Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Week that Was...or wasn't

Well, Everything looked rather promising at the start of the week. Had some meeting lined up, had places to see, and answers to get. The outcome was not quite what I planned. Kind of a week filled with hits and misses.

First the misses. Never got the Production Designer out to look at the locations. Didn't even get a chance to meet with him. However, I did speak to him and he has agreed to be the Production Designer. So we'll add that to the hit column. He will be back in town on Monday and I'm sure we'll discuss things then.

Next miss, and the bigger of the two, missed out on a chance to meet with the executive producer and get some answers to some questions. I was really hoping to get things moving on this front as I want to get started on crewing up, casting and production office space as soon as possible. Had two meeting scheduled, but got calls at the last minute both times to cancel. I guess it's just one of the pitfalls of having a real Producer help you out on your short film. I was looking forward to a little conversation at the contract signing today, but she was a no show there too. Oh well, she's busy dealing with a real network show, and this is a favour, so I'll wait my turn. The week's not over yet, there's still Friday.

So now for the hits.

Got some feedback from my mentor today. He likes how I'm going about doing this thing, but doesn't have any feedback on the script yet. Needs a little more time to let it sink in. That's Cool. I got a little time.

The next hit was the contract signing. Went according to script. I was ushered into a boardroom with my mentor and the other 4 winners and their producers and mentors and got some information on what was next. Get your casting done sooner than later, don't burn locations, start filming sooner than later. Yada Yada Yada. Didn't learn as much as I had hoped, and forgot to ask all of the questions I had forming in my head over the past month.

Mental note.... write things down.

Was a little disappointed with some of the things revealed at this meeting though.
I thought the Post production assistance would have been a little more than what was offered. I mean getting $1200 worth of assistance for the editing part of things is great, but how far does that really go? After looking a the rate sheet, it looks like I'll get between 4 and 10 hours of service for my $1,200.00 credit. Is that enough to get this done? Have I grossly under-budgeted my post production costs for this project? (mental note #2 - get a post production supervisor).

And at first, I thought the whole idea of post production sound costing $2,500.oo was outrageous. That is a lot of money. BUT... after looking at what I get for my $2,500.00, That looks like a great deal. Definitely a hit! I end up with a complete sound services for only $2,500.00! That's sound design, ADR, foley, re-recording and mixing! That is awesome! Although free would be better, $2,500 is a great deal (and I budgeted $3,000.00, so I'm ahead of the game). If the movie sounds awful, everyone will be distracted by the sound problems and no one will remember what happened in the movie. Trust me on this, sound is important, and can not be taken lightly. (I speak from experience - it can't be fixed in post).

Also the level of enthusiasm at this meeting was a little low. It seems like I was the only one excited about this thing. Maybe it was no big deal for these guys. Maybe it was the weather. Oh well.

And something to look forward to - We get to go on a field trip! A little tour of the post production houses in the middle of January. Sounds like fun! Must remember to write down questions to ask post production guys.

One other thing that was hammered into our heads throughout this meeting was the message of "don't wait until later in the year to shoot your short"! Much reference was made to a KickStart production waiting until the last minute to get things done (see post "Thinking Out Loud") and the very real possibility that this group may not get things done by their deadline. Curiosity got the better of me, and I asked what happens if they don't deliver by the deadline? Then, as I was told, there would be some money demanded back from the producers. Needless to say, someone's in trouble.
(UPDATE: Still nothing filmed and Still NO Locations Manager - I've beat this dead horse enough, No More on this subject)

So while I didn't get to do everything on the list this week, I now have a timetable on when the money comes, and what I'm responsible for. My other producer is getting into the swing of things. He seems to have the ball and is running with it. He's started getting things ready for casting, has great ideas on how to make the script better and is pushing to get this done on time. An April release seems like a real possibility, and yes it seems like we will in fact hit the ground running on January 5 (that's when I get the first draw-down of funds)

So maybe it is the week that was.

Me sleepy now...Bedtime?

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Serum 1831 Widget!

