Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My short film: DRAW

Well, I finally got it up and running. Thanks to some very nice people who heard me whimpering and pounding my head against the computer.

My short film, DRAW, is now online!


Now, this is my first thing ever to upload at vimeo, so give me a chance.

About the film: Done for a 24 hour film contest. Genre was given to me. My genre was: British Western. We had to use one prop: Bunny Ears. And, we had to have a line of dialogue incorporated. The line? "That's what she said."

The children are all my offspring except Bree, who is the girl in the vest. It was her first time acting and I think she did great.

The little one is my special needs 10 year old. I am extremely proud of him. Of all my kids. It was one of the best days of my life, not only to make a short film, but to spend the day bonding with my kiddos. Priceless. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

DRAW! My first short film is done!

I’ve recovered from the 24 hour film race.

My team, “Team Triumph” did extremely well. We won’t know who won until April, though. AND I have the finished movie on DVD but I can’t figure out how to upload it to any web sites as of yet. I promise I will have it here as soon as I can.

What happened, you ask? Good question, adoring fan.

Friday afternoon, I arrived at the competition headquarters at Vanderbilt. There were 9 teams total. (One team later dropped out…and they were senior year film students! The sissies!)

We drew numbers. Our numbers correlated with our genre, which was mix-matched. By that I mean, categories were: Superhero horror, British Western, Sci Fi Musical, and Romance Mystery. I got Sci Fi Musical and was NOT happy. I accepted the challenge, however, and didn’t quit like those senior wimps.

We were given our equipment and checked it out. We were handed an envelope with one line of dialogue. We had to incorporate it into the script. We also were given a prop we had to place in a scene. The prop? Bunny ears. The line of dialogue? That’s what she said. We were also told that throughout the night we would be given texts with twists along the way. And of course the final rule: Turn in our finished movie on DVD by 6pm on Saturday. Everyone was excited. Except me with my stinkin’ Sci Fi Musical.

6pm: The race began! My crew (Kristy and Ann) and I loaded up and trekked to my house. For three hours we brainstormed on how to create a Sci Fi Musical. I was at a loss. I don’t watch Sci Fi. I don’t like alien crap. Ghosts, maybe. Loved the Matrix, but you know, my special effects budget was lacking for this flick. Exasperated, Kristy and I drove to the top of an overlook to get some shots of the moon since OBVIOUSLY Sci Fi stuff would need to have that in it. Ann took a puppy (I’m giving them away, want one?) and went home to rest.

At the overlook, all was well until the police pulled up and shone a bright light in my face. Maybe he thought the camera was a weapon? Kristy and I tried to explain we were filming a movie, but we were frisked against the car anyway. Kristy enjoyed it. I was rather miffed. I had the camera in my hand! Then we were told that no one was allowed up there after dark. AGAIN I explained that I needed a shot of the moon. He told me I needed to go in five minutes. Whatever. I was gone in four.

Fifteen minutes later, the text came: “The first person to respond to this text will be able to swap genres.” I was on that like white on rice! Kristy made the call and our genre became: British Western. Okay. THIS I can do.

By 11pm the script was made, copies were given to the actors, who just happened to be my four children and Kristy’s daughter.

At midnight production stopped. We spent an hour and a half in WalMart so the girls could get their DVD of New Moon. (We won Awesome Mom awards for that one!) I snagged a few props there while I was at it.

2-4am: Viewing of New Moon while I tweaked script. Michael, my eldest, went to bed so. He did this because he knew if he wasn’t well rested 1.) I wouldn’t let him drive me ANYWHERE and 2.) He needed to be able to be in a good mood in order to maintain peace between siblings.

5am: Breakfast at Waffle House. My youngest was slow to rise, but he had known about this for awhile. He was generally excited and happy. The girls put on their outfits and we were all good to go.

6am: Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tennessee. Cold. Got good shots of sunrise. Overcast day. Perfect lighting.

6:45am: Started filming the kids. I admit, I was a bit worried about filming my youngest. He’s 10 and has special needs. He can be whiny and difficult. However, he was so stoked about being in a movie, he was amazing. He worked so hard for me! Time after time after time! He had memorized his lines, too! All of the kids were wonderful! My boys did their own stunts.

7:15am: The boom mike quits working. We changed out batteries, nope, that wasn’t it. Fiddled with wires. Finally worked, but wasted thirty minutes.

8:00am: First camera battery dies. Swap out with another. No inverter to charge first battery. Muffled grumbling begins.

