Saturday, December 31, 2011

Interview with CSIFiles.com about Level 26: Dark Revelations

Check out my interview below with Shane Saunders from CSIFiles.com about directing the Level 26: Dark Revelations cyber-bridges, working with Anthony Zuiker and what's next at Dare to Pass.

In 2009, Anthony E. Zuiker launched a brand new media platform. The Digi-novel concept was featured throughout the entire Level 26 franchise, Zuiker’s first project after leaving CSI. Now, just a little more than two years since Level 26: Dark Origins was released, the book series comes to an end, and with it, a final installment of cyber-bridges, a video feature that takes you beyond the pages of the book. Level 26: Dark Revelations contains eight cyber-bridges, each directed by Joshua Caldwell. Born in Bellevue, Washington, Caldwell joined Zuiker’s Dare to Pass company in 2009, and has since taken the position as Director of Digital Media. In this interview with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders, the Dark Revelation director gives background to what his duties at the company involve, talks what it’s like working with the creator of CSI and being behind the camera for the epic conclusion of Level 26.

CSI Files: You were the editor on Level 26: Dark Prophecy, which was directed by Anthony, and on Level 26Dark Revelations, you got to serve as the director. How did you get the opportunity to direct the third series?

Caldwell: That’s probably more a question for Anthony, but I feel like it was a combination of the work I did on Dark Prophecy, as his editor working to fulfill his vision, and him seeing [and signing onto as an Executive Producer] my short film Dig. Obviously as we moved into late summer, Anthony had turned his attention back to TV, and it was really up to me, once we locked picture, to coordinate and shepherd the bridges through post and bring him the music, color correction, and sound mixes that he would both like and approve of. Following that, I co-wrote, produced and directed Dig in an effort to show Anthony and Matt what I was capable of as a director.

CSI Files: Who are your influences for when you direct something like this? Were you inspired by what Anthony did before, or was there another director you’re kind of taking bits from to add to it?

Caldwell: You know, it’s interesting because I’ve reached a point where I feel like I’m less about trying to find how other directors do it and more about how can I do it. So I wouldn’t say that there are any directors that I referenced. Having directed a number of shorts and music videos over the years I’ve developed an aesthetic, a way of shooting, that works for me and delivers a specific result that, I feel, is unique to me and my vision. I think audiences are very smart, and they pick up on things consciously or subconsciously, and I like to use visuals in such a way that I’m tapping into that response. Beyond that, it’s an aesthetic that tends to work well with small budgets and short shooting schedules, because I shoot a lot of handheld and move very quickly. However, that’s a benefit of my way of shooting and directing, not a reason for it. Director of Photography Paul Niccolls, who shot this along with nine of my other projects, is a big additive to that as well. We know how to work together in a way that delivers that result I’m looking for, he’s looking for, keeps us on schedule but also, and this is probably most important, looks really good and interesting and different. I’ve reached a point where I’ve broken free from paying homage to or building off the aesthetics of other directors. Now it’s really about how I see it.

To see more of the interview, visit CSIFiles.com. And be sure to pick up your copy of "Dark Revelations: A Level 26 Thriller" today.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NewFilmmakers Interview -- Dig


Above is part of an interview I did for the NewFilmmakersLA screening. The video is a collection of interviews from all the filmmakers at the screening. My interview starts at 4:10.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Level 26: Dark Revelations -- Official Trailer


Above is the Official Trailer for Level 26: Dark Revelations cyber-bridges, the stunning finale to the Level 26 Digi-novel  series from Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the CSI: franchise. 

I had the really unique opportunity to direct, co-write (along with Travis), produce and edit the cyber-bridges for Zuiker, the results of which can be seen in the trailer above and once the book launches on 12/29/11.

I'll be posting production journals from the shoot here on Hollywood Bound and Down following the release of the book.

Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Dig: Official Selection -- Carmel Art & Film Festival


Dig is an official selection of the Carmel Art & Film Festival in beautiful Carmel, CA. Dig will screen twice during the festival. First, on Friday, October 14th at 2 pm as part of Shorts Program #2 at the Youth Center JRS Theater and then again on Saturday, October 15th at 4pm at the same location.

For those in Northern California it's a great excuse to visit Carmel if you've never been and we couldn't be more honored to have Dig chosen as an official selection.

For more on the festival, screening schedule and tickets, visit their website.

About Carmel Art & Film Festival:

Set amidst the extraordinary natural beauty of Carmel, California, the Carmel Art and Film Festival hosts five days of groundbreaking art, exclusive premieres, and one of a kind encounters with today’s leading artists, filmmakers, and industry professionals. A 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, The Carmel Art and Film Festival supports local and regional charities and offers several scholarships to established and emerging art and film students. The third annual Carmel Art and Film Festival will be held October 12-16, 2011 at several venues including on the famous white sands beach of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

This year’s festival is expected to draw over 10,000 attendees. Filmmakers, film lovers, and industry professionals have enjoyed the Carmel Art and Film Festival which showcases the best of independent cinema and contemporary art, music and photography from around the globe including narrative feature, documentary, short, student, retrospective and premi√®ring films. Looking to educate and entertain, the festival also includes an interactive lecture series including a film score demonstration in real time, the Art of Wine gallery tour and wine paring, Art in the Park featuring artists in various mediums, art auctions, a Women in Film luncheon, film and panel discussion, and an emerging artists music caf√©.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dig: Official Selection -- NewFilmmakers LA


Dig has been selected to screen as part of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles short film series at Sunset Gower Studios Hollywood on November 18th, 2011. Dig will play as part of the Short Film Program #2 at 8pm followed by an audience Q&A and bar reception (yes!). 



The screening will be held at Sunset Gower Studios, which is located at 1438 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028. For more information, you can visit the NewFilmmakers website. Tickets run $5 per program or $15 for the whole night (there are three shorts programs in total and the all night pass also gets you open bar access). It's highly recommended that tickets be pre-purchased at the NewFilmmakers website as they normally sell out.

If you're in the Los Angeles area, I hope to see you at the screening. Dig really is better viewed on the big screen and I hope to share it with you.

