Welcome To Sheila In The Modern World!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The End Of Filming

So, the end (by which I mean second half because that's when I stopped writing) was...


Either remarkably boring, or stressful enough to make me largely repress the memories. I know that it was hot, and that I had to make the actors wear coats at times because it was supposed to be winter (evidently in hawkland deciduous trees are fine with Colorado winters), and I remember at some point a homeless man tried to convince us to make movies where kids from various cultures dressed up in their national garb and dance.

So in lieu of actually trying to dredge up memories which I am going to assume are buried for a reason I am going to post a few bad low res NON-COLOR CORRECTED stills of the footage thus far! These are from some of the scenes that I've edited, more will come as I continue to edit...

Also they aren't color corrected.

(also, in addition to being grainy I think these ended up stretched. Sorryz!)

For those of you who are wondering, the aspect ratio is on purpose. More on that later ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Land of 1000 Dances (Edits)

By Wilson Pickett!

Evidently it's been something like four months since I have written on here, so it will probably be a miracle if anybody reads this. 

Epic fail.

This is at least the third movie that I've done this with. I start out with a sincere intent to document every moment, then I get really really tired in the middle of shooting the project and am completely unable to deal with anything pertaining to the movie by the end of the day.

Sheila is now done with primary shooting, although we still need to get some pickups and location coverage (and possibly a scene or two but I'm not admitting to anything.) I'm now in the fantastically awesome editing-the-rough cut phase which I am highly optimistic will be more conducive to blogging.

I'll talk a little on how shooting wound up and where the rough-cut is at now next post.

Which will hopefully be in less then four months.

Peace Out!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Knock on Wood

Today was a very long day. As I type this my eyes are glazed, my fingers to uncertain to type without making constant mistakes, and my brain is a mushy pile of... mush.

But I am riding pretty high. Today was the first day we didn't do primarily interiors and I discovered that we move at pace that definitely slower, is at least comparable to what we've been doing with interiors. Meaning, that (and maybe I shouldn't say this and risk bringing a terrible jinx down upon my head) um, where was I? Oh, yes. I'm pretty darn sure we're going to finish this film. 

That was always my biggest fear with this project- I don't have a safety net if shooting falls through. If I don't get almost all the footage we need, this is screwed. And, yes I do know that in editing I'm gonna look back and swear shooting was the easy part. I'm fully anticipating and prepared for the computer headaches, the unending quality post production has, and of course that little thing where this is about ten times longer than anything I've ever made before.

But production is the dangerous part. It's the part where things go wrong, where things fall apart and projects don't get finished. And obviously that could still happen, but I don't think it will. As huge as this project seems, for the first time I can really see how we are going to make it to the end of shooting. And that, my friends, is grand.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Easy Part

Shoot big scene today! Is yayness! 

Tragically we went half an hour over... This has happened at least once before, and I'm getting concerned it's becoming a habit. Buuuuut, we got  a very very big scene done today, and I'm optimistic it'll turn out swell. I'm a little nervous about the technical end, perpetually so in fact. It's because I'm working the camera, and that just isn't my area of expertise. But le actors nailed it, hard. We are almost entirely done with scenes in the apartment. That's the good news. The bad news is those were the easy part...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Week Down...

How many to go? We started production last Monday (06/22), and we've done 3 days of around 6 hours, and 3 days that were less than that. We are making solid time, not jaw drop beautiful time, but certainly not bad. This past week has blurred together in my mind... From now on I am going to update after every shooting day when things are a little more fresh in my mind. But some highlights:

1. My cinematography is unbelievably sketchy- so far there have been 4 people working the camera and setting up shots, depending on who can make it on what day. I actually do think this is going to turn out alright. Think/pray, because frankly this is all kinds of wrong. 

2. I haven't loaded and watched all the footage that we shot yet, but so far everything looks good. Some looks even better then I thought it would.

3. I have to find a better way to mark my sound and visual tracks for synching, cos the way I've been doing it takes for flipping ever. And is really really frustrating.

Yup. That's it for now... More soon!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

So this week has been largely devoted to the fun and challenging task of getting that last little "oomph" I need in terms of start-up funds for this project. In addition to asking all my friends to kick in a buck or two (a HUGE thanks to the wonderful non-strangers who contributed) I've been contacting local businesses to see if any were interested in donating/small-scale sponsorship in exchange for marketing love. I thought that this was primarily going to be an exercise in form. I was wrong. 

People pretty much rock.  

More on this later, but a have definitely learned a couple of things this week.
1. If you have weird/outside the box ideas don't be afraid to try them. You may waste a little time, but you may get some results.  And any results are great results.

2. If you are going to do fundraising at all, give yourself enough time to do it. I didn't give myself quite enough time. It's a bit of a bummer. 

Moral of this story: I am extremely grateful to everyone who is contributing to this project, be it through talent, generosity, or simple well-wishes. Without your support I would just be sitting alone in room with a camcorder filming my toes and trying to call it "art."   

Thanks to all the beautiful people spreading the love!

Peace Out!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ask me about the gender binary...

