Friday, November 17, 2006

First cut COMPLETE!


Thank you for all of your pleasant comments! We appreciate the support, for sure.

Our editor David Patrick Lowery and Yen have completed the first cut!!!! It's 87 minutes long, not including titles or end credits. They're going to tweak it for the next 3 weeks, and should have a fine cut done by Dec 15th.

Speaking of cutting, we SHOULD have a new, pimped-out trailer to post on the site in about 2 weeks, if all goes as planned.

Yesterday I met with our new music supervisor, Glen Walsh. He's a commercial music supervisor here in Los Angeles, and he's really freakin cool!

More to come very soon!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Update from Post Production

Hello! It's been a while, but we're well on our way to a wonderful film. Yen is ACTUALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE EDITING PROCESS! That means the film's going to be amazing. Right now, having cut a few extraneous scenae, the cut is looking to be short and sweet, around 80-85 minutes. They're about 65 minutes onto it so far, and we're planning on having a solidly locked cut done by January 15th! Not only that, but the goal is to have the sound mix and tape-to-tape color correction completed by March 1st! If we pull that off, it'll be less than 5 months between wrapping production and a final sound and picture cut! At that point we'll enter Cannes, Venice, Toronto, etc, and start raising funds for the 35mm screener prints. That's right, we're going to go all the way to 35mm!

Our sound designer, Sam Casas, has officially agreed to come on board, and we're currently looking for a few other post peeps, most importantly an effects house to help us out with some image stabilization and cleanup.

Hope you're all well.



(If you're curious, I'm holding a DVD Giveaway starting November 21st to commemorate the US DVD Release of my earlier film, BLOODSHED! Simply add Bloodshed as a "friend" on MySpace to be eligible for the drawing. )

Saturday, October 07, 2006

This is the end, my friend


Finally. We've wrapped. I'll be writing back-dated updates over the next few days, but I just wanted to let you all know that we're done and it all went absolutely WONDERFULLY! Thanks to everyone who helped out, and I mean EVERYONE. We couldn't have done it without all of your help.

Congratulations to Yen Tan for directing his third feature film. He did a completely outstanding job, and we're all excited to see what he and David Lowery, our editor, create in the editorial stage.

Also a big hearty thanks to Michael Roy. You were a joy to work with, and your skills far exceeded every expectation I had for this. You will win some serious cinematography awards for this film, and I'm happy to have provided you with that opportunity.

Clare, for your first feature film as Production Designer, you certainly knocked this one out of the park! Thanks so much, your work will be seen by millions, far more than any theatre production you've done in the past. You should be proud, your work was tremendous.

I've thanked everyone else independently, but I'm going to do it again: THANK YOU!

At this point, we're going to edit the movie, do some rough audio mixing and color correction, and present it to investors for finishing funds.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Halfway through...

On Saturday one of our two lead actors, Alessandro, woke up with a throat infection. The two words a producer loves to hear: "throat infection." This happens on the day Ethel Lung, our actress from LA playing "Lauren", is supposed to fly in for 3 days only and perform in a 15-page scene with Adam and Alessandro!

DECISION TIME: As producer, I am faced with the difficult decisions occasionally: "What are we having for lunch?" "Can we have more lightbulbs?" "Does this make me look fat?" These decisions don't come easy, and many times I defer to those around me. I mean, what does it matter what we have for lunch, as long as it's not fast food and it's fairly healthy? There are times, however, where the questions are more important, and I believe in those times I will always make the right decision if I follow two simple rules:

1) What is best for the film?
2) Can we afford that option?

I know it SEEMS straight forward, but it's all too easy to plow ahead and try to shoot, even though the actor isn't in tip-top shape. So, what I came up with was that we would not use Alessandro for 3 days and pray that his voice and health got better. We shot out everything having to do with Ethel that didn't require Alessandro, and bought a plane ticket for her to fly back this coming weekend. Moving the schedule to accomodate was the most difficult part, as we had to reschedule 2 locations that we didn't own,but all in all, I believe this has saved us from having a crappy performance in the film.

After all, what's the point of producing if you're going to make decisions that harm the quality of the project?

OK, so it's been a while, so I'll recap here:

Day 7 we shot everything we could with Ethel and Adam, including a gorgeous night scene. Thanks to James and Loretta for the use of their vehicles!

Here are pics from days 8-10:

Cheers y'all!


Friday, September 22, 2006

End of Week One!!!!!

And this is how movies are made! End of week one, two to go. Life is good... so far.

Yesterday was the end of week one, and we celebrated by having 2 PINTS last night at The Dubliner on Lower Greenville and then going home and passing out from sheer exhaustion. Today we tied up a lot of loose ends from last week, and prepped for the upcoming week, mostly boring things like picking up a TV from Fry's, getting more craft services, returning the arcade game, scooter and pickup truck, etc. We're using the tried-and-true "Fry's Rental" on this movie, where we purchase a high-dollar item for a few weeks to shoot in the film, and then return it. Viola, one free flat-screen TV for the film! BTW, Fry's has an excellent return policy: as long as you don't break it, they'll take it back within 30-days and usually don't charge any sort of re-stocking fee!

Anyway, the past two days were spectacular. It's getting a bit repetitive, always having good news, but the film is going quite well! (On a side note, my last feature "Bloodshed" just got picked up by Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery for DVD release November 21!)

