Tuesday 28 September 2010

The Shoot - Day Five - 25.09.2010

I should start by saying that it's a bit strange to still be writing these shoot blogs. The plan, as we'd sold it to everyone that auditioned and in the initial ad, was two weekends of shooting. The 14/15th August and the 4/5th September - with possibly an extra day dropped in there somewhere for the wraparound scenes (the only scenes that don't actually take place in the field/park).

After the first weekend killed the crew, we knew that another weekend, whilst working full time jobs, just wasn't going to happen. The problem wasn't just the shoot but all the things that had to happen around it - the one that will be forever mentioned is the charging of the camera batteries...

So we were going to move one day out of that weekend, to the following one. Which we did. And we stuck to that shoot (well, half of it anyway as an actor pulled out). The day that were going to stick on I believe got moved twice because of pull outs and relative difficulty to recast.

We eventually shot that day's work Saturday just gone.

First off, this blog, as everyone that was there that day will already guess, is going to be quite negative. So, I want to get the positive stuff out of the way first.

The two actors in this scene were great - we were hit by a pretty major problem that I'll get to shortly, and as I told them on the day, I'm so glad we had who we had because they turned the whole experience into a laugh a minute and I really loved every second of working with them.

I always maintained to my producers on this that in casting, I was looking for acting ability as well as looking at whether I could spend a considerable amount of time with these people. Obviously, this was something we could vet in the auditions for the leads (not to worry guys that landed the parts - you were, honestly, my first choice as far as ability went) but not so much in the video auditions that we held for the other parts.

Though we'd only dealt with everyone else via email, it was clear to see that everyone else was really cool and into the project so I had nothing to worry about but without actually meeting them, you can never be 100%.

So yeah, you guys totally made the day for me and if I ever have any more 'trouble' shoots - I hope you're there with me!

Another positive is that the whole thing is starting to work a lot better now - I personally have hit a comfort/confidence level and am feeling extremely proud of what we're pulling off. I'm now confident enough to jump straight in and set up - it's definitely getting easier.

I think one thing we could all agree on was it was freezing! I couldn't believe how cold it was out there - especially as I managed to get sunburned by the end of it! There's a few takes where the camera's wobbling because I'm freezing so bad and I just couldn't wait for the take to end so i could try and warm myself up. Fun little bit of trivia actually - we shoot in the same place that we shot with the leads but you'd never know because of the cut grass and the fact that it's green there now!

And one last funny thing - one of our scAIRcrows lunged towards a passing kid. As this kid walked past, the scAIRcrow fell over, falling towards, but not on, the kid. If he grows up with an irrational fear of scarecrows - we'll know why if the poor child himself doesn't!

Now, I will choose my words carefully here. The day was spoilt by an actor not showing up. Not the shoot or what will end up in the film. We've even thrown in a nice little nod to the actor - when everyone watches the scene, I hope they laugh! We did! It's all about turning something negative into something positive and I love what we've done to address the non appearance of the actor, and, by turn, the character. Remember to keep an eye out for it in the finished film!

I won't name names as it's unprofessional but I will recount the series of events that occurred up to and on the day.

First off, the scene in the script is very big. Very ambitious. When we first experienced drop outs, we rescheduled once I think before we decided to cut the scene back a bit. So between dealing with actors dropping out and rescheduling days, we cut two characters out of the scene, leaving three.

When we analysed the scene, the two parts that we cut were fairly thankless and to be honest, it wasn't much of a surprise that people were having second thoughts about them. So we decided that we could make the scene stronger by concentrating the focus. And with three characters instead of five, that was easier to achieve.

We still had to re advertise the third part after another actor unfortunately couldn't make that day. We did that very quickly with the ad going up exactly a week before shooting. So we knew we had to act fast on this.

Somehow, we managed to pull it together in time with us deciding on an actor based on his apparent enthusiasm.

This is what confuses me the most about this - in the run up, we had various email exchanges, including one crucially stating that I was about to pay for the permit and insurance for the day and I needed solid confirmation because of this. That was fine so I went ahead and dropped £300 to make the shoot official. I will admit that the one thing we did do was change the meeting point the Friday night before the Saturday of the shoot but it was on the same tube line, one stop down. So really, it just necessitated staying on the train another two mins. And even if he had gone to the other tube station, I would have met him there anyway but in interests of full disclosure, should I get contacted by him about this, I want to be fair.

