Monday, January 28, 2019

Camcorder & Missing Role

Sorry for the delay, but it's been a VERY busy two weeks.

I'm finally jobless! My last day was last Tuesday, and now I am free to start focusing more on this project.

I've used $153.61 of the budget to buy a Hi8 camcorder and tapes from eBay. I've tested the camera more than a few times, and it's looking great! There are a couple of technical things I still have to perfect, but I'm really excited to start using this thing!

I was advised that using a digital camera and converting it to Hi8 or VHS would probably be best, since these older cameras do have their quirks. Unfortunately, the only other digital camcorder I have (that ISN'T DSLR; that would be a dead giveaway) has it's own digital quirks. Besides, these Hi8 quirks are something I really do count on. If I wanted the footage to be perfect, I would be using another digital camcorder. But I'm really cashing in on having this film be as genuine-looking as possible.

I do have another setback, unfortunately. I only have one major role left to cast, and then I can start rehearsals. So far, I've had no luck casting this role. The people I've gone to to fill this role have all stepped away.

That's why this week, my biggest priority is finding someone to fill this role. Once I get that done, we can go at a much quicker pace.

I also worked on the set of a short film this weekend as a PA of sorts. It was a skeleton crew of about 18 people, but it was the biggest crew I've ever worked with. Combine that with the fact that I knew nobody there, and the experience was even more interesting. Everyone was really cool, especially the director and DP, with whom I hope to keep in contact with.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Music for the Film

Yesterday, I demoed a few songs for the film with my friend Drew (who is also playing one of the main characters). We quickly wrote and recorded these songs for the band in the movie, so needless to say they're pretty bad, with such titles as "I Am A Cheeseburger" and "That Special Kid In Class (Showed His Ass)".

As much as I'd like to share the god-awfulness of these demos with you guys, I'll wait for y'all to witness them for yourselves when the movie comes out. However, I can share with you a band that has probably been the biggest inspiration for both the nature of the music and the movie.

Sockeye was an Ohio band from the late 80s-early 90s that recorded music so obscene and shitty that it spawned an entire subgenre: "tardcore". With titles like "Blob of Cum", "Yo, Me Gusta Cum", and "One Hundred Story Building Drowning In Cum", it's hard to resist. Imagine early brown Ween, only completely brown because it's covered in feces.

This kind of immature amateurism and complete disregard for political correctness is nearly impossible to find nowadays, yet is central in being a stupid teenager. And that's the kind of spirit I want to showcase in this movie.

BY THE WAY, I made a new Lip Heads short that you can view here:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Budget Reached/Actors Casted!

Two items of great news to make up for the month of silence!

First off, I've worked enough hours at my job at the movie theater to pay the budget! I took this job back in November to come up with the budget, and I now have $1325 to support the movie. I turned in my two weeks' the other day, so starting January 23, I'll be able to more solely focus on the film.

I've also made my final casting decisions on those I auditioned at my old high school's Drama Club, and informed the auditionees today. Of the six, two are in major roles, and two others in scripted ones. It's a shame that I couldn't cast the other two in designated roles, because they were actually really good. However, I stressed to them the importance of being extras for the movie, and that any help we can get on this movie would be so appreciated.

I'll reveal the names of the actors later, since I don't think they know I have this blog up.

There are still a handful of roles I have to cast, but I'm hoping to start going through the material with the actors within a month, and I can start and finish shooting before Spring Break.

In other news, I've started a podcast with frequent collaborator Gage Goodell (GoodL) called A Couple of Crickets. The whole medium is still new to us, so we're trying to figure out our format, but you can check out our first episode here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Roadblock Resolved(?) & Audition Update

Before, I mentioned my roadblock of securing the bandroom of my old high school as a shooting location. The problem is that the building the bandroom is in is due to be shut down for renovations, but I couldn't figure out exactly when. I had heard February from some people, January from others.

Finally, I got in touch with the school on Monday, and asked one of the administration for the date the building would be shut down.

The response was a definite "I don't know."

Apparently, said renovation plans are in limbo, and no date has not been definitely set.

"So, for all you know, this could in May?" I asked.
"Yes," she responded.

So, unless I hear otherwise, I'm going to pretend that this plan is not going to interfere with my own shooting schedule.

