Archive for April 2005

Star Wars: Revelations

April 27, 2005

A Star Wars fan film – well worth the download of you can spare the bandwidth. We’ve reached a point where technology has caught up with desire: gone are the days of double exposures, backwinding Super8 film hoping wind to the correct spot, gone are optical printers with their high-contrast re-photographed graininess. Nope, all you need is the right computer, the right software, and a second mortgage.

Amazing film. I’ll review in a week or so, when I stop being impressed and distracted by the visuals. I’ll start, though, this way: the technical people did a phenomenal job.


Movie Diaries 2

April 27, 2005

The Grand Vision

The movie has a simple premise: Cops meets X-Files meets Blair Witch meets Night of the Living Dead meets Aliens meets Uma meets Tarentino. It’s to be filmed like a documentary, we’re told, in the first person, so that the audience believes that they are watching reality. The actors are not to be told what’s going on until just before their scenes are shot, so that everything is “spontaneous”. No script, just a situation and an outline of the salient points that have to be introduced.

Sorry, love. Slipped up there. Did I say “simple?”

All of this was explained to us in the first meeting I attended. Met the producer/director, whom I shall refer to as PD for the purposes of this journal. He was forty-five minutes unapologetically late.

Before he arrived, a few reunions and introductions. A reunion with “Kate”, whom I hadn’t seen in nearly eight years. of course, who got me involved in the first place. Met the other cast members: Gunslinger, Scholar, Irish Witch 1, and Irish Witch II. The last two will probably get their own entries, or entry, as they are two of the most interesting and annoying people I’ve ever met. We all settled in with coffee and munchies.

I thought for a while listening to the admins talk that I was going to end up as set crew, or altering clothing for costumes, and if that had been the case I was prepared to walk; I wanted to be in front of the camera or not involved at all. Nothing narcissistic at all there: if I’m going to add another stress to my life, I want it to be for something I don’t already do day after day.

PD had been there an hour without acknowledging me, talking to each of the actors in turn, tossing ideas and notes around like a decorator with a stack of carpet squares. As I had yet to be addressed, I was reaching for my jacket and car keys to leave when he looked at me and said, “…and we need you for the quarterback.” He turns to the production manager (PM) and says “Put him down for the quarterback.” No audition, not really even an introduction. The rest of the night was spent talking about various production points, defining what “quarterback” means in this context (think Tom Arnold in True Lies), ironing out the many logistical pieces that constitute “pre-production.”

As we’re all getting our jackets on, getting ready to leave: Oh, by the way Bill, can’t believe I forgot to mention this… You’re just a voice, like John Forsythe on Charlies Angels. The audience doesn’t actually see you until the end of the movie.


And, since you’re quarterbacking, I want you to design the control console for the truck. You know, buttons, screens, dials, all that. “Kewlness…what kind of truck?” What kind? “Yeah…Econoline 150…350…conversion…panel..?” Don’t know, we don’t have one yet.

So, I’m to design a fairly intricate set piece for a space whose dimensions I do not know, that the audience will never see?

I left wondering what I was involved in. A movie obviously: an ambitious faux documentary with only a few people on the cast and crew that I knew personally. Like many independent films, it’s being made up as we go along, “cross that bridge when we come to it” is The Logistical Reality.

I’m a late entrant, painfully aware of that, angst-ridden and unsure of my place in the universe. Still, I drive home that night, buzzing with possibilities and making up dialog. Which I thought was what I was supposed to be doing…

Movie Diaries 1

April 26, 2005

The challenge will be to tell the story without revealing too much of the actual plot,not that anyone who reads my stuff here is is in much of a position to spoil the surprise for the Wal*Mart-Discount-Rack-DVD-buying public. Plus, it’s not like we’re all going to be wearing enough makeup to hide our identities. A single look at the production stills’ll give that away. Still, you never know.

So, this email arrives in my Inbox. “Hey everyone, there’s this indie film going into production, and we need people to work on it. Need actors, set builders, costumers,makeup artists. If you’re interested, drop me an email at…”

I look at my schedule, the many irons I’ve got…so many that I’m going to have to consider building additional fires for them. I think, sounds like fun, but. I delete the email and move on.

A week later, I get a phone call from an old friend of mine named Sean. “Bill,” he says, “I’m working on this movie, I’d really like it if you’d work on it, too.” He goes on to explain the premise, and I listen politely, having already gotten the rundown but unwilling to take the pleasure of the telling away from him. He stops to breathe.

“No fucking way, man. Not happening. No time, no money. No.”

Okay, that’s what I thought. What came out of my mouth was, “Damn, that’s a great idea.I would love to work with you again.” Such is the force of Sean’s personality. Bastard’s impossible to say no to. Got cast in the last remaining role on the Good Guys’ side. Got the Big Picture at the first meeting, got the more honest picture in subsequent meetings.

In short, we have here a man of great drive and ambition who appears to have a really good handle on what he wants to do and has surrounded himself with good people who have the ability to make that happen. Now, if we could just let the recipe cook without over-stirring the pot…