So Saturday morning, the other two get there before the meeting time and so we're just waiting for this third actor, who I'll call Three from now on.

I get a call from Three at the meeting time, expecting him to be looking out for us or, at the worst, at the other station (even though he'd confirmed via email that he'd seen the location change). Instead, I get a question. The question was, what time are we shooting? It's a question I'll never understand because even if it took an hour to start up from the meeting time, I told everyone to meet me at that time - I wasn't being malicious to the other two (they do have names - sorry guys - Richard and Miranda) by making them meet me at ten whilst Three could have another two hours in bed. I said we were planning to shoot straight away but we thought we needed him so I said we could wait if you could let me know how long it'd take to get there. He said two hours and I had to be okay with that.

What bugged the most about this was that Richard and Miranda showed up on time and it was an insult to them who'd given up their Saturday morning lie in to work on this crazy little film. I can live with people not having respect for me but I can't hack it when I've got other people involved with something and, by proxy, I've let them down. I can even let go of the fact that I very nearly wasted £300 but I don't want to waste anyone's time and goodwill. Unlike others I guess who patently don't care.

I must stress that this is not a misunderstanding or, if it is, Three has made no attempt to alleviate my suspicion. I'll get to the reasons why...

So, we make our way to the location and I had a brief word with Rich and Miranda about the scene though I really wanted to read through the scene with everyone so that we had the scene down before shooting as no-one had met each other/rehearsed etc.

About an hour later, I call Three. Or at least I thought I was calling Three. No. Turns out that the phone he called me from didn't even belong to him, it belonged to Dave. Dave told me that he couldn't see Three on the internet (?) so he must be on his way to the shoot. He also let me know that Three wasn't feeling well and gave me Three's actual number. I find it incredibly hard to believe that Dave had no idea where Three was considering Three had used his phone an hour before - they were clearly occupying the same space! I should also mention the whole 'not feeling well' thing - when Three called me from Dave's phone at ten, he didn't sound well but it was clearly through some some afflicted method.

So, at that point, it's starting to look ropey but to us at the time, it still seemed like he was en route so all might be well.

Maybe about 45 mins later, I call Three's number as given to me by Dave. The phone kept going straight to voicemail. Dave had mentioned that Three didn't have any credit - one thing I assumed a 'professional' actor would need was instant access to a phone but what do I know?

But through all of this, we thought, well, he said he could be there at twelve so Wayne left the set to be at the station at the rescheduled time. He returned on his own. My guess? The guy passed out shortly after speaking to me at ten. Again, in the interests of fairness, I should state that all our phones were off for shooting as they were interfering with the audio but I was constantly checking AND we didn't start shooting until Wayne returned at something like half twelve so if Three had arrived later - there wasn't anything we could do about that but when I checked my phone during breaks, I had no voicemails or text messages.

But, for anyone that may think I'm being harsh, what happened next, or didn't happen is the most telling thing. And this is why I can quite confidently say that the guy is a waste of space with no respect for others. I appreciate that things can go wrong, for all the other pull outs we've had - even the ones at 3am the day of the shoot, I've accepted them and not gone into one like this. Things can unfortunately happen. And if his mother got taken ill or something similar, of course I'll understand. And I'd also accept that getting back to me might not be the first thing on your mind. I fully get that and this is the thing that irritates me - if you know me, you'll know I'm the most reasonable guys going. I expect that not everyone's going to be on my page. I expect things to go wrong. But, even if the worst thing in the world happened to you, something that was so devastating that you weren't physically or emotionally able to let someone you'd made commitments with know you couldn't make it - would you let them know as soon as you were able? Or would you go into Facebook and delete the director as a friend and remove the film as a 'like'? Yep. I've yet to hear from Three but he still had time to do those two things. Which speaks volumes. And that's why I KNOW I'm right on this one. If he wants to reply to this and try and justify himself, fine. But I don't think anything can explain how deleting us from Facebook came before a quick note to say you were sick etc. So yes, I call BS and will forever more. Thanks! Funny thing as well - a quick internet search on the dude suggests that I'm not the first person that he's done this to and I'm tempted to contact one of the directors to get their version of their misadventures with Three.

Apologies for the long winded and fairly long piece there but this blog is about sharing everything on the production, good or bad. And as I mentioned earlier, I gave no names, so no foul.

This did spark another thought in my head but I think it deserves a seperate blog - something I will get up quickly whilst this one is still fresh in everyone's minds.