About NewFilmmakers LA:

NewFilmmakers LA at Sunset Gower Studios is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization designed to showcase innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and filmgoers with a constant surge of monthly screening events. NewFilmmakers LA provides a forum where filmmakers can be recognized for their contributions, have open audience discussions about their projects and connect with industry professionals for insight on distribution, production, acquisition and representation.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Television: Where the Storytellers Go


I've seen two movies in the theater this summer: Bridesmaids (way back in May, while I was stuck in Titusville, FL waiting for the shuttle launch) and Love (which was only in theaters as part of a one night Fathom Event with Angels and Airwaves, who produced the picture). That's it. 

This in contrast to Travis, who has seen literally every movie released this summer in the theater. I used to be like that. When I was in college I would usually walk up to the Lowes Lincoln Center in New York City for the first matinee on Friday of whatever had been released that week. Of course, as I was only in New York in Fall and Spring, the movies released tended be movies I really looked forward to (and with this September's line up of releases, I may change my desire to go to the theatre). 



Yesterday, I read an article from the New York Times discussing the eroding summer movie attendance. People are just not going to the movies anymore and I'm sure we can find a plethora (been using that word a lot lately) of reasons for that. Everything from the costs of the tickets, the annoyance of people texting, calling and talking during the film, and also the quality of films themselves. 


I've watched a lot of films on DVD, streaming on Netflix, some new (meaning, I haven't seen them before), some from my own collection, so it's not like I haven't been watching movies. But honestly, you know what I have been watching a lot of lately? Television.

And by television, I don't mean sitting on my couch, zoned out, watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians over and over. I don't mean I've been watching TV. I mean, I've been watching Television.

Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights. 

My wife and I have been watching those and man, has that been some good Television. She and I recently finished the second season of Breaking Bad, during which we would look over at each other to find our mouths hanging open in either shock or suspense. 

I've heard this talked about before, the notion that Hollywood is no longer interested in the $40 million adult drama. They don't make them anymore. Instead, cable television has taken up the call and started taking those stories and refashioning them as a cable drama. And they're meeting success by allowing the creator to enact his vision, rather than trying to create a show by committee. As a result, the last couple years have seen a major resurgence of Television programming and have given us some of the most original characters and storytelling we've seen in a long time.

My question is: why can't we do the same for movies? If we're going to make movies like Transformers and The Green Lantern why not also spend the time to make their stories great. This belief that because of brand recognition we don't need to worry about story is lazy and detrimental to the overall business. It's the idea of diminishing returns. Superhero movies (even though Hollywood has now put the nail in that coffin) can still challenge us. They can still tell interesting and compelling stories, filled with three dimensional characters. Instead, the think all they have to do is put a guy in a suit, add a lot of expensive special effects and the audiences will flock to it. Well, considering The Help has earned more domestically than Green Lantern, you decide if that strategy is working.

Damon Lindelof (Lost) made a great statement about the character issue in his "Love Letter to Raiders" when he said: 

“And while we're on the subject of Dr. Jones, here’s another thing I love about him. He’s actually scared of stuff. This doesn’t seem like something that should be celebrated, but it’s actually quite rare for the hero of a movie to be scared of anything. Do you know what Green Lantern is afraid of? Fear. He is afraid of being afraid. Does that even make sense? Here’s what makes sense to be afraid of – Hissing Cobras and Gigantic Bald Nazis with mustaches trying to kill you. And it was perfectly OK for me to be scared of them because Indy was too.”

I spend a lot of my time working towards becoming a feature film director. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. However, I’m also now facing a time when many of the film I want to direct aren’t getting made. I don’t want to direct Green Lantern 4. As an audience member, I don’t even want there to be a Green Lantern 4.

I have great hope for this fall. Some amazing movies are being released, even in September, which is usually a pretty dead month.

But for me, as a consumer, you're going to have to really convince me, a guy who is married,  works two full time jobs (I consider writing a full time job on top of my day job), not a lot of money, and absolutely no desire to listen to people talk or text, to get me to come out to a theatre and watch a movie. It is absolutely not worth it for me to suffer through that for a bad film when I have so many other, higher quality storytelling choices at my disposal.


What do you think about the current state of cinema vs. television?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go Into The Story: Dispatches from the Front Lines


This is a repost from a feature I wrote for GoIntoTheStory.com on my attempts to break into Hollywood. Though much of the information below is contained on this blog, I feel this is a rather succinct description on what's happened to me so far. Enjoy!

In June 2006, recently engaged and having just graduated from college, I won an MTV Movie Award for my short film The Beautiful Lie in the Best Film on Campus category. I was the first ever recipient, as it was the category’s inaugural year; and there have only been two other winners since. Zack Braff presented me the iconic Golden Popcorn; I gave an acceptance speech in front of stars like Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Eva Mendes, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Sasha Baron Cohen, Kate Beckinsale, and director Spike Lee; and the pre-taped show aired a week later in front of millions of home viewers. I thought that I was set, that the Hollywood doors were now open to me, and that my success was virtually guaranteed. Most people would have probably agreed.

Well, as it turns out, not a whole hell of a lot of people watch the MTV Movie Awards, especially not in the industry. Though I received a number of phone calls from production companies and managers after MTV posted an ad in Variety with all the nominees, little press covered the results of the show and even fewer outlets listed the mtvU Best Film on Campus category at all. I was invited by Kevin Spacey to attend a party for Triggerstreet, where I had the chance to meet Dana Brunetti; I scheduled a handful of general meet-and-greets; and due to my win being featured in The Seattle Times, I struck up a conversation with my dental hygienist who mentioned I should connect with her son, which is how, funny enough, I met my current manager.

All of the things that I thought (and in all honesty, somewhat expected) would happen following the MTV Movie Awards didn’t happen in the weeks and months that followed; nor have they happened to date. I did not sell a screenplay, I did not sign an agent, and I was not on my way to directing a feature film. And I made a number of mistakes, like sending out my feature script before it was really ready. But I did do one thing right: I moved to LA.

A year after the win, I was offered the chance to write, direct and produce The Ronnie Day Project, a six-part music video series for mtvU and Epic Records. It was my first professional directing gig. However, during its six-week distribution on mtvU, Epic Records dropped Ronnie Day as well as its support of the project. I directed several music videos for artists at MySpace Records and Universal Music Group after that, but they were gigs all generated by myself and did not receive major distribution or backing from their labels. Thus, like Ronnie Day, they were not widely seen.

