Full cast at last

As of today, we have people committed to each role in “The Candidate”. Took long enough, sheesh. “Beacon Alley” and “Paper Cuts” spoiled me, I realize now. I am meeting with our Alice and Lauren actresses tomorrow at a coffeeshop near the photography supply store where Aryeh and I will be picking up equipment after work. He’s been in Chicago for the past few days but Stacey and I have been keeping things going with pre-production. I sent out a copy of the production schedule as well as wardrobe requirements to everyone and we got our VistaPrint materials ordered just in time.

Back when I was doing my other productions, I was only filming on weekends and maybe once during the week, but with this baby, we’ll be be shooting four nights in a row, twice. Previously, I was able to write epic blog posts like this one or this one, since I had time in between filming days. However, now that I only blog on weeknight evenings and that’s exactly when we’ll be filming, who knows? I’ll try my best because I love those posts and maybe someday they’ll be part of a book I’ll write about shoestring budget filmmaking for broke-ass college students or something. I don’t really need to sleep for two weeks, right? It was also nice having Brandon around to take all the awesome photos he did, but hopefully I’ll remember to ask someone to do that each night on set.

YouTube stripped a video I just posted of its audio and I’m pretty mad about it. I shot some footage of my dad’s friends and family annual softball game over the weekend and edited it tonight. I added a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song as the soundtrack and YouTube immediately deleted the audio track as a result. Whatever, YouTube. You and me, we used to be friends.

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How to make a web series in two months

…I did it once, I can do it again, right? Ugh. The script is going over well so far with the people who read it last night and today. I feel like I’m ready to start casting. But what a pain that was, and yet how lucky I was to have an apartment centrally located in the city of Columbus. I’m going to have to try to convince my work friend (Aryeh, the one who asked me to do this in the first place) to let me cast at his house or something, or else go to a coffeeshop. But coffeeshops can be so unpredictable; it might be loud and crowded, or it could be a slow night. We’ll see. I don’t want to have to hold more than two nights’ worth of auditions.

I kind of have someone from my improv circle in mind for the role of the candidate, but I don’t know if he actually does acting or enjoys it. I think I will maybe reach out to him. I also thought another one of those guys would be great for my comic relief-type character, Dennis, but I don’t think I know him well enough to ask him to do it.

I need to make a list of the equipment I wish I’d had when I made “Paper Cuts,” as well as a list of crew positions. It would be nice if I had a monitor on set so I could watch what was being filmed, and let a director of photography do the actual camera work. I used to think that was kind of a lame, hands-off approach for a director, but now I know it’s more important to see what’s really going on in the frame than to just get to be the person holding the camera. Plum St. Productions definitely taught me that. I’d also love to have some actual lighting equipment and someone who can ensure good sound quality. I’m not sure how many of these things are feasible, but I know they’d all lead to a better final product.

I learned from making “Beacon Alley” that if you keep everyone on task, you can get a surprising amount of material shot in a day. I would like to set up a production schedule once I’ve finalized the script, but I don’t see why casting can’t take place now. The characters aren’t going to be changing.

As I always did before, I’ll be randomly listing necessary venues / materials and relying on the kindness of readers, friends and family for assistance or suggestions. Our biggest need now is a venue to film most of our scenes, which take place in a campaign office. It has a main room and two smaller rooms off of it, one to the left and one to the right. It’s the room where the majority of the script takes place, and I have no idea if it exists.

I might post a list of characters on here soon. I like the characters I wrote, and I feel good about them. I really hope this project actually happens and my work friend isn’t just bored this week and will forget about it by Monday. I suppose even if he is, I can still go ahead and make it.

Year in Review: 2009

This was the second year of The Sleeper Hit’s existence, and this blog documented a lot of changes in my world in 2009. Granted, 2008 was my first year in a new city, living on my own, buying a car, etc. But 2009 brought lots of new things as well. After all, 2009 was the year I decided to make movies and actually did. As I did last year, here is a recap of the inane and the important, a.k.a., the things I deemed worthy of blogging about.

January: Brandon started his job at OSU. Coincidentally, we stopped cooking dinner in the apartment around the same time. The pipes in our old place froze. Obama was sworn into office. I started the screenplay for “Beacon Alley” (untitled at the time) and read lots of books about how to write screenplays. I cut nearly a foot of hair off, and so did Brandon. The Sleeper Hit turned one year old.

February: I left my car unlocked and someone rifled through it and stole my faceplate but not my stereo. I discovered Club Trillion and did not do much work for a of couple days. Owen and Jamie found out they would be having a girl, which I totally called. I discovered my undying love for curry and finished writing “Beacon Alley”.

March: I began seeking donations from local businesses for the movie but got poor response. Casting for “Beacon Alley” took place this month, starting with heroine Becca and ending with villain Melissa. Brandon and I went apartment hunting and found our new place near campus. I switched from Live Journal to WordPress. I joined and promptly quit Twitter. A generous friend donated some gift cards to use to buy food for cast and crew on shooting days. I bought a high-def camera. Filming for “Beacon Alley” began.

April: Brandon bought me a new faceplate for my car stereo. Surly Girl allowed me to film at their place. Filming took place every weekend this month and I woke up shaking with fear every day of it. During the actual filming I felt awesome, and even better after we wrapped for the day. I named my production company Wilmer Productions, an homage to Owen’s former Willow Films. We made t-shirts. I juggled moving out of our old apartment with the final days of filming. It was slightly stressful.

