Today I’ve post the 5th and final installment of the behind the scenes process of creating “Doctor with the Red Houseware.” I discuss the specific challenges of this day that included prop design, time management, and acting in a scene when you are feeling delirious.
I’m still working on the animated video regarding admiral byrd, but in the meantime here’s a look at day 3 of production on “Doctor with the Red Houseware”
Doctor with the Red Houseware was filmed over the course of 5 days. I intend to summarize each of the challenges and obstacles throughout the filmmaking process through a series of videos, and this video summarizes day 1.
I have been tirelessly editing 5 separate youtube videos that briefly summarize the work that went into the production of “Doctor with the Red Houseware” – a 32 minute film that has now been picked up by Xumo, Tubi, Box Brazil Play, and Lookhu.
It seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is that artwork dies as an unknown soldier if it is merely brought into existence. In other words, I have discovered that the least inspiring actions are often the most important. Similar to people and society.
For example, gaining acceptance from filmhub required a 2 week effort to create a new poster, render the film according to new specifications, and capture stills in 16:9, rather than the 1:35 aspect ratio that the film was mastered in.
One of the best practices of any modern artist/entepreneur/pipe-dreamer is to sit down and identify exactly what they seek to accomplish. Each and every day we have time to work. But simply working is no guarantee that you are moving anywhere.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a numerous “to-do” list – email a singer a track, re-record the roulette wheel sounds, add to my film financing notes, identify an accessible film market, record narration for youtube videos, read the 3 writing books I purchased, etc.
Only 1 or 2 of these objectives can make a fat impact on my filmmaking journey. Shaking hands with professionals at a filmmaking marketplace would be by far the most beneficial to me, but promoting a film that I’ve already completed is a necessary final step in its production.
I must be diligent with time. I love writing on wordpress (though adding photographs or italics makes me want to punch a wall…it wasn’t always this way), but it is time. Every task requires time, yet every task is necessary. So how can a nobody like me get anywhere?
Deadlines. I’ve begun requiring production of myself regardless of how unprepared or overwhelmed I feel at the onset of an uncomfortable undertaking. Attacking with a blunt axe-head to escape a whimsical dungeon.
By tomorrow I will have 5 youtube videos ready to go. I will release each video separately in order to promote the film’s release. I will simultaneously market the film through Instagram. I can than put “Doctor with the Red Houseware” behind me and focus single-mindedly on the writing and financing of a feature length story.
I’ve spoken much about distinguishing between actions that move you toward your ultimate goals and those that provide minimal return. I consider instagram, wordpress, and youtube as minor annoyances that I could enthusiastically abandon. I will not however, as a consistent effort in these self-promotional activities builds an audience, a brand, and a community.
I created The Riverside Film Network (a Meetup group) because I didn’t have any local network of filmmakers to communicate with. That group now has 200 members, a consistent conversation on its own discord server, and weekly discussions. The group includes producers, actors, agents, and writers. This wordpress blog has over 1000 followers, and my youtube channel has 70 or so (lol).
Consistently releasing material over time, regardless of its quality, is more beneficial than spending years crafting an imaginary plan for success.
I’m beyond thrilled to announce Doctor with the Red Houseware – the short film I wrote and directed – has been selected by “Xumo” with the opportunity to reach televisions worldwide. Xumo is a streaming service that is readily available across a variety of devices. If you have a Samsung TV and no cable, it is more than likely the host of television channels that will start playing automatically once you exit Netflix. Though it has been selected, I will celebrate with much more alcohol when it is officially featured and available for viewing.
I find myself overwhelmed by time. I work 12 hour shifts 3-4 days per week. I have one day off per week with my girlfriend where we watch movies and order pizza. When I am not working I am creating something. Currently I am developing a song that I love.
I have never looked for a job in the film industry but have decided to begin my search following completion of this song. Spending so much time at a job that is unrelated to my areas of interests seems misguided and wasteful. I would love nothing more than to begin work on a feature length script, yet I feel burdened by worry that such an undertaking will be wasteful. If I take the time to write a script I will make damn sure it gets produced. In order to produce a feature length script I am dependent on money that is not in my possession.
The benefits of working in the industry would be numerous as would the drawbacks. For one, I anticipate regular pay for consistent work is difficult to come by. I feel that working as a sound engineer or mixer could perhaps be the most promising, despite my first love of writing. I am concerned jobs of that sort require a degree in the audio production as they deal with the most technical & mathematical aspects of filmmaking. For instance, mixing for a theatrical release requires much more specific sound assignments then a 2.0 stereo mix. I am confident I can mix in surround but until I have a setup at my disposal I cannot prove that.
These are just some of my thoughts as I am, as always, pressed for time. Today I will work further on the song, tomorrow I will see my girlfriend, and the following day it’s back to work. Happy Easter and God Bless.
After speaking with a competent and knowledgeable filmmaker, I am beginning work toward my next project. “Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware” has yet to be released but I intend to make it widely available by the end of the month. I uploaded it to filmhub a couple days ago, but it failed quality control due to poster image & subtitle issues. I would like to provide my film to a marketplace distributor with the high-end goal of selling it before making it free to view. Lofty goal but shooters shoot.