Richard and Miranda - sorry you had to share your blog with a waster - as I said, you guys were awesome, I haven't laughed as much as I did Saturday in ages and I really enjoyed just sitting around with you guys, lamenting the absence of Three. Thank you so much for everything you put in. From dealing with the no show and the subsequent rejig of the scene (I forgot to mention that earlier - the scene was ever so slightly adjusted but not as much as you'd think) to arctic conditions. It should've been the worst shoot day of the entire production but you guys saw to that!

Jenny and Wayne - very, very nearly there! Thanks again!

And an unexpected mention - but a worthy one. A while back, me and a few others met a magician (I'm loathe to say that word as I know he does quite a bit more) who we really liked and met again when we booked him for a party. When I wrote this script, I wanted it to be fun and silly and meeting the magician, Robert Bone, was fresh in mind at the time (I was actually probably about a day or two away from committing the script to paper). So I felt inspired to throw a magician or wannabe magician into the film and have a magic trick somehow be part of his death. Rob, you inspired this scene, character and his demise and for that, you deserve a mention! For more info on Robert Bone, visit his website: http://www.robertbone.co.uk/

So - photos should be live by the time this goes up - check them out!

And don't forget that we're still running the poll to decide what sandwich a character asks for in the film! Go here to have your say: http://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/poll.php?pid=1284882628

I'll be back with a different blog in the next day or two.

Until then remember that if they fly, you die...

Sunday 19 September 2010

The Shoot - Day Four - 18.09.2010

Didn't really mention much about this before it happened but we shot a scene on Saturday. The reason why it hadn't been mentioned was that the scene didn't even exist until about 11.30pm Wednesday evening.

It was written in to add a bit more fun to the film before we drop into the stuff with the leads and also as a scene setter - we get a tiny bit more of a feel for the entire location with this scene which I think's a good thing, it gives a sense of how big the place is and so, if trouble arises, it isn't going to be easy to escape it.

We used this scene as an opportunity to throw a couple of things in that we wanted to but couldn't fit in the script as it stood. Wayne, the sound man, is in a Smith's tribute band called The Citizen Smiths (I video their gigs). We'd discussed throwing the band into it somehow in the original script and there was a line where it seemed this could happen though, when reading the entire scene through, it didn't make much sense and so had to be left out. But this time, I was adamant about getting it in there and so we did! So when you hear them mentioned in the film now, you'll at least know who they are (which puts you in a better position than the character in the scene - that's insider knowledge for you!). Anyway, check 'em out at http://www.thecitizensmiths.co.uk/ and maybe even drop by to their next gig! You'll get to see a great band and have a chat about scAIRcrows at the same time!

Then there's the interactive thing - yes, it does seem slightly silly and ineffectual but how many films give you the opportunity to have a say in the final product? When the character Erroll ends up asking for the sandwich that you voted for, imagine the pride that you'll feel - it'll be almost as if you wrote it yourself! It's a great idea and something I might keep in mind for future projects (as long as it was in tone with the film obviously).

I suppose the third thing we did with this scene was bring in an actor we really wanted to work with. I mentioned last week that Blue Jigsaw's video wowed us - so did our actor's in this scene, Merry Fotso. Merry's video was a bit of a breath of fresh air after watching countless videos where actors were literally reading the lines off camera. He did something different and it instantly stood out. We knew we really wanted to work with him but just didn't know where to put him as the film had been fully cast at that point. As I got the idea to write in another scene, we all knew we had to offer it to Merry and Merry thankfully accepted.

I'm really glad he did because this could have been a very difficult scene if the actor didn't get and embrace the tone that we were going for with it. Luckily Merry was more than up for it - throwing his own ideas in and putting up with my last second line changes. We didn't even mention the interactive scene until we were actually shooting it! There were many points where all of us, Merry included, just couldn't stop laughing.

Suffice to say, we had more than a little fun that shoot but still got down to business - the plan is to lay the credits over this scene, we cut to the title of the film and then right into the stuff with the leads. We'll see how it ends up looking but that's the idea anyway.

Anyway - photos from the shoot are up on Facebook and flickr - we took about 70 but I omitted quite a few as, again, I don't want to give away too much. The pictures of Merry on the phone - that was part of the scene! You can find the links to these by visiting http://www.scaircrows.com

A big thank you to Merry - you were there before we were and jumped into it literally five minutes later. There were a few points where you did more than what I expected you to do and it'll just add to the film - I can think of one shot in particular that will just look really cool and unusual and definitely will make the location seem further out than it actually is! And, apart from all that - you really 'got' it and made the experience so enjoyable for us all. It was a pleasure having you be part of team scAIRcrows.

