Problems encountered already in the film making experience

So *apparently* making a movie is not going to be easy. That is what I keep reading, anyway. I see that statement and say, well yeah, it was hard for you, author, because you had to pay people and rent equipment and create special effects on a budget. It’s going to be easy for me, because I have no money.

Actually, I have already realized a couple problems. The first one, a big one, is sound. My camera is relatively new. That is why I assumed it would have things like an input for an external mic, or a headphone jack. In reality, it has neither, so not only can I not add additional sound, but I can’t even test the sound levels on headphones on set. This issue alone makes me seriously regret buying that camera. I also believe it doesn’t have a manual focus, only automatic, so I can’t really control what the camera focuses on in a shot.

Secondly, I e-mailed a request for an application to the 2009 Ohio Independent Film Festival earlier this week, mainly just to see what all it involved but also to see when the deadline was. Ha! The deadline is Feb. 1.

The lady who e-mailed it to me today said they will be extending the deadline by a month, but I won’t likely have even cast anyone by March 1. Oh, well. At least now I can see what the application entails, and the festival’s rules. I also see that there is nothing on there that says the film has to have been made in 2008-09, so without the one-year time constraint that some festivals have, I should have no trouble entering it next year.

I talked to my brother today when I met him for lunch. I told him I have been having trouble getting going with the script. He told me he read that sometimes it’s easier to put your story into, well, a story, and then dealing with the script format later. So instead of starting a script, I need to start a short story. That sounds so much easier, because I’ve written those before, and I already know how I want this one to go. And so, this weekend, I am determined to write the first five pages of a short story that I will later adapt to a screenplay. Hopefully I will not be making more work for myself by doing it this way.

Adapting my own work! Few are so lucky…

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That facebook survey you’ve been seeing a lot of

I am double-dipping here, but this is a facebook survey that has been going around like the plague this week. So this is my rendition, having finally jumped on the bandwagon. After all, I am not one to pass up a list.

25 Random Things

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1.) I love living in Columbus. Most of my life I aspired to live in NYC, and while I haven’t entirely given up on that dream, I have decided that C-bus is a more realistic option for now, and a pretty sweet one. Although I still really miss Doug and Chandra.

2.) There was a roughly three-year period, after the release of "Almost Famous," during which I got many comments on my then-resemblance to Kate Hudson. I was once mistaken for her while on vacation, in a town that was stricken with Goldie Hawn fever, as she was supposed to visit that week to talk about her new book. With Goldie on the brain, someone mistook me for her daughter and took my picture, trying to be all sly. It was the best day ever.

3.) In other "Almost Famous" news, I have an autographed copy of the special "Untitled" edition DVD. It was signed by comedian Erin Foley, who had a bit part in the film as a Rolling Stone fact checker, and who came to my college to perform. "I don’t even have this version," she said as she signed it.

4.) I decided on my major, journalism, the last month of my senior year of high school. I never changed it in college. I am a fourth-generation journalist. The pressure!

5.) My ideal day: Sleep in. Coffee and breakfast. Go for a walk. Watch lots of TV on DVD. Go out to eat at Olive Garden or some other equally-fattening restaurant. Blog about ideal day. Sleep.

6.) My mom’s parents are 94 and 96. They are very deaf and very frail.

7.) Aside from our "six-month hiatus," I have been dating Brandon for about four years. Our first date was Oct. 12, 2004.

8.) About two months ago I randomly decided I am destined to be a film maker. I have since become gradually more and more obsessed with this idea and have started documenting my film project’s slow progress on my blog.Let me know if you want to read my script when I finish it next month. And remind me that I said I would finish it next month.

9.) My dad has written four books. I typed all four of them for him, and an ex-boyfriend of mine has a credit in the acknowledgments for helping my dad select photos to use for one.

10.) I was once suspended in high school after my teacher saw a pack of cigarettes in my bag. I told my dad about it the day it happened, even though the principal hadn’t been there that day to "sentence" me. The principal called my dad the next morning, expecting to surprise him with the terrible news of my deviant behavior. You could tell it was a first for my principal when he realized I had already fessed up to my parents. While I was sitting in the office listening to my principal’s end of the conversation, my dad managed to talk down my suspension time from three days to one. My teachers let me make up my homework, even though you’re not supposed to do that. On a side note, what good is it to punish kids by having them NOT go to school, and then NOT making them do their homework anyway?

