Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Yin and Yang of Delays

If you read any of my other blogs, you will note that this one is stripped of everything personal. It's been all about the web series or indie filmmaking. I figure that our donors and future viewers aren't really interested in our personal problems. Everyone has many of their own to worry about. And I agree with that. However, sometimes the health of someone on a project's cast or key crew becomes an issue in whether or not that project can continue. For example, the cancer that impacted the leads for Dexter and Spartacus. Health issues are amplified as problems when the cast and crew are so very small.

I am a survivor of a rare cancer of the appendix. Current stats contend that a diagnosis like mine is one in a million in cancer patients. The upside of such a rare cancer is that it is of great interest to a teaching hospital. Thus, I got and continue to get excellent care. The downside is that I'm studied like a lab rat. Every six months, I undergo a battery of tests to make sure I'm cancer free. This go around, some 'oddities' were found in my CT scan of the abdomen and in my mammogram (they make sure to test for everything). The results of those oddities has been more tests, including needle biopsies on both breasts. Each one left me almost incapacitated for a week. And every extra test left me a nervous wreck. Meanwhile, Jon is rushed to the ER twice in six weeks with excruciating pain in his side. Turns out, he has kidney stones. Though not life threatening, the attacks left Jon exhausted physically and mentally. This was especially true of the second as it really aggravated his his kidney. For at least two weekends in the last six, we've been forced to just stay still and completely rest. Since weekends are when we work on Demonspawn, that means we've fallen behind our current schedule.

What could possibly be the upside of that sort of delay, you ask? Well, one of the really important scenes we were writing that fit our budget yet was still exciting takes place in a location that no one we knew had access to. We didn't even know anyone that had access to a location that we could make look like the location we really wanted. The delay has resulted in someone very close to us having access to the perfect location when we shoot. It was almost kismet!

Speaking of Delays

Meanwhile, a year ago, our producing partner approached me about helping him schedule and budget an indie film for a writer he'd met on a shoot. Scheduling is a skill set that I learned after someone tried to charge me 10,000 to do one. As I recall, I laughed derisively, hung up the phone on him and fired up Google. I had an advantage of having done a feature schedule the old fashioned way – cardboard strips with each scene written on it along with codes for the rest of the elements in the scene (and then manually arranged them). It was easy to learn how to make the scheduling software work after going through something like that. Since that summer, I've scheduled dozens of films. I can now tell by just reading a script what the minimum number of shoot days would be. Anyway, we helped work on the development of the film a while ago and even agreed to work on it. At the time, we didn't think the shoots would interfere with each other in any way. Many delays later, the shoot is nigh and they still want me to continue to work on it. And not just me, half our cast may be working on it as well at some point. Our current plan is to try to shoot it during this film's pre-production in May or directly after that one wraps. What is the upside of twice the work? First, this film is a big lot of fun. Second, it's be great just to be in the habit of running a shoot. We'd have something like a running start. And third, I think we can lure some of the film's cast and/or acquire some of its assets. This would be most exciting to any fan of genre Sci-fi. And that's all I can really give away.

The upshot to all of this is that we are all much better physically, and we will have a script ready for a table read in another week or two. By then, I will also be able to reveal what this mystery film is as well. We really appreciate your patience and understanding and so does the cast and crew.