Getting bored of thanking you both Jenny and Wayne! You know it's appreciated and this film's as much yours as it is mine. Very, very nearly there!

Next blog might be a few days off - there's a bit of production work to do! Will still throw quick updates into Twitter etc. And if you haven't voted for Erroll's sandwich yet - do so post haste! Let your voice be heard here http://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/poll.php?pid=1284882628

scAIRcrows wish you a good night.

scAIRcrows Is Interactive

Fun news - we've managed to sneak an interactive element into scAIRcrows.

I can't take credit for the idea - that was Wayne's, our soundman on this film. But I thought it was such a great idea and just gives me another way of getting people involved and interested in the film - a reason to draw people to the site and Facebook etc...

It came about as we were due to be working with an actor (Merry Fotso) whose audition video for us featured a sandwich. As the actor was game for this - we decided we'd do a poll for the film.

In this scene, Merry's character orders a sandwich.

Now - you have the ability to choose what sandwich Merry orders!

I will be posting a poll on Facebook in the next hour or so and that's how we'll come to the ultimate decision but in the meantime, these are the choices:

Cheese and pickle
Tuna mayo
Turkey club

We're leaving the final choice to you, the potential audience. I will leave this poll open right up until the film's finished - this will be one of the last things I cut in, just so we get in as many votes as possible.

The scene has now been shot so this will actually happen!

I will post the link shortly - get voting!

Friday 17 September 2010

General Status

Last time I said there were lots of things going on - it's actually a strange thing but as we're getting further along in production, things are 'developing' more.

The best example of this is, on Wednesday I wrote a new draft of the script. Yes, with 21 pages of a 27 page script shot, I am somehow still writing! Well, the script isn't actually 27 pages anymore - it's longer.

A few things have happened that have dictated this - some logistical but really, what I'm finding is that I'm seeing things that can play on what we already have. I have no barometer for crazy/randomness as I think the scAIRcrows script is 'normal' when it probably isn't. But seeing the footage of what we've shot now makes me realise we need to punch up the remaining scenes because the juxtaposition of the stuff with the leads and everyone else is brilliant - I love how different the scenes come across and I want to make sure both parts of the film inhabit their own world whilst still obviously conforming to the script.

That could possibly be very vague - it just means we're ramping up the craziness. There's nothing major going on, just a few new lines here and there etc with the exception of one new scene that I think will gently introduce the audience to the world of scAIRcrows.

So yeah, for all intents and purposes, the film will end up being 95% of what my very first draft was, we're just playing with it a bit!

We've had a few problems with scheduling actors recently. Unfortunately, these things do happen and for everyone that's had to pull out for whatever reason - we wish you the very best. In a strange sort of way, I'm happy that it's happened in a way. Not in the sense that we've had to reschedule actors (more than once in a few cases I believe) but just because everything was running too smoothly - it's a nice wake up call and forces you to not be complacent. If we got to the end of this and nothing had happened, I would think there's something wrong...

I continue to dip in and out of editing but I don't think we're seriously going to dent it until shooting's all done - just planning the shoots are so time consuming. I would just hate to think how many hours have gone into the making of this film. From me coming up with the idea to writing it, the meetings, auditions, shooting, editing, these blogs - I realise now why I seem a lot more tired than I used to! I want nothing more than to have this finished but it's just going to take it's time. I originally projected a sometime November finish and I think that's still a realistic finish point. Hopefully. At least it's actually happening anyway - the film is actually being made!

Something interesting happening in the next week - we begin scoring or at least searching for what the 'sound' of the film should be. We have nearly two finished scenes and we're just going to start playing about with them as far as music goes. A lot of discussion has gone into what the score for the film should sound like. I'm adamant that we don't have any metal type music in the action sequences. Whilst it's not terrible - it's just an idea that's overdone and I think, there's a world of music out there. My initial thoughts are that it should sound something like the Cabin Fever score - check it out, to my ear, it isn't a typical score but works really well. Or something like the music in the original Last House On The Left. There's plenty of ways to go with it and I look forward to seeing what we come up with. I hope though that when it's eventually out there to be heard, it'll be fairly atypical. Who knows!

