Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Road Home/Weird Dreams and other stuff

November 17, 2008

I am home and this was a good tour. I spoke at a lot of new places and saw lots of old friends. The worst part of the tour was the 15 hour drive home from LA. I hit rain and even thick fog driving through the Siskiyous from Northern California in to Oregon. I almost hit a deer as I came around a corner. It was just standing there, looking like a deer in headlights… I missed it by about a foot.

I tell people all the time that touring can make you crazy, not just out on the road but when you come home as well. I got back to Portland late on a Saturday night after a final 15 hour drive from LA. I have been having trouble sleeping and getting used to the time zone again.

Last night I had two dreams...

Barack and Michelle Obama came over to my house (not my real house) and wanted to talk to me. We discussed where the kids should go to school and other family related things. We did talk for a few moments on issues of national importance and I happily offered my sage counsel. They both thanked me and I woke up.

It was just after 3 am. I used the bathroom and crawled back in to bed. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep.

I must have, because the next thing I know I was in a "Green Room" at Fox news waiting to be interviewed. We were going to be talking about my films. I was supposed to be live with the hosts, but they were suddenly concerned about having me with them so they asked me to plug in my lap top and I would do the interview from the "Green Room" via my computer. I told them I didn't feel good about not being able to see the hosts faces so that I could react to their "eye rolling and sarcasm" that I knew would be forth coming. They said that they would try and work it out. (I still have no idea who it was who would be interviewing me as I don't even know who is on Fox.)

I was receiving some good advice from my buddy Johnny Storholt who had apparently come with me. Johnny Storholt is a kid I grew up with but his Mother moved the family to the suburbs in the late 60's as she was concerned about the neighborhood and all of the hippies who were moving in. I haven't seen Johnny in at least 30 years. His advice seemed good.

As I am setting up my computer Susan Van Wechel, (I went to Church with Susan when I was a kid) and her daughter come in and sit down. Susan (who I haven't seen since I was 16 and I don't know if she even has a daughter), is there because her daughter is doing some sort of audition at Fox News later. Susan also informs me that someone at my former church (I was raised Baptist) had heard all about my film The Gas Cafe and has built a web site telling people to avoid that film and all of my other films because they are blasphemous! I told her I thought that was great.

Then I woke up.

Now maybe people will believe me when I say that when I come back off of a tour I need to be left alone to try and get my head back to normal.

God only knows what I will dream tonight...

It is good to be home and try to decompress. Moses hurt his leg jumping out of the van towards the end of the tour so he is taking it real easy.

I did a short interview in Madison, WI which I will eventually be posting to my own site, but catch it here for now, http://www.viodi.tv/2008/10/17/angryfilmmaker/

I will be writing next week about more film related stuff. Bear with me as I return to my proper time zone.

Other Stuff…

I am now working with a new publisher and hope to have my book available before Christmas. Keep an eye out for it.

I will also be making my work books available for down loading. For those of you who don't know about the work books, they offer all sorts of helpful hints and things to remember during Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production. There are now 6 of them. Check them out at, www.angryfilmmaker.com/buy.htm

I want to thank my tour sponsors Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com). All great people, all great companies.

If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you need to do it.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling pretty well. You can find them at, www.angryfilmmaker.com, and at Film Baby.

Talk later.



Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Tour is Almost Over, Scheduling and other stuff

November 2, 2008

I am finishing up the tour and it has been a great one! Thank you all for your support. I am tired, but it has all been worth it. I am in Houston and I’ll be in San Antonio on Monday. That is my last stop, and then I am hitting Phoenix and LA on my way home for some meetings, and to see a couple of old friends. I’ll be home next weekend if all goes well. Let’s just hope the weather gods are smiling and I have decent weather all the way home.

The one thing that continues to stand out on my tours is how hung up people are about being on the set. Filmmakers still seem to think that if you’re not on the set, then you’re not making a movie. They don’t see the importance of Pre-Production.

I always say that the most important part of filmmaking is Pre-Production. If you take you time and do it right you save lots of money on your film, and things go much smoother. In my mind, this is the most important stage in making a film.

I am surprised how many people don’t know how to number a script, break out prop lists, and schedule a shoot. I am always being asked how long does it take to shoot a scene, like there is a magic formula. There isn’t. Every scene is different, depending on location, lighting, are there camera moves and what is the mood of the scene?

How tough is this for the actors? Is it a really emotional scene?

Let’s talk a bit about scheduling…

Never put the final scene, big climactic scenes, or any love scenes early in your shooting schedule if you can avoid it. These scenes are always tough to shoot from an acting standpoint. There's nothing worse than throwing two actors into a love scene early on, and saying, "Okay, take your clothes off in front of strangers and start making love!" It's not going to be a very good scene. Also, if a couple of characters are going to have a major fight with each other, give them time to get into rhythm and character on the set before you demand that they emote their brains out.

Your crew is still getting to know how each other works, and you haven't set up a good working pace yet. Get the cast and crew comfortable with each other before the really tough scenes.

Don't be afraid to have a "closed" set when doing intense scenes. By "closed," I mean only the people who are absolutely necessary. Get other cast and crew members away from where you're actually shooting. You don't want any extra distractions for your actors while they're working on a scene that is uncomfortable for them. This usually happens with love scenes or anything with nudity. Just close the set. Your actors will thank you. Sometimes people not in the scene will be pissed. That's okay, any cast or crew person who gets pissed about a closed set because of nudity shouldn't be there in the first place.

On big movies, other people always do the script breakdown. Assistant directors, some producers or production coordinators. Well, you can't afford that. So get used to doing it yourself. I always work with my DP (Randy Timmerman) because from a photographic standpoint, he knows how long it's going to take to light and shoot various scenes, how fast his crew can move, and what scenes can be lumped together for efficiency. Randy has a great feel for this sort of thing. I keep in mind the order of the scenes, and how tough they will be on the cast, I want to get the most out of the actors. Start small and work up as everyone gets more comfortable working together.

The best way to figure this out is to make short films first. Making short films gives you the experience to know how long it will take to shoot scenes. And most of the time you never figure it out perfectly. Then you adjust your schedule as you shoot. If you are working with an experienced DP, AD, or Production Manager have them work with you on the schedule. And listen to them.

We’ll talk more about scheduling at some other time, I need to get back on the road.

Don’t forget to VOTE!

Other stuff…

I will be posting some Holiday Specials soon on my web site so keep your eyes open for that. The work books are selling very well, isn’t it time you picked up a couple?

Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com) is a sponsor on this tour. If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you need to do it. They are a great group of people dedicated to helping you get your films out. Also check out my other sponsors, Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com). All great people and great companies.

The first two Workshop DVDs are up on my site, www.angryfilmmaker.com, (and Film Baby’s). They are selling pretty well out here on the road.

See you on the road.

Talk later.