Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Swan: Production Design

I have yet to work with an actual production designer on any of my productions. Even on Dig we had a Set Dresser but I've tended to make use of what's available, rather than creating from scratch or drastically altering something to fit within the design framework of a film. I am really looking forward to the chance to do this. With a film like Black Swan design seems to be almost everything. Here's an interesting look at the production design of the film:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dig: First Image

Well, we finished the desert scenes on Dig today! We shot everything we needed and I can't wait to update you guys on the film. Production is going amazing! As you can imagine, I'm super swamped directing and producing this thing but I had some time and wanted to give you guys a first look at an image from the film. Enjoy!

Pretty much sums it up, don't it? Let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dig Pre-Production Diary: The Things You Can't Control

I can't sleep right now, all because of the weather. For one, it's unusually hot out today and my wife and I have already put the flannel sheets on the bed. However, the bigger reason why I can't sleep isn't the weather today, it's the weather in mid-November.

Three of our production days on Dig take place outdoors. Half the movie. We are now locked in to pretty much everything. Talent is flying out, equipment is being rented, permits are being issued. Everything I, as a director and producer, can control is being controlled. The one wild card, the only thing left, the one thing I can't control is the weather. I have no back up. And I just looked at the weather forecast for Palmdale over the next 10 days and every day is "Sunny" except for the last one, Friday, November 12th, which reads "Showers." I don't know if that continues, if it's a one day thing. It's unknown.

So you can understand why I have a tightness in my chest and feel like I'm having a nervous breakdown right now. Granted, November 12th is a good five days away from November 17th and a lot can happen and change, weather-wise, even in the course of the day and historically, California is known for its consistant sunshine but man I am feeling nervous right now. The only possibility I have, if it rains, is to hope it doesn't rain on 22nd - 25th and shoot the desert stuff that day and REALLY hope that everyone will go along with it.

This is a tough spot to be in. I'm not shooting a little short with my friends, where we can shoot anytime, and I'm not shooting a big feature with swing sets in case it rains. I need it to be sunny, or at least, not raining. I really do. I'm picturing that. 100% All I'm thinking about is sunshine. But I'm worried to. I know I shouldn't be, I know I should focused on the power of The Secret and make the clouds and weather bend to my will and good vibes but man, it's tough. (I also had two cups of coffee tonight while doing revisions on the script, which I'm sure isn't helping.)

But I've been in this situation before. I've had the threat of weather and never once have I been ruined by it. Though I've come close. That's all I can hold on to.

There's such an enormous amount of pressure when mounting a project like this, especially one with a significant budget being funded out of my own pocket. There's no second chances on something like this, without a huge added cost and that fact is not helping me sleep at night.

I've said before that so many things have to go right to get a short film like this off that ground that its amazing any get made at all. So many things have gone right so far, from casting, to production equipment, to crew, to getting a RED owner who OWNS the lenses we're looking for and is giving us a huge deal on the rental, to just small, spooky weird little coincidences and help. It's all very strange and odd to look at, seeing how things like this come together. But, whether you believe in The Secret or not, when you put it out there, when you focus your energy on something, it really can happen.

I really need to turn my thoughts around and focus on the weather being in our favor. That everything will be okay. I believe that there's no way, with everything that has gone right in this production so far, that the weather, a last minute day of thing, can spoil it. That's all I can hold on to right now. That's all I have.

So, I ask you, dear readers, to please help me out and focus your energy on the sun shining bright and hot on November 17 - 19 (and 20-21) in Palmdale, CA.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learn from a Master: Watch David Fincher Direct The Social Network

From Slashfilm.com comes a really amazing treat for aspiring filmmakers: getting a chance to watch David Fincher directing on behind the scenes video from The Social Network. As mentioned in the Slashfilm article, most DVD BTS these days are fluff pieces where everyone talks about how great they are. Every now and then, however, you get some really great 'Making Of's' about the process.

The doc on Magnolia and Matchstick Men come to mind. Both worthwhile if you haven't seen them.

Check out the two videos below and enjoy!



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dig: Pre-Production - Part 4

Big updates all around on Dig. After an extremely stressful two weeks where I was literally freaking out about whether we could get everything we needed (I will be doing a post, after we complete production on Dig, about the differences between directing and producing and how you should never be forced to do both) However, it seems that everything, in typical fashion, is coming together.


In addition to the two lead roles, played by Mark Margolis and Aaron Himelstein, we have four other supporting roles that we needed to fill. Luckily, there are some really amazingly talented actors out there and I'm privileged to have them be a part of this cast.

Tiffany Brouwer will be filling the role of Marie. Tiffany and I previously worked together on The Ronnie Day Project for Epic Records, SonyBMG and mtvU in 2007 and I'm excited to be working with her again.

Former Miss Germany Bella Dayne has joined the cast in the role of Diane. In addition to bringing her talents as an actress, Bella also speaks German fluently and will be assisting us in the little but very important German dialogue we have in the film.

Voltaire Rico Sterling, who appeared in the Denzel Washington directed Great Debaters also joined the cast.

We're still in the process of casting one more male role for the coffeeshop scene and will have an update for you when we've locked the part.

Meanwhile, on the production front, things are going very smoothly. To help facilitate things (and allow me to focus on directing, NOT producing) I've brought on Jatin Gupta, a great producing talent who I worked with on the W&CK music video 'Get Your Drink On' and on Mateo's 'Get To Know Me: Live at Swing House' productions. He's been able to remove a lot of the day to day producing requirements (getting equipment, cameras, crew, etc) away from me, allowing me to concentrate on my directing prep.

We've also been fortunate to have the last of our key crew positions be filled by some amazing talents:

Amanda Riley will be our Costume Designer. Since this film is set in 1962 there was no way we could get away with not having a costume designer and we were looking for somebody really strong, experience, knowledgeable about the time period and willing to help us out due to the limited budget we have. Amanda fills all those needs and more. She's been a set costumer/key costumer on Jericho, The Starter Wife, Superhero Movie and a costume designer on the Spike TV series Deadliest Warrior.

Andrew T. Grant, property master on CSI:NY and The Shield, among others, will be serving as prop master for Dig and helping us with the firearm in the film. I've worked with Andy on Dark Prophecy: A Level 26 Thriller and he's a fantastic guy, a great prop master who does some really fantastic work. I'm really excited to have such a pro handling this aspect of the film.

Thanks to Jatin, it looks like we're going to get an amazing on a RED MX package. It's going to be a full pro package that coincidentally includes the exact prime lens set Paul and I are looking to shoot on. Now, we're just looking for one more RED MX package, so we can shoot on two cameras and we'll set.

After that, it's some minimal work on set design and costumes (approving, choosing, etc). Looks like we'll have all of our insurance, permits and crew locked down by the end of the week!

One thing is that we're still raising money. We've had some amazing contributions so far, we're 43% funded with only 22 days to go! Please consider making a donation. You can do so by clicking the box in the upper right corner of the blog. As you can see, we have a lot of people helping us out on this project and we still need to make our budget to make this short happen!

Keep checking back for more updates!