Sunday, July 18, 2010

How Social Networking Expands Your Rodriguez List

This post is a reference from a reference. Stu Maschwitz talks about the Rodriguez List in his book the DV Rebels Guide, which is a reference to Robert Rodriguez' book, Rebel Without A Crew.

What's a "Rodriguez List"?

The idea is simple. You make a list of all the assets you have access to, things your friends, family, in-laws, extended family own that they would let you borrow for your film project. Cars, locations, props, etc. I love this idea, it's both efficient and frugal.

So, we're filming a movie called Dust, and within the story there's a scene in which a cop car parks in front of the main characters house. Well, how am I going to get a cop car? Enter facebook. Here I have three hundred or so friends, family, acquaintances who through a simple 'event' know that I'm making a movie, and that I'm looking for a cop-like car.

I ended up getting two cars (!) that were cop-like. A white Chevy Impala, and a white Chevy Blazer. After removing some hub caps, putting a cage in the back seat, adding an air-soft shotgun under the rear view mirror, and putting a laptop on the center console: we had a cop car!

Social networking at its finest.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OMG That Was Close (an HDSLR scare)

We were filming a scene in a borrowed location the other night at about 10:30pm. Trying to direct and operate the camera takes 100% of my brain. Not to mention the fact that we filmed the sequence in reverse order. Thank God for script supervisors, and sound guys! If I had to try and do all of that, my head would very likely explode. And because I was holding the camera, it wouldn't even make it on to youtube....

Anyway, like I said things are crazy, I've got this poor actor in a prosthetic, trench coat, and hoodie. AND it's like 89 degrees in there. The next shot we had to film called for a tripod, and I need to switch to it from our shoulder support. Well, I'm doing the switch and after the camera is on the tripod I go to set the exposure and fear strikes my soul. It looks like video. Oh my God, we've been filming in 30p. Now, keep in mind this is after about an hour and a half of work that could have just been flushed down the toilet. And I'm there with the script supervisor in utter terroR. tthat is until I go into the play back menu and hit the info button.

And there it is like a cold glass of water on a hot day, 24p listed on all of my files. Thank you, THANK YOU Canon for including that information on the video files. Come to find out what had happened was when I was taking the camera off of the shoulder rig, I had bumped the mode wheel and switched it to C1 (custom one) which for defaulted to 30p instead of the beloved 24p.

I just moved the mode dial back to 'manual' and of course everything was fine. PLUS none of the clips we had shot previously were in the wrong frame rate!

So lesson learned. Even though things are crazy out there. It's good to take a breath to center yourself.

Whew. That was close.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I Never Thought I'd Have To Do

So in making a film I've done somethings I never thought I'd have to do.

1. Buying Make Up at Walgreens. Our film (Dust) calls for a prosthetic piece (which we had made here) Two nights ago, I went to Walgreens because I needed to buy make up to blend the prosthetic back into the actors skin. So, that was weird. It's not everyday I ask a girl there what foundation cream she uses.

2. Applying A Prosthetic Joe from Four Finger Effects was kind enough to teach me how to actually apply the piece to the actors face.

3. Beg Everyone for Everything If you have someone in mind for a one word (yes, word not line) roll, like say...a social worker, you may find out that the person who you thought would do it no problem, is a terrible actor/actress. So, you have to find someone. Now, to be fair I've found that getting people involved isn't as hard as it seems. I'm finding that people seem to want to be a part of something, and if they can be a part of a film and you have a positive attitude, people will pick up on that and want to contribute. On the other hand, asking a relative to borrowing their crown vic to deck out like a cop car might not be as easy, some begging/bribing may be required.

4. Talk To the Police We're filming a scene this saturday where the fake cop car I begged to get is sitting in front of the main characters house. I rented a police light from a local guy who rents police cars for movies. Strange that he was so close, but I'm not going to argue. Anyway, there are fake cops and airsoft guns in this scene so we thought it'd be a good idea to let the local authorities know. The worst thing that could happen is have the real cops show up while your filming with your fake cops. Ugh. Your whole crew could loose faith in you. Also, letting the neighbors know isn't a bad idea either.

5. Work So Hard Making an hour long film is hard. Making an hour long film on a spiders thread budget is harder. I mean, I'm so thankful for my dedicated actors and crew (two guys). But I will say, that even with all that, it takes a lot of planning, dedication, and attention to EVERY detail. It takes time and effort, but then again, most things worth while do.