Fools by Martin Walker

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Love 10 To 1 Blog

The Love 10 To 1 blog is back on #2 on the google search engine:-)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Working 9 To 5 To Pay The Rent - Working 5 To 12 To Make Love 10 To 1

We’ve been in pre-production on Love 10 to 1 for a while now. From the beginning, there’s been at least a weekly meeting pertaining to the movie, usually between Christine and I, mostly on the hiking trail on Saturday and/or Sunday. Besides this, I'm also involved with Movies By Women, I take classes , go to seminars etc. My schedule's pretty packed right now. I'm taking an editing class on Tuesdays and the other six days, have been filled with meetings for the film.

I work full time, I'm an executive assistant in Santa Monica. I live close to work in Brentwood. My commute is usually 15 minutes. The way home is usually more congested. Most of the times, it takes me between 20 – 30 minutes and on a few rare occasions, (though they are becoming more frequent) the trip home from work has taken, at times anywhere from 1 hour to 2. Yes, that’s traffic in LA.

I’m not digressing. The point is that I work full time – 9am – 5pm and then I focus on film stuff. The last month, it’s been non-stop meetings after work and on weekends. I’m slowly feeling the burn.

Most of the production meetings take place in Hollywood, around 7pm. So after a day at work, I sit in traffic for 2 hours. I’ve tried taking different streets, Olympic, Venice, Santa Monica, Wilshire, Sunset etc. Most of my time is spent crawling from Bundy to Sepulveda and again at various points in Beverly Hills.

The meetings used to last until 10pm – now, they are lasting closer to midnight. There are times when I’ve gotten home at 2am. For the most part, I’m typically home by midnight but then I have to check my email (I don’t have access to personal email at work), so I’m usually in bed by 1:00am. I get up around 7:45.

The gym and hikes are now a luxury that I try to squeeze in about once a week. I barely speak to my family because of the time difference (they are mostly on the east coast).

I’m no stranger to hard work. I’m the oldest of 4 children. When I was 16, my parents gave me a decent allowance but I wanted more money to go to concerts and shop. So I got a job after school. I worked as a telemarketer from 4pm to 9pm three days per week and on weekends I did one eight hour shift sometimes two (depending on how much those boots cost).

I’ve always worked hard for what I want. I don’t have the sense of entitlement that a lot of people have in this town. So, if the end result is going to get me what I want, then I’ll work hard for it. However, I’m also very impatient and I feel like I’ve been working towards this goal most of my adult life. When is it going to pay off?

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not depending on filmmaking to make me rich. If it got to that point, I’d keep my day job but cut down my hours so I can dedicate more time to filmmaking. I like having a job that has nothing to do with film. It keeps me balanced.

I’m ok juggling the full time job, the two hours in traffic, the meetings – I can do it. BUT, what if I had a child? How would I fit all of this around a human being who would be depending on me? One of the coolest things I saw at the LA Film festival were two female filmmakers (they had a doc at the festival) and they walked down the red carpet with their bundles on their hips.

I think documentaries tend to be more women friendly than narrative filmmaking. My next project after Love 10 to 1 is a documentary and I’ll also be working with Christine on her feature. So, it looks like for the next two years (plus) I’ll be doing the 9-5 gig, followed by the 2 hours in traffic followed by 3 hour meetings.

Here’s to the art of multitasking.


Friday, September 28, 2007

This Is It - Part II

Just to clarify.....I'm NOT the one with a penchant for popcorn - I'm glad I got a few phone calls asking if it was me, sorry to disappoint - at least my friends are reading the blog. I wish we got more readers who don't know us & who find this helpful.

The blog was # 2 on the Google search engine the other day - now we are on page 2:-(


This is It

Location scouting for Love 10 to 1

We met with the general manager of a local club/bar last night who gave us a great price break for this location as well as pearls of wisdom about karma and life. What more can a filmmaker ask for in a location scout? Looks like we found our club! It's a reasonable size and we'll need about 25-30 people to make the club look crowded, rather than the bigger-sized clubs that we looked at before where we'd have to get at least 50 extras. For us to secure this location, we have to put down the deposit by Monday. Yikes! This is it. Our first big expense thus far. There is no turning back now. I wonder if I still have my Valium pills. Kidding.

Prior to this, we stopped by a sound studio that can be turned into a "radio station". The owner was very nice, especially after one of us (who shall remain nameless) seductively batted her eyelashes, thrusted out her big boobs, and asked the owner for some hot, fresh popcorn. Now ladies and gentlemen, you may be thinking, popcorn isn't sexy--but if you were there you'd give her popcorn too. So yes, we got the "radio station" for a great rate too. And the owner promised to make us popcorn during the shoot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Justin Klosky as Jim

Greetings Love 10 to 1 fans;

I promised to post a picture in one of the older blogs - click on the label "JIM" if you are interested in reading about the grueling search for THIS MAN!

