Under The Weather

Mar 14, 2009

It's all gone pear-shaped!

After troubles with locations, an extension on the time needed for completing the build of the main prop/set, i.e. the cockpit, and increased unreliability on the weather, I have put the whole shebang on hold.

This royally sucks, but I had little choice. Though in some respects it's a relief to not have to worry about it anymore, in the end it's still a huge mess and I am not sure if I'll ever return to it and restart it again. Making my own movies is not really my thing after all, and I'd rather help other people on their movies instead.

Over The Top

Jan 24, 2009

Funny thing, clothes. I'm not very good at imagining clothing for my characters when I write. In fact, even when I draw I am pretty awful at drawing their clothes, even though I have a pretty good idea of the sort of thing I'm going for. Some artists just get it, and it always impresses me when they do it.

So I asked my cast members around to have a look at their clothing they thought might be appropriate for the film. There are about five distinct locations requiring different costumes each time. The male character is easy to dress, as he wears his flightsuit most of the time, and the rest of the time it's just casual stuff. Men only have about three looks, and barely anything else.

But the female character has to look distinctly in character each time, and heaven forbid they slob around in any old thing. Even though I only had a vague idea about what her clothing ought to consist of, and I was a little worried about having to choose from how much stuff she had brought with her to try on, it actually turned out relatively easy. She put on a few outfits and instantly I could see if it passed or failed. She looked fantastic in all of them, but a couple just weren't appropriate for the character or the scene's intent, so I picked the ones that worked, and now that is out of the way.

Not sure about the shoes, though.

In The Foreground

Dec 10, 2008

My cast has agreed! Hurrah!

Dialogue acting was not what I was primarily looking for. There is no dialogue heard in my little film, so I had the leeway to choose my cast based entirely on their appearance and ability to emote. But more than that, I wanted to find a pair who could be believable as a genuine couple - so why not choose a genuine couple?

Andy has been helping us out on our other productions for some time, as a dogsbody crew member and occasional background extra, and has shown himself to be an excellent member of the team who can take direction well. Alex, his girlfriend, is our lead in a side project we're playing with, and she's proven her abilities already. Couple this with the fact that they are the right age and have the right look, and it's a no-brainer.

On The Ground

Nov 27, 2008

So it's confirmed. We're allowed to use the Springvale Cemetery, known as the Necropolis, for many of my locations. Hooray!

But there's more to this story than parks. After all, it's about a pilot in a jet plane - we have to show him at an airfield, right? Indeed we do. But it's not like we can wander onto an Australian Air Force military site and start filming - that's just a bit too much of a security nightmare. It's possible that we would get permission, after signing a lot of forms, paying a fee, and not to mention travelling the miles to get there. But bugger that for a game of soldiers. Sounds like more hassle than it's worth, to me.

So I decided that we'd probably have better luck with a smaller airfield, perhaps one set aside for amateur fliers. After all, I only really need a sense of flatness, scope distance, and maybe a control tower, or a radar or something, to give a sense of it being a military airfield. The rest of it can be fairly generic. I already knew I'd be compositing in other jet fighters, all out of focus, in the background. I also know they will be very steady shots (the whole film will be like that) using a dolly for tracking, making it easier to composite things in. So a big flat field of any kind will be fine, because anything it lacks I can add in myself.

I await the results of MPS's request for permission eagerly.

In The Background

Oct 12, 2008

Locations are a pretty important part of a film. When you are trying to evoke a certain feeling, or reveal a plot point in a scene, the location helps enormously in filling in blanks that you can't figure out how to seamlessly place in the dialogue. Therefore I need to find the ideal locations to shoot my film.

Yesterday Rob and I went looking for a couple of the key places, ones that hopefully can be used as multiple locations, to help with not having to constantly relocate for each scene. Just point the camera in a different direction, and you're done. We found several parks that might be suitable, including the Botanic Gardens, but it wasn't until we got to Springvale Cemetery and Necropolis that we fell in love with the place. There are scenes set in a cemetery, and a park, and a road (where an accident takes place) and this location had all of that and more. It was a beautiful and serene place to be, the most amazing cemetery I have ever seen.

Unfortunately, disturbing this kind of serenity with a film shoot, even a no-budget low-impact one like mine, is not something to be taken lightly, and almost certainly not something they'd allow us to do. I will be asking my Producer to make enquiries, but I am not holding out much hope that we'll be allowed to film there.

That means a regular kind of park will have to do, and we'll need to fake the cemetery scene digitally. I am confident I can do that, but it adds complexity and time spent that I'd rather avoid having to deal with. Here's hoping things work out okay after all.

On The Horizon

Sep 25, 2008

Horizon, a romantic tragedy, is a short film about a Jet Fighter pilot who looks back at some of the significant events of his life, the moments that shaped who he has become, and attempts to explain why we find him where he is today.

Shooting is currently planned for February 2009, using a small cast and crew, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, using the summer weather to its advantage. I hope for it to feature cinematically composed photography, using a high quality camera, with an extensive amount of digital visual effects to realise the flying scenes of the Jet Fighter.

I am currently assembling the crew, and will soon be hard at work breaking down the script into a shot list and storyboards to work out a schedule, and then later will be sourcing and locking down suitable locations for filming. A special set, the Jet Fighter cockpit, will also have to be built, which will be quite a challenge in itself.

Casting is an interesting factor as there is no spoken dialogue heard throughout, which means physical appearances and expressive emotive acting will be more important than being able to speak lines. But, having said that, there will be a need for spontaneity and ad-libbing in a naturalistic fashion, so, as those are unique qualities, and not commonly sought after, it will be a challenge indeed to find the right actors for the roles.

This is my first proper short film project of my very own — all previous projects I've worked on have been for other people — and I am nervous, yet excited, by the prospect. It is a common problem that most projects of this kind do not get off the ground, or worse are begun but not completed, and it's a very real risk my own project may end up the same way. But then, I do not want to let the crew or cast down, so I hope that that will be enough motivation for me to see it through to the end.