14-08-21 Pre-Production


    As I mentioned before, I went ahead and purchased the Glidecam Industries Smooth Shooter. It's basically a spring-loaded arm attached to a vest that holds up my Glidecam 4000 HD. I had a cinematographer working with me in the past named John. He is in better physical shape than anyone I have ever met, by far. He could hold the Glidecam for hours, and did when we shot my short film FIDELIS. I, however, lack the physical strength and endurance to hold the Glidecam for any longer than 15 minutes. Thus, the Smooth Shooter.

    It was expensive, as objects go, but relative to other movie making tools, it's a pretty good deal. And, it does exactly what it claims to. On the second day, which should really be thought of as the first day with it since I had more time, I was able to operate the Glidecam for 30 minutes without any real sense of physical fatigue. However, there does seem to be a bit of a learning curve to it. I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to get good at it. Since I've got to have smooth moving shots through the entire movie, I've got no choice but to master this new tool. If it seems to take longer than I've already assigned it (up to 1 hour a day), then I'll give it more time.

    There is one major problem with the Glidecam Smooth Shooter that I see. It took John the better part of a month to get it right, and he did. It will take me at least that long. And, I've got more time than that, so it's cool. But, if I want someone else to be a cinematographer, they're also going to have to learn how to use it. I have no idea if there will be enough time for that. If there isn't, I'll be forced to be a cinematographer as I was on my first feature HUNGER.

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    I met with my older brother, Paul, who told me how to contact Jeremy, which I've done. Paul said, “Don't bring up money. Just talk about what you need.”

    During that drive, I found a question rolling around in my head, would I want to work with Jeremy even if he doesn't bring a cent to the table? Having never met the man I can't answer that question. I hope my personal integrity will not have him work on TRK simply to facilitate his financing it. And, not just for ethical reasons either. Bringing someone on who has the wrong attitude or is artistically incompetent puts the entire project in jeopardy; that, I will not do.

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    I answered some of the macro questions from the my friend Earl Newton’s notes. Earl’s another early reader, and a fellow writer/director, so his insights are quite valuable. I'm particularly proud of one of my solutions: s.heep, the software that Will steals and runs on his machine, basically the entire machine driving the plot of the movie (I don't call it a McGuffin because it is a metaphor in itself and not merely a plot device), what s.heep did was unclear to Earl.

    I decided the best thing to do was to show Fox actually using it. As I wrote the scene, it turned out they only had to talk about it. The scene was originally written to show Fox being attacked by Will by way of her credit cards. There was another character called Market Maker, who was talking with Fox about stock stuff (legal limits to how close a broker's computer server could be to the exchange server). At the end of the conversation, Fox tries to pay for the meal, but her cards are rejected.

    Now, the scene has Novak and Fox discussing her early use of Shepherd, the program to which s.heep sends all its data. So, the scene does four things instead of two. It shows Fox being attacked, it shows how Fox reacts (both of those were in the earlier version). With the new version, there's one less actor to cast. Novak has more lines, which makes the character more appealing to actors. And, it shows that Novak and Fox are actually social friends. And… it explains just what s.heep is doing and what it was designed to do.

    I also just realized, it shows this before Will and his crew realize it. I'm not sure this is a problem. My initial reaction is that it's cool because it gives the audience a slight edge on Will and friends, kind of like Columbo. Then, the intrigue is how Will+ will find it. Their actions now are not about revealing plot as much as revealing character. WOW! That's awesome. Now, I've got to read the script again to make sure that's happening.

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    There were a couple other questions that got answered, but they're similar to what I already talked about so there's no point in mentioning them. Besides, I'm sure I'll come up with more awesome solutions tomorrow for the remaining questions.