By this point in 2007, I was married, with a wife who, though completely supportive and understanding of my passion and goals, required me to have a steady income. So, I took a job in retail. While not ideal, it gave me a lot of freedom, it was low stress, and it enabled me to write at night. I continued working on two feature screenplays with my writing partner, Travis Oberlander.

Then the financial crisis hit, and the income at work, which was based only on my sales commissions, started to dwindle. I had been sending out resumes daily for assistant jobs, anything that could help me get my foot in the door, but I rarely, if ever, heard back. So, with the day job no longer giving me the only thing I required from it (money), I decided that I needed to take a major risk. I spoke with my wife and we decided that if I was ever going to get my foot in the door in the entertainment industry, I was probably going to need to start by working for free. I was going to get an internship.

It takes a massive swallowing of pride to get an internship at the age of 25, having won an MTV Movie Award and directed music videos for major labels, but there were a couple things I knew for sure:

1)    I did not want to be a music video director. I wanted to be a narrative feature director and, second to that, a feature screenwriter.
2)    If I was going to spend eight hours a day doing something, I sure as hell didn’t want to be wasting my time in retail. If I never directed a film and never sold a screenplay, I still wanted to work in this business in some capacity, and the only way to do that was to start as an assistant.
3)    Pride didn’t matter. I could care less about anything except finding a way to advancing my career, no matter what I had to do to start.

Having had no success sending out blind resumes for paid assistant work, I started applying for internships. I figured that if I could eventually work my into a job at that company, I would at least start meeting people who could maybe be of help or introduce me to people who could.

I got an internship in the newly formed TV department at Yari Film Group. I read scripts, wrote coverage, and supported the development of TV shows. But, having not sold any shows, Yari wasn’t in a position to hire. I interned there for a year. I really had no other opportunities. I kept applying to other internships and assistant jobs but nothing came of it. It was tough on my wife and me. Fortunately, she had a great job, and we were able to make it work. We had to really cut back on our spending and, thankfully, had some savings to fall back on.
There were a number of benefits to my internship at Yari; it’s where everything really started to come together. For one, I got read a lot of scripts, pretty much anything I wanted to, including the newest scripts being sold. The second, and notably bigger benefit, was that I became friends with the assistant I worked with. Knowing that I was a writer, I gave him a feature comedy I co-wrote with Travis. He liked it so much that he asked if he and his partner could take it out and try and get it produced. Their first stop was to an assistant friend of theirs at Guy Walks Into A Bar Productions, which produced of Elf and Meet Dave. This friend loved it and pitched it to his bosses, convincing them to come on board as producers. Yes! Big moment!
We spent three months working with the producer on rewrites, during which time the assistant and his boss (the management side of the production company) left to go work for Anthony E. Zuiker (creator of the CSI franchise). While getting a producer attached to our script was huge, I was still just an intern at a company that had no plans to hire me.
It was time to leave Yari Film Group. On a whim, I wrote the assistant who was now over at Zuiker’s company, Dare to Pass. I asked if he knew of any opportunities, paid or otherwise.
When he got back in touch with me, he said there might be an opportunity for me at Dare to Pass. While also developing TV shows, the company was preparing for the release of Zuiker’s ‘digi-novel’ Level 26; Dark Origins, a traditional book that also has a video component to it. So I started as an intern and quickly moved into an unpaid employee position -- I stopped getting coffee and doing script coverage and started to be assigned only those tasks related to the digi-novel. I really threw myself into it, doing whatever it was I could, whatever I was asked. When they were trying to figure out how to get deliverables of the videos for press, I told them I was an editor, knew how to use Final Cut Pro, and would be more than happy to do it. After that, I was off and running. After four months, I was hired as a paid employee. With a first look deal at CBS and two more digi-novels coming out, Dare to Pass was going to be busy.
In 2010, I was a part of the development of the second digi-novel, Dark Prophecy and also served as an editor, co-producer and B-cam operator on its video components, which we call ‘cyber-bridges.’ I was also a part of the development of the Dark Prophecy iPad App. By the end of 2010, I was promoted to Director of Digital Media, tasked with development of Zuiker’s digital projects.
Meanwhile, I continued to pursue my own projects after-hours. (In case you’re wondering, my schedule is something like this: 8am – 7pm work for Dare to Pass; 7:30pm eat a home cooked dinner with my wife; 8:30pm – 11:30pm write and work on my own projects.) I produced and directed a short film Dig in an effort to further my own career as a director and show Zuiker what I was capable of. Zuiker ended up coming on board as an Executive Producer. Truthfully, Dig was really only possible because of the relationships I had developed while at Dare to Pass. (Many of the Dark Prophecy crew members helped me out on the short, including John Goodwin, an Emmy award-winning makeup artist and Bill Brown, composer from CSI: NY.) 








The major financial investment I made in order to produce Dig has started to pay off. This September, I will be directing the cyber-bridges for Zuiker’s third digi-novel, Dark Revelations. Ideally, someday, I’ll get to develop a TV show with Zuiker, or maybe he’ll produce a low-budget feature of mine. We’ll see.
For me, my journey thus far has been all about perseverance. I’ve never wanted to do anything but work in Hollywood. Despite early recognition, I still had to work hard and take big risks to get where I am. And I will continue to do so, until my dream is realized. Yes, the risk of quitting my job and taking an internship could have backfired. After all, Hollywood was still feeling the effects of the writer’s strike, we were in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and Hollywood was shedding jobs like crazy. But I had to do it. And I have no regrets.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Advice to Filmmakers: Be Interesting

Last weekend, while at a private party in Malibu, I had the chance to talk to probably the biggest TV Lit agent in Hollywood. It was a casual atmosphere, surrounded by family and friends. I got to tell him a little bit about myself, the MTV Movie Award, Dig and so on but then I mentioned that I had spent a lot of time up in the Malibu canyons on my motorcycle. "Oh, you ride?" he asked. I nodded. "So, you're interesting," he said, at which point we proceeded to talk about motorcycles.

