All entries for Sunday 25 September 2005

September 25, 2005

The Advert

INTERESTED IN TAKING PART IN A FILM PRODUCTION?

Iíve been wanting to film a story Iíve had in mind for the last two years. Titled The Lives of Jeremy Wakeham, the basic premise is about a uni student who wakes up to a different life each day. Contact me if you want to find out more.

Will it take up a lot of your time and effort? Definitely. So you will need to be (a) passionate (b) talented (c) ideally both.

Objectives?

  • To try to produce a film with a minimal budget and a minimally experienced cast and crew, and still end up with a film that looks professionally done.
  • To give everyone who has no track record a chance to gain experience and possibly use this as a calling card if they are interested in pursuing a career in filmmaking.
  • To get myself into film festivals (there are 600 around the world).

AS OF THIS MOMENT I NEED

  • A Producer
  • A Writer

If youíre interested in any other roles, whether cinematography or scoring or acting, youíre welcome to come talk to me as well.

Contact me at 07761 765 120 or jmcgarmott@hotmail.com (e-mail & MSN).

PS Ė Iím not going to lie to you. I'm not going to tell you that this will be fun and exciting and easy. I can tell you it will be all of that when the film is done.


On Le Réalisateur, And Job Descriptions

I mentioned in a previous post that in a film production, the director is king. Everyone else, the cast and crew and so on, are there to serve the director's vision (a phrase that gets bandied about a lot). If that evokes images of minions running around to do the master's bidding, then you got the wrong idea.

This is the truth of the matter. How the movie turns out in the end depends on who the producer and director picked to do each job. Every actor is different, just as every cinematographer has different styles and methods, every score composer has different tastes, and so on. Thinking mathematically, how the movie looks like in the end (the result) is a sum of all the different personalities, tastes, styles and creative input of the cast and crew involved in any production. You change any variable, and the movie will be different somewhat. Of course, you'll never know how different.

So where does the director come in? How is he or she significant? The director's vision is essentially the underlying 'something' of the movie. Some directors will be tyrants, and will readily squeeze and prod his cast and crew to give something to him a certain way. Others might not really have a clue what they're doing and actually rely very heavily on his crew's inputs. As usual, balance is always good.

The point of saying all that, is to acknowledge the fact that – I am at the mercy of whoever decides to take part in this (very much foolhardy) endeavour.

To quote one of Hollywood's best editors, Walter Murch (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now Redux),

A talented director lays out opportunities that can be seized by other people – by other heads of departments, and by the actors, who are in effect heads of their own departments. This is the real function of the director, I believe. And then to protect that communal vision by accepting or rejecting certain contributions. The director is ultimately the immune system of the film.

[Note to myself: on directing ]

So, who do I need for this particular production?

PRODUCER – someone who can get the job done, and get whatever I ask for. This includes song rights, negotiating to get equipment, dealing with post-production houses, possibly getting location permits, and so on. A partner in discussing various technical, financial, creative and production issues.

WRITER – your job is mainly to assist me on painting the script. I've spent months developing the ideas and philosophies and themes lurking in the background of the story, as well as formulating drafts – in effect, it's like the pencil markings on the canvas is there. Your job is to take that and paint it. You have to impress me with your ideas – as a cinematic writer, not a poet or columnist or short story writer. You have essentially one month to deliver the final draft.

CASTING DIRECTOR - well, read this. And you have a very short time (possibly a fortnight) to organise auditions and help pick the best actors for the story. Keen, instinctive eye on picking out good performers. The most challenging part (more so than the average Hollywood commercial film) is to pick up to 6 actors to play the exact same character.

CINEMATOGRAPHER - sometimes called the Director of Photography (DP). You need to very quickly get yourself in tune with technical stuff such as depth of field, shutter speeds, and very importantly filters and lighting. You need to familiarise yourself with the camera really quickly. You have ONE TERM to learn all that. Then, you need to know your stuff well enough that you can just decide there and then on set what to do. And since I'm not that keen on angles and stuff, you will become the closest collaborator with me on set. [I'm considering getting people who are already pretty good in photography and who are interested in moving pictures to take this job.]

SCORE COMPOSER – the music for the movie is for the most part melancholic, alienating, slow and reflective. Also, you'll need to know that I hate electric guitars and cheesy synths. Basically I hope to have Thomas Newman-style scores – examples of tracks are Any Other Name in American Beauty, or Road To Perdition in said movie, or the incredible final minute of the End Title in In The Bedroom. All utilise piano with ethereal synths.

SOUND RECORDIST - it sounds like a boring job but your job is in a way more important than the DP. Indies always fail becoz the sound quality is bad or inaudible – audiences are more readily able to forgive bad images than bad sound. So, you also need to quickly learn the technical side of things (much less complicated than cinematography) and how to deliver good audio. And be very meticulous about it.

EDITOR – you will probably need to be familiar with Final Cut Pro HD. The way I expect we'll work is to edit the dailies at the end of the day of production, so when the film shoot is done basically the rough cut will already be available.

SOUND DESIGN – assist the editor in coming up with sound effects and foley and recording them. If you love playing around with sound and have spent hours just tweaking your music, for example, this might be it. You will not have much time to do the sound design and foley for the movie – possibly less than a week.

PUBLICIST – figure out a promotional (and possibly distributional, depending on how ambitious we get) strategy with the producer. Plan a strategy for submission to film festivals. Plan a strategy to hype up about the production within Warwick.

There will be other crew members that I'll need and I'll update this post as I think of them. As of yet I don't need special effects. As for the cast, well, I'll deal with those later. If any of you think that this might actually work and that it's something you want to take part in, let me know and I'll send you the script for your consideration … which isn't quite done yet but I'm almost there. If you think trying to make a film here in Warwick is the stupidest idea ever and is a bloody waste of time, well, let me know as well.


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