Thursday, April 24, 2008

Inspiration Weekend, part II

So why is Audio Cinema our new best friend?

Their website says they are a “production facility” dedicated to serving “the culture producing community by providing a space to work, play, perform, network, screen, rehearse, exhibit, produce, record, shoot, fundraise, teach, eat, and drink.” Neat.

It’s located in one of the coolest parts of Portland—the eastside riverfront industrial area—right underneath the Hawthorne Bridge. And the space is cavernous and old and has lots of rooms and offices and basements and such. They also sell Stella (good beer, mignon website) in the bottle for 3 bucks. Extra neat.

On Saturday they held a monthly Portland Independent Film Night, hosted by Los Moustachios, a spunky group of young men who seem to be quite familiar with audio visual equipment and enjoy making hilarious short films. Fully neat.

When I stumbled across the announcement for this event I decided the whole Company should attend to both see what other lusty film builders were up to and to talk to said individuals in a practice known as Networking. We have unofficially nominated Jeffrey as our unofficial communicator with the outside world as he is confident and even eloquent around people he doesn’t know. But it turned out Jeffrey and Ariana could not come. That left “talking to people” to either Brandon or me. It was not going to be Brandon, so that left me. Crap. Not neat.

Amazingly and thankfully, I introduced myself to office supervisor/ bartender Kelly and the Networking was done. She introduced us to every person of worth who walked by the bar. We met directors, actors, a/v guys, and all sorts of other people who were into making and watching no-budget cinema. Unassailably and undeniably super neat.

So we will continue our relationship with this wonderful place, with wonderful Kelly and her wonderful gang of fresh-faced indifilm enthusiasts. Love and kisses, Audio Cinema. See you soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Inspiration Weekend, part I

In the Willamette Week's review of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, a movie the Company and I saw this weekend, the author says the “homemade Indiana Jones movie is exactly as amazing as it sounds.” A wholly incorrect assessment. A homemade Indiana Jones movie does not sound awesome at all. It sounds tedious and unnecessary. After the first 10 minutes, the cuteness or novelty of such a thing should most certainly wear off.

But this movie…this movie was genius. A group of Mississippi kids in the 80’s so loved the Spielberg film they lovingly and quite painstakingly remade it shot for shot over the course of seven years, building, borrowing, and improvising all the major props, settings and costumes. The beta max video quality was awful, the sound was worse and an entirely sold out theater full of hardened, irony-weary hipsters and nerds could not have cared less.

The big rolling boulder? Check. They dug a hole in the ground and made the two halves out of fiberglass, then glued them together and sent it rolling after Indiana. The part where Jones gets dragged behind the Nazi truck? Check. Someone gave them a broken truck, they pulled out the engine, painted it army green and pushed or pulled it with another vehicle, depending on the angle of the camera. Snakes? Check, thanks to a local pet store.

They pleaded and bargained with parents, land owners, a Navy Captain, and little brothers to get what they needed. They built detailed sets in family basements, sewed Nazi flags, invented explosive devices out of Tylenol gel caps, doused things in gasoline (then lit them on fire), and almost got arrested to make it happen. And make it happen they did.

If anything has ever been a testament to the magic of film or to the tenacity of the impassioned human spirit, this is it. And here I’m worried we won’t be able to find a proper doorman’s uniform. Pshaw.

To come in Inspiration Weekend, part 2: AudioCinema is our new best friend.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Madam, what have you done to your child!?!

The Script: the script has been abused. It has been cut and pushed and strangled and wrangled. Plot lines have been abandoned like newborn kittens. Characters have been contorted into alien mockeries of their former selves. New characters have been rubbed into the script's wounds like Pica Limon. Two more plot lines have been added, glomming onto the first draft with ferocity and vigor. We went from having a complete first draft to having a bucket of Frankenstein parts and a collective headache.

But this is good for the script. It is good for the film. We gravitate towards our goal by inches and degrees, moving perceptibly closer to possessing that first glorious component of our heavenly machine, a shooting script.

Now, when I leave this mild-mannered alias existence of a day job, I will fly home and become... mwahahaha! The Script Writer. Tonight, however, I shall become The Script Writer With A Martini...and hope this version of super hero will mind her manners and get to work, not succumbing to the Friday night pull of prancing around the house in borrowed boxers singing Go Team songs.

We can hope. That is all we can do.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Big, Pure-Hearted Babies

Move over King James, there's a new Bible in town.

I bought Digital Filmmaking 101 2nd ed for Brandon for his birthday. I then took it from him and am in the process of reading it cover to cover. It tells you, yes, You, that guy who busses tables at Little Jimmy's Breakfast and Lotto Shack and owns no equipment beyond a pencil and a pair of pants how to make a feature length film for less than $8,000 dollars. From purchasing the camera, computer and editing software to feeding your cast and crew, this book tells you how to do it.

It's not some philosophical exercise on the nobility of bringing your Vision to film, it's a practical, tough-love guide to making a movie. It doesn't tell you you're beautiful and if you just dream hard enough and have a pure heart, your movie will come true. Rather, it tells you if you really want to make this movie, but you also really want a new pair of shoes and you aren't willing to sacrifice the latter, then you really don't want to make a movie... And you should probably go do something else, you pure-hearted big-dreaming baby.

Good Stuff. Real Good Stuff.

Naturally, there are things that will and will not apply to this particular production. For instance, the $8,000 budget. We're already there and we don't even have a script yet. And we've already broken the authors' most adamant piece of advice. We used our credit card. I know it is wrong and I will pay for it later (in accordance with my credit member agreement). But that's it! The rest of this film will be beggared, borrowed, stolen, free, or almost free.

I am a convert to the gospel of these two men. Can I get a hallelujah?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Draft the First

Last week I finished the first draft of the screenplay. That was a nice sentence to type.

I then immediately fell ill. Because somehow the germs know when to strike. I have not yet read this so-called first draft. I'm about to right now... I'll keep you posted.