Below you will find everything that you need to stay up to date on everything posted to the Serum 1831 blog ... a Serum 1831 Widget for your desktop!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thinking out loud

So after talking to a few people in certain parts of the film industry here in Vancouver, I've come to learn about another KickStart production, a production granted a 2008 award, that is having a little trouble getting off the ground. Today is November 23rd, 2008. They've known about their award for over a year now and have not organized themselves enough to put any images on film/videotape/paper, whatever medium they are using. Did I mention that they now have a hard deadline of December 31 2008 to deliver a completed, ready to broadcast short film to the DGC? That's shoot, edit, post...everything in 38 days?!? I hear that this is a location intensive short, and they haven't locked any locations yet. They don't even have a Locations Manager! Are these people nuts? Who's producing this thing? Do they have any experience on how the film industry works? Did this production hit the ground running on January 1st 2008 and hit one roadblock after another? Or did they leave this to the last minute and finally remember that they have $20,000 sitting around to make a short film with? After a little internet sleuthing, I'm thinking it's more of the latter. I know it's a short film and people can churn out these things in 48 hours. But this is leaving things a little late in the game. This is supposed to be your calling-card film. Your masterpiece. This short film is your way of telling the people with the big bucks "this is what I can do if I have the resources at hand". You can't start something this important halfway to your deadline and expect to produce the best possible film you can. As I write this, I am now thinking that my release date of April 7 for my short film is a little ambitious.

Now I have to admit I don't know the exact details of the problems, if any, surrounding this short film. There may be many. They may have been unforeseeable. There may be none. Either way, how could you leave an opportunity like this, something that could change your career, your life, in such a drastic way for so long? Wouldn't you want to start earlier in the year to give you that cushion of time just in case nothing went according to plan? Just boggles my mind.

But enough about that. I'm done venting.

And maybe I shouldn't be so critical. After all, who am I to comment on another production and how it's being run. I haven't signed any contracts yet for my award, and my film could be a total disaster (knock on wood). I should be more supportive of my fellow filmmakers. You guys GO! Make your film the way you want to. Start PREP in the fall, with ONLY 38 DAYS TO COMPLETE! No pressure.

But I'm done writing about that. Time to focus on me.

I mean here I am, just waiting to get started. I almost can't wait. I've already been looking at locations, and have locked two out of the three, have started talking about casting, and have narrowed that down a little, and have half a crew already assembled. I'm meeting with someone who I hope will be my Production Designer tomorrow, meeting with my producer on Tuesday, signing contracts for this award on Thursday and I have a dentist appointment on Friday. I can't wait! Not for the dentist appointment. I can wait the rest on my life for that. But Starting production on Serum 1831? CAN NOT WAIT! I don't know how these guys could have waited this long to get their short off the ground. The thing isn't off the ground! HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE FILMED ANYTHING YET?

FINISHED! That's the last you'll hear about that! This blog is not called "How to NOT produce a film after being handed $20,000 to produce a film". This blog is entitled Serum 1831. It is about my short film. My experiences. My bitch-fest ends here.

So after locking down two of my locations this past week, and getting one for free I might add, narrowing down my choices for creative crew members and finally nailing down a date to meet with my producer goddess, I'm quite happy with the pace my film is on. Hopefully this week will allow my Locations Manager (I had one on the crew list before I handed in my Kickstart Application, not that I'm commenting on any other things previously mentioned in this blog) to take my Production Designer and myself to the locations I have chosen so he can start the design ideas. Not to mention my Tuesday meeting with my producer. After that. I'm sure I'll get some answers to some vital questions I have about casting and crewing from my producer. Experience... you can't beat it. And then there's the Thursday Contract signing at the DGC.

If everything falls into place, Serum 1831 should be firing on all cylinders by January 1st, 2009, and hopefully it'll be in the can on February 11th, 2009. That would give me about 323 days to the deadline.

38 Days? Boggles the mind.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The First Step... The Meeting

Ok. So got the letter last week. The letter telling me when I need to be at the Guild offices to go over things and sign all the contracts. And it recommended that my Mentor an Producer be there too. Thursday the 27th. Ok, but maybe they should have asked if everyone was available.
After a little schedule juggling on my part, I'm good to go. Mentor's good too. As for my Producer, hopefully she will be able to juggle her schedule as well.
I'm sure it will all be fine.... won't it?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

KickStart Award Won!

On October 17th, after a few years of trying and disappointment, My dreams finally came true! I got the phone call letting me know that my application for a KickStart Award has been approved! Now the fun begins...

After letting the news sink in, I wanted some kind of record of my journey through this short film. I decided that a Blog was the way to go. This way, not only do I record my memories for future reference, I can share with you my trials and tribulations on making a short film with someone else's money. I also hope those of you that have experienced the situations I will write about post messages here as well. Sort of my attempt to pick your brains for knowledge, if you will.

So check back often. Subscribe to my blog if you like. I can't say that there will be new things to read every day. But when I have news, you'll have news.

Thanks, and check back soon.