May: I chose the name “Beacon Alley” after taking a photo of a street sign by our old place. Editing began. I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law with my aunt. I ran into many technical issues and discovered the importance of lighting. I got the idea for my web series, “Paper Cuts”. I threw a cast party to debut the trailer of “Beacon Alley” and scheduled the premiere with Studio 35. I watched the “Glee” pilot and flipped for that show before the rest of you bitches. Count it. I re-joined Twitter and saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

June: Saw the Decemberists with Brandon after he won tickets from CD101. I began casting for “Paper Cuts” and met my muse, Taylor. Editing of “Beacon Alley” continued, and I wrote the first four episodes of the show. Met Monsterbeard who advised on my scripts. Watched a lot of web series. My beautiful niece was born. Participated in Cincinnati’s 48 Film Project and met the awesome folks of Plum St. Productions: love at first shoot. Michael Jackson died.

July: Production of “Paper Cuts” began as editing of “Beacon Alley” wrapped. Showed episodes one and two before the movie at the premiere, which was well attended to my relief. My blog stats hit an all time high the week of the premiere as people googled “Beacon Alley” after presumably seeing it on the marquee at the theater. Brandon and I planned a fall trip to Colorado.

August: Filming of “Paper Cuts” continued and involved casting new extras for each episode, one of which included child actors. It was weird. Brandon dressed in a borrowed tiger suit. I had a last-minute cameo in episode six after a friend had to cancel her role as a bridezilla. Filming wrapped at the end of the month. I lamented majoring in journalism rather than engineering or nursing or some other field that is still hiring.

September: Realized I had somehow gained ten pounds over the summer. Brandon’s gallbladder attacked him in his sleep. Went to Ft. Collins, CO and San Francisco, CA to visit friends on my first-ever vacation as an adult. I tried to write a one-hour TV show pilot while in California. Got one of the worst sunburns of my life.

October: Plum St. Productions exploded into prominence. I helped them with their short film, “Gnomewhere to Hide” and loaned them my camera. Got an iPhone and began using it to help me lose weight. Brandon got his gallbladder removed and his parents paid us a visit for Halloween. Became obsessed with roller derby after seeing “Whip It!” and visited a retro rink by the interstate.

November: Spent time with my dad on a sad anniversary. Spent Thanksgiving in Chicago with Brandon’s family again, saw Second City. Became very interested in both improv acting and stand up comedy (influenced partly by seeing “Funny People”). Started announcing my weight loss progress (or regress) on my blog. Actually lost some weight.

December: Visited my mom’s parents in Cleveland with my brother and his family. Lost the ten pounds I’d gained over the summer. Brandon got new glasses. Wrote 2009 Year in Review. Oh, wait…

Friday the 13th has nothing on Wednesday the 11th

Spending the day with Dad was a good idea. I’m glad he asked me to come down. The local authors meeting was pretty cool. I got to talk to other writers about my work and it felt good to have people listen and at least look interested, and they had some advice to give me on how to sell a screenplay. I can’t decide which screenplay to start first, the hotel one or the college one. I think both ideas would be fun/funny enough to keep me interested, and I have decided I want to have ten pages of one of them written by next Friday. I have scattered scenes written for both, but neither script has an opening scene at this point. Is it okay if I don’t start at the beginning? Too late. I want my laptop back. I’m going to have to borrow Brandon’s and take it to Cup O’ Joe for hours on end, like I did to finish “Beacon Alley” last winter.

All in all, Wednesday was kind of a good day. I probably didn’t need four hours in a car by myself, but I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself the whole time. Sure, I listened to a lot of music that made me think of my mom, including the song I posted yesterday by The Weepies. But I also listened to other music that cheered me up, like Guster and No Doubt. On my Facebook status that morning I posted a line from a Jordin Sparks song, “Tattoo,” a pop song that I am pretty sure isn’t about anybody dying, and I listened to Pink’s “Who Knew,” which I am pretty sure is. So what, I like pop music. Sue me. “Tattoo” came out around this time two years ago and it made me think of my mom then: “You’re still a part of everything I do; You’re on my heart just like a tattoo.” The Pink song came out around that time as well, and I can barely stand to listen to it: “If someone said three years from now, you’d be long gone, I’d stand up and punch them out, because they’re all wrong… I’ll keep you locked in my head, until we meet again.” On the way home, I listened to that My Chemical Romance CD, “The Black Parade,” which I got from Dennis last year. It took me by surprise at the time; somehow it made me feel better when I first heard it, and it still did on Wednesday. I remember I kind of poured my heart out to Dennis back then and he was really cool about it. So, thanks to Dennis for letting me ramble on via e-mail when I was in a new city with a new life and a big issue to come to terms with. And for all the awesome music, of course.

I read my entry from last year’s experience and I can see I fared much better this year. They say that first year is the hardest, which I can now say to be true, in my case. I got a lot of nice e-mails and notes from people who were thinking of me that day, and if you were one of them, I thank you for it. It would be awful to me if Nov. 11 came and went and no one remembered. I expect down the road it will be easier but these first couple years, it’s nice to know other people are remembering and thinking of her.