Audition-wise, Grant (co-producer) and I held an informal audition for one of our friends on Saturday, and he did really well. So, please welcome to the cast, Mr. Grant Blevins!

Grant Blevins, in the flesh.

Grant Griffin -  co-producer, actor, serious man

I also tried auditioning someone I knew for one of the main roles, but he opted out at the last second, citing personal problems. Though it's probably for the best, it'll be hard to find someone else to carry on that particular role.

So that's where I am right now. 

Keep a healthy diet!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Roadblock #1: Location and Callbacks (+ New Youtube Video)

Woohoo! Our first problem has appeared!

The location at which I am planning on shooting the vast majority of the movie (the bandroom of my old high school) is going to be unavailable soon. I was aware of this when starting pre-production, as several of the staff told me that the building the bandroom was in would be shutting down for renovations.

The only thing is, nobody knew when.

I've heard both January and February from several different sources, but no precise date.

It's extremely important that I know exactly when the bandroom is shutting down; that way I can schedule the movie around said renovation. So I've been calling the school several times, but to no response. I think they're out for the day for whatever reason, and I'll probably not get a response until Monday.

I'm also having some difficulty scheduling callbacks.

Grant and I looked over the auditions the other day, and have agreed to callback all six auditionees. The main reason I wanted to schedule callbacks was so that Grant, my co-producer, could be able to interact with these auditionees as well. However, he has opted out of the whole audition process, stating work as an excuse.

To make things more difficult, winter break is right around the corner, so there's very very little chance that I could schedule these callbacks this month. So I'll probably have to postpone them until next month.

Which leads me back to making sure the bandroom I want to shoot in will be secured for the shoot in time.

So that's what's happening right now. This'll all be resolved. Not immediately, unfortunately, but it will be resolved.

In the meantime, check out my new Youtube video, THE TOILET MAN:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Off Topic: The Rise and Fall of Robert Benfer

Here's an off-topic post, but it's something that's very important to me and I feel people should know.

Robert Benfer was a huge catalyst into me making movies. In case you don't know him by his Newgrounds username Knox, he made clay animations from 2003-2013 as a series called "Klay World". And in 2005, at the age of 17, he made a feature-length movie featuring these blue figures called Off The Table, which catapulted him financially and into a sort of pre-Youtube internet celebrity status.

You can watch the whole thing here for free.

The homemade and low budget feel of this movie helped me realize that it was entirely possible to make a feature film on your own without pouring tons of money and resources into it. All you needed was a camera and a good idea.

Robert ended the series in 2013 to focus strictly on live-action shorts. Soon after, he put up a complete series box set of Klay World for pre-order, where hundreds of people, including myself, paid $58 for it. 

5 years later, no one's gotten it.

Robert's legitimacy as a seller has greatly diminished because of this, and the quality of what little work does come out has as well.

There needed to be a comprehensive video on Robert for a while, and just a few days ago, Cruz Moore filled that gap.

I've known about the project since June, when I contacted Cruz and gave him some testimony and hard-to-find Robert clips I had. Since then, I've been anxiously waiting for this video.

It's excellent, a well put-together video analyzing Robert's work, the DVD fiasco, and his rise and fall not only in popularity, but creatively as well. Please give it the 45 minutes of your time. You probably won't regret it...

When I was 12, I wanted to be just like Knox. Now, my 18 year old self's goal is to NOT end up like Robert Benfer.


Anyways, movie-wise, I am almost ready to announce the auditionees I would like to be in the movie! I'll be meeting with my friend and co-producer, Grant Griffin, tonight and going over the auditions one last time to get his input on the performances.

I will also be auditioning somebody I know for one of the lead roles of the film tomorrow. I hope all goes well and he's able to pull it off!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Auditions Are Done (mostly)!

Yesterday, I went back to my old high school and auditioned six of the Drama Club students for the film. I gave them two pages of dialogue just to see how well they could pull off the lines and make them sound as if they were just talking.

I actually got some pretty good auditions! I'll be reviewing the footage of the auditions, and I should have a decision within the next couple of days.

There are several friends who I would like to fill certain roles, so I will probably be conducting some kind of informal audition process to get them into the film sometime later in the month.