Meaningful Update – 8-27-20

Michael & Katie

I finally filmed again. Episode 4 is in the works, which has me equal parts excited and humbled. After a week of never-ending emails and updates, I gathered 3 legitimate actors who all showed up on Monday and delivered a helluva performance.

The early footage looks amazing, but I’m going to have my work cut out for me in the editing room. As of now, I plan on filming again on Tuesday, September 7th and 8th. I have one other actor who is onboard for the project that I’m excited to work with.

The highlight of my experience is that the actors really enjoyed the script and got into the characters that I created. My dialogue played out pretty crisp on paper and non-repetitive. This is a big improvement for me following episode 1.

Katie 2

Some of my key takeaways from my experience Monday (mainly for myself):

1. Create a shot list. Know your angles and when to use them. Have the 180 degree rule well drawn out ahead of time.

2. Improve ability with manual focus. I need to learn how to adjust it along with camera movements towards and away from the lens.

3. Set piece – if I’m going to film in an apartment again, I better make sure there are paintings, posters, and christmas lights filling up every last square inch – especially any wall space that will be in the shot. A blank wall just looks terrible.

4. Wall paper. The actors skin tones matches my yellow walls. The reason this matters is it makes it difficult for me to adjust and highlight their skin tones in the editing room without changing the wall color as well.

5. Figure out lighting. Get softer lights. Learn how to balance the frame with shadows and brights.

I know none of that probably matters to you. Anyway, here’s a few stills from the first day of shooting for “Mountain Cult – Episode 4”.

Darrell 2

katie 4

group 1

Progress – 8-7-20

white head

I’m shocked and thrilled by the response I’ve gotten over at actors access. For 3 roles, I’ve received a combined total of well over 1000 submissions. Actors who have been on television commercials, played minor roles on television programs, and tried out for major roles on feature length films have all applied. There’s a ton of talent on there.

So I’ve spent the majority of my free time this week combing through them. I’ve completed my assessment on one role so far and requested a self-taped audition from the finalist. I’m hoping to find the time today to get through the rest before Sunday.

I’ve also ordered the necessary props for the upcoming episode, and am preparing for my first ever ZOOM meeting with the meet group I made on Sunday. We have ten people attending.

Beyond filmmaking, Kelly and I furnished our apartment this week – buying a grill, a couch, and a 55 inch television. I am in the process of preparing the place to be a film set for the cult headquarters as well.

I will have to get some pictures of the layout and upload them here for you soon. Any free time I have I’ll be sure to post another update. But I have to say I’m very excited that my dream is rapidly transforming into a reality.

With a system to get actors in place and multiple shooting locations, I should be able to begin pumping out new episodes for Mountain Cult on a monthly basis. I’m extremely relieved to be able to focus on making films again.

Farewell for now.

Balls are rolling – 8/1/2020


I finally did it. I finished a bare-bones version of Episode 4 script and submitted for casting on a legitimate acting website. I offered to pay $50/day for each role. I also went ahead and scheduled a “zoom” meeting for my Riverside Film Network group.

On top of all this, I’ve had to make a rent payment, purchase my mom a $700 bike, and pay $1300 to get a blown head gasket fixed. I’m working roughly 5 days a week to pay for all this %$^&.

But the best part is, I’m excited. Yes, I realize it’s insanely stupid to be paying people for a production that will likely amass 1,000 views at best. Yes, I’m aware I have no idea what I’m doing and any actors with experience are going to be appalled by how little I know. And yes, I know that I should be more focused on getting married and saving for a home. But I feel this weird tingling sensation in my brain every time I start to involve myself with a production, and I’ve come to like that feeling even more than the constant question every great ambitious action attracts – what the fuck am I doing?

So I lay myself down before ye, cast your judgment and step on me if ye so desire. I’m finally moving ahead with plans I’ve had since the beginning of the year, and by God I’ve got to say I’m finally excited again. Life is a strange thing – how nice it must be to have a brain that operates on a “how to make money 101” basis. Unfortunately for me, I prefer to live in la-la land.

I’ll post a link to the script here for any person willing to provide feedback. I’m going to continue reworking some things and tinkering with it, but please share your thoughts if you have any. I want episode 4 to be pretty damn good now that I have some financial resources, 3 different lenses, and the knowledge and tools to film correct exposure in practically any conditions. I bid you adieu.