Rays of Dawn

Finding a location for episode 5 has been a source of tremendous discouragement for me. I have discovered some good news, however – Riverside Film Studios offers their studio for use (at a price of $850/day). I came across another website that was displaying establishments that had agreed to allow their venues as filming locations. I initially believed these to be free for public use, but after speaking with 1 agent it looks like it would cost me ~ 550 a day for use.

It’s funny, I have spent a solid year learning anything and everything I could find as it relates to film production, from pre- to post-. I have no issue learning a new program, studying new equipment, or reaching out through social media to market the videos. But for some reason finding an adequate location has depressed me.

I know why – it’s a certain feeling of helplessness. It greets you as soon as you set outside in search of a new path. It pesters you when you’re sleeping and eats at you when you’re not.

A huge concern of mine is obviously the price. Not to sound frustrated, but what kind of a fucking idiot would I be to pay that amount for a production as low budget as mine? One of the reasons it has affected me to this extent is because during my conversations I have received discounted offers – and they are nowhere near what I am willing to pay.

On the upside of all-things-perspective, I have not been reaching out and contacting other potential venues/agents/services as much as I can. Part of the reason is that they are used to dealing with legitimate, established production companies. I absolutely detest having to explain how inferior and new my company is. Another great area of frustration for me has been discussion of future plans – or “making it in the industry.”

This area of frustration does not make logical sense, and I’m aware of that. But for some reason it drives me to befuddled introspection when I spend any time considering my lack of interest in pursuing a Hollywood career in any sensible way. It’s as if I’m obsessively improving in a field for a job I have no intention of applying for. It’s kind of a sign of insanity… I just would like to tell good stories, and that’s the source for everything that I do.

But I’m awake early today and determined to take action. I believe when you set out to do everything in your power in order to accomplish a goal an unseen pathway reveals itself. I also believe that if you keep trudging along blindly the rays of dawn will gradually appear.

Not that it’s of any real relevance here, or to this post, but I have spent the better part of the past month working with pro tools by remastering episode 1. I finally have a working understanding of what it means to “mix audio” for a film. I successfully exported the stems yesterday and enjoyed watching the film with sounds, music and words that were was cared for, EQ’d, cross-faded, and leveled (though not perfect). I still have to figure out how to export each track as mono (rather than stereo) because I believe this is required in order to export for surround sound from premiere pro. Maybe I’ll do a post about everything I learned tomorrow.

Anyways, just wanted to type up an update here. Enjoy your day and the journey that awaits you.

Pre-Production of the Pre-Production

Episode 5 is in the works, and by that I mean I’m routinely thinking about the story that it will be. A sharp contrast for this episode is the preparatory steps I am taking before the script is even written. Following this episode I want to begin pushing out new short films more rapidly.

Currently I am developing a basic familiarity with Pro Tools. This software is the “industry standard” for sound mixing on Hollywood films. The biggest criticism I’ve received regarding my films is the audio quality. I have repeated recorded dialogue with too low of a gain setting and spent way too much time trying to fix it in post production. But in order to really make this upcoming episode something special, I want to piece together professional sounding audio. Not only will this give viewers an opportunity to hear the film in surround sound, but a proper understanding of audio mixing will prepare me for publishing to different platforms. Many have different recommendations for audio levels.

Another major goal for my future productions is to publish the video to different platforms, possibly even streaming services. I want to move toward monetization of some sort this year. As I’ve discussed previously, I am extremely limited in where I can publish my videos if I do not own the rights to the music, score, and sound effects.

Beyond the audio issue is the gear issue. I intend to purchase a second camera, a new microphone, and possibly some acoustic pads or something that will help improve the audio of my recordings. But this stuff is boring and not a major road block.

The part that I am most uncertain about is the location. I already know I would like episode 5 to take place inside a large-scale building. Possibly a warehouse or something like an old hotel. I envision the plot will revolve around my character attending something similar to an AA meeting where he attempts to move beyond his fascination with a cult that supposedly doesn’t exist.

I currently have no connections or prospects for the filming location I am imagining. I’m start to chat with different people and explore different ways of how I can approach a business owner about using their location for 2 days. I am engaging in my second ever zoom meeting with my local film group this morning and will ask them for their insights/ideas.

I am very excited about episode 5. I know it is taking long for me to get started but that’s not without good reason. If I have to choose between producing fast and producing quality I will always choose quality. There is a time when it’s most important to get something out there, but I feel as though I’m beyond that. I plan to improve each time I put something together. By learning how to navigate through Premiere Pro, After Effects, and soon Pro Tools, I don’t see why I won’t be able to create short films that are good enough to entertain viewers, rather than simply amuse them.

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday. With each day comes the opportunity to learn something new – and the joy of improvement will always outlast the vanity of fulfillment.