Catching Up – Part 2: Pulling out a win despite a pitstop in Toontown

Let’s see… where did we leave off? Oh yeah. With this:

Suck it, Baryshnikov!

Suck it, Baryshnikov!

So, we were desperately in need of something to go well, besides our ability to use Google Maps for something other than trying to find naked people sunbathing on rooftops.

Next on the agenda: storyboarding.  Tyler lacks any real drawing skill, and I lack the ability to draw a serious picture (see below).  So, Tyler invented what he likes to call “picture-boards” for the short film Richard (currently in post-production).  These are photos, with actors or stand-ins in place, either on location or some place similar, shot from various angles for each scene. Tyler then goes through these pics and pieces them together until he sees what he wants. It’s really the poor man’s previz. But equally effective.

Concept art FAIL - or the porn title...

Concept art FAIL - or the porn title...

In this instance, it is even better because now that he had the GH-1 in hand, as well as all the filters he would be using, he could get shots that will have the practically the exact look of the film.  So, camera in hand, Tyler headed out with several of our cast and crew and picture-boarded the entire first day. It was a long process, with much grumbling, but some good ideas came out of it.  However, we aren’t sure if there will be time to use this technique for the entire film before we start shooting. We shall see.

The return of Jacques LaForge!

The return of Jacques LaForge!

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, I was toiling away on the super-exciting parts of filmmaking: script breakdowns and scheduling! Yay… I am by no means a pro at this. The most I had ever broken down and scheduled before this was a 6 minute short film. I was squared away and everything went very smoothly, but this is 97 pages!  How in the hell am I supposed to get a handle on this?  After several failed attempts and an expired trial of the confusing Gorilla 4.5, I went old school: I took my abbreviated breakdown and began to plug info into a spreadsheet. I managed to somehow put some semblance of a schedule together, which I sent to Tyler.

The very next day, I discovered perhaps the coolest app for filmmakers that I have ever seen. It is called Scenechronize, and is an entirely web-based production management application. Upload the script in PDF form, and KERBLAMPOWCRASH!, it has breakdowns, character and elements, stripboards, etc.  The user interface is everything that Gorilla is not, ie easy and intuitive. Tagging the elements in the script is a breeze, scheduling using the stripboard is drag-and-drop simple, and all the reports you could want are available.

And I lost 60 lbs in just 3 minutes a day!

And I lost 60 lbs in just 3 minutes a day!

So as not to completely ooze sickeningly all over this blog, I have to say that given our micro-budget, I do find the pricing ($200/month for a greenlit, non-union indie production < $1.5 m) to be a bit much. But, to make up for it, they have a single-user, in development account that more than works for my needs. It made me look like I know what I am doing, and that is no small feat. Check it out at

So, for those of you keeping score, it’s Monkey Ltd – 2, the Wrath of the film gods who like to fuck with us – 0.

Finally, during this time, Stephan, one of our actors in this film and Monkey Ltd good luck charm (he is our John Ratzenberger),  took on the task of making an impaled coyote out of, well, a coyote.  Seems simple enough, right? The hard part, making coyotes mate and bring forth a baby, watching it grow and thrive, then killing and skinning it, that part was done. But, no. apparently a coyote skin does not a coyote make. Stephan has tried numerous approaches to filling out something that was shipped to us in a thick envelope. The latest incarnation bares a striking resemblance to Smart Ass from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Search the place, boys, and leave no stone unturned.

Search the place, boys, and leave no stone unturned.

So, the final score this time out: Monkey Ltd 2 Film gods wrath 1.

We’ll take it.  A win’s a win.


The return of Jacques LaForge!


One response to “Catching Up – Part 2: Pulling out a win despite a pitstop in Toontown

  1. Holy crap, Dennis! Congrats on the weight loss. I thought that second picture was Tyler for a second. Way to stick to your guns.

    Tony Harris does the picture-boarding thing for the comic Ex Machina. But it must be a PITA to do it for a whole movie. You can always rely on master shot, coverage, cat in the window (or perhaps woodpecker on a tree in your case) if you can’t get the boards done. But having that much prep work done could either kill spontaneity or help you to deal with the chaos of the actual shoot.

    I’m really excited for you guys. Keep up the good work. Shoot date is a little over 2 weeks away?

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