About me personally, having shot the scene with Blue Jigsaw and edited a good bunch of it, I'm feeling much more confident as a filmmaker now. I've picked up things and learnt lessons and I genuinely believe I'm getting better every new day we get out there. I've said it before but this is now starting to look like the exact kind of film that I'd watch myself so I do feel as though I'm doing myself proud here. And I hope that if I do genuinely feel this way about the film, it'll come across and other people will appreciate it. I say that because I'll fully admit that I wrote this for myself. Yeah, I knew people would obviously watch it but I didn't give one thought to structuring things for an audience - I just wrote what I wanted to see. Now, that might be the right way of doing it - I don't know but I know the kinds of films I watch, not a lot of people have seen them (go back to the inspirations blog and tell me how many of those films you've seen). And that was a worry for scAIRcrows - that it could go unappreciated. It's still a worry but hope and think that the effort going into this is on the screen and that translates into a fun little film! I think it's brilliant but I would say that!

I mentioned it on Twitter but thought it worth mentioning here too. We've come up with an idea for making scAIRcrows a somewhat interactive movie. We're not deliberately keeping this secret - we're going to put the idea into action tomorrow and if it works (which I have no doubt that it will), I'll announce it on this blog on Sunday - it's definitely a cool way of getting people actively involved with the film.

I'll end it there - remember to keep an eye on www.scaircrows.com for the latest, add scAIRcrows through Facebook, Myspace or Twitter - I'm trying to keep info regularly flowing there.

I have no idea what the audience is for this blog, the stats are slightly vague but I'm getting over 500 visits a month which is quite good considering I've not performed any promotion yet. But, for anyone reading this, if there's an area of the production you'd like to know more about - let me know and I can write a future blog about it. I'm writing this for everyone that's reading it so would love to address questions from anyone that's following the production!

I will check back here Sunday - 'til then, eyes on the skies!

Wednesday 15 September 2010

The Shoot - Day Three - 11.09.2010

Plenty of things to talk about - too many actually so I'll keep this strictly related to the shoot that happened Saturday just gone.

As mentioned in earlier blogs, the script is 27 pages long and 20 pages of that script was covered in the first weekend's shoot. Consequently, there's 7 pages remaining to shoot but they're all essentially stand alone scenes so they're not as easy to organise as the stuff with the leads was.

On Saturday, we shot the first of those scenes. Now, I won't go into specifics because I realise that I could just ruin the entire film (because it's hard for me to imagine that there's people that don't know this story inside out - how I'd love to see it with fresh eyes!) but this scene involved just one character who actually has a connection to the leads. Whilst I've thrown about 60 pictures from the shoot on flickr and Facebook - I've selected them carefully, we managed to take 120 photos that day. Some of them I didn't upload because they were too similar to ones that did go up, others just showed things that I didn't want people to see. So whilst a lot can be seen, there's a lot less than it might seem.

Anyway, we cast a guy called Blue Jigsaw for this character and the reason we cast him was his audition video. Apparently cameras were smashed recording it and I can totally see that! But, it was well worth it I think because the video stands out a mile. There was one other person that was under consideration for the character but I don't think this person appreciated the role for what it is and the enthusiasm wasn't there. I've asked Blue if I can get the video up on the YouTube channel - something I'll try and organise soon.

Blue went above and beyond the call of duty - he brought his own stage blood with him and a baseball bat (it was in the script before anyone wonders!) - it's nice to have actors contribute to the film. Makes me feel better about the film when others are putting their all into it and it will show in the finished product.

As also mentioned plenty of times previously, I'd storyboarded this scene as I knew it was going to be action heavy and didn't want a reprise of my mind blank that Sunday morning with the leads. You really do live and learn. We all felt that having the storyboards and following a specific shot list this time made shooting an action heavy scene very easy. So already, I'd say my ability to stage and shot an action scene has increased massively. I shot the whole scene with one camera but with the second camera just recording everything from a different angle so that I have coverage should an edit not work etc.

I mentioned storyboards though because a funny thing happened whilst shooting that affected the storyboards and indeed the script. Before we started filming a specific shot, Blue and I had a conversation about how we stage it because props could get damaged, props that we still need. After this, we went ahead and shot the scene. Blue did exactly what we'd discussed but somehow, the prop still managed to get destroyed. Destroyed in such a way that taping it up wouldn't work. When it happened, you could hear everyone go quiet as everyone came to the same realisation - we can't finish the scene now. When we looked at the situation though, it wasn't that severe, it just meant that I couldn't use two pages of storyboards now and would also have to reorder things. But there wasn't anything lost. I'd said this to Blue after the shoot, what happened could actually benefit the film as we haven't finished shooting yet. Knowing what we know now, we can go in and tweak the remaining scenes to play up what happens and make (hopefully) a good joke from it. You can totally benefit from problems!