And if you're wondering, I didn't lie. This is me:


I've always had an interest in things besides filmmaking. As mentioned above, I ride a motorcycle, rock climb, mountain bike, hike, camp, shoot guns (I own an H&K P2000 9mm), I've traveled the world, I devour books (lately, a lot of non-fiction, totally unrelated to Hollywood in any way, my current reads are a book on string theory and one on hacking), and cook. Those are some of my interests at present. To be honest, the last movie I saw in the theater was Bridesmaids and lately, if I'm watching TV, I'm watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix.

So much of my day revolves around the industry, whether in my day job at Dare to Pass, or at night writing my own scripts or working on projects in development, that when I have free time, the last thing I want to do is have anything to do with the industry. Plus, I find that these outside interests fuel my passion for storytelling because I'm always learning something new and inspiring.

The point is, with regard to the lit agent, is that he too spends most of his day dealing with Hollywood and my guess is (since I can't speak for him) that when he has time off, he'd like to talk about anything else.

As a filmmaker, I believe it is important to have outside interests, not only for your own sanity, but for those of others. There is a view point that one has to live and breathe film, but I don't find that all that valid. I think if you want to succeed in this industry you have to be totally committed to doing what you can to make it and spend as much time as possible writing, directing, script supervising, whatever it is you're in pursuit of. But in the meantime, explore those other interests.

Because I'll tell you this, while the agent thought the MTV Movie Award was cool and asked to see Dig it wasn't until I told him about my motorcycle that I became "interesting." Everyone in this town has a script, a short film, or an idea. Stand out from the crowd because you have more to talk about than Hollywood. Everyone will appreciate you and remember you for it.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Dig: Official Selection -- LAShortsFest -- World Premiere


I am very proud to announce that Dig will be having it's world premiere at the 15th annual 2011 LA Shorts Fest. The premiere shorts festival in the world, the festival will run from July 21 - 29, 2011.

Dig will be screening on July 23 at 3:15pm as part of program 11 at Laemmle Theatres:

8000 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Tickets are $12 and will only be available from the Laemmle Theatres box office starting on July 14th.

For more information as well as the full program guide check out LA Shorts Fest.

I hope to see you all there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dig: Wrapping It All Up

One year ago yesterday, I wrote my first blog post on Dig as I started writing the script. Here, one year later, I am literally putting the finishing touches on the film after receiving the final sound mix, score and color corrected footage. Tomorrow, I drop several DVDs in the mail, the film on its way to various film festivals across the country and in about a month Dig will be having its worldwide premiere at the 2011 LAShorts Fest Festival. I can't believe it's been a whole year!

(It probably could have been done sooner but I chose to wait for my post-production team to free up on other projects, rather than try and find someone else. April to mid-May was pretty much down time and the post-process picked up again in late May when my composer started writing the score, followed by sound editing/mixing and color correction.)

It's been a busy last couple of weeks as I balance finishing the film with my daily work at Dare to Pass. As I didn't have the chance to post through I wanted to take this chance to provide a summary of all the post work we've done on the film. So here we go.

COLOR CORRECTION:

For the last couple of months of both editing and rough cut screenings, all the way through mix and scoring, I've been looking at a very "eh" picture. This has nothing to do with Paul, he shot it correctly and beautifully, but more to do with the filter settings applied during the shoot, which were more a tool for Paul than a representation of how it was shot. The footage was largely overexposed and just obviously not colored.

The desert portion of the film, which takes place in real time over the course of about twenty minutes was shot over three days. There's bound to be shifts in color temperature and so on that needed smoothing out, if nothing else. You have to take a pass on color regardless.

For me, however, it was also about creating a very specific look and feel to the film as well as enhancing the colors. From the very beginning, Paul and I devised a color scheme that progressed through the film. Essentially, the opening is white (bright), then blue when we're inside the car, then orange/red/brown when we're in the desert and finally, green, at the end. So, we wanted to enhance those colors (without it looking too stylized) for one.

The other part of it was to help it feel period, help it feel like the 1960s, when it takes place. Fortunately, my colorist has been watching a lot of Mad Men and The Kennedy's and had a pretty good sense of what he needed to do to help achieve that look. I've provided some before and after examples of the color below.

Before

After

Before

After

The color work on this was done by my long time friend and colorist James Cohan who did an amazing job. I met James back in 2007 (a meeting I'm sure he now regrets) when I went to mtvU to do post work on The Ronnie Day Project. James is the Head of Post-Production for mtvU and now MTV360 and is a editing/coloring/workflow genius. He also doesn't sleep.

All of the work was done in Color and as you can see from the images above, Dig looks amazing!

SCORING:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel that one of the hardest things for young filmmakers and short directors to do is figure out music. In high school it was easy, just use whatever you want. (My film American Tragedy was basically scored using the American Beauty score by Thomas Newman...the similarities in titles was, honestly, entirely coincidental.) Once you're out there, making films that you hope will be shown in festivals, it gets harder.


I was extremely fortunate to both meet and work with composer Bill Brown prior to Dig on Anthony E. Zuiker's Dark Prophecy. As I headed up post on that project, Bill and I spent a good chunk of time working together. I'll never forget (and I'm sure he won't either) that after getting the first set of cues on Dark Prophecy I sent him more than three pages of notes. His response on the phone was "I've never really gotten notes like this before..." Here I was, a no name kid, giving a very accomplished composer a significant amount of notes on a small internet based project. I'm sure he was less than thrilled.

But then I went into his studio, to explain my thoughts, gave him my ideas and started to not only agree but get excited about them. After that first meeting, it was smooth sailing. He saw that I wasn't trying to do his job, or tell him what to do, but to marry the beautiful work he had done to the film in the most impactful way possible. After all, I had spent months with the picture, knew it backwards and forwards and thus felt I could offer him that perspective.

Regardless of all of this, it worked out, and he created a really moving and beautiful score for Dark Prophecy.

It was during this process, as I was writing Dig, that I knew I wanted to ask Bill to do the score for Dig. There was no one else in my head. 1) I knew that he could deliver what I wanted and 2) I really wanted to work with him again.

Fortunately, after viewing a rough cut of the film, he said yes and went on to fulfill my expectations in every way. We also, much thanks to Bill, were able to record the ending music with a live orchestra, something we had also done on Dark Prophecy. I had never heard the real difference between synth and live instruments before, much less on the same piece, but let me tell you, it is a remarkable difference. The main addition being emotion. You feel the players on their instruments. And you have so much more control over the sound.

