabral, and more. I met some nice people and learned a lot.

Karen and I went to San Diego and I shot this at the Wine + Food Festival with a gopro:

I walked dogs for five months or so. I survived, but just barely.

My cat Boone passed on to kitty heaven. She and her brother Doc were mine since they were two months old. She was a wonderful cat, took very well to Karen, and we both miss her greatly.

We got a new cat just recently. He’s a terror. He’s lucky we’re not in the middle of an apocalypse because, the fact is, even though Doc’s got more meat on him, Shazam (the new cat) would get eaten first.

I wrote four feature length scripts this year. After taking some of my own advice, I wrote a script that I can produce with reasonable ease, and for a reasonable amount of money. ‘Reasonable’ being relative, of course. Julie and I had a reading a little over a week ago with some great people and it went really well. We’re in the process of casting, and should be shooting it in February. Fingers crossed.

I got a handful of paid gigs this year. I’m happy about the work I did. I’m looking forward to cultivating some relationships with other DPs, to get even more work.

2014 is starting off with my own feature film. It’s the first time I’ve been able to say that, and it feels good. Julie wrote me earlier that 2014 was going to be our year. I really hope it is. She’s been nothing but fantastic ever since we produced the first season of 8 for Vegas.

Marc, Lynn, and James have way too much faith in me with The Thing, and I really appreciate it. They’re wonderful to work with, they’ve been wonderful friends, and I consider myself very lucky.

The same can be said of Kelsey. I thought, and continue to think, that she was nuts to ask me to shoot her film. But we had fun, and I thank her for the opportunity.

So many people made my projects a reality. I mentioned some of them here. There are many more, too many to mention. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your trust, your time, your talent. I hope that we all continue to not only get work in the future, but work together again, because I had so much fun. Thank you all.

Thanks to my mom and Karen. They’ve been nothing but supportive, and I really appreciate it.

It’s 10 to midnight on December 31st. I wish you all a happy New Year. I hope 2014 is everything you hope it is.

All the best,

John Painz

The Early December Update

I started dog walking again today, after a week or so of abstaining. Everything below the waist is kaput.

But let me backtrack a bit.

Two weeks ago I went on vacation to Vegas and San Diego with Karen. It’s one of two vacation excursions we make every year. We picked Vegas because of the San Diego Wine and Food festival, which we had the pleasure of going to two years ago.

Vegas being in reasonable proximity to SD. I can’t spell it out any more, you’re either with me or against me.

So, Vegas was fun. I didn’t lose much.

San Diego promised to be even more fun. I met up with a friend who moved out there years ago. Had dinner, a lovely time. The next morning I went out for breakfast and, while attempting to read Reddit, was overcome by a pain so great in my lower back, I could hardly move. There was no precursor. Just pain.

Leaving breakfast, I knew this was the type of situation to ruin the following day’s festivities. Which would suck.

So, I did what any man afraid of ruining his girl’s time would do. I got a massage.

The woman who gave me the massage commented on how fucked up my lower back felt. Not good. She then proceeded to wreck the rest of my back, finding knots I simply did not know were possible. They were UNDER BONES… or at least that’s how it seemed. That’s how bad my back is.

So I get up, I feel good, I take a long hot shower and go to sleep. The following morning, I put on some Icy Hot, cause, you know, placebos work, and went to the wine and food festival.

Now, Karen had asked me to bring my gopro on the trip because “I would need it.” I’ll get to that in another post, but suffice it to say, I got to drive an excavator in Vegas, and it was awesome.

Being a videographer, I felt ashamed that I did not think to bring my 7d to SD. But, I did have my gopro, and so I filmed the following:

https://vimeo.com/80568835

That was, roughly, two hours or so of footage. While giving my body a break from both the wine and the food, I was climbing up a small hill to get to some shade, when what can only be described as the worst possible pain hit my back. I almost fell to the ground, and I think my body would have allowed me to do so had my body not realized that that would have killed me.

Somehow, we completed the circuit of the festival, even though I was in bad shape. We walked back to the hotel (like a goddamn mile…) and I sacked out because of the pain, food coma, and the pain.

When I came to, I had to go to the bathroom, like you do. So, you know, I tried to get up and head to the bathroom.

My body had other plans.

What I originally mistook earlier as the most painful experience I’ve had in a long time paled in comparison when I tried to get up off the bed. I had to sit back down, the pain was so bad. In fact, it almost seemed like a joke because the pain subsided quickly.

Perhaps I imagined that, I said to myself.

Sure. Agony. Imagining that is possible, I suppose. If this were the Crusades.

So, I tried it again.

My friends, if there was a vice grip feeling that was surrounded by the pain one feels in hell, that comes close to the feeling that I was experiencing. But I did it. I got to my feet, wanting to die.