The shoot took four and a half hours - this is for one page of script. That's how complicated it was. If I hadn't storyboarded the scene, I dread to think about what might have happened. I've started rough cutting this scene for two reasons - first reason being that as I followed the shot list in one camera, it really is just a matter of cutting the shots together and the second reason being, I wanted to see if I'd successfully translated storyboards to screen. And so far, it works. The slightly odd thing is, it's a lot longer than I thought it would be. We're a minute and a half in and probably only about a third of the way through the scene. Which is good in a way as it means there's a certain weight to it, not a blink and you'll miss it type thing.

I'm also cutting things now as I'm trying to sort a trailer out and figure it'll be a lot easier to cut one from already constructed footage. But a trailer will definitely look interesting - now that I have bits of the film cut together, its funny seeing the contrast between the stuff with the leads and now the stuff with Blue - I think it makes for a good tone. The film is definitely starting to look exactly like the kind of film I would watch - hopefully other people will want to as well!

Big thanks to Blue Jigsaw - you were great to work with and as mentioned, you really jumped into it, bringing your own stuff along, really did make me feel good knowing that you were that committed to it! It'll definitely come through in the finished product!

Again, Jenny and Wayne - we'll have this down to a fine art by the end of it (if it ever does end!).

And Paul Hart - for standing in the line of fire, almost literally - watching back the rushes I can safely say, only a f-ing brave man would sit where you sat, holding the scAIRcrow!

I'll put up a general blog in the next couple of days about where we are with things - it won't take as long as this to do, will be up Sunday at the latest. 'Til then!

Sunday 5 September 2010


So yesterday I touched on the fact that I was struggling with the editing, purely because of the amount of footage that there is.

We put my idea of watching the footage together, scene by scene, into action today with scene 2. It took a few hours going back over takes and angles and deciding what worked and what bits of takes worked better than others. For the three and a bit page scene 2 we managed to agree a take for every line of dialogue in the scene.

Some of it was easier than others. I found there were subtle differences in lines that potentially could help the mood/character and so we zeroed in on every little thing to come up with this list. What I especially wanted to retain were the moments when the actors took something that wasn't written down but somehow saw it anyway - I know it's my film so I'm probably too close to it but I honestly believe there are a few amazing deliveries that make me feel slightly bad for bringing the whole thing down later by throwing flying scarecrows into the mix.

In some of the auditions (and also away from them) people have commented on how the dialogue in the script 'flows'. Even though I wrote it, I can't see that. I truly am my own worst critic and it's something I'm really trying hard to move away from but I only ever seem to focus on the bad.

However, I've now edited the first 48 seconds of scAIRcrows and I can finally see it working. The dialogue does flow but I really don't think that's down to me but whatever, it does work and that's all that matters.

I've watched these 48 seconds over and over trying to pick fault in it and there's a few tiny things that need to be fixed but on the whole, this is the beginning of the end. There's all the other stuff to shoot and this cut will still need to be colour adjusted and the sound cleaned up but for all intents and purposes, a finished 48 seconds of the film exists.

It sounds tiny but I couldn't be happier - something I wrote a few months ago now exists in complete form and it's a surreal thing - to be watching a page of something I've written actually playing out.

I had doubts about doing editing whilst shooting was still ongoing but I think it was a wise move - seeing what didn't make the cut and why it didn't has definitely informed how I go about the next lot of shooting.

I did think that editing was the devil's work but I'm actually coming around to it - I think it's all in the approach. Once I had the takes that I knew I was going to use it moved quite quickly. I want to say it all just slotted together but that isn't true. In cutting the takes together, I realised that some of the things that we had on paper just didn't work in the greater context and so it took a bit more work figuring out how to get to the next shot I wanted to use but as with this entire project, I haven't expected any of it to be easy.

I keep threatening storyboards - they exist and they are rubbish but they will help immeasurably in trying to co-ordinate one of the next scenes. Seems too easy now and no doubt something will happen that means we have to deviate slightly but we have a fairly solid 'map' now. I will post some of them sometime this week.