11.) I enjoy doing laundry. I have no idea why.

12.) I used to really, really not like babies, but I am starting to come around. Just in time for Owen and Jamie to have their kid this summer!

13.) I am cripplingly indecisive. This has gotten in the way of many things. You have no idea. I hate making important choices or decisions. Or do I? I’m just not sure.

14.) My birthday is the first day of spring.

15.) I am a very bad cook. And a very poor baker, as I discovered last weekend.

16.) My brother was a very big fan of Michael Jordan when we were much younger, and as a result, to this day I know many random facts about the famous player for the Bulls. He is 6’6", and after his second retirement, he played for the Washington Wizards, but kept his number, 23. There is no reason I should know any of this. I’ve also seen "Space Jam" like a gazillion times.

17.) I have worn hearing aids since 9th grade.

18.) I am absolutely incapable of learning cards games, such as euchre. I can spell it, however.

19.) My favorite flowers are daffodils.

20.) People are always pointing out my weird food choices. For instance, I do not like french fries, pickles, ketchup, watermelons (or any other melons), anything artificially strawberry-flavored, marshmallows (unless in a s’more), or ice cream.

21.) I got my hair cut recently and I have shamelessly eaten up the attention that has brought me.

22.) I love movies. Oscar season is the best of the seasons.

23.) But not really. Because I love it when it’s summer. When will it be summer again, by the way? Soon?

24.) I "ran" track in high school. I was terrible. My brother was a pretty good hurdler. I missed out on those genes.

25.) I did at least one play every year in college. I was often cast as a real bitchy character. I tried not to read too much in to that.

Work/movie update

It has been kind of a rough week around here. It seems you almost can’t help but get sucked into drama in one way or another, and the best thing you can do is be as professional as possible, resist the urge to eye roll in agreement (or disagreement) and try not to make anyone mad.

Unlike you, I am sure, I had to work yesterday. I didn’t have to come in until 11, but it took me over an hour to get here. I arrived just in time to watch the State of the State address with the rest of my incredibly depressed co-workers. It was nice of our boss (the big boss) to buy us lunch.

Meanwhile, I have been doing some more research for my movie. The Tom Holden book I read that I originally thought was going to be outdated was actually very helpful. It had some good low-budget (and no-budget) tips as well as some great filming tricks you can do with a cheap camera to make it look more professional. Last night I started a new book, written by the guy who directed "Leaving Las Vegas," which I saw a couple years ago. It has a pretty different tone from the Holden book; Holden stresses how important it is to go by the rules and make sure you ask permission before you film anywhere, even in a public park. "Leaving Las Vegas" director Mike Figgis stresses how important it is to not get caught, and not get your stuff stolen while you’re filming.

I am planning at least one scene to be shot in either a park or on the street– High Street in the Short North, preferably. Either of those would serve well as the probable location for a date with the two main characters. I wonder who is in charge of Goodale Park?

I have also started to gather some props, and I was really, really excited when one of my musician friends answered my facebook plea, asking if I can use some of his recordings for my original soundtrack. If I want to submit the final product to any festivals or contests, it can’t have any copyrighted material in it.

It’s going to be great. All I need to do is actually write the darn thing. Anyone want to offer to read it and give suggestions once it’s done?

Tonight WAS going to be script night, but then I got an e-mail from the library saying that my reserved copy of the BBC version of "The Office," season one, has come in. C’mon now, can’t pass that up. Maybe it will give me some humor inspiration?

Reading these film and script books is great and all, but they will only take me so far. I am just so afraid no one is going to want to bother with any of this once I am ready to start production. I sure can’t pay anyone, so I will be relying on the goodness of my friends and family to humor me in my aspirations. The books say the least you can do is have the decency to feed them. I am thinking of writing letters to the grocery stores and pizza places around here, like one book suggested.

Excuse me, would you like to donate food to a film crew without a clue? We will gladly eat your food and possibly even film a scene before or afterward.