So this competent filmmaker has consistently worked on other projects and takes his craft very seriously. I am excited about the opportunity to work with someone who knows what they are doing and recognizes the value in preparation.
Thought yesterday we made loose plans for rushing a script and filming a type of “practice” short relatively soon, I am now second guessing that idea in favor of my loftier goal for 2022. I would like to write a scene for a “sizzle reel” – a short scene that encompasses the tone, characters and premise of a feature film. If you want to secure funding for a film, the best way is to complete a visceral sizzle reel and use it to leverage your product’s merit with people who have the money to make it come to life. It is also wise to secure distribution before funding.
I have a few ideas floating around that vary in genre and budget requirements. The one thing I have learned through experience is that no matter what idea I pursue, I will inevitably fall in love with it and devote much more time and effort than I had initially planned. It is for this reason that I have decided against a practice shoot.
In other news, I have been updating an instagram account and facebook page for the film regularly. I hate doing it but it doesn’t take much time. I don’t quite understand how facebook business pages are supposed to attract followers when you cannot friend request them. I’ve built a good amount of “friends” on my personal page and use that one primarily to market the film. Because I click on random people each day to add as friends I inevitably have friends from regions of the world that don’t use English. I guess I have much to learn about marketing.
Anyways, that’s today’s update. Hope you have a great day.
A week ago I set out to submit my kickstarter campaign for review. I wanted to have a link to the pre-launch page as soon as possible. I thought it would be a good idea to use a “series recap” video so that potential backers could rapidly familiarize themselves with the show’s core concepts.
I figured I better make a new series recap video that includes portions of episode 4. But then I realized that I talk about how I make all the music myself on the campaign info page… so I needed to make a new song as well.
From there I realized that ableton live was pretty limited in the synths they offer. I initially hoped to make a sort of dubstep beat. But to do that I would need a plug-in to create my own synths… so I researched then purchased one.
Next I had to figure out how to use the plug in to create satisfying sounds. I wound up creating a pluck and synth that I’m ok with. I’m very excited to learn more about the plug-in soon.
Long story short, I just wasted a week making a song for a new series recap video all because of that nagging idea I needed a one. I’m pretty disappointed with myself since I’ve been determined to improve my time efficiency. Anyways, the stupid video is below if you’d like to see a visual & audio representation of pissing days away.
I am relieved to have finished the first trailer for Mountain Cult this week, but time remains crucial. I am determined to launch a kickstarter campaign beginning January 1st, but I have much preparation to do from now until then.
The greatest obstacle I face is the lack of a true audience. All the theorizing, contemplation, and deep thought in the world can never substitute for a marketing campaign. If I were to release episode 5 today I am certain it would receive a maximum of 100 views by midnight.
I feel that I can look within the subject matter of the episode to discover my audience. Episode 5 deals with Astral Projection, Cults, and brain waves/radio frequencies. I feel that if I create a short documentary on the areas of interests I can find my way into attracting viewers for the subject matter I am offering.
That would make for 3 youtube videos I can release in January. Beyond that, the amount of behind the scenes footage and stories about the films development are ample. I can create a youtube video summarizing the struggles, prop development, and even editing that went into the various days of work. That would give me 8 separate videos I can release next month.
I messed around today with Episode 1 – which I created over a year ago. My skills with audio and video have drastically improved. I am considering re uploading each of these former episodes leading up to the release of Episode 5. As I’m writing it I find myself more intrigued by the idea. By pumping out frequent youtube videos, the algorythm may assist me and I may naturally attract more viewers for the films release.
I stumbled across an independent filmmaker today who was releasing a short film with an asking price of $3. This naturally caught my attention, as it is what I would like to do. I did, however, notice he has a miniscule following, despite a handful of affirming supporters. I couldn’t help but see myself in him, and simultaneously judge his actions independently. I think it looks silly to release a film with an asking price if you don’t already have an audience waiting for it. I haven’t come to any firm conclusion about Episode 5s release but this will definitely cause me hesitation in regards to releasing it as a pay on demand title.
Hoping to update here soon.
Here’s the trailer for the film I’ve been working on.
So I arrived late and we began preparing for the “Edward Youtube Video.” The idea for this scene was that my character would be browsing his wife’s facebook and come across a man he recognizes – Edward. In episode 4 of Mountain Cult, my character meets Edward during a quest. Edward offers my character a drink that was roofied, resulting in my character to failing to reach his destination.
So I had to make a youtube video and a facebook page for Sebastian Sage (Edward). Sebastian brought along 3 different button down shirts and we intended to take some creative pictures with each of them. In the end, we didn’t have enough time for a single picture.
The youtube video was fun because we didn’t have to work off a script, but there was still a few rehearsals to be done. The most important thing was for Sebastian to remember each ingredient and mix them in a creative way. In one instance, he spills salt all over the counter top then brushes it into the mixing bowl with his barehand.