We also went over various bits re. the next shoot but that's all fairly boring stuff. We've settled on a poster design now, just tweaking a few things here and there so that should appear fairly soon and hopefully, after the next shoot, I might be in a position to cut together a short teaser. Who knows what the next few weeks will bring but we're definitely moving in the right direction.

Saturday 4 September 2010

The Latest

Realise that there hasn't been a new blog in a while - something I will try and fix from now on. After coming off the shoot, there was about a week before team scAIRcrows disappeared for a week.

We're all back now and ready to crack on with the production.

So, where are we?

Firstly, I made a few Twitter/Facebook posts about editing beginning. It then went from editing to just cataloguing and then the aforementioned break happened. Editing hasn't really gotten any further along simply because there's a lot of footage and trying to organise it all and then the sound too (as it was recorded seperately to the video) turned into a much bigger job than first anticipated.

We've decided to break it down into chunks with the current mission being, to start each new week viewing all the footage for a particular scene, choosing the shots to make the edit and then ending the week with a rough cut of that scene. That rough cut will need to be sound mixed, graded and scored so it'll be far from finished but we knew going in that this would take a while in post but then I guess no-one shoots a film and has the finished product a fortnight later!

So we're starting with scene 2 which probably means nothing to anyone that hasn't read the script but it's the first scene in the sequence of the script that we shot. It is three pages and a couple of lines long - this should roughly equal 3 mins of finished film (video for the pedantic). We have an hour and five mins to go through. I don't know if that's excessively long or not but to me - knowing that one hour and two mins of that is going to be binned makes finding the right 3 mins quite a pressured job. Basically, we only want 4.5% of what we shot for that scene. But on the flipside, realistically, an hour or so isn't too much time to spend watching something.

We watch that tomorrow and then I'll beging putting it together based on those takes with the view of having that finished in a rough form by next Sunday. Though, we do have a shoot day on the Saturday so that may delay us slightly.

So yes, the next day of shooting takes place on Saturday, when we start filling in the gaps of the script. I may have mentioned this before but we have the core of the film with the leads (which is shot) but we sandwich those scenes with death scenes of other people in the vicnity. It's my way of keeping the film moving and means, at any point in the film, you're no further than 3 mins away from the next gory death scene(s). Two scenes will be shot that day and scAIRcrows will be that much closer to being finished. Then there's just three more scenes to shoot and scAIRcrows will be done! I'm realistic enough to know that's a ways off (in terms of work, not time). But I'm back in that mindset now having taken a break and looking forward to moving on with the production. It's just the one day this time too so shouldn't be too draining - that first shoot was a killer.

One really funny that's happened to us that I should be crying over was discovered today. In shooting with the leads previously, there were certain shots that we knew, for time, we could come back and get later. That was the plan. Today, we just happened to be walking by and thought we'd just check in on it (no plan to shoot the additional bits just yet). The entire field has been cut. There was waist high grass at the location as can be seen on flickr/Facebook and below. Now, there's nothing. And unfortunately for us, we needed some shots to take place within that grass and with it in the background. So I believe we collectively said 'shit' and then laughed about it. There's nothing we can do after all.

This is the view we had from our tree the weekend of the shoot:
This is the view now:
We were under the tree in this picture - look at the background.
And this is what it looked like from under the tree today:
That's the tree in the background - all the grass is gone.

Also, I like that things can go wrong. I can't compare this to Jaws and the mechanical shark not working but it's good to have stories about the production. If there was nothing to say except that everything went perfectly, yeah that's the ideal situation but it's boring.

No, having obstacles and working around them is a good thing. Whether I'll be saying this when we actually come to shoot it is a different matter but I do want the challenge.
Tomorrow we just plan Saturday's shoot - hoping it should be fairly straight forward as they're two, small, self contained scenes but the last shoot showed me that I shouldn't assume anything! But I have learnt from any mistakes I did make and that almost makes the mistakes worthwhile!
It's my intention to post some crude storyboards tomorrow (no spoilers) and the next blog won't take as long to go up as this did!
In the meantime, http://www.scaircrows.com/ is sort've doing something now. It's an easy way to access all the content I post in one place - there's also the option of following scAIRcrows on Twitter or adding us on Facebook to ensure you're current with the content - I'm trying to keep this updated as much as I can, content permitting. I will build on the webpage in time, to turn into more of a site with a synopsis page, possibly cast page etc. But obviously, need to keep the film itself the number one priority.
Until next time, eyes on the skies!