Pledge Day revisited

It has been a busy week. And we are about to get a lot of snow. Please, please please let it hold off until I am already home. We are supposed to go to our friends’ apartment for dinner, and I am craving chicken curry, but if it takes me an hour and 15 minutes to get home like it did two weeks ago in the snow, then I don’t know what we will do. House church has already been canceled for tonight.

The weekend was a great time. Much happened, I saw many people. We visited my roommate from junior year, who I also saw last pledge day, but the difference was that she is in a sorority herself now. That was the only downside to visiting campus on pledge day, I wasn’t going to get any one-on-one time with anyone. Jules was pretty busy with her group of people, so Brandon and I spent our time at Sinfonia, the fraternity he was in. They’re a fun group of guys. Oh, and in a house full of men, only I was brave enough to clean up the vomit of the kid who barfed up an entire box of wine in the kitchen doorway. Oh, college…

This weekend was about nostalgia, but it was also about accepting that I’m not in college anymore. And maybe that’s okay. Sleeping on the floor of a frat house and walking across campus at 2 a.m. in the snow are not to be missed. The friendships are, of course, but after next semester, I won’t know anyone there anymore. That’s a little sad, but hey, that’s what facebook and homecoming weekend are for.

On Sunday, Brandon and I visited my dad. I tried to make a blackberry cobbler after my dad wrote a blog entry about missing my mom’s baking. However, since I’ve never baked much more than pre-made cookie dough or cake mix from a box, the cobbler didn’t quite turn out. It was actually pretty disgusting.

We left for Columbus while it was still daylight, and I thought for sure I was going to fall asleep on the drive home, having only slept a few hours. When we got to the city, Brandon bought me dinner at the Tee Jay’s by where I used to work. I’d driven by it a million times but had never gone there to eat. We ate our second breakfast meal of the day and went home. We fell asleep watching TV at 9:45 or so.

I done got my hair chopped off.

No, I didn’t get paid for it. The hair market ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Children, let me tell you a little story. Two stories, actually. First, my favorite O’Henry short story, "The Gift of the Magi." In this tale, Jim and Della are a young couple who are very poor but very in love. It’s Christmas, and Della is upset because she has no money to buy Jim a present. So, she sells her most prized possession, her hair, so she can buy Jim a chain for HIS most prized item, his pocket watch.

She gets her hair cut off and cries, but she is glad once she buys Jim his chain. When he comes home, he presents her with his gift to her: some tortoise shell combs for her hair. She says it’s okay, her hair will grow back, she loves them. She gives him his watch chain, and that’s when it is revealed that in order to buy her hair combs, he has sold his watch.

If I had a good reason to sell my hair (or if the economy got even worse, God forbid) I might still be at it on thehairtrader.com. But all of you should have been badgering me about why I wasn’t donating my hair to an organization like Locks of Love. I was so afraid someone would ask, because I knew I was being selfish.

Story number two:

The day after Christmas 2006, I cut my hair to my chin. It had been almost as long as my hair was this time around, before I cut it. I donated my hair to Locks of Love that day, and everyone praised me for being so charitable. I ate that attention up, naturally. A month and a half later, my mom suddenly wasn’t herself, and we all know where that story went. She lost her hair and I cursed myself for giving mine away. I suppose it was a natural reaction.

Just the same, I wasn’t feeling nearly so charitable this time. I was feeling pretty bitter, and when I found out a couple months ago how much you can get for selling your hair, I changed plans pretty quickly. I hadn’t even planned to grow it out again; it happened more so out of laziness than anything, and not bothering to find a salon in Columbus.

But I have been doing some thinking in recent weeks, and Brandon has been very supportive. He agreed to go in on it with me, and cut all his hair off in solidarity with me on Monday afternoon at Lucky 13. It was what I should have done in the first place, and I knew it the whole time.

However, if anyone I am close to is diagnosed in the nextcouple months, then woah boy, I am going to be writing an angry letter or something. I’m just saying.

And now, an impromptu photo shoot from last night:

  
<I call this one, "Brandon’s Nikon is better than Meryl’s Kodac Easy Share".

It must suck to be Cate Blanchett today

The nominees are in, and I am super excited. I have already seen three out of five Best Picture nominees! Too bad I am not as excited about seeing "Frost/Nixon" or "Milk," but I was at least a little skeptical about the three I’ve seen, and I liked them all.

