12-09-04 Pre-Production

    Over the weekend I was chatting with Jake Schafer, who went to Point Loma, one of the universities I attended. He majored in film, but has since gone on to write and self-publish novels. I’ve been wanting to pick Jake’s brain for a while, since he’s been formally educated in an area where I’m entirely self-taught (seminars and chats with friends not withstanding). 

    While Jake and I were chatting, he asked me what I was working on. I pitched TRK to him and he was intrigued. Naturally, I’m pretty excited about what I’m doing, the enormity of it, working with great artists, the unexplainable near-certainty I have that everything will work out. Well, I guess it’s infectious because Jake asked for a copy of the script. I sent it to him and he wants to be a part of it. His skills fit particularly well as a Script Supervisor/Continuity. And, he’s got some cool gear as well. So, that’s nice.

*          *          *

    Jake mentioned I seek out Erik, a composer with whom I had already met. I’ve written about finding the right soundtrack because music really does bring out the emotion in a scene. If I’m to accurately craft an experience, then emotion’s got to be a big part of it. Hence, my trouble with the score. So, I chatted with Erik, explained the feel I am going for and sent him a copy of the script. I told him to send me back any thoughts he might have. There haven’t been any commitments on either side, but it feels like progress.

*          *          *

    Yesterday was Labor Day. I don’t take vacations. What’s the point when I love my work so much? My brother James, the CEO, warned me that I might get burned out. He might be right. Something in my gut is telling me he is. But, then I watched a movie on Netflix called JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI. The movie showed Jiro to be the undisputed master of sushi making. He lives it, he dreams it. He works long hours and has for the past 75 years. He charges $300 a person, to start and his restaurant is always full, booked a month in advance. I’d like to imagine myself more similar to Jiro than James, though, James is quite good at what he does.

    My wife mentioned that whenever I’m not working, or doing something related to work I get bored. I just feel like there’s so much to learn and express, so much to master in making movies. It’s a constant excitement, like flying, I imagine. Sure, one of my wings could break I and I could drop to my death, but that’s part of it.

*          *          *

    I was near a field of grass on Sunday. There were ten dragon flies doing what looked like strafing runs over the field. They would turn quickly, yet they seemed to mostly be gliding. And, always, as I watched, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, this would make an amazing photo/video.

*          *          *

    Last night I participated in a video chat with Ross Pruden and Matt Watkajtys. Ross is pretty much on the forefront of economic solutions to the modern piracy problem. He’s gone so far as to do something he’s calling Dimeword, where he’s running a Kickstarter campaign and is writing fiction, which he will then release as public domain. Matt is starting a website izkara.com, which is going to attempt to compete with Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, etc. but mostly for independent films.

    We talked about movie pricing and how price can affect the perceived value of a movie, that pricing a feature-length movie at $0.99 makes people think that the movie must suck for it to be so cheap. Matt argued for that side.

    Ross, as you might imagine, took a completely opposite side, saying that movies, while having value, must have their prices dictated not by what a filmmaker thinks the movie might be worth, but by what people are willing to pay for it. He usually argues that movies must be bundled with something else for them to really capture people’s attention, and that those bundles need not be physical objects. For instance, movies bundled with ease of access is how Netflix does it.

    Right now, I kind of fall in the middle. I don’t think price should be a factor when people want to go see a movie. They should see a teaser, want to see it, and the price should be low enough for them to just do it without a second thought. If they want to support a filmmaker more than simply the price of the ticket, they can tell their friends about it, which is really the best thing for filmmakers.

*          *          *

    There are a lot of logistics to consider when making a movie. I know I’ve written about that before, but it’s true. Today’s task was to begin breaking down the script into manageable parts that can be thought of as expenses. For instance, how many actors are in each scene and how long is that scene going to take to film. Add to that the amount of crew, and feeding them. Do that for each scene, then add them all together and I have an idea of what I need to raise on Kickstarter.

    Since I’ll be doing all the post except the score, myself, I don’t need to worry about that expense. The only other real expenses that I can think of are permits, location fees, food (which is actually a part of the above Excel sheet), hard drive space, and gas.

*          *          *

    Oh yeah! I posted a page on spiritusvult.com [that page no longer exists] that lists the eight lead roles and a character summary. So far I have only gotten one submission, but the page got more hits than any other page in a single day, ever, so that’s cool. My plan is to leave it up for the rest of the week and then post it to ActorsAccess.com and Mandy.com. I would love it if I didn’t ever have to deal with the other sites because it would mean more people are wanting to take part in the project, they’d already be vested. 

    But, whatever works. This is, after all, indie film!