Or really, ask Tommy. Because to some extent I'm worried that I pretty much failed at addressing that part of my story... This is a mistake that I tend to make a lot in story telling, I forget to give my readers or viewers the context that I assume but they might not be familiar with. I don't want to be obvious or to beat people over the head with points, I really do try to be subtle. But when I'm not careful, "subtle" becomes "lost."

For example, what the heck am I talking about right now? My second primary character, Tommy, is supposed to be a "gender anarchist"... or at least a subverter. He cross-dresses for political not fetishistic reasons. He isn't transgendered, just a little gender-queer. 

Well, isn't transgendered depends on your definition of the word... Tommy does not identify as female, so he isn't trans in that sense of the word. Authors such as Riki Wilchins have encouraged people to look at transgendered to mean transgressively gendered, a rather broad and provocative paradigm. 

Gender as a binary - male/female - is a deep and important part of our culture. We hold it to be a self-evident truism, when in my opinion it deserves some very heavy scrutiny. On some levels this is starting to be deconstructed in a major way - for example most people have started to differentiate between "sex" and "gender." On the other hand I wonder if ways in which we are deconstructing is always useful. To take the above example, people tend to think that "sex" is a biological reality, "gender" is a more flexible cultural construct. While I'm not convinced that I completely disagree with this perspective, it is an over-simplification at best. When we say that sex is biological and binary what part of biology are we referring to? Anatomy? Hormones? DNA? These different aspects of biology don't always match up. At best a biological binary is a human likelyhood, not an absolute. 

Okay, I'm pretty much rambling now. Long story short, I believe in a multitude of gender experiences, from biology on up.  Tommy as a character is designed to challenge some of the "trappings" of gender through visual juxtaposition, and political camp. But as I said at the beginning, he isn't quite where he needs to be for this notion to be clear on camera.

If anyone has any favorite drag/camp/gender subverting movies or art I can hit up for inspiration I'd love to hear them. : )

If you are interested in an actually coherent version of what I was talking about above please check out Kate Bornstein http://www.katebornstein.com/KatePages/indexkb.htm, or Riki Wilchins, http://books.google.com/books?id=RysbAAAAYAAJ&dq=inauthor:Riki+inauthor:Anne+inauthor:Wilchins&ei=j-QmSrDVHZCGkAT2sLTaCg&pgis=1 in my opinion two of the most accessibly intelligent authors writing in this area.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Things that you remember

I am make a rough draft of a shooting schedule! I am alarmed at the size of this freaking thing! I am listening to Sounds of Silence and pretending to be Benjamin Braddock! Minimum of 7 different 10 hour days to film, and probably somewhat more...

Soooo, I'm just not thinking about that anymore today. Here is some random concept-y ish images I'm jes pulling off of ze internets... These are the things that you remember/know about the 60's/70's. If any of these images are remotely foreign to you  I would seriously reevaluate what you are doing with your life ; )

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Concept Pictures

  1. Sheila is soooo not cell phone savvy. Sure they seem just like those communicator dealios from Star Trek, but Kirk made it look so easy. Oh well, no twitter no cry.

2. Don't help the homeless... Boulder has some problems with it's homeless population. I don't mean that the homeless are particularly numerous or hostile here. I mean that we just don't want them. Our begging laws are semi-draconian and every time the homeless shelter tries to move anywhere the nearest neighborhood complains. In the meantime we power down our fair-trade vegan lattes and god help you if you forget to recycle. The song "Easy to Be Hard" from Hair was written for my town.

3. "Beatniks and politics, nothing is new." 

4. Hippies will evidently pray to anything. In an earlier draft of the script I had a sort of mini-arc where Sheila thought she was turning into Shiva. That got mostly dropped in the current incarnation, but I still have several scenes where she is rubbing ash all over herself.

5. I have a long and involved dance sequence. It is also a dream sequence. Sure, no one does either of those anymore... But, um, it's an homage. Yup, definitely not something I would put in any other movie. I'M BEING HOMAGE-Y NOT WIERD OKAY!

6. Sheila may spend a little too much time at the begging of the movie huddled up asleep. But look! Her sweatshirt matches the flowers!

7. The economy is bad news man. No one should have to spend 8 hours a day asking strangers if they have a minute to save the children. That's okay... Sheila manages to turn her campaign job into a slightly better paying internet guerilla job. And play spy vs. spy with the Boulder Obama campaign's other top guerilla while she's at it. 

8. Sexualized advertising can be a little shocking. But it's Sheila's fault right? She believed in the sexual revolution.

9. Tommy getting into the dragz. Tommy isn't a transsexual, he's just into gender subversion. Or something. Who knows with kids these days? Aaand, who can guess what movie this picture is inspired by!

10. What does change mean to you? Sheila's had enough change for the time being, but she's working her butt off for Obama anyway... 

11. Sheila and Tommy spend a lot of (okay, fine, maybe too much) time sitting around in coffee shops having faux-intellectual discussions about nebulous social-studies issues. Hey, they say to write what you know.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

you can find stuff on craigslist!