My thought process was, Stay Up. Fight through it, it’ll loosen up in a bit.

A bit became five minutes, and I honestly thought that even a doctor would say ‘yeah, you’re pretty much fucked. We can cut you off just below the ribs, you’ll live a reasonable life as a thing that sits in a corner and just observes.’

Grabbing on to things that were as tall as I am or taller, like a door or a high backed chair, I was able to get to the bathroom, where one final indignity awaited. I could not lift the toilet seat.

I won’t go into specifics about what happened next, but I won’t ever be able to look at myself the same way again.

That night, because of the pain, I had some serious nightmares. Now, nightmares don’t usually bother me, but couple a nightmare with an anxiety disorder, and the inability to MOVE… well, I ended up waking up twice in the middle of the night, and, subsequently, waking up Karen to get me water or a cliff bar or whatever.

Both times, the pain was as consistent as it had been the first time I got up from bed.

So, the next morning, our flight in four hours, I tell Karen that I might have to go to the hospital. Bad timing and all… but I was alarmed, to say the least. I got up to walk around the room a bit and eat some breakfast… and then something miraculous happens.

I stay standing for an hour. I sit for a bit, get back up… and the pain isn’t that bad. Much improved over my attempts to get from laying down to standing… and I feel as though I’ve made a breakthrough, but I’m not sure if this is just a temporary feeling.

“Are you going to make it?” she asked.

I’m calculating odds in my head. 12 hours to get home. Enormous pain. Dying between SD and NYC. A chiropractor on the plane… or perhaps a witch doctor. OD’ing on Tylenol.

The thought of alcohol on the flight tipped the scale.

“Absolutely.”

I grab my bags and I think, there’s no way I’m getting to the lobby.

At the lobby I think, there’s no way I’m getting into a cab in one piece.

In the cab I think, there’s no way I’m getting out of this cab with my dignity.

And so on.

By the time I sat down in my seat, I could not believe that I had made it. The flight itself was uneventful. As was getting home. By the time we got into the apartment, I went into scavenger mode to find anti-inflammatories and pain medication from the last time this flared up (not even remotely as bad, I should mention). I finally found it, put the kibosh on a week of dog walking (yeah, you were wondering when I’d get back to that), saw a doctor, and now feel much better.

Today was rough, but I sullied through.

On Monday, I went to the Made in New York Production Assistant Training Program Orientation, or MiNYPATPO for short…

The orientation details what the PA training program will involve. It’s a 5 week program (on top of a 5 week program for me to get a drivers license) with two years of job placement assistance. Not a bad gig. There were 50 people at the orientation. In all, they accept 10% of applicants.

Now, I had originally wanted to try for the January spot, but after the back pain incident, and I have a couple of weeks, maybe two months of physical therapy ahead of me… it’s not looking good. But that’s ok. The program is not going anywhere.

The thing that I DID want to talk about, though, that happened that same day, was this.

Down the block from the MiNYPATPO facility was a deli. At that deli I ordered a falafel sandwich which, in the end, tasted fine, but fell apart easily. I asked the guy at the counter if they sold decaf coffee. He said YES, very enthusiastically. Great.

He goes to get the coffee.

I follow him down the counter and what I saw really defied… well, I don’t want to call it logic or reason… let’s just say it defied good customer service and business sense.

The man was filling up a small cup a third of the way with hot water, and then filling the rest of the cup with regular coffee.

Now, I have seen some shit. I’ve been around. But this…

He hands it to me proudly, and goes to help another customer as I wait for my sandwich.

I’m staring at the cup of coffee and I’m having another internal battle. Do I just take it? I don’t want to be rude. Do I toss it into his face? I don’t want to go to jail.

I’m reminded of a story my father told me in his younger and more vulnerable years. He was in a counter-only diner in a Sears (think back to the 70s) and ordered a well done cheeseburger. My dad hated anything but well done meat.

It came back on a tray, white paper plate, cheeseburger, bun, pickle. But the burger was medium rare. So my dad says to the guy he says “I’m sorry but I can’t eat the burger like this, I’d really like to have it well done.”

The cook takes the tray and places the plate, the burger, the bun and the pickle under the broiler. Waits a few minutes and then hands it back to my father, everything burnt to a crisp. “That better?” the cook asked.

So my dad grabbed a metal napkin holder and smashed him upside the head.

Now, I don’t want to do that. The guy’s like five and a half feet. I’m wearing these steel toed boots that put me over 6’5″… so I call him over.

“Yeah?”

“Did you do what I think you did?”

“What?”

“Is this decaf coffee or just coffee and water?”

And the most amazing thing happened.

