Fools by Martin Walker

Friday, June 27, 2008

Love 10 to 1 Website Goes LIVE!

Our film website is now live! You can link to it by clicking on this blog's title or the link tab at the upper right corner of this blog.

We've been working with a web developer, Sudeep at, on our website. He's been very helpful at suggesting ways to economically put together a website that still looks good. He works hard and has a great attitude. I met Sudeep through my friend Selva, who is also a godsend and also helped us with the website. When Selva and I get together, we talk about karma a lot, both good and bad, because from our experiences we see that what goes around comes around. Selva is one of those people who does a lot of good for others, and this website could not have come about without him and Sudeep. So a big THANK YOU to both for making the website happen for us!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


For the past several months, I've been meeting with my editor, Ricardo, to work on the film edits. It's been going very slowly because he has a full time editing job and agreed to work on my piece of Love 10 to 1 at a reduced rate. So we try to meet once a week, when we work together on the edits, though recently, given both our hectic schedules, it's been more like once every three weeks. Usually he has already put together a rough cut of one scene, and then I would have some suggestions and we'd work on it together.

Of the three stories, I think my vignette probably relies most on having a great editor, because I'm looking for good comedic timing (rather than a "romantic" story, I'm going more for comedy). Last night Ricardo and I worked on the "Silverlake Party" scene. During production, I was worried about our shots because we were using a stedicam and had problems with boom shadows, among other things. Also, I had wanted to convey a sense of "party" when we didn't have a lot of extras there to convey a party feel. So it was a bit scary to see whether we were able to get enough coverage for Ricardo to put together a cut. I was pleasantly surprised by what he put together-- in fact, this scene is turning out to be one of my favorites. Shireen's husband, Eddie Mui, did a fantastic job as "Smelly Francis". He actually ad-libbed a lot of the dialogue, and he's so good both Ricardo and I still laughed at Eddie's lines even after we watched the footage over and over again.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of having a good editor. Unfortunately most filmmakers spend so much on production that when it comes to post, the money is all spent and they cheap out on the editing. We happen to fall in that category, but luckily, we were able to get good editors for great rates.

We've also been asking around for good post houses to do our sound mix and color correction. Stay tuned for that update.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Response to Lucy's Blog Below Re: Women and Politics

A friend of mine forwarded this to me...

If you or anyone you know has questioned whether the media has been sexist in its coverage of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, take a look at this staggering montage and please, forward to anyone you think should see this which in my opinion, is everyone. U&eurl=

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lydia gets 5 Henry Award Nominations

Congratulations to Onahoua, Stephanie, Juliette, Octavio, the cast of Lydia and The Denver Center Theatre Company.

The Colorado Theatre Guild announced the 2008 Henry Award nominees. The winners will be announced at a boisterous ceremony on Monday, July 7 at 7pm at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton. Tickets: 303-778-7724

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Jeanne Paulsen, Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Doubt”
Karen Slack, Curious’ “9 Parts of Desire”
Martha Harmon Pardee, Paragon Theatre, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Onahoua Rodriguez, Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Lydia” Stephanie Beatriz, Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Lydia”

Outstanding Ensemble Performance
Countdown to Zero, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”
Denver Center Theatre Company, “The Diary of Anne Frank”
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Lydia” Denver Center Theatre Company, “Plainsong”
PHAMALY, "Urinetown, the Musical"

Outstanding New Play “Contrived Ending”, Josh Hartwell, Conundrum Productions
“The Denver Project”, Mildred Ruiz and Steve Sapp, Curious Theatre Company
“Every Secret Thing”, Judy GeBauer, Modern Muse Theatre Company
“Lydia”, Octavio Solis, Denver Center Theatre Company
“Plainsong”, Eric Schmiedl, Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Production of a Play
Curious Theatre Company, "The Lieutenant of Inishmore"
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Doubt”
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Lydia”
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Plainsong”
Paragon Theatre Company, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Chip Walton, Curious Theatre Company, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”
Juliette Carrillo, Denver Center Theatre Company, “Lydia”
Kent Thompson, Denver Center Theatre Company, “Plainsong”
Paul Mason Barnes, Denver Center Theatre Company, “The Diary of Anne Frank”
Terry Dodd, Arvada Center, “Of Mice and Men”
Warren Sherrill, Paragon Theatre Company, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Election, Strong Women and Love 10 to 1

This film was conceived some four years ago when Christine and I met at a directing class at UCLA. At the time there were four stories - each about 20 minutes long. During one of our first meetings, the news broke that John Kerry had gotten the nomination from the Democratic Party. Fast forward four years later, and when I was on set shooting Love Song, news broke that Barack Obama got the nomination from the Democratic Party. Talk about coming full circle. It took us about 2 years to write the script. During the first year one of the writers parted ways because she knew she was not going to be able to raise the 5k that at the time we thought each story was going to cost - we were so innocent to think that we could shoot each story for 5k! But I digress.