We also, on the opening track, had some really great musicians come be a part of it. The amazing cellist Tina Guo provided the cello solo on the opening. Also, Steve Tavaglione, a woodwind musician whose playing you might recognize from Shawshank Redemption, The Road to Perdition, American Beauty came on board to provide some really great sounds for the finale. Steve is a frequent collaborator of Bill's and he brought him on board for Dig.

Rather than get too much into the details, I think it's better to let the score speak for itself. Below is a excerpt from the finale to Dig:


Here is the sheet music for part of what you just heard:

And here are some pictures of Bill's sessions with Tina and Steve.




SOUND MIXING:

Once we had the score done it was off to the final mix. Like Bill Brown, I met some amazing sound engineers when I got to work with the great talent at Todd A.O. in Burbank on the final mix of Dark Prophecy. (Essentially, the post crew that worked on Dark Prophecy all worked on Dig as well.)

I had never mixed on a stage before and man does it make a difference. When I handed off the film to Aaron Levy and Alexandra Fehrman the sound was a mess. Five separate tracks of audio (in some cases) comprised of both boom and lavs, big gaps in sound where I had cut dialogue and had no "room tone" (or desert tone) and a big section in the middle of the film (the desert part) where I knew I wouldn't have music.

I wanted to fill it with something, I wanted to create a soundtrack to the desert. When I came back two months later to check out the edit, Aaron and Alex had done their work. The dialogue sounded great, the desert was alive, everything was smoothed out, Alex had some subtle but amazing sound design to help enhance key moments in the sequence (without it become too dramatic and maintaining a natural feel to it). It was great. I had very few notes.

Two days later, we were the mix, where Aaron and Alex sweetened and leveled Dig to the best place it could be. In addition to the standard stereo mix we also mastered in 5.1 surround sound.



As you can see from the pics, we're talking about a full on stage here. And in that million dollar theatre it sounded amazing! (It sounded great on my home theatre system too.) One of the things I said to them when we started was I want this to be mixed for the theatre experience. This film is made to be watched in the cinema, not on the computer. So that was where I focus was and everyone did a really great job.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of professionals work on my little short film Dig, many of whom have no reason to work on a very low-paying (or unpaid) short project. Their only reason is that 1) they like working with me 2) liked the project or 3) both. Either one means a lot to me, that they would take time out of their schedules and lives to help me see this project through on a level that I could only imagine when I started writing it twelve months ago. I am truly honored to have the list of credits I do at the end of my film and it has been a dream to work with this cast and crew.

I can't wait for you to see the film so check back often for potential festival screenings. I hope you've enjoyed this year long journey of putting Dig together as much as I have but the creative work has ended. So now it's onward and upward to newer projects as I release Dig to the world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Brown Scoring 'Dig'


I have to admit that after working with Bill on Dark Prophecy and since I started writing Dig back in July this was one of the things I've been looking forward to the most: the great Bill Brown has started work on the score for Dig.

The pictures above and below are from Bill's session today with Steve Tavaglione, a woodwind musician whose playing you might recognize from Shawshank Redemption, The Road to Perdition, American Beauty and others.

Bill is a frequent collaborator of Steve's and brought him on board for Dig. I'll be hearing Bill's themes in the next day or two as we start the last couple weeks of Dig post-production.

As more happens I'll be sure to update you.



Pictures Copyright Bill Brown 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3Questions: Julian Rosenberg - Talent & Lit Manager

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Julian Rosenberg, Talent/Lit Manager at Caliber Media Company, representing actors, writers and directors, and developing scripts for film and television.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

JR: I got my start up in Vancouver where I'm from. It's a big service town, and after high school I started working on the movies and TV shows that were filming up there. I thought I wanted to be an actor, so I did commercials and a ton of extra work. I enjoyed being on set, decided I wanted to produce, and was able to get a grant to attend film school. While in school I had a couple of commercials and short films I produced win festivals, and the day I finished school I bought a car and drove to LA. This was September 2005. I started in LA as an intern at a management company, then did 2 years at UTA as an agent trainee, and then became a talent manager in 2008. By 2009 my focus had shifted towards wanting to work with writers, so I came to Caliber to learn the Lit game. That was August 2009, and the rest is history.

HBAD: What are the most difficult challenges you've encountered on your career path?

JR: The economic turndown, and the industry labor disputes have been the biggest challenges. Both of those happened the year I was promoted, and the business has rapidly shifted since then. The next biggest thing is the "challenging personalities" you face in this business every day. Everyone has an ego, and navigating the politics of that can be tricky. But if you're thick skinned and just do the work – you'll do fine. You just can't take things to personally.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to break into representation?

JR: You have to be an entrepreneur. Gone are the days of just putting in your 3-5 years and being promoted. There was a really interesting article in the LA Times this year around Christmas, about how it's harder and harder to get promoted, and lots of incredibly talented and experienced executives are fighting it out for very few positions. It's much harder to just go Intern – Assistant - Jr Exec – Exec, the way it used to be for years. Nowadays a lot of companies are making their assistants be profitable before even promoting them, whereas you used to be able to get promoted in order to eventually become profitable. Long story short, if you want to break into this business, you need to bring something to the table. Oh, and nepotism as always remains king in Hollywood.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dig: Official Poster


I'm super excited to show you guys the official poster for Dig today. This has been in the works for a long time, even before we shot the film. I'm a huge fan of the recent practice of creating graphical posters for existing films. Having seen a few here and there I thought it would be awesome for us to do something in that vein. Eventually, Travis got in touch with graphic artist Brandon Schaefer. If you're unfamiliar with his work you should definitely check it out.

We initially spoke to him back in October and after we sent him a copy of the script he agreed to do the poster. We checked in with him off and on after filming and into the edit and finally sent him a rough cut of the film. Brandon was all for it after seeing the film and Brandon, Travis and I spoke at length about images from the film that came to mind, deeper thoughts on the film, posters of his that we loved. What really appealed to me about his work were posters that were amazing in their own right but took on new meaning if you've seen the film.