9:00am: Filming pauses so hot air balloons can float across our sky. Grumblings get a bit louder.

10:15am: Last line of dialogue taped. Camera dies. Grumblings are very vocal at this point. No way to charge batteries. We will have to make due.

10:30am: Ann departs. Kristy and her daughter come to my home to grab their things, leave. It’s up to me to edit it and make it pretty. I leave the kids with my parents and Michael and I book it to Vanderbilt.

10:50am: Get tutorial on editing station. I try my best to figure out Final Cut. It’s not my niche. Michael, however, seems to be a natural and takes over. My son, who was an actor, now becomes my editor. We edit for five hours straight.

4:30pm: Discover that the last line of dialogue was erased when the camera died. Screams fill the station. People run to see if I have had an embolism.

4:35pm: The next twist: You must film an alternate ending. Very happy about this, Michael, still wearing the same clothes, takes a seat against a wall. I film him improving an interview for our “new ending”. The old ending (the ORIGINAL ending) doesn’t work without the last line of dialogue, so it becomes an outtake ending.

5:00pm: Michael leaves to retrieve the children for the film screening. I’m left in charge of the movie and still can’t figure out stuff on Final Cut. I’m just not a techie. I enlist aid from Dean, a guy stationed at the competition to help people like me out. He helps me with credits, titles, and music. He also ensures that the editing is smooth. He was a great help. I was and am grateful. My grumbling subsides.

5:30pm: Our film, “DRAW” is burned to DVD.

5:35pm: DRAW is handed in to the powers that be. Early. I like that.

5: 50pm: Michael and the children return and are out of breath from sprinting from the parking garage. We take our seats in the theater.

5:55pm: My youngest takes a potty break.

6:00pm: Screenings begin. My mentor, Will Akers, is a judge. Didn’t even know he was coming!

All in all, the evening was fantastic. I won’t find out until April sometime if we placed. I will say that everyone laughed and LOVED our film. The kids loved seeing themselves up on a silver screen. Rave reviews from everyone who saw it. It was extremely entertaining. And so much fun to make.

Hands down. One of the best days of my life. Making my short film and being able to bond with my kiddos at the same time. Priceless! If any of you ever get a chance to make a film, oh my gosh, do it! Remember to laugh. We laughed a lot on our film. Wouldn’t change a darn thing.

Like I said, once I figure out how to upload it, I will.

On another note, TODAY I get to speak with Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter for Alice in Wonderland. I’m pumped. Most in my class didn’t like Alice, but I did. I really enjoyed it. I like things with twists…things that are done differently than expected. Weird. Maybe because I’m weird. Who knows.

I’ll post it here in a few.

Thank you for following my blog. Keep writing!
I'm so thankful there are youth that understand technology!
Michael is a superb editor!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Short Film Adventure Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I get the stuff to make my short film. I am extremely excited.

Still don’t know the genre I will be given.

Still don’t have the prop they are to give me. (They being the stellar school I am currently linked with and ever so grateful for these outstanding opportunities).

Still don’t have a script.

But I’m eager. I have a Production Coordinator that has agreed to spend the entire night filming the short with me. I have a crew. I have a small ensemble of actors ready to go.

I’m ready. I can do this. In the immortal words of my awesome cousin Carol: “I’m not asceared.” I am ready! Let’s make a movie! Whooooo hooooooo!

On to even BETTER NEWS!

I received an email today:

“I’m working with a visiting filmmaker, Alberto Fuguet, on a digital short he’s making during his time here at Vanderbilt. He’s a famous novelist and an experienced director (whose films have shown at the Rotterdam fest) - and he’s working on a cool new filmmaking concept he calls “garage cinema.” Basically, it’s a guerilla approach to filmmaking that involves the use of a still camera to surreptitiously shoot films. Shooting video with a still camera definitely seems to be the wave of the future and a cool way to make great films on a shoestring budget. Which is what we’re hoping to do. We’re beginning to prep the project now and will begin shooting on 3/29 (wrapping on 4/4).

“Will Akers recommended you as a stellar PA. And we’d love your help. Would you be interested in joining our gang of merry pranksters? If so, could you please share your schedule/availability with me? I’m putting together a crew list and would like to include that information so we can begin figuring out logistics. Thanks!”

Um….YEAH! I would LOVE to work as a PA!!! I’m slotted to assist the last week in March and up until Easter. I am STOKED!

Things are looking swell and uber sweet for me!

I’ll keep you posted!