At noon Piper Supplee (Shiloh) arrived. She had 2 lines offscreen and one onscreen. She enters the kitchen after I leave and asks Edward who the visitor was. He avoids the question with a witty response and the scene ends. Much thanks to Piper, she helped me realize that their interaction at the end was lacking any true punch. She came up with the idea of recommending Edward expand on the flavors he offers beyond simply vanilla. One of my favorite characteristics of “Edward’s Tasty Cream” is that Edward is obsessively fixated on vanilla being “the only real flavor”. Piper adding this button to the scene allowed him to end on a comically infuriated note.
We filmed with Piper until 3 pm, which took much longer than it should have. She did a great job but during her time there I was not being frugal with the sunlight we had. As an example, I recorded her voice over lines from the kitchen, outside the bathroom door, and inside the bathroom door.
During the previous days of shooting, all of which I intend to recap here, I began knowing sunlight and time would be a major issue. During day 1 I used my folk’s house – and only had 3-5 hours to get it done. Day 2 was at the antique shop, where the business owners were waiting to close up for the night. Day 3 was with Katie, where we raced against the sun in exterior shots to avoid the camera overheating. Day 4 was with Patrick – filmed guerilla style in a seldom used parking lot behind businesses. For day 5, we were using Pat’s kitchen – Pat is a member of my filmmaking group and a strong supporter to all filmmakers. She was willing to give me as much time as was needed.
So now it’s about 3 o’clock and we are FINALLY getting to page 1 out of the 4 we still have to shoot. Fortunately I had to set up the set before we filmed Piper’s sequence. This involved: A table mat, the ice cream cartons, the sign for his business, the mixing ingredients, the lights, and the potted plant. It never ceases to amaze me how lengthy the list of props becomes prior to shooting. Nothing is more aggravating than making a 30 minute trip to a store the night before because you don’t own the measuring cup that you need after the 6th line on the 3rd page.
It’s so funny how the minor considerations never end. As we prepared for take 1, I recognized a potential issue – the blinds. Pat’s blinds were rather transparent. That means as dawn sets in it will become obvious that the time of day has changed when the scene is meant to portray only a five minute interaction. I decided the blinds would be visible in the first shot, but the set up later on would exclude them. This produced another minor consideration that I swear stumps me every time I film.
There is a 180 degree rule in filmmaking that is simple enough for a child to understand. Whenever you flim something, create an imaginary line between two points in the room. Pick one side of that line and film every take only from that side. You can’t go wrong.
What tends to happen is you find your best angles and framing in a room and wind up with a list of 3 – one of which breaks the 180 degree rule. What I like to do is organize my shot list so that the 180 degree rule will be broken during specific moments of the scene. In the kitchen scene, I stand up my chair and address Edward Directly. At this point the imaginary 180 degree line falls directly behind us. Prior to that, when I am seated and addressing Edward who stands near the counter, the imaginary line is drawn from my left shoulder to his right. It is only when I stand up to intimidate him that the line is reset.
Once the takes get rolling (my favorite part of filmmaking) we come across a few obstacles. 4 pages of dialogue can be lot to remember. One missed line, or out of place line, can corrupt the entire take. Because the script calls for Shiloh to interupt us from off screen, we had a difficult time remembering when and where she interrupts us. Remember now, Piper left hours ago.
Thankfully, Pat was more than willing to assist us. She remained seated off camera and would provide the verbal cue to let us know Shiloh had a line. Another minor consideration – the script. Modern day microphones are amazing and pick up sounds and noises that you may not even hear during filming. Because Pat did not know the lines, she would need to hold the script in her hands and discreetly turn the pages to know when to speak. I forget my solution to this, but I’m pretty sure she tore the pages apart and taped them to her wall. I can’t emphasize enough that I couldn’t do this without Pat.
Finally, we were getting all the shots that were needed just as the sun was setting. And it was setting fast. But there was another reason I meant to arrive much earlier than the actors that morning – I needed a shot of me breaking and entering into the residence.
With the sun disappearing so rapidly I didn’t even have enough time to think about it. I knew that it was too dark for the shots to be believable but I still wanted to get them. You see, Pat lives an hour away from me – and I vehemently detest reshoots.
So I ran outside, opened the aperture to 1.4, and took one take of each of the following – myself walking through the backyard, opening the gate, and parking on the street. Each take required me to set up the tripod and find an angle that worked. Lastly, I got a clip of me grabbing the hammer from the passenger seat. It was pretty funny to edit this material because I had my lav mic running and later on I got to hear myself cursing angrily. It felt like getting gas when you’re already 10 minutes late to work and traffic is gridlock.
In the end, it all worked out. Because this scene occurs early on in the episode, I realized in the editing room I was able to make it appear that I arrived at Edward’s place so early the sun had not come up yet. It is only at the end of the scene that we see daylight burning through the blinds.
The lav mics that we used worked great – they blocked a lot of the echo in the tiled floor environment. I’m grateful I placed my light were I did because it was difficult to tell the time of day during my shots of Sebastian. Piper did an outstanding job and her appearance got a good laugh out of one of my coworkers. The point of her role was comic relief, and it worked.
Today I’ll be working on a trailer which I hope to publish here shortly. If you’d like to view the final edit of Edward’s youtube video, you can do so by watching the video below.