Also, I'm a huge fan of the design work on book covers from the 60s (we featured a copy of "Beyond Good and Evil" from the time period that has a great look) and because Dig takes place in that time period we felt it appropriate to play with that as well.

We gave Brandon these collections of thoughts and inspiration and let him go to work and what you see above is pretty much exactly what he delivered. And now we're revealing it to you.

I'm getting very excited as we get closer and closer to completing the film and can't wait to have people see the film.

Leave your thoughts on the poster below!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dig: Post-Production Part 7

Yes, I realize it's been almost a month since I last posted (anything) on here but I have been busy, I swear. On a personal note, I've started working out in the mornings, which means I've been trying to go to bed at a decent time, which means I've been coming home, working on whatever needs to be done and then hitting the hay.

Most of that necessary work has been Dig. (The rest is a new feature project I'm working on.) After my in-laws watched two cuts of Dig I started showing it around. I showed my managers, the producers, Travis (writer), and a few others. And they all....really liked it.

I got notes here and there, which I've taken time to work on, but in general all of them thought it was really, really strong. Which was amazing to hear. After spending so much time on this and going through what I did in the edit, to hear that it works, to hear that it's resonating with those who watch it is really gratifying.

One thing that was really interesting is that while the film doesn't feel long, when it's over you really get the sense that you've spent time with these characters, that you've been with them for a while, that it didn't just fly by and that you really got to understand who they are.

In the last month, I've probably done about 4-5 passes on the film. It's gone from 24 minutes to 22 minutes and finally to 23 minutes, which I believe will be it's final running time. On the 22nd I finished what I felt was my final cut. I screened it for my managers and other than a small note (regarding holding a beat too long in one area) they thought it was great.

In addition, I feel really great about it. So, after I look at this little cut, I will lock picture on Dig.

Meanwhile, I've been lining up my post team. I'm really excited to tell you that I'll be working once again with Aaron Levy and Alexandra Fuhrman at Todd AO (who mixed Dark Prophecy) on the sound mix. James Cohan, who has colored all of my projects since The Ronnie Day Project, will be coloring the film. And composer Bill Brown, from CSI:NY and Dark Prophecy (along with many other films and video games) will be doing the music. I'm so excited to be working with the guys again. I had such an amazing time on Dark Prophecy and I really believe that their contribution to the film will take it above and beyond where it is now and turn it in to something really special.

One of the things I've realized on this project is that because Travis and I took the time to get the story right, took the time to make sure the script was strong, that it worked, it's all there in the final film. Everything beyond the story, the cinematography, the soundwork, the music, are all just cherries, those elements that help it rise above. They're not helping the story along. The story is there. They're enhancing your understanding of it. Which is why going to pros has always been really important to me on this project.

Additionally, I'm excited to tell you that an amazing graphic artist named Brandon Schaefer is currently designing the poster for Dig. For samples of the amazing work he's going to do for us, be sure to check out his website.

That's it for Dig right now. Will let you know when I have a better idea of the schedule. Meanwhile, to hear what I'm doing in between the sometimes lengthy blog postings, follow me on Twitter: @JCaldwell182

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Oscar Predictions

I love movies. I love watching them. I love making them. But I have to honestly say that this is one of those Oscar years where I don't really care. I thought we had a great crop of movies but for some reason, the Academy Awards are just not getting me excited.

That said, I can't have a blog about Hollywood and not make predictions. So, here it goes:

Best Picture: King's Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper
Best Actor: Colin Firth
Best Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Actor Supporting: Christian Bale
Best Actress Supporting: Hailey Steinfeld
Best Art Direction: Inception
Best Cinematography: Black Swan
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Best Makeup: The Wolfman
Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Best Foreign Language Film: In A Better World
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Film Editing: The Social Network
Best Original Score: The Social Network
Best Original Song: Toy Story 3
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Original Screenplay: Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Live Action Short: The Confession
Best Documentary Short: Poster Girl
Best Animated Short: Day & Night

Friday, February 25, 2011

SoundWorks Collection: Gary Hecker - Veteran Foley Artist

Michael Coleman, over at the Soundworks Collection, has posted a video highlighting the work of Gary Hecker, a veteran Foley Artist.

Funny enough, my wife was just asking me about Foley, what it was, how it worked, and then today, I find this video.

Fascinating stuff. Check out the video below. And if you don't know what Foley is, I'll let Gary explain.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dig: Post-Production Part 6

Based on some of my last posts, one might think that Dig is a disaster. Thankfully, it's not. Far from it, in fact. When I first started this blog I never wanted to shy away from writing about what it was like to go through some of these experiences (I can only think of what might have been had this blog and Twitter been around when I won my MTV Movie Award) and sometimes it isn't pretty.

There are times when you're looking at what you've done and it feels like a disaster. And you, as the director, feel responsible. There are doubts, second guesses, wishes and woulda, coulda, shoulda's. Every director goes through that, as you can see from this post. You just have to push through it.

The other night I showed my wife and her parents a rough cut of the film. I thought that it would be nice to have another set of eyes on the first cut, especially by those who have no vested interest in the project (other than hoping it succeeds for my sake). They knew the story but they're a good audience (showing people who work in this industry can often open the critical floodgates, since everyone knows how to make a film, right?).

Setting aside their comments for a second, I was pleasantly surprised to watch it myself and see that it's in pretty good shape. I was surprised by how well it flowed, and how all the things I was worried about almost disappeared (though not completely).

My wife and in-laws both liked it as well (and full discretion, they have not liked everything I've done). They provided me with some great notes, nothing major but a few speed bumps that affected their response to the film.

So, being that this is the worst the film will ever be, it feels good to be starting with such a solid foundation. Of course, that could be destroyed after showing others, who knows. I'm going to do another pass and then I'll start showing a larger group of people for feedback.

Will keep you updated.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dig: Post-Production Part 5


Wednesday night, I complete the first assemblage of Dig. It clocked in at 24 minutes without credits. Obviously, it's long and that's even after I cut an entire scene. Normally, I would have kept it in for the purposes of the rough cut, but I was having trouble getting it to cut together and, having looked at the scene in the script, realized a couple things: 1) there was nothing of any importance in the scene that wasn't covered later on 2) it was almost entirely exposition 3) it was the only legitimately cloudy scene in the film and 4) the film was too long already.