I saw this guy calculating odds in his head. Seriously. It took just a second, but he said “It’s coffee and water.”

“I don’t want this.”

“NO PROBLEM!”

He dumped the coffee, made the sign of the cross, and got my sandwich.

Sigh.

On the plus side, it’s always nice to harken back to a story my father told me.

Over the last week or so, I decided to listen to my own advice. I started writing a feature film script that Julie and I can shoot in the same vein as 5AM. Not about clones, but a fun movie that won’t cost a fortune to make… a fortune, relatively speaking, that I simply don’t have.

I’ve been going nuts trying to figure out how to get a project made in the future that would not cost $50k, and the entire prospect was eluding me. With good reason. I don’t want to half ass something, and I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time. But this project… we can do it for much cheaper than I originally anticipated.

So, fingers crossed, we’ll see if we can make it work. Hopefully it’ll be just the thing to use as a stepping stone for a project that I can include all of my friends on. If the last year has shown me anything, it’s that I was very lucky to meet a group of fantastically talented actors whom I would love to continue working with.

That’s my update for now. Thanks for reading!

John

The slow down

It’s November 8th, and I’m bored.

Beyond bored. Like, I feel as though the world has stopped spinning, and my mind is going a thousand miles an hour. But, instead of thinking anything good, it’s all feeling like gibberish, which is awful.

Kelsey and I decided to slow down our editing on Enchantments, instead of rushing the project into a festival. It’s a good move.

But it now leaves me with some free time.

Some = a lot.

I walk dogs. Did I ever tell you that? I do. Well, one dog for now. I took off for a while to shoot the feature and to edit, but this one dog lives across the street and I said I’d walk her.

Two Mondays ago I distinctly remember thinking ‘I don’t want to walk dogs any more.’ The dog is great, I just want to find something else to do that has something to do with filmmaking. Or creativity.

So, that Monday, I was also thinking ‘I can’t wait for it to be Friday, so that I have the weekend off from walking this dog.’ Friday came, and I had an ok weekend.

This past Monday came around and I thought the same thing, about Friday.

Well, Friday is here and on my last walk (I walk the dog twice over the course of a day) I had that thought again. ‘I’m glad it’s the weekend, so I don’t have to walk the dog.’

And the deja vu sense hit me and I said aloud “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, a week passed already?”

I stopped, which was fine with the dog, she hates walking, and I just stood there and said “All I’m doing is wasting my time.”

Not dog walking, but in the monumental “This is all the time we have in the world, and we’re wasting it with this shit,” kind of thought.

Depressing, right? Kind of?

It’s the kind of thought we all have, and it either momentarily inspires us, or makes the day seem worse than normal.

Suffice it to say, I went home and played video games.

The other day I spent some time looking at my ‘writer’ file on my computer. There’s a lot of files in that folder. A lot. Feature length scripts, short scripts, short stories, two novels, some novellas, and one play.

I don’t remember writing a lot of it. So I got to looking.

I have 7 short scripts that I’ve written over the past year, and one brand new web series, with nine episodes written.

Most of those shorts would take $$ to produce. They’re mainly pilots or proof-of-concept shorts, and as much as I’d like to take a crack at them, I’m in the strict position where I have to pick my battles. Because I’m broke.

On Wednesday Kelsey came over and asked to work together again. “I need to act,” she said. “Maybe produce. But not direct. I want to act.” So we got to talking about a story we could put together for her and another actress. Something inexpensive but cute, fun, blah blah.

It’s gotten to the point where I keep writing with my apartment in mind. I’m stuck all day in my apartment, and it’s driving me batshit, but, it’s what I have to work with.

So, we got to talking, and I said I’d give a short film some thought for her and a mutual friend of ours (who we haven’t actually asked yet, so I’m keeping her name out of it for now.)

I got to telling her about a story I had in my head, and she said she liked it, so I wrote it last night. It’s 12 pages, give or take, and would take a day. It’s got a handful of characters, one location, and I think it’d be a good project to work on. It might cost $300 for food and a sound guy.

That means taking on more dogs.

It’s funny, being bored. There’s a lot of people out there who would love to own equipment and be able to film at the drop of a hat. I can do that, but can pretty much only shoot me, and I’m not sure there’s an audience for that kind of thing.

So, I have to figure out something to do in the interim. In January it was 5AM. In December, Julie, Producer Julie, and I will be shooting a short film called Kindness. Should be fun. That shouldn’t cost any more than $150, mainly for props.

That means taking on more dogs.

I was giving some consideration to the NYC Production Assistant training program. It’s 5 weeks of training and then 2 years of job placement assistance. We’ll see. Karen and I are going to Vegas and San Diego in a week or so, so I’ll have to check it out when I get back.

Keep busy.

John