preproduction: week 5 casting

the producer set up the auditions for 6/10 sunday 9am to 5pm. we rented a space at studio-stage in hollywood. i was lucky enough to have 5 people help me: 2 people to sign people in, 1 to run the camera, 1 to read with the actors, and 1 to observe.

out of a couple thousand headshots, we narrowed it down to about 120 people. out of the 120 actors we picked, about 75 showed up for the auditions. that’s still a lot of people to see in one day. we set them up in 5 minute intervals. they would come in, read the sides, i’d give them an adjustment, and then we’d do it again. if there wasn’t a long wait outside, i had them try some improv.
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preproduction: week 4 review

this was a busy week!

– i had a casting notice on nowcasting, and the producer also put up notices on breakdown express and LA casting. there were thousands of submissions.

– i revised the script and sent it to some friends and got positive feedback. once i rehearse with the actors, i know i’ll have to make more revisions. hearing your script out loud is not the same thing as reading it, so there might be issues with rhthym and pacing, or some parts might be awkward to say. also, the actors might have better suggestions.

– we found a place to hold auditions – studio stage in hollywood. we scheduled auditions for sunday june 10, 9am – 5pm.
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preproduction: week 3 review

– the rep at SAG called me back about the internet agreement. he said i basically just need to get the actors to sign it and that’s it. SAG just wants consent because some actors are ok with being shown at film festivals but some don’t want to be online. the rep said there is no fee for the internet agreement, and it keeps changing so i should wait until after i shoot before getting them to sign it.

– i changed my casting notice from non-union to SAG short film agreement, and i received many more submissions!

– i found a potential place to hold casting calls. if you go to craigslist, you should be able to find places for around $100/day. film independent also rents casting rooms but they’re not open on weekends and the la film fest is coming up so i’m not sure how that affects their schedule.
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preproduction: week 2 review

– my office said i can shoot my film there over the weekend. i’m very excited because that was one of my biggest concerns for this film. they haven’t signed the location release yet, but it looks like i have my office location set.

– i briefly entertained the idea of shooting the film myself, but i decided i would hire a proper DP.

– i posted an ad on mandy for a DP, but i got a response from a producer who was interested in collaborating with me on the short film.

– i want to work with SAG actors. SAG has free monthly workshops explaining their different agreements, but i realized that the next one (6/14) would be too late for me because you have to start the paperwork one month before you shoot. i want to shoot the weekend of 7/7 so i have to start my paperwork by 6/7 at the latest. i decided i’d just read over the contracts and call them with any questions i had.
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preproduction: week 1 review

i’m starting my next movie! i’m feeling a mixture the panic and doubt (why am i going to put myself through this again), and also excitement (yay i get to do this again).

here’s what i did this week:

– i made a rough schedule for my film.

schedule

– worked on my script. it’s still not finished but the structure is all laid out. at this point i’m mostly polishing and working on the timing.

– started thinking about locations. i have 2 main locations, an office with cubicles, and a doctor’s office. i think the office of the company where i work would be a great location. i have to ask someone to see if they’d let me shoot over a weekend.

– posted my casting notice on nowcasting.com.
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idea set, preproduction begins

this weekend, my goal was to choose one of two ideas i had for my next short. after thinking about it some more and and reviewing the feedback i got from friends, i decided to go for the disease story as opposed to the superhero story.

i wrote a very rough draft of the script and it comes in at 6 pages, and would like to keep the final script under 8 pages if possible. but before i even finish the script, i need to start thinking of production.

first, schedule. i want to shoot end of june/early july. that gives me 6 weeks of preproduction before i shoot. i got stressed out just writing that last sentence.

second, budget. my last short was funded by atomfilms, but this one will be paid for out of my own pocket. i have to decide how much i’m willing to spend, and how i will spend that money.
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my day at the newport beach fest

so i went down to the newport beach film festival on 4/21.

i got there at 10am to see a panel of screenwriting. there were 5 writers there, including Steve Oedekerk who wrote Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty, and Jeff Arch who wrote Sleepless In Seattle. during the q+a, someone asked how a total beginner should get started. jeff said you collect a bunch of ideas but at some point you have to structure it, and he said it helps to think of a movie as twelve 10 minute movies. steve said what he does is first he just writes down all the parts of the story he likes, the fun stuff that got him excited to write the movie in the first place. and then later, he’ll structure things out.
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outputting final cut to digibeta

i needed to get my film on digibeta for the exhibition copy of the newport beach film festival. i called one place and it would have cost about $200 – $300, plus $60 for the actual digibeta tape itself.

luckily a friend of mine works at an animation studio and had access to their digibeta deck, and offered to output it for me. great! except i’ve never done it before, so we ran into some issues.

i used final cut on my imac, but their company has no macs, only windows machines. my friend said i needed to get her the files as an image sequence plus a wav file to make sure they could read my files.
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