Sunday, October 21, 2012

Size Matters Except When It Doesn't

My all time favorite analogy for what it is like to work on a film project is from Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park 2. Basically, he says 'First there is the oohing and aahing. Later comes the running and the screaming.' This captures the arc of film making perfectly. And this is true no matter how big or small the shoot is. I hear stories from $150 million sets that make our losing a queen size mattress on the 405 freeway look like genius. Did you know that due to some logistical mix ups, the leads in Pirate's of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest had to wear wet costumes on more than one occasion? I don't mean the costumes got wet, and they had to stay in them. No, they were never cleaned and dried from being wet the day before. This means that Depp, Bloom and Knightley were in soggy duds. On the other side, I'm in forums with a number of web series producers who are reporting problems with SAG or problems with locations to problems with equipment that are the same as any fully budgeted shoot. When it comes to snafus, shoots cannot be judged by their size. However, size can matter a lot. How does that make sense? Read on.

Size and the Home PC

We were thrilled to get our groovy new Toshiba camera that records 1080p video and need minimal lights. What we hadn't thought about was just how big each file is and how that would impact the editing program. To saw that it did not run smoothly in Jon's editing program is an understatement and a half. It ran in a really jumpy manner – not good for finely editing scenes – and it clog the ram on the PC something fierce. I tried to run it in the editing program on my faster laptop, but that editing program (which is newer) had to convert it to a much lower rez to even run clips. Jon had to consult a film making forum he's in to find the answer. We needed a program to re-render all the clips to a lower resolution. He can do the edits on those and then cut the original clips by mating the time codes from the low rez edit. All of this finagling burned up a lot of time. Normally, it would only burn up a few hours. That wouldn't really matter a few years back. However, Jon now has a demanding day job, and we are working on a few other things at the same time. He doesn't have much more than a few hours a week to give Demonspawn. This surprise set us back at least a week. And that was right before Yaoi-con. Sigh. On the bright side, I really like the screen grabs on Jon's machine. I'll be putting some up throughout this blog. I only had time to grab a few this time around.

Size, Locations and Star Perks

While being too big was not ideal for editing, being too small is proving a bit problematic with locations which will impact our shooting schedule. Hangover 3 can close down a California Freeway. That shoot has the bucks to do that and weather the withering criticism of the most dangerous of Los Angeles creatures – an inconvenienced driver. We are too small to get my local library to close early on its shortest day of the week. The library and the groovy gazebo both have to be shot on a Sunday – and not the same Sunday. Some locations are only available mid-week when they are less busy. The sound stages are fine at the moment, but that could change on a dime if a bigger production wants the same space at the same time. Being small is definitely an issue in scheduling. All of my actors are professional and will fulfill their commitments to the production and work hard doing it. However, it's always best for set morale to make sure that actors are treated well while dealing with budget constraints. For instance, actor trailers or Honey Wagons are a great perk if the production can afford it. This gives them a place to be away from the shoot until they are needed and be comfortable. Good food is another perk that we will have at whatever budget level. I plan to get a good caterer that will follow us from location to location. Luckily, there is a lot of competition out here for Craft Services. There will be one that fits our budget. While I will not mention company names of our vendors and locations, I will post photos in this blog and in the info on the fund raising campaign on what the money is going for. In most cases, I can include photographs. And then, there are the scheduling considerations for the actors. Lower budgets means a higher level of consideration of an actor's schedules when we plan the shoot. They may have other commitments we'd have to keep in mind. Also, at that time of year, there are football playoffs and the Super Bowl to keep in mind. Our leads and the producers are avid football fans. It's less stressful for all of us, if the shooting schedule keeps these games in mind.

Size matters in so many things, except when it doesn't matter at all. No wonder there is a lot of running and screaming in the end.

Next time, I'll have a firm date for the release of the teaser trailer and the launch of the fund raising campaign. Also, there will be a preview of the podcast interviews.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Deb, I can soooo relate to that new fancy equipment that shoots a nice high resolution and then you crash your computer when you try to convert and run it after. I have been dealing with that too. I went from an 8 MP camera to an 18 MP camera and I filled up my hard drive in no time flat. I have nearly filled my terabyte drive after only 1 year. When we edit videos it is a nightmare because my Canon shoots beautiful video but the conversion of that video destroys the quality. Hopefully, you get that problem mastered ok. Love the new photos but I would wouldn't I. LOL. Can't wait to hear more about the production and a possible release date. Keep up the great work. Gooooo Pat's!!!!!!!!! Owen and I are fans but Garett likes that New York team. Booooooooooo. LOL.