Monday, November 24, 2008

After the Headlines: Trying to Keep Hope Alive


Today I thought my blog would read, After the Headlines: Logged and Captured. Unfortunately that is not the case, and I'm definitely freaking out about it. Last night I had my nervous breakdown, I'm doing slightly better this morning, but I'm still very somber, but Karim has told me to have faith and that things will work out. I hope he's right.


This Saturday I got my DP's camera so I could start logging and capturing the footage into Final Cut Pro (a linear editing software for film and video). During the week I wasn't looking forward to logging at first, I haven't had to log video footage since college and my early days as a production assistant (PA). After some thought I thought it would be good, because I would see the film scene by scene and that would give me a good sense of what I have to work with when I meet with the editor.


Since it's been a while since I logged I enlisted Karim's help. He helped me set up my external drive (which is what I'm saving the captured footage t0) and the camera. He even found me a link to view so I made sure I was logging the tapes in the fasted way possible. The instructor on the video recommended that I log my clips first (which is marking the in/out points of the footage I need, after that is done I do a batch capture (a batch capture pulls the clip with the exact time codes I logged with my in/out points). Sounds easy, it is, that is until the camera cannot find the time code which causes a break in the footage. This was happening to me throughout the logging, but I didn't a good handle on the problem until the third tape, which was around 3 p.m. yesterday. I noticed that new clips were being logged under the wrong titles. When I clicked on the clip it was cut off, which is because of the time breaks.


I called the DP and the editor to let them know about my issue. The editor helped me trouble shoot and walk through my system setup. He wanted to make sure it wasn't my Mac or Final Cut Pro. It looks like it's an issue with the camera or possibly even the tapes and if its the latter my film is not on solid ground. Continuous time breaks on the tape may mean there is a problem with the tape. I tried to capture the whole film and I couldn't even do that without time breaks. I also had to drop off the camera this morning, which isn't helpful if the the camera may be the source of the problem. However, I informed the DP of the problem I'm having and he told me he would take a look at it and get back to me.


In the meantime I made a call to a Media Arts Center and let them know my problem. I'm hoping they may be able to help me out. When I get out of work I will meet up with my editor and we will try to log and capture the footage with another mini DV camera. I thought that I would have my film logged and ready to go to the editor for work on a rough cut of the film, but now I may not even have a film if the tapes are messed up. It's hard to be optimistic at this tine, but I will try. I'm going to do all I can to save this film. I just hope it will be enough at the end of the day...hopefully this issue will be resolved in my next posting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

After the Headlines: It's a wrap

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I would be remiss if I didn't start this blog by thanking all the people who helped me out on my film shoot this weekend. A BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE CAST AND CREW OF AFTER THE HEADLINES (and yes I know each of you deserve so much more). Although I'm really tired, I'm on my fourth, maybe fifth wind. If I actually shot on film, I would say After the Headlines is in the can, but since it is shot on digital video I'm saying its a wrap. The Martini shot (last shot on set) is done and I still can't believe it. I shot my first short film.

I know I've said it before, but I feel the need to say it again, film is a collaborative art form (thank God). There is no way I could have done this on my own. From the cast to the crew, we all came together to tell my vision of a story.

Although it was only two and half-days of shooting, it felt so much longer. I guess that's because I probably got a total of 15 hours of sleep this weekend. Friday night the crew loaded in at 6 p.m. in the evening and we wrapped our last shot at about three a.m. in the morning. By the time I dropped off Tim, my sound guy and Jaye (lead actress), it was about 4:30 a.m. when I got home. I had to make changes to the shot lists for the following day so I didn't go to bed until I finished, that was around 5:30 p.m. Call time on Sunday was initially 9 a.m, but I decided to push it to 10 a.m. I said it is the least I could do. I didn't want the crew and cast to be too drained and they weren't, everybody came with there A game.

Second day of shooting was a long one, we had bad weather and a late start. However, the fact that my two locations were a two minute drive from each other made things a lot easier for everybody. Black Rock Center, the second location was four locations in one which was a saving grace! We created, a coroner's room, therapist's office, hospital waiting room, and shot an exterior. I did my best to keep folks well feed so energy was up. Having a crew well feed is crucial. I hope I didn't disappoint. Initially, I booked Black Rock Center until 11p.m., but at the last minute decided to add two hours. We ended up wrapping up at 10:30 p.m. and loaded out by 11.pm. I was so happy. I actually was going to get at least six hours of sleep and hopefully refunded for the hours I didn't use (The producer in me watches the dollar and cents...lol).

Today, we kept our momentum and things moved at a good pace. There were times when we had to wait for lightening, but lighting is key, so hopefully when I get to the editing room I can say it was worth the wait. Everything came together nicely and it was a really enriching experience for me. I guess I knew I could do this, but part of me thought I was crazy for wanting to try. I'm glad I went against the grain and trusted my gut. I think non filmmakers would have a lot more respect for the craft of filmmaking if they worked a film or saw the sweat, energy, and sometimes tears that go into getting a shot. It is hard work and you do it because you love it.