I had to put a lot of thought into what exactly I'm doing with my sound money today. Basically a lot of people on a forum (shout out to indietalk, the amount of psychological reassurance I get there can't be bought) yelled at me to rent or hire a sound person with equipment and use my money that way. 

Once upon a time, before I made my first project, I was way down with the whole renting dealio. Technology moves quickly, and it can make more sense to rent what you need per project rather than trying to constantly purchase whatever is on the cutting edge. But renting on The Fighters (1st proj.) was a catastrophe. I wasted way too much money on a camera that spent way too much time sitting around. Since then I've been buying, the net result of which is I am able to even think about making this movie for under $5,000 because I already have a camera, quasi-lights, a mic, etc. 

Long story short, buying has worked well and renting has worked not at all. I'm sure that someday this'll change but I am where I am.

That brought me to option-hire-a-sound-guy. I didn't think I would end up going that route but I posted an add on craigslist just to see if I got any responses. I got a lot. Instantly. I may actually like craigslist again. Howevahs, I did run into the issue that I thought I would - the people who I am solidly convinced would do a better job than me I really don't think I can afford to compensate even remotely in the league of their worth. There was at least one college kid who I am going to stay in touch with, but he didn't have samples. Tip of the day, always have at least some kind of portfolio easily accessible. I should probably take my own tip, I don't have a demo reel. 

Anyhoo, student guy nowithstanding I've pretty much mentally come full-circle. I am probably going to buy what I can, use it to the best of my ability. But it's good to think about things right? Even if I spent all of my "pre-production" time today chasing my tail?

Well, not all of it. I was finally able to muster the to clean ze apartment today.  I was only able to work up the motivation by telling myself that I was "prepping my primary set." Oy veh.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Don't Panic - Part 1

Realizations that I have recently had.

My script has 110 scenes. Some of them are tiny. More of them are not.
At our best our shooting pace is only moderate. 
Because of our work schedules most of our shooting days will be half or quarter length.
I am going to have to keep track of costuming for continuity on a scale that never quite hit me.
I want to use the actor's clothes as costumes and thus don't have total control over where they are.
In order to shoot in my apartment I have to &^$#&$*&% clean it.

Time to go learn how to create perfect schedules...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lucky Pennies

I spent a lot of time the other day counting up the spare change that constitutes a healthy part of funding for this project the other day. I've come to the conclusion that pennies are bad for me. They have a quality that I find impossibly seductive -  they are such a small denomination that when you count them out you can end up with hundreds. If you don't think too hard, (okay, at all,) owning hundreds of currency is amazing! It's money! And there is hundreds of it! And if you check every single penny to make sure that it isn't randomly valuable, you pretty much get to splash in a small puddle of currency for hours. If you squint, it's the next best thing to bathing in Cristal. Long story short, my general sense of perspective is being slowly warped by spare change. 

But I love my pennies. All this change really does add up. Not quite to the point where I'm going to be buying Sennheisers out of nickels, but at the very least I can see my entire dv-tape budget being taken exclusively from the spare change I've gotten. Pretty groovy. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sheila In The Modern World!

Helloooo party people!

If you're here you probably know who I am (if not, boy is this awkward). This is my site for my current movie project, working title Sheila In The Modern World.

In short,

"If you can remember the 60's you weren't there."

Sheila can remember most of the 60's but her recollections come to a screeching halt in May 1970 when she is shot in a student rally. She wakes up alone, hungry and tasting stale drugs in May 2008. Sheila has to wrestle with the history, politics, and values of a globalized neo-capitalist post-modern world. In other words, get a job and deal with an awkward roommate love triangle. 

Sheila needs your help. 

If you can spare few bucks, no amount is too small to be GREATLY appreciated... a large portion of my budget is currently being raised out of spare change :)

And please keep an eye on this project:
A.Because watching a production process is neat.
C.Because you can't handle living in the modern world either.

Aaaaaaaand... Logistics!

The Bizness End

And now a little bit on the logistics and future of this project. I'm using a "Times" font, that's how you know I'm serious. 

What I currently have in terms of production expenses include a camera, shotgun microphone, access to locations, costumes, and some truly awesome actors. I am still trying to raise funding for additional sound equipment, and for a small portion of the film that will be shot on 8mm.  My estimated cost for sound equipment is $700. Shooting on 8mm with digital transfers could be up to $300. I will have additional expenses during post-production, including the cost of film-festival entry fees, but those will be raised primarily once the project is completed. 

Unfortunately, due to the fact that this is being made on spare change, Sheila In The Modern World will not be coming to a theater near you. After post-production is complete I will be submitting Sheila to as many film-festivals as I possibly can, and if I've done my job we'll get into festivals that have some level of recognition. I also plan to organize a variety of film-screenings throughout Boulder Colorado (so Sheila may be coming to a venue near you!) If you have any goods or services that you would like showcased in the Boulder community, email me at sheilainthemodernworld@gmail.com to discuss sponsorship options.

That's that exciting story.

Peace Out!