Day 5 and 6 concentrated on the character "Mark," played by Chuck Blaum. He's a handsome man, but I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of him right now, as our set photographer was not around for the past 2 days. We're definitely gonna get him when he returns next week!

What a total bummer that we don't have a full-time set photographer. I feel like we missed some iconic imagery when we had the scooter. No shots of the characters riding it at all. Ugh. Things move so quickly, if there's not someone specifically doing that job, we won't remember to do it. Damn. I guess that can be a separate photo shoot if needed.

There was one shot that will end up being quite spectacular, where the garage door rises, spilling light onto Mark's red classic Vespa scooter. Oh man, it's gorgeous, simply STUNNING!

I guess there's not much to say. Week 2 starts tomorrow, and we have a still photographer on set both Saturday and Sunday. I'll be sure to post some tomorrow night!



Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Days 3 and 4

Yen Tan between takes.

Well! It's been quite spectacular... no compromises! Seriously, Yen has been completely blown away by everything, and we're making our days now. The crew has totally gotten into sync now, and everyone has a hand in making this picture truly great! I think yesterday was the wakeup call we needed.

Basically, we landed at Club Nikita on time, and all the gear was offloaded in record time. But then several departments started dropping the ball, and all of a sudden we were 3 hours in and not a shot off yet. But James and I put our heads together and we pushed though, getting every shot and completely wrapping out of the location at 4:59pm. Yes, you guessed it: we had to be out by 5.

Well, what would YOU do if you had a temp of 103?

I guess James is supposed to be some sort of intimidating guy. I'll tell you this: today he intimidated TIME and SPACE, kicking it into high gear to get us through the day without one missed shot, despite a fever of 103! Damn. THAT'S dedication. I love ya buddy, get well.

"Jeff" visits his dead friend's parents shortly after the accident.

The scenes between Jeff and Mark's parents, Larry and Margaret, went pretty well up until the final setup. It was a wide three-shot of Jeff eating lunch with Larry and Margaret at the dinner table. No dialogue. Seems easy enough, but we ran into a situation where the DP started to light the scene one way, and then the frame was changed by the director in mid-light. In an effort to get us out on time, Michael tried to tweak the setup already in place, and 45 minutes later we were all frustrated. The general consensus was to just shoot it because we didn't have the time to spare. After all, it was 1:30pm already, and we were scheduled to wrap out by 2.

But,"Just Shoot It" sounded like a compromise to me, and so far we have made no compromises.

I had already asked the location owner, Stephanie, for another hour, which she was happy to give, so, knowing we had breathing room, I pulled Michael aside and we just discussed the issues at play and what needed to happen to get the shot. I asked him to re-think the setup, and gave him the time and freedom to completely re-light the scene from the ground up.

Rarely on an indie film are you in a position to relight a scene from scratch, and this is a great example of why I have pushed for an 18-day schedule from the get-go. 18-days for a film of this size is perfect! We can schedule 8-hour days, and if they go long we're only talking about a 10 or 11-hour day. So, it buys us some breathing room to tackle problems when they come up. Both yesterday and today we got out in 9.5 hours, even with all of the delays and problems.

So, I cleared the set, apologized to the actors and Michael relit the set. And in only 25 minutes, the shot was completely transformed! I'm serious, it was like he went in and just took an entirely different approach and NAILED IT! We walked away from that day truly happy.

And that's all I'm here for: to make sure Yen and Michael have the time and tools to do what they need to do to make their perfect film. If that happens, I'm on top of the world. Literally.

Michael Victor Roy - He's the Man of the Hour.

More to come. I'll let you all know how the scooter scenes go - they're tomorrow!



(Write a comment if you want! I like feedback. Do you want more details of the day-to-day? Set drama? Logistics? Pictures? I'll make it happen! -Jim)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ciao - DAY 1 & 2

Alessandro Calza as "Andrea."

We completed Day 1 with a few complications, but by the end of the day we were rockin-and-rollin'. Day 2 went wonderfully. Literally, we have made ZERO compromises up to this point, and if all goes well, I think I've planned this out to be that way throughout. It's obvious once one realizes that the big boys play by those rules: "Take the time to get it right." We tweak lights and run takes until the scene is DYNAMITE.

Adam Neal Smith ("Jeff") and Calza visit their friend's grave.

And it is INCREDIBLY HELPFUL to have David, our editor, on set cutting the footage togther as we shoot! We had 2 different continuity questions in regard to blocking on Day 1, and were able to shoot the rehearsal and cut it into the previous shot to ensure that everything was working. (I have suspicions that directors will lean on this "crutch" too much in the future, but think of how helpful this will be when filming action!)

Director Yen Tan watches over DP Michael Victor Roy's shoulder as he composes the shot in the cemetery.

We stole the cemetery yesterday morning wth no problems! In the 45 minutes we were there not one person came anywhere near us. (Which means I didn't have to use the "Dead Grandfather's Purple Heart" story, bless his soul.) The scene looks tremendous - Michelle has been on set taking digital stills, which you can see on this page.

This brings up a good point: it was extremely frustrating when I finished "Bloodshed" and realized I didn't have any production stills. Distributors require no less than 50 stills, and as an independent producer, it just makes sense to have those magic moments available for promotion.


There are sooooooo many magic moments even now. I am super sleepy and sorry I didn't write yesterday, but I promise to write daily from now on. OH, did I mention that they FINALLY gave us permission to shoot the airport scene!?!?! YES!!!! The "money shot" has been approved.