Let this be a testament, that if you want something bad enough you will get it. We went through 4 grueling rounds of auditions to find someone who totally embodies Jim.

"Klosky’s big break was when he made his television debut on Guiding Light as Joey Lupo, the star high school baseball player on July 1, 2003 as a guest star. After coming back and forth and guest starring as his own original character, he earned a 3 year contract and a spot on Daytime Television. Playing on the show from 2002-2005, Klosky was acknowledged with a Daytime Emmy, Pre-Nomination for Outstanding Younger Actor in 2004 and was just recently brought back to the cast of Guiding Light after a leave of a year to spice up the younger generations story line."

Stay tuned for tomorrow's or Friday's blog on how to survive making a film while working a full time job.


Monday, September 24, 2007

How Screwing on a Light Bulb is like Filmmaking

I met up with another filmmaker who was a former attorney many years ago. We were talking about leaving the security of a corporate job to pursue a career as a filmmaker (writer, actor, artist, etc). She said something that I found quite interesting. She said, pursuing your passion is like screwing on a light bulb. That is, if you're going to screw on a light bulb, screw it on all the way. If you do it half-assed, the light won't turn on. She left her cushy corporate job years ago and never looked back. Anyway, this isn't technical advice about how to make an indie film, but I think it's important for a filmmaker to keep their passion alive for the project even when they don't know where next month's rent will come from. Heck, JK Rowling had to sleep in her car before she became a gazillionaire, didn't she? Or was that Jewel?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Other headaches

I'm going through the various insurance company brokers to see what is the most affordable coverage available. This is an expense that falls around the $2K+ bucket. When we were contacting people for use of their locations, an important thing to mention was that we're obtaining third party property damage coverage. So getting insurance is something that we definitely need. An aside: it's amazing how many people mentioned that prior productions have trashed their locations and that they're now wary of letting people shoot at their locations. So we are hoping to set a good example. Best case scenario is that we won't need to utilize any of the insurance coverages.

Also just found out that we lost a couple of our key crew because they are off to work on bigger budget productions, i.e., more pay. Bastards. Haha... Two steps forward, three steps back. That is life in the big city and right now I don't even want to think about it. We need to go over our budget again. Should add "finance whiz" as one of the hats an indie filmmaker needs to wear.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Film Geeks @ Work

Friday night I spent an evening watching movies with Leah. Well, we saw one movie and watched scenes from a few other movies. The film we saw was A Slipping Down Life with Guy Pearce & Lily Taylor.

This is a gem of a little movie and it's one of my favorites. I can watch it over and over and the soundtrack is amazing. Guy sings all the songs on the album. The soundtrack makes me melt. His voice is raw, gentle and pure. It's a blues album sprinkled with a bit of honky tonk. Only someone as talented as Guy can pull this off. I often wonder why Guy Pearce isn't more famous. He has such a diverse body of work, from Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, to Memento, to LA Confidential, The Proposition etc. I can't believe that he was in LA Confidential and Russell Crowe is the one who became super famous! I digress....

Leah really liked the movie, it's a very offbeat film and it's not for everybody. I personally love it. The film is beautifully and artfully directed by Tony Kalem (an actress and writer). What I love about the film is that the camera is always moving. So now on top of all the camera equipment we need, we also need a jib arm and a steady cam, plus a steady cam operator!!! Why does art cost so much????

I showed Leah a scene from Grace of My Heart. There's a psychedelic club scene with a band on stage, the crowd is dancing, they use a lot of strobes and it's very '60s. I told Leah that for Dirty Virgin's gig on Valentine's day I wanted to do an homage to that time period. The Grace of My Heart clip was the closest I've seen to what I want to accomplish but I was afraid that the strobe lighting along with the song we are using would make it look like an 80's metal video. I told Leah that at the club scene I want to capture the emotion and the feel of a 60's rock show. I love the 50's and 60s but especially the late 60's and this is my way of acknowledging and thanking the music from that time period.

What I love about Leah is that without much articulation on my part she knew exactly what I wanted. She showed me the opening scene from the movie Ali and there it was. I told her that's pretty much the lighting I was looking for. It's basically a big spotlight and it's mostly shot from the back of the singer into the audience. I told Leah that I wanted similar lighting for the club scene and that the lead singer will perform about 40% of the song offstage singing into the crowd. This is the scene with the 5 cameras and now you can add steady cam and a jib arm to that as well. Luckily, the package we have comes with a dolly.