"Benjamin Button," a natural choice for Best Picture, received 13 nominations, just one short of the record 14 (as set by both "All About Eve" and "Titanic"). The one nomination that I see missing and could have matched that record is Cate Blanchett for Best Actress. Just imagine playing a major role in a movie that gets almost as many Oscar nominations as ever before in history, but you get left out. What a bad time.

I didn’t think "Slumdog" would be nominated for Best Picture, but I was wrong. I also was very wrong in my belief that Heath Ledger would not be looked at for an Oscar, since the Academy doesn’t exactly have a history of recognizing films centered around comic books or graphic novels. However, this did seem to hold true in the rest of the nominations. "The Dark Knight" didn’t pick up any other major categories, not even Best Director. Oh, the curse of  commercial success.

I am a little surprised "The Reader" is in for Best Picture. I think I’ll be rooting for "Button," however. At least until I see the other two movies.

Oh, and Robert Downey Jr. being nominated for "Tropic Thunder"? Yeah, I didn’t think that was gonna happen. I would think the Academy would sooner "stoop" to the level of acknowledging a brilliant comic-based movie than a comedy meant to satirize the film industry. But then again, he sure did play a convincing black guy…

Script update

So, there’s not been much progress on the Great American (Party) Movie I have been planning in my head. Primarily, the problem is that it is just that — in my head. I keep having dreams about the filming part, and production, and how great of a script I have already, but when I wake up, nothing I remember from any dream is really that spectacular. It’s kind of like when you write something one day, and you think, THIS is the stuff of genius, and then you pick it up and read it a week later, and you can’t get over how terrible it is. That’s what my dreams are doing to me lately.

Also, Brandon keeps saying funny things and I tell him, I’m going to write that in to my script. Unfortunately, I haven’t written a single thing down and I can’t remember anything Brandon said that made me laugh.

All I have so far is a rough chart of still-nameless characters and two overdue library books on script writing. I brought the books here today so I could renew them online (although it turns out you don’t actually need the books’ bar codes or anything to renew, it’s ridiculously easy). I plan to browse the second one at lunch. I realized the first one I was looking over recently is more outdated than I thought, since one of the opening bits of advice it gives is the importance of owning a word processor.

Really? I had better get me one of those, then.

I’m giving myself until the end of next month to write a 30-page script (about one minute per page). This is probably the worst time, since work is getting more and more hectic and I am getting more and more freaked out about the economy, but all I need to do is stop watching movies when I get home and write one instead. Sounds easy enough, right? Hmph.

Happy Inauguration Day!

‘Tis a good day to work for a labor union. We celebrated Obama’s inauguration with lunch on the house and a big screen projector streaming CNN live. Nobody cried, but we did cheer a bit.

Although I have to say, I didn’t think much of the inaugural poem this time around. It was full of cliches! But it did have some good imagery and thoughtful lines, and besides, Robert Frost has got to be hard to top.

The Book Club for Dummies saw "The Reader" last night. It was a sad movie to see on a frigid winter evening, but I liked it just the same. I’m a sucker for a heart-wrenching downer flick, truth be told. Kate Winslet is pretty much unstoppable. She’s been nominated for around half a dozen Oscars in her career, so I am hoping she pulls one for either "The Reader" or "Revolutionary Road" this time around. "Revolutionary" I have yet to see, but no one does suburban supression quite like Sam Mendes ("American Beauty").

It was great having yesterday off. Today kind of feels like a Monday, but it’s not. And that’s the best part. So far, this week is flying by.

Winter is a bad time

In case anyone else flipped out like my dad did when reading the previous entry, I should probably mention that I called our landlord first thing this morning and he took care of it. Good thing Christina was home. She says he also put some more insulation in the basement, so that’s awesome.

I have an assembly to cover tomorrow morning at 10, but it means I am leaving at 3 today, woo. I am going home and taking a shower. Hurray for water and fully-functional plumbing.

Brandon and I are scouting out area Circuit City stores tomorrow, since I read today they are closing nationwide. At first they only closed a few of them, including the one in Grove City. I went there the Saturday Brandon went home for Christmas and got some ridiculously cheap Blu-ray movies, as well as season one of 30 Rock on DVD for TWELVE DOLLARS.

I have a sickness.

Here’s hoping for finding season two.