Next week I will have the opportunity to interview Linda Woolverton, screenwriter of the newly released Alice in Wonderland. Hopefully I will have some helpful tidbits and help!

Keep writing, keep dreaming!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gearing Up!

In four days, I will get my short film assignment. I will have 24 hours to return my results.
I am a perfectionist when it comes to my craft.

I work way too hard.

I sleep too little.

I obsess.

Why am I telling you this?

I have never never never ever shot a short film before.

Am I nervous? Yes. I have no idea what to expect! Do I feel over my head? You betcha! But you know, every archer who picked up the bow and arrow for the first time, had to do just that: PICK IT UP.

And so I shall. So should you!

Short films are a great way to hone your skill, your timing, your work ethic…and the scripts are just darn easy.  Where a feature length script must have (well, okay, it doesn’t HAVE to, but the majority do) a three act structure, A + B storylines, a short doesn’t need that.

All you must do is capture a moment. That’s it! One moment and your short’s a hit!

I have no clue what mine is going to be about yet. Oh the joy of entering a competition. But this I know:

I will put every ounce of my being into it. I will work my tail off. And I will have fun.

And of course, post the end result here!

On another note, I'm back from the conference in South Carolina. My presentation went well. I had a full ballroom of people. (I was only expecting ten)! Got home Saturday night with the sniffles and crud. Yesterday, knocked out fifteen pages on my script (action sequences are fun to write) and couldn't fall asleep last night. Insomnia. Bleah. Doing better though. My fever from the crud has broken and prayerfully I'm on to better things tomorrow!

I know you, my loyal fan, are concerned for my well being, which is why I have shared that. Thank you for being supportive of me during my sniffles and feeling like I've been run over by a bus.

Look for more about my short film soon!

Stay tuned and keep writing!
While I was in Columbia, SC, my hubby and I went to the zoo there. They have koalas! I was able to talk to this little guy and get him to pose for pix. Isn't he gorgeous? I want to keep him!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Project Afoot!

My 28+ days of pain are over!!!

I have now had one complete off day and I slept for HOURS. I’ve caught up on a month of sleep deprivation and let me tell you, it feels good. Sleep is wonderful for rejuvenation. Which brings me to my next sleep-depriving activity.

A 24 hour short film contest.

I’ve never participated in one of these before. It was brought up in my class, and I though **foolishly** to myself, “How hard can it be? It’s a short film and I know people.”

I wrote a short script in a half hour (and let me tell you, it’s Oscar bound), lined up a cast, even got the location set when…*cue dramatic music*…the RULES were sent to me. Actually, they make sense since it IS a 24 hour contest.

On March 19, I will with my team to get my equipment (everyone gets the same stuff). From there, I will get an envelope. In the envelope is one line of dialogue and a genre. I am also given a prop. I’m told there will be one more twist thrown in, but we’ll find out that day what it is. From the moment my envelope is opened, I will have 24 hours to write, secure locations and actors, direct, produce and edit the movie. I must turn in a complete short film on DVD by 6pm March 20. Screenings directly follow.

Needless to say, I’m excited. I’ve never done a short film before, and at this point, honestly wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Not that I don’t think I could deliver a short film. I know I can. It’s the 24 hour deadline I’m concerned about.

My crew consists of my fellow employees who also have never done anything like this before. I get to train them. This should be interesting.

I have to remember to have fun. Anything to do with something like this and I set the bar really REALLY high for myself. My fear is that I’ll turn into a film Nazi or something like that, making my entire crew hate me….I’m usually pretty cool to hang around and do my best to make things fun, so I really hope that’s just a silly thought.

Could this experience be used for a future feature length script? Hm……

I’ll make sure to post the end result here. Wish me luck!

As I close this, Kathryn Bigelow has created history by becoming the first female to win in the Best Director category for the Academy Awards.  Congrats, Kathryn!

This night is such a magical time...people around the nation will stand before mirrors with shampoo bottles or hairbrushes and practice their acceptance speeches. I know this, because I've done it. It's a night for dreamers...where people wish upon a star for something bigger than themselves to take root and come to fruition.  I know, because I'm a fellow wisher.

So, to everyone who has a dream: Keep dreaming! For everyone who has something to day: Keep speaking! Keep creating! Keep making films, or music, or scripts, or whatever it is you do that sparks that fire deep within.

We would be lost if people stopped dreaming. So don't give up! Press on!

If you think you're small, you're small. If you think you're defeated, you're defeated. If you think you OWN those Oscars, guess what?  You will.

See you on the red carpet!