Since the last time I posted, my friend has taken a run at editing the opening sequence and while it wasn't perfect (considering he's an Avid guy who has never used FCP before, I think he did a pretty good job) it was able to shock me out of all the bullshit that comes with directing and allowed me to see the film in a new way. Like I mentioned before, we had a breakthrough and when I got the film back Monday night I started in on finishing it up.

I haven't watch the film straight through yet. Haven't spent the last week getting the rough cut in shape, I wanted to take a break from it, so I could come back to it on Monday and see it for fresh eyes.

It'll probably be terrible (ha ha) but the elements are there. I have full movie from beginning to end and I can now begin the best part of the process, which is taking that rough clay and shaping it into a finished product. It's looking great, the cinematography by Paul Niccolls is amazing as always, the performances are fantastic and now it's up to me, as the editor (and director) to shape into greatness.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dig: Post-Production Part 4

I haven't been able to do a whole lot of editing these past two and a half weeks. The entire Dare to Pass team has been pulling long nights and weekends in an effort to get all of our pilots in the best shape they can be in before we submitted them to the network. While exhausting and time-consuming is was nonetheless an eye-opening experience to go through the fire with Zuiker like that. As he likes to say, "Imagine doing THAT for 10 years and you'll have some concept of what working on a television show is like."

That aside I was, however, admittedly struggling. I have probably about 75% of the film in rough cut form, missing only one middle scene and the opening and closing scenes. I was more than lethargic and couldn't get myself into it (not being able to maintain any roll I had going because of the sporadic DTP schedule didn't help either) and I was in the throes of depression about the project.

For me, it was a big surprise that I didn't have a rough cut in a week or two. Put it this way, it will have taken me almost twice the amount of time to get a rough cut of Dig, at about 30 minutes, than to get a rough cut of Dark Prophecy at 70 minutes. Why? Cause on Dig I'm also the director. And that's the problem.

I knew that going into it (obviously) but though I could power through it and I really couldn't. It's just two completely different mindsets. I should have known this (and I did but ignored it) but the beauty of an editor is that they don't care. And I don't mean they're not interested or care about the project. They (we) just don't care (and didn't experience) what happened on set. They don't care that a shot took forever to set up, they don't care that your lead actor won't come out of her trailer, they don't care that your DP sucks, it was cloudy, the generator shut down (and I say these by way of illustration only). All they care about is the footage they have in front of them. The are, in every sense of the word, objective. And that, more than anything else, is the value of an editor.

No matter what I do, or how much I try to convince myself, I can't get past the subjectivity of making the film (at least not yet). That said, I am not a director who is not flexible, who doesn't recognize when something doesn't work. I will cut a scene like that if it's not working.

And I am in the end, I feel, a very good collaborator. That doesn't mean I'll hand over the key of the castle to everyone I meet, I'll fight for my ideas, but I recognize that I don't know everything, that others may have ideas that will trigger my mind to look at something differently, or that those ideas my be better than what I originally intended. (I've done the "I'm the director, I know everything" bit once and it failed miserably, so I know it doesn't work.)

So, finally a friend of mine who's a reality show producer, and also has a LOT of experience in the editing room, offered to take it off my hands for a bit and cut some stuff and just put together a rough assemblage of what I had. Give me a break, take an objective look at it. He's not editing it, per se, just approaching the material with fresh eyes.

Already we've had a breakthrough, approaching the opening of the film in a way that totally works and I was not in the mindset to think of. It's really strong, it's really interesting and it pulls the audience right into it, which is something that was NOT there in the script phase.

He's basically got it for the rest of the week and I'll hopefully have a full rough cut early next week. Then I can start trimming, cutting, fine tuning etc. I'm more excited about it than I was yesterday and I'm beginning to break through the director-haze that sticks around after every shoot.

My next project as a director, which will ideally be this feature Travis and I are starting to write, I am definitely hiring an editor.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Black Swan and CGI

Thanks to this post from BadAssDigest, we now know that despite being shot on Super 16mm film and having a very raw quality, Black Swan is full of CGI, from the obvious (adding wings to Portman's character) to everything like cleaning up the floor and minor head replacement.

I read an American Cinematographer article on shooting Black Swan and remember them talking about painting out the crew in some of the mirror shots. But I found it really unnerving during the shot of Vincent Castle where the camera moves handheld around him with the mirror in the background and you don't see anything.

It's really amazing to see what is possible these days, even on movies you wouldn't think would have the budget for it.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Dig: Post-Production Part 3

This weekend I was flipping through the (digital) LATimes and saw this Envelope Roundtable: Directors on Directing. I'm always a huge fan of reading about a director's process but in light of the fact that I'm in the early stages of editing Dig this particular section was incredibly insightful:

LATimes: You're all here because your films have been incredibly successful. But I wonder if you actually learn more in failure. Are the more telling learning experiences from something that doesn't work?

Ben Affleck: I feel like all filming for me, directing, is about failure. Every day I go home, "Oh, my God."

Ethan Coen: Yeah, that's terrible, isn't it?

Darren Aronofsky: It's the worst.

Coen: And you kick yourself all the way home — that stuff you could and should have done.

Aronofsky: I think it's a myth that you [get] exactly what you have in mind. You're in three dimensions with weather, atmosphere, technology that has limitations, time that has limitations. And you don't want to control an actor to that extent because it'll just suck the life out of 'em. It's a constant form of improv and you just sort of roll with it.

Tom Hooper: I think it's an extraordinary thing when you watch your first assembly [of the roughly edited movie], the film always has become something slightly different from what you thought…

Aronofsky: The worst day of my life, every time.

Affleck: Way worst.

LATimes: In what way?

Aronofsky: When you watch an assemblage, you just know you're getting drunk that night. It's just a miserable experience. Because you realize you have so much work [to do on it].

Lisa Cholodenko: And you have no idea if it'll ever be there.

Aronofsky: And you really thought you did better work. You thought you did better stuff. And it has nothing to do with the editor. It just takes time and time to refine, because you're so far away from that final mix where you're really putting on that final sanding, the final shellac.

Coen: It's always funny because we cut our own movies and I feel exactly the same way.

