Tag Archives: film links

You like me! You really like me!

11 Apr , 2009,
Chip Street
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2 comments

I started taking acting classes every Sunday a few weeks ago. No plans to be an actor (it would be cool, but that’s not my goal). I’m doing it to inform my writing, and to make me a better actors’ director. The instructor, Ralph Peduto (site here), is a local pro, and a friend of mine. It’s been a lot of fun (and instantly humbling — so much more appreciation for my actors — not that I didn’t already appreciate).

Anyways, Ralph was kind enough to let me know about a local audition for an upcoming commercial. I was unsure, but decided the experience would be valuable (I find that most are). So I went for it just the other day.

Got the call today — landed the part! I play the inventor of the micro-chip, Jack Kilby. Not a speaking role, btw. Which is probably why I got it. :P

I’m so stoked. Looking forward to the shoot next Friday. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks, Ralph!

Last House On The Left (1972)

2 Apr , 2009,
Chip Street
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Just like with Night Of The Living Dead, I felt I had to see Last House cuz it gets such rave reviews from horror fans as an important genre film.

Just like with Night Of The Living Dead, I won’t spend too much time on it. In fact, I’ll spend less.

Lame.

Sorry. Yeah, I know, it broke new ground and opened creative doors yadda yadda yadda.

What a waste of time. No story. Badly directed. Laughable acting. God, was it edited by Helen Keller? It’s billed as the “story of what happens to bad guys when the victim’s parents trap them in their house” (to paraphrase), but that part comes in the last four or five minutes, after essentially watching a snuff film.

Whatever. Blegh. There’s 72 minutes that felt like 4 hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

If I had a Nicholl for every screenplay contest I've entered…

25 Mar , 2009,
Chip Street
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one comments

I’ve done lots of poking around and by and large the people who should know these things say that the Nicholl Fellowship is the gold standard. It’s run by the Oscars (which is also the source of one of my favorite reputable screenplay format documents – PDF) and it’s got the best track record for providing a real boost to the careers of folks who make into final rounds, not to mention winners.

And now it’s time for the 2009 submissions! Hurry, you’ve got till May 1st 2009.

Sundance Screenwriters Lab also has a great reputation.

I’ve heard some good things about Bluecat — they offer written analysis for every script, which may just be worth the price of submission.

One other consideration is the genre contest… a good friend won the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuThon Screenplay Contest 2008 (whew!) and while the niche is very specific, the fanbase of said niche is dedicated. Jeff Palmer’s “The Sleeping Deep” screenplay has gained some well deserved attention (and it’s little known that his winning version was a first draft) and now he’s on to shooting a trailer to generate more interest in mounting a production. So if your screenplay fits a niche genre, the benefits of a lesser-known niche contest may be worth considering.

Beyond that, tread carefully. While the contests may be legit (and no, they aren’t all legit), the point is that you want your win/place/show to add perceived value or legitimacy to your script. If nobody’s heard of the contest, how’s that gonna help?

Making Arrangements – Day Six Plus

18 Jan , 2008,
Chip Street
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So it’s all in the can.

The rest is all about editing, sound and music.

Jay Kensinger is our editor. He did a manly job juggling this project, prepping for another film (he’s got one of his own in prepro right now) and launching his new band “Isadora’s Scarf”. Consequently, getting to a final edit was a challenge and took longer in calendar days than we’d hoped, but eventually we got it locked.

Jay’s work on the composited shot of Gina getting hit by the truck is perfect… still makes people jump.

The sound we got on location was great… some balancing of course, but we didn’t have to loop anything, so that’s good.

And the music! Man, did we score on that account. Jay himself is a musician, and created an couple of instrumental themes. Plus, as I’ve mentioned one of our stars Gina Marie is a musician herself, and is married to Greg Camp of Smashmouth fame (All Star and Walkin’ on the Sun, anyone?). Greg is newly solo, and was readying a new album for release, but was able to allow us rights to some of his work, as well as some of Gina’s.

  • Wrong
  • Down With You
  • Right Side, Wrong Bed
  • Pucker

So we’ve got a world class soundtrack for our little film.

Nice work, everyone! It was a great experience. A great crew. We finished on time or early every day. And nobody had a tantrum! The writer is happy, the actors are happy, I’m happy. Wish they all went this way.

EPILOGUE

Arrangements” was accepted to, and premiered at, the Santa Cruz Film Festival in 2008. Since then its “ownership” is a little shaky as the organization that produced it, Cinemar, has kind of folded its tent. But the film’s been submitted to a few other fests, and we have hopes that it’ll get seen again.

The trailer was completed and is posted on the site. It’s not the trailer I’d outlined, but it works okay. Someday, in all our spare time, maybe we’ll cut a new one.

Making Arrangements – Day Five

30 Nov , 2007,
Chip Street
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No Comments

Time for pickups. All shot MOS, just a few of us required… here’s what we needed.

It’s important to me to establish “Bill” and “Cassie”‘s marriage as a healthy one… Bill makes some questionable ethical decisions, and it’s important that those are weighed against a good relationship, not mitigated by a troubled one. No time to add more scenes to the story, so I wanted some shots for the opening title sequence… kind of “home movie” looking shots of them walking around a pond, feeding ducks, chatting and laughing. We shot around a local pond, and along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz… ending on a nice shot of them looking off into the sunset.

Also needed a shot of Kayla’s purse flying into the air, to cut into the car hit shot. Really wanted a close shot, SLOMO, against blue sky… keys and cards flying out. It’s both a stylish impact shot, and a plot point shot… we’ve got a shot of her “organ donor card” lying on the ground splattered with blood. I wanted to see it fly out of the purse to set that up. We stood in the park, surrounded by onlookers, as I threw the purse into the air repeatedly while Matthew hand-held the shot. Took quite a few tries to keep it in frame, but we finally got a usable shot. Not exactly what I wanted, but close enough to work. Next time I’ll put it on a lazy susan against a green screen or something.

We’ve got the party scene in the can: Bill throws himself a “goodbye” party once he gets the news. We had two huge banners that read “SO LONG BILL” but for various reasons they didn’t really read in the wide shots, and we didn’t get inserts. So I wanted a “collage” poster, a “BON VOYAGE BILL” sign with old photos of him through childhood and adulthood. We set it up on a tripod at the park against a backdrop of bushes, and it’ll cut in fine with the party footage.

That was all we needed, I think (as memory serves). That’s it for shooting. Now it’s on to editing. You’ve got the ball, Jay. :)