Next up was Some Kind of Wonderful. I've always LOVED the kissing scene in the garage. It's right up there with the best of them. I told Leah, I want that to be my kissing scene. I had no idea how they got the camera to move around them that way, it turns out that it's just a dolly shot. Leah had never seen the film so I left it for her. I think it's one of John Hughes' best (he wrote it). The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste but I can live with that. I've heard people say that it's Pretty in Pink reversed, there was something about Pretty in Pink that I didn't like. When I watched it as an adult it hit me, Hello, she's in love with an a$$hole and she ends up with the a$$hole! I think I need to watch the Ducky edition and see if I like that better.

The last film we watched was In The Mood For Love. I know, every filmmaker's wet dream is to make a movie like this. How do you demystify a Wong kar Wai film? How do I dare emulate or draw inspiration from even one scene from this film? I love the rich texture of this film, the longing and desires of the two main characters. It reminds me of Shane and Dustin. They long for each other but do they destroy their friendship? Would Shane give up her music to be with Dustin? Will their relationship work? Shane, an up and coming rock star about to go on tour for 8 months and Dustin, a corporate accountant who leaves his job to start a video game company - can they make it work? If not, can they go back to being friends? They are roommates, best friends and do everything together but they withhold their romantic love from each other. It's the withholding and the longing of these characters that makes them similar. I'm not claiming in any way to come close to the genius that is Wong Kar Wai but if I see something in my story that reminds me of his film, I won't close myself to the possibility of using his palette as an inspiration for my canvas.

I love the scenes in the alley way and I told Leah that I want a scene of Dustin and Shane walking down a street in Venice the way they do in this film. Of course it's going to cost money to light such a scene. The scene I showed Leah is what's called slow motion with a stutter, a few of the scenes that I liked from A Slipping Down Life also used this technique. Luckily, the camera we have can do this but again, it comes down to $$$$$$$$$$. So, I need to think of a way to get this shot using what we already have. Plus, I now need to figure out how to get a permit to shoot in Venice at night on the cheap or for free!

So here's what I learned from my movie watching with Leah:

Guy Pearce is super hot
I like dolly shots, jib arms and steady cams
I like slow motion stutters
I can speak Lucy and Leah understands what I want
I have expensive taste, everything I want requires more $$


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love Song Cast - Onahoua Rodriguez (Shane), David Villar (Dustin), Mari Marks (Sonny Vivian), Justin Klosky (Jim) and Daniella Alonso (Cali)

Securing Locations

Now that we were able to secure another location for FREE, I've finally gotten around to interviewing for some of the other critical positions, including a sound person, production designer and script supervisor. I asked a friend who's an indie producer for referrals, and he gave me several names. Funny thing is, I called up this sound guy and it turns out that he knows our DP! Small world indeed. She thinks he's a kick ass sound guy, and he thinks she's a kick ass DP. So we're crossing our fingers that he'll come on board as our sound person.

Also interviewed a couple of production designers. One quoted us a fairly high daily rate (high for us, that is), and said she wouldn't work for less. The other one said that he only works on projects he believes in, and for those projects, he'll make it manageable for us. This is what I love about indie filmmaking: meeting the people who believe in our project, and are willing to do what it takes to make it work. Meeting people who are passionate about your project is so important. Perhaps that's an idealistic thing to expect, but I can't imagine doing this without having passion for the project.

Hopefully, both guys will come on board and work with us. Yeah, testosterone coming in, but I think that's a good thing. :)


Monday, September 10, 2007

How Much Is This Going To Cost?

A lot. But all we need at this point is an additional 20K. It is our hope that with all the wealthy people in LA we can find a few kind souls who can invest in our film. Otherwise, it'll be Christine and I borrowing the money from either credit cards or family - no, we can't be that cliche, we have to get people to invest. How hard can it be to find 4 individuals to invest 5K each?

It also seems that things tend to cost either $500 or $2,000. I am grateful for all the favors we've managed to get (a lot). Not to mention the free locations and the discounted locations. We are having a hard time securing a radio station and it looks like we may have to build one. I'm pretty sure that building a radio station will fall in the category of "Things That Cost 2K". We can't afford that so I hope we find a radio station that can let us shoot there for free!

We can't afford to go even $1 over budget.

The other location I'm having a hard time securing is the nice house that Shane & Dustin share. I may have found something but again that falls into the category of "Things That Cost 2K", and most of our locations are requiring that we get 1M in third party property damages (this isn't as expensive as one would think), and Christine and I are of the mind set that you're better safe than sorry.