Now that my first short film is done, I can smile from the inside out. I can't thank the cast, crew, my boyfriend and my mom enough. People believed I could do this, the trusted me, and that means the world to me. I've feel like I've hit a milestone. Although it's a wrap....it's not over, it's far from over. Footage has to be digitized and logged (which is a tedious process, I like to call it a necessary evil), then edited, then scored, then color corrected and let me not forget the artwork for the finished product, a DVD of After the Headlines. After I do all that then I will need to make copies for everyone and then submit it to film festivals and cross my fingers, hell I'm crossing my fingers now that I make it through all the steps I mentioned. It's going to cost me more money and more time, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.

This weekend was a real thrill and I know the ride isn't over. Stay tuned......

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Inside Entertainment


Hello all,


I'm getting down to the wire, three days until "sound rolling....lights, camera,and action." I feel fairly calm with the production around the corner. I thought I'd be more antsy, but I'm not, maybe it's the calm settling before the storm. There is no doubt in my mind that my previous production and current events planning experience has come in handy. I'm trying to be as organized as possible, because when you get on set and are in the midst of production you see real fast where the holes in pre-production were. I'm working hard to try to minimize the holes. I know I can't do it by myself either. Filmmaking is a collaborative process ( some people tend to forget that point), there are no room for egos if you want to have a successful production.


Things are rolling along, yesterday I hit some retail stores picking up odds and ends for the set. I'm trying not to think about what this is costing me, if I did, I'd probably would have second thoughts. But than I think it is even more reason for me to make sure that After the Headlines comes out good. I don't want to be wasting my money and people's time. I would like this to be a stepping stone for me and others in the cast and crew. That's one of the reasons I searched out people I've worked with in the past. It's important for me to have individuals who are vested in the process and have a passion for filmmaking.


I really think I've lucked out with both my cast and crew. I guess I will find out for sure Friday night. Between now and then there is still a lot to do. My production coordinator, first assistant director, and I are still looking for props, cheap hotels for crew, casting extras, making changes to my shot list, and doing whatever else that needs to get done. The good thing is I have faith in my ability to do this and the people who have joined me for this ride. I know I wouldn't be able to do it without their talent and support.


This Sunday I met with a gentleman named Bill Hopkins, he's a writer/director/producer in New York City that coaches directors and actors. Jaye, my lead actress, works with him and set-up the meeting, (she thought it would be good for me since After the Headlines will be my directorial debut). Thanks Jaye!!! The meeting went extremely well. I took a bunch of good notes. Bill will gave me some good insight into what I need to do to manage the set and help the actors along in their process, which is going to be important since this is an emotional driven script.


On Sunday I also taped a segment on a local cable access show, called Inside Entertainment, http://www.insideentertainment.biz/ (the website is currently under construction). I was interviewed by Rob and Nick at Skye T.V. in Waterbury, Connecticut. The show was a lot of fun, not only did I get to plug my film, but I also spoke about my work as an actress. I'm looking forward to a copy of the show which I will eventually post...so stay tuned.


I'll probably post another blog the night before or after my first day of taping. Maybe I'll do both. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My next thing

Hello all,

I had planned an Anton in Show Business wrap-up blog, but I didn't get to it. My apologies. The three week run of the show went extremely well but after the run I was spent. It took a lot out of me, but at the end of the day, I can say it was worth the sweat, colds, and tiredness I experienced. Being on stage is one of the best feelings in the world and when you know the audience is on the journey with you, that feeling goes from good to great.

The last few days I've spent recuperating in Vegas. I welcomed the warm weather but I think I came back just as tired as when I left....lol.

I'm going to miss the cast in Anton in Show Business. I had the pleasure of working with a talented group of women. It was an enriching experience for me. I really pushed myself with the roles in the play and think I'm a better actor having had this experience.

It's going to be a while before I'm back on stage. Right now my focus is on After the Headlines. I have a little under two weeks to prepare for the shoot. The remainder of days will be spent tying loose ends and working with Tanesha, my production coordinator and Brandy, my assistant director. I can't believe the moment is almost here. Yikes. I'm excited and nervous. I can definitely feel the support from the cast, crew, friends and family, which is a major relief. However, I still have those butterflies in my stomach. I think that nervous feeling is good because it keeps me from getting to "cocky."

This moment feels like a major milestone in my life. I'm a bit taken back by the whole thing, but then I remind myself that I have to demonstrate the courage to do the things I want to make a living at...even if I'm not making a living at it now. If I don't do it for myself no one else will do it for me. Holding down a 9 to 5 and pursuing my passion part-time has been a journey and although I'm not where I thought I'd be, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. My issue is once I get out of the tunnel, what's next?

In the short-term, post production for After the Headlines. I need to get a rough cut together to present at my residency in January. The residency in January will hopefully be my final semester. I say hopefully, because I still have to submit my thesis proposal, it has to get accepted by the thesis committee, and then I have to write the darn thing (a semi-autobiographical television pilot loosely based off of me and my friends. Think Sex and the City, but more blue-collar and multi-cultural). I don't even want to think about working on that until after I make it through next weekend and start putting After the Headlines together in post-production (I also need to make time for that). I will have to go into the NYC to meet up with the Jeff, the editor, a former colleague of mine at Blue Chip Films.

Once After the Headlines is edited, scored, and packaged nicely ($$$$), my next steps are to create a film festival media kit, then submit the film, cross my fingers and wait. The waiting game sucks but while I'm doing that I'll be writing. The cycle continues and so must I.

On a side note, make sure you get out and VOTE!!!!