Monday, April 30, 2007

Preproduction Postproduction And Brain Damage

I spent this last weekend masquerading as a filmmaker again, sort of. I was (officially) the behind-the-scenes videographer for my friend's production "We The Infallable." Mike Lawrence, my director buddy, who is also attending Columbia College, had to shoot his production 1 final. Unlike most projects that I have been a part of, or have heard about, Mike has run an incredibly tight ship, and has reinvigorated my faith in the world of Filmmaking.

That's not to say that the shoot was anything short of exhausting. We had a 17 hour day on friday finishing up preproduction. This involved a lot of moving tables and furniture and props around, and a whole lot of not actually being a "behind-the-scenes videographer" and a lot more of being a gopher and a peon. Saturday and sunday was the official production days.

He had organized a full cast and a full crew to shoot this short short. Being able to work on a semi-professional set, even as the annoying kid with the videocamera asking questions and taking notes, was quite an experience. It made me realize a lot of what I was missing in my filmmaking experience at LCC. It also made me realize that I am extremely happy being a writer. Being a director is a scary thing. Too much work, too much coordinating, especially if your producer is only marginally producing.

The general gist of We The Infallable is that the Devil is throwing a dinner party, and has invited six guests to break bread and sup with him. An Oil Tycoon, a Priest, a Politician, a Lawyer, a Young Millionare, and a Pornographer. At the real Last Supper Jesus said to his followers that "one of you will betray me." In "We The Infallable" the devil says to each of his honored guests that "everyone here will betray you." It's done in a very Kabuki style. Everything is very archetypical and very exaggerated but not parodied.

Mike kept talking about how he is excited about rattling chains with this story, and about making all these interesting and angering points. It occured to me on Sunday that what he is actually doing here is more Christian and more of a parable than what he thinks. He's created a very quintessential scene with very archetypical characters that we can understand and that we define as evil or as sinful and detrimental to society, and he has painted a picture using stories that we can understand and symbols that we can understand in order to make a point. I thought that was pretty interesting.

On Friday I pitched him my concept for this short story involving my diner world called "Interlude." He fell in love with it, and has optioned it to shoot next winter. Now that we are done with "We The Infallable" we are already entering preproduction for "Interlude." It occured to me today that I've done more "real" film work now than I ever did as a film major. We're aiming to shoot next winter.

I sent him an email with a bunch of attachments, covering the Interlude, other stories that take place in the diner, and a 10 page walk through of the diner so that he can get a feel of my vision. He sent the pitch to a Producer he met through a Practicum Film this year, hoping that the producer could suggest a possible Director of Photography. The producer, upon hearing the concept, offered to produce the film for Mike. This is exciting because the Practicum is pretty big time stuff over at Columbia. So as of now it seems that we have a writer a director, and more than likely a producer attached to the project. I'm going to continue posting updates here as I adapt the short story to film, and then definitely when we enter deeper into preproduction and post production.

The semester is almost over. Thank God. It feels like my brain is almost ready to seep out of my left ear. Just a little more push to make to get these heavy hits of homework done and then it is summer, and I can focus on what I want to.