In order to get the film done in 18 days, we will mostly be shooting with 2 cameras, there are a few 3 day camera days and a club scene with 5 CAMERAS! We are using the Panasonic HVX 200 which is also freaking me out. IT"S TAPELESS!!! The footage gets captured with a P2 card. The footage from each P2 card gets downloaded to a drive. We will back up our footage to two drives and 2 dvds to be on the safe side. I hope I explained all this correctly. Of course the 5 camera day is in the segment I'm directing. I have never worked with such a big camera crew. I was freaking out but my DP put my mind at ease because I only have to deal with her and she'll be in charge of the 5 camera operators and all the people power that comes with that. Besides the HUGE camera crew, there's a pretty big Grip & Electric crew, plus the 3 assistant editors who will be downloading all the footage.

We have yet to find a sound person. Another challenge of the five camera day is going to be the sound. We need to figure out how to synch the sound to all 5 cameras. Maybe it won't be that difficult. The 5 camera day is the day we shoot the club scene. It's a pivotal scene in the film. It's where all the characters come together, like the airport scene in Love Actually. The band is playing at the club (I'm negotiating to try to get The Gig on Melrose). The band's performance will be shot using the playback of the song from a cd but I need to make sure that our sound person and our DP can figure this out on the cheap, no renting of additional expensive equipment. The one day at the club scene is eating up almost 1/2 of the budget allocated to Love Song.

Love Song is the new name of my piece. It used to be Californication, like the RHCP song but I'm sure you've all heard of that Showtime series starring that guy from the X Files! It's actually a pretty good show. I still get annoyed when I see the billboards all over town. I like Love Song, it's the name of Dirty Virgin's single (the band in the film), the song is courtesy of The Fabulous Miss Wendy. I'm using another song called Love Song Yo! by someone I found on myspace, his name is Jason Keeton. Hooray for myspace music. There have been so many changes to my story that it's appropriate that there's a new title to go along with the current version.

Our actors are AMAZING. We have been so privileged to get so many talented people attached to our project (we will announce our full lineup shortly). We had a reading the other night. It was an emotional ride because I saw these characters come alive, and the stories finally felt right. The film felt tight. We will be making some minor changes and then we will be ready to lock the script. This is the first time that Laura (our third director) heard the entire script. We were all very pleased with the results of the reading. I can't say it enough but our cast ROCKS.

The other thing that TOTALLY ROCKS is the fact that as of now our entire crew is made up of WOMEN. I found our DP through one of the job boards of Leah has done so much for us, helping and guiding us along the way, and yes, she laughed her ass off when Christine and I told her we were intending on shooting all 3 stories for 15K (including post).

The best piece of advise I can give a filmmaker is to surround yourself with competent team mates that you respect and get along with. We have worked so hard but we've also had a lot of fun. Our production meetings tend to last a little longer than they should because we get along so well and we always digress into other subjects. It's a good feeling when you are working hard towards something you are passionate about, and it feels even better when you have like minded people at your side.

On Saturday we are meeting with our web designer, we hope to have the website up and running shortly.

Did I mention we still need 20K.


About The Three Shorts

Christine Le wrote and directed the 1st story Love 10 to 1.
The first story explores the life of a 29-year-old virgin, Jenny, who desperately wants to lose her virginity before her 30th birthday. As she encounters one loser after another on dates, Jenny pines after her boss, Dustin. While at her grandmother’s retirement home, Jenny learns a powerful lesson from her grandmother about sex and the meaning of life.

Christine Le (right) directs Shireen Nomura Mui (Jenny) & Justin Klosky (Jim).

Lucy Rodriguez wrote and directed Love Song.
The second story revolves around Shane, the lead singer of the L.A. rock band, Dirty Virgin. Shane has her pick of admirers but it’s her roommate Dustin she wants to be with. Shane confesses her feelings on Jackie and Jared’s show but when Dustin meets Cali, Shane’s shot at love starts to dwindle. With Dirty Virgin about to embark on a world tour, will Dustin realize that he’s the object of Shane’s affections? Will they risk their friendship to give this Love Song a chance?

Lucy Rodriguez & David Villar (Dustin)

Laura Somers wrote and directed Diving Lessons.
The final story picks up where Love 10 to 1 left off, but from the perspective of Jim, the guitarist of Dirty Virgin. Jim sees Jenny at a swimming pool, trying desperately to overcome her fear of diving. In fact, he finds out that she’s making a list of everything that she’s afraid of and trying to overcome them, one by one. He is instantly smitten and tries to convince her that he’s not just a rock star who ‘loves ‘em and leaves ‘em’. Can a rock star find love with a virgin?

Shireen Nomura-Mui, Laura Somers & Justin Klosky

Leah Anova is the Director of Photography for Love 10 to 1 & Diving Lessons.

Additional Cinematography on Diving Lessons by Erik Forsell

Matthew Boyd is the Director of Photography for Love Song.