I have felt exactly the same way on pretty much every film (and music video) I've directed and edited. And I was very much feeling this way recently while working on Dig. Since I'm editing the picture myself, I have a front row view of all the shitty work I did as a director. Ha ha. I'm seeing all the problems, all the mistakes, all the things I thought I did and didn't and all the things I wish I did. And of course, as I'm seeing all this, I'm saying to myself, "Man, I wish I was in the position of the others directors, where this doesn't happen." But it does happen, to everyone.

This process, what I call the "very depressing first two weeks of editing" happens to me on every project. The problem, more than anything, is a psychological one. I have in my head the work I did as a director, but I'm viewing the work I actually did from an editor's point of view. That is, I can't fully take either position. I can't, as an editor, say "It is what it is, I'll just have to deal with it," (which is the position I had on Dark Prophecy) because I'm still seeing it as a director and kicking myself for all the things I didn't do or could have done better. I'm still wearing two hats.

Slowly, after some very depressing days, the director's hat goes away and I fully commit as an editor, allowing me to make harder choices, and see the picture for what it is, not what I wish it was.

Every director faces compromises.

What about you? Have you shot something thinking it was amazing at the time and then gotten into editing and begun to see all the mistakes you've made? How do you deal with compromise?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

3Questions: Scott Myers - Screenwriter

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Scott Myers, writer of K-9, starring Jim Belushi; Alaska, starring Vincent Kartheisher and Thora Birch; and Trojan War, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

As he tells us, " I've been a professional screenwriter since 1987, a screenwriting teacher since 2002, and a screenwriting blogger since 2008.

"As a screenwriter, in addition to the projects listed above, I have written nearly 30 projects for every major movie studio and broadcast TV network.

"As a teacher, I along with fellow screenwriter Tom Benedek, who wrote the movie Cocoon, founded ScreenwritingMasterClass.com, a unique online educational resource for writers involving lecture-based content courses and writing workshops. In 2005, I won the Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award through UCLA Extension's Writers' Program. I also teach screenwriting at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

"As a blogger, my screenwriting site GoIntoTheStory.com was named Best Blog for Aspiring Screenwriters and had over 1.2 million unique visits in 2010."

HBAD: So, tell us, how did you get your start?

SM: I got my start in the movie business when I co-wrote and sold the spec script "K-9" to Universal Pictures for $750,000 back in 1987. Since that time, I have tracked the spec script market constantly and so have a thorough understanding of Hollywood's lit acquisition and development process, knowledge I share on my blog and in the screenwriting courses I teach.

HBAD: What are the most difficult challenges you've encountered on your career path?

SM: Breaking into the screenwriting trade is difficult. Sustaining a career is even harder. There is enormous competition on all fronts: spec scripts, pitching, OWA's (Open Writing Assignments). Perhaps the biggest single challenge is to find a way to follow the movie market so you stay informed about trends, yet keep a unique voice when it comes to your creative efforts. Living and working in L.A., it's easy to devolve into formulaic writing. One way to keep your career going is by consistently writing stories with distinctive high concepts, compelling characters, and interesting plots with lots of twists.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to get into the position you're in?

SM: If you're serious about becoming a screenwriter, there are certain things you should do to learn the craft. Here are three of them: Read scripts. Watch movies. Write pages. That should be one of your mantras because in order to become a screenwriter, you need to immerse yourself in the world of movies.

Also unlike when I was first starting out, there are tons of people promoting various screenwriting theories and story structure paradigms. There are essential screenwriting principles you can learn, but be sure you study with the right people, preferably someone who is or has been a screenwriter and thus knows the ins-and-outs of the craft and the business, an educator so that they know how to communicate their ideas effectively, and a mentor so they can help steer you through the writing and rewriting process. That's precisely why Tom and I founded ScreenwritingMasterClass.com.

My final piece of advice: Make sure you start with a story concept that is worthy of being made into a movie. I've read perhaps thousands of screenplays, many of them written quite well, but they have no chance of selling because the story is based on an average or sub-par concept. The best way to come up with a great story concept? Generate a lot of story concepts.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shooting on Location


This month's American Cinematographer has a great article on Biutiful, the new film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (which I have not yet seen) and there's sidebar called "Inarritu on Method." In it, he talks about shooting on location vs. shooting on a stage, saying:

"I don't know if I'm a masochist, but I hate sound stages, and not only because I think they will never represent reality correctly. There's something about the texture, the reality of walls, the smell, the story of them, the vibe. Even if the builder creates sets exactly the same, the sets don't have soul. I think reality can never be matched in that sense. The other reason I shoot all my films on location is that there's something uncomfortable about locations that, in a way, helps everybody feel they are in real territory and not making a film. I like that, and I think it's a very psychological environment."

Other than when I was a camera op on Dark Prophecy, where we shot on the CSI:NY stages at CBS Radford, I've never directed a project that was shot on a stage. Everything I've ever done has been on location. As I've grown as a director and as a storyteller, and come to understand the types of stories I want to tell and the types of films I want to make (especially aesthetically), I've come to really enjoy and prefer shooting on location for the reasons Inarritu listed above.

There's something harder about it, something more challenging that, I believe, embeds itself in the film you're making. Not that shooting something on a stage is easy, but you can move walls, you can change lighting, you can shoot night during the day and day during the night, and so on. There's just something "comfortable" about it and I've learned that I don't like to be "comfortable" while shooting a movie. I want to be challenged, I want to problem solve, I want to have to work around walls and schedule and daylight (even on a film like Dig, where short days fucked us), I think it makes the film better. As many directors have said, most recently Scorsese, "If making a film was easy, it probably isn't very good." There's something about having "gone through it" that embeds itself in the film. (The work of Werner Herzog comes to mind.)

There's also something undeniably real about what you're seeing and that's because it is real. The dust is real, the light is real, the writings on the wall, it has a soul. Personally, I like the challenge of dealing with the issues of shooting a movie in addition to the terrible difficulty making the movie itself.

As you can see from the pictures below, shot on location in the desert of Palmdale during the production of Dig, we were out there, facing nothing but dust and sun. It was a huge challenge, especially shooting during winter where we had maybe 10 hours of daylight, but I loved every minute of it. It was an adventure.




What do you think about location shooting vs. shooting on a stage?