Monthly Archives: June 2009

Useful Stuff #1: Writing links – Information & Inspiration

Throughout the course of the writing and on-going pre-production of this project (as well as previous projects), I have spent a lot of time digging for information from those who have gone before us, people often smarter and/or more experienced than I.  Since the point of this blog is to document our journey and hopefully help other new filmmakers in the process, I thought I would, from time to time, share a few useful items that we have come across and found value in (books, links, articles, etc).

Since every project begins with a script, I thought I would post a few of my favorite writing-related links.  These are some pretty popular links, so many people will already be aware of them. I will post some more obscure stuff in the future.  For those who aren’t, however, enjoy these.

  • – blog written by writer/director John August.  Full of tremendous tips and articles about the craft of screenwriting.
  • – another blog, written by the Unknown Screenwriter, or Unk.  Loaded with great information, including his 14-part post The Transformational Character Arc, which is available in its entirety as a PDF download. Good stuff.
  • Sam and Jim Go to Hollywood – This was one of most informative insider podcasts I have ever heard. The titular gentlemen talk about their journey from Minnesota to Hollywood. Although they have not updated since last Oct, it is well worth starting back at episode 1 and listening to all 44.
  • Creative Screenwriting – I would be remiss if I did not mention this. Aside from being a good mag, they also have their Creative Screenwriting Screening Series podcast, where senior editor Jerry Goldmith holds Q&As with writers, directors or both after a screening of their film. An absolute must listen.
  • On The Page – Pilar Alessandra, script consultant extraordinaire, offers classes and workshops and (my favorite) an excellent podcast also called On The Page.  The podcast touches on everything from pitching to structure, networking to casting. Well worth a listen

So… we making a movie or what?

Hell yes we are!

Enthusiastic enough for you? Good.  Because we are. Despite what the lack of activity on this site over the past 20 days may indicate.  Hell, the last Director’s Journal was dated May 11.  But we HAVE done stuff since then. Honestly.

Tyler has been working hard to figure out the look he is going for on the film.  Delivery of the Panasonic GH1 camera appears to be imminent and he’s been researching filters and settings and lighting.  All that wonderful technical stuff that he is so good at and that I sit back and say “nah” or “yeah, looks good” to.

In addition, he’s been making scripts notes. We had a call the other day to discuss some possible new scenes, some changes to one of the character’s action sequences, and a alternate opening.  The tone of our discussions about the script these days (since the 3rd draft) has been nothing but positive. It is clear that we are both happy with the material and are excited about this project. There were doubts along the way, particularly after the first half of the second draft. But we spent some valuable time talking through the story, figuring out the character arcs and focusing on the theme, and got to that point where we were both finally in sync.

And that, my friends, is when the magic happens.

As for myself, the past few weeks were filled with lots of personal events: 3 birthdays, 2 graduations, Father’s day, and a wedding.  The wedding is particularly news worthy since it adds another member to the Monkey Ltd family that we can trick into working on our stuff.  Welcome aboard, Erin! Wanna be a gaffer?

I was not entirely inactive during that time. I have been working on the script breakdown, as well as some script notes of my own. I worked on getting the word out about the film to some video production-related site forums. And I’ve also been working on the business end of Monkey Ltd and the film, trying to make sure everything is official and legal. Lots of reading and dusting off of my business skills. Lots.

And, of course, I have been busting my ass to get in shape for this movie.  In a previous Director’s Journal, Tyler had mentioned our discussion with the cast and crew about the need to be in shape for this film. We’re not kidding ourselves; t’s going to be rough. However, above and beyond that, I am going to be playing a part in this film. I have seen myself in the mirror. That is not what I want to present onscreen.  So, I have been working out, eating better, and supplementing like a fiend. I will detail this in a future posting. But, suffice it to say, I have lost 35 lbs since the 1st of the year (7% bodyfat lost). Aiming for another 30-35 lbs before we start shooting.

So, this week we get things back onto the fast track. I will be finishing the breakdown. Tyler and I will finalize our script notes. A schedule will be roughly worked out. And responsibilities and deadlines will be handed out for anyone still crazy enough to want to be a part of this.

So, yeah… hell yeah… we’re making a movie.

Director’s Journal #8

Monday, May 11

After four or five days of continuous research, I have preordered the GH-1 from amazon. I have been so obsessed with this thing, I’ve been feeling sick. Went to bed thinking about it. Woke up thinking about it. None of that, of course, helped my research, but I tend to obsess on things. This camera could provide the look I’ve been hoping to get on this film at a very doable price, and I couldn’t get it out of my head till I made a decision on it.

Tough choice, cause it’s not perfect. And I don’t have one to play with. Thankfully, though, there are people out there like Director of Photography Philip Bloom, posting footage and laying down some knowledge on his blog:

And another DP, Kholi Hicks, on who tested the shit out a Japanese model whose menus he couldn’t even read. Posted a lot of footage, and all of his findings. Very very helpful.

Of course, I didn’t interact with any of these guys. I just lurk.

In a nutshell, what I have learned is that at 1080, the codec falls apart with lots o’ detail or fast motion. But at 720p 60fps (which can be easily converted to 24p if I choose) we should be ok for this film. There’s an automatic gain control for the audio that can’t be turned off, no vu meter, and no way to monitor live audio or video while you shoot.

There’s also a sweet auto focus; some kind of crop factor option that apparently get you tighter on your subject than your lense allows with, apparently, no loss in quality; then there’s the sweet freaking picture.

It’ll be a little weird shooting a feature with a still camera, but I’ll get over it. Just hope it gets released on time and I don’t wind up on backorder. I really want to shoot on this camera.