12-10-15 Pre-Production

    Monday began with a storm. No, no rain. But, there was a fire that happened. When interacting and coordinating with a lot of different people, it’s inevitable that problems with communication will arise. The awesome thing about Miles Maker is that he is one of those rare people who knows what he’s thinking and is able to clearly and concisely communicate it. Oddly enough, I’m very similar. That seems like a good situation. But, when the 90% of communication, non-verbal, is removed, it can be a bit abrasive, on both sides. So, he and I were emailing back and forth, speaking very directly about how we felt, sans the smiles and open eyes and attentive gazes normally accompanying out conversations. All of that to say, the weekend before Monday was a huge pile of radioactive stress.

    I emailed Miles and told him we needed to meet, not sure of exactly how I was going to respond to the intensity of our emailed conversation, but knowing that I can’t have that kind of stress in my life. And Miles, like the amazing guy he is, carved out time early Monday morning. We met at a Denny’s in Los Angeles. As it turned out, he’s still awesome and amazing and I’m super glad I’m working with him.

    His perspective is that he’s got a fairly gnarly task ahead of him, trying to figure out how to market my semi-nonconformist movie to people who normally think inside a very controlled box. He was probing me with questions, trying to figure out how I feel about the various issues he knows the people on his end are going to be asking. To me it felt like an attack. To him, as I said, it was simply an inquiry into my stance. I still have complete faith in Miles’s ability to produce THE ROOT KIT. If anything, at the end of that meeting, I trust him even more.

    Immediately following my meeting with Miles, I headed over to Crave Cafe in Sherman Oaks to meet with Jake Stormoen, to talk about his playing the role of Novak. I actually met Jake at Blizzard’s release of their latest World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria. I was there to support Michele Morrow, who is pretty involved with WoW.

    Jake had exactly the look of what I had in mind for Novak. But, could he act. He sent me his reel, which blew me away! One of the things I look for in actors is that they can act. What I mean is, is the character in the scene completely unlike them as people? If that’s the case, then I know I can get together with them and we can create something original. Jake Stormoen can do that. But, I wanted to meet with him again to make sure our personalities were a match. We matched. He’s in. He’s playing Novak.

    After the meeting with Jake, I met with Andreas Bay. I’ve been attending an actors’s showcase that happens in Los Angeles on Thursdays. It’s where I met at least two and as many as five of the actors I’m casting in THE ROOT KIT. It’s where I met Trent Tackbary, who will be playing Hash. I met with Trent the week before and he said he had a friend at the studio who he thought would be perfect for Decimate. To me, that was a breath of fresh air. I’d been having the hardest time with that character.

Decimate’s young, brilliant, rich, with class. Finding a young yet talented actor, who looks the part is beyond difficult.

    So, the Thursday following my meeting with Trent I went again to the actors’ showcase. Andreas did a scene from 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, where he made a choice that wasn’t in the script, that made the scene brilliant. Better than that, he’s young, looks the part, and not already famous. Trent was right: Andreas is perfect for Decimate. When we met for tea Monday afternoon, I was sold.

I may have said this before, but it bears repeating. One of the quickest ways you can tell good a big budget movie from a bad one isn’t the picture; it’s the sound. The wild thing is, doing the sound right isn’t hard or expensive. You just have to know how to do it. Fortunately, I actually took a college course on getting and mixing good sound.

    The way I’ve decided to get good sound by putting a lavaliere mic on everyone with lines. This will give me a very clear track with each actor and it will allow me to mix them each individually in post-production. There were three problems with this setup: 1) I only had a two channel recorder and some of the scenes had as many sis people speaking; 2) I only have to good lavaliere mics, so I’ll either have to rent or buy more; 3) Post-production takes a lot longer because all the sound effects have to be added after the fact. I solved the first one by buying an 8-channel portable digital recorder (it’s a Zoom R24 for $500 (that’s a really good deal for what it is)). The second is a bit of trouble, but I’ll work it out this week.

    The third, well, like I said, I took a college course in the subject. And since I’ll be doing all the post-production, I’ve allotted all of 2013 to making it flawless. Yeah, you read that right, and you can infer from it that THE ROOT KIT will be, if all goes according to my plan, released in early 2014.

    Thursday was weird.

    I met with an actor I’m considering for the role of Fox. She’s brilliant, looks the part, and even has a background in finance, so she’ll be able to add to the part. But, we’re not quite on the same page on a few issues. Hopefully those will resolve by the end of the week and I’ll have almost all the leads cast. Until she’s locked in for sure, I can’t reveal her name.

    When I got back from that meeting I crashed, hard. I slept all through the night and until 11:00am the next morning. I woke up for about two hours and then went back to sleep at 2:30pm. I woke up at 4:30pm and hung out with my wife, then went back to sleep at about 9:00pm and didn’t wake up until 8:00am on Saturday morning. I’m not exactly sure why, but I had hit some kind of wall of exhaustion. Alas, I rested the entire weekend, so I’m back up and going.