By the time we release the film there will be a new President in the White House. Which brings me to the current election; I won't use this blog to take sides or to profess my preference for a candidate, but I will use it to state the obvious; The media and a good chunk of the country did Hillary wrong and now they are going after Michelle Obama. The woman is being crucified for speaking her mind and then when she tries to show a different side of her personality by going on The View they gang up on her for being "fake". The allure of being a woman and especially a strong woman is that we have many facets to our personalities. For example, if a woman is the CEO of a big corporation, or a film director, she's going to behave differently in the boardroom or on the set than she would when she's baking cookies for her kids or when she's out to dinner with her friends. Women today are expected to be Super Man, juggling career, kids, social life etc. In the case of Michelle Obama, campaigning alongside her husband, being under media scrutiny, taking care of her kids, plus all the other things she does, she should be allowed (without the media making something more out of it) to be who she is; that probably means that she's warm and sweet around her girls, smart and supportive when she's campaigning for her husband and all around Super Man/Wonder Woman the rest of the time. I have not heard anything about Cindy McCain but I've been living in the world of filmmaking where it's easy to loose touch with the world when you are in production. I'm sure Cindy is Super Man/Wonder Woman as well.

I strongly believe that behind a successful man there's usually a few women responsible for getting him there, usually their mother, wife, sisters and daughters not to mention a father, brothers or sons. Obviously the logic works in reverse as well.
Bottom line is that to be successful it helps if you have a strong support system and if that's not the case you need to be like the little engine that could and just keep moving ahead.

Which brings me to my next point - As a writer/producer/director on this project I wore additional hats, I basically did what needed to be done to take care of my crew, my actors and anything that came up, basically Super Man/Wonder Woman. As I'm watching the footage, I take pride in the strong women I created, because of that, the film is beautiful and sexy; that's my vision, those are my images up there and I need to stand by them. I had a conversation with Christine today and we came to the conclusion that in order to sell sexy we need to be sexy. We are going to embrace our inner Candace Bushnell, Pamela Des Barre and Jackie Collins - why is it that it's ok for female authors to be sexy if they are going to sell sexy books and not for female directors? We're going to change that!

We'll put the pictures of the director's photo shoot and you can judge for yourself - let's hope Suzie is available to give us a make over.



The RED, Editing, Casting

This past weekend I worked on a shoot with Brian and Matt, we shot on the RED. I say WE because I worked in the camera department. I was responsible for downloading the footage, clapped the slate or the claqueta (in spanish, I'm trying to learn all the right terms because I want to make a movie in Argentina!) and pitched in where ever it was needed, but mostly, I stayed by the camera. Mike was the first AC, he's a friend of Jarred's (the sound mixer from Love Song). Mike visited the Love Song set one day, I had a good feeling about him. Working with him on someone else's set was great. He was very familiar with the RED, he works at a rental house and he's seen the workflow a ton of times. He was really nice and explained a lot of the functions of the camera to me. He told me that my job was basically the 2nd AC. I was so happy because coming from him that meant a lot. It's always good to work on a set with Brian and Matt. As usual, Brian was always imparting knowledge, that's why I call him the Master. I met some other nice people that I'm sure Brian will adopt and make part of the family.

The footage was recorded onto a hard drive instead of card. This made shooting a lot smoother because you didn't have to worry about swaping cards as often. There were two drives, one for high speed (which will give you slow motion) and another drive for the normal speed footage. What a concept! One camera, two drives = no frame rate issues!!!!

I really like the camera and the workflow. It was so easy to download and easy to view the footage. I took my assignment very seriously, in my opinion, I had one of the most important jobs on the set. Based on my prior experience w/the HVX, the person who was in charge of downloading my footage (Frederick) had one of the most important jobs - if there was a screw up and something got erased then all the hard work we all put in would be out the window. I digress; I want to shoot my next project on the RED and use the super speed lenses. We used the normal speed lenses on Love Song because Indie Rental only has 5 sets of the super speed (they were all rented), the normal speed lenses worked well but the super speed would have been better particularly during the night scenes.

I'm about halfway done labeling and organizing my footage. Matt surprised me today with a rough cut of the end of the film. He set the footage to Mazzy Star's Fade Into You - ofcourse, now I have that song in my head and I want it, Matt decided to change the song because he didn't want me to get attached to it and he wanted me to see that the possibilities are endless. The scene is just beautiful.

Onahoua and David have so much chemistry, they look great together and they are so talented. As I watched the footage I was turned to mush, my eyes got watery and my heartbeat was super fast. Matt always tells me that shooting is fun, then you look at it and that's great, but when you watch your work edited and set to music, that feeling is just priceless, he's absolutely right. I had so many emotions running through me, it's been one of the most gratifying experiences of the process.

I'm so proud of this project, I can't believe we've come so far. I met with Christine and Laura today and we discussed our upcoming battles with post and trying to get the feature done in time to submit to festivals for next year. I have one day to shoot the opening of the film and get establishing shots, Christine has 2-3 days and she's shooting in late August. Stay tuned for the new cast of Christine's film; Ma and Grandma are going to be super fierce - wait 'till you hear who'll be playing them... Let's hope Christine doesn't keep us in suspense much longer before she makes the announcement.



yes, Matt the Cinematographer is the Editor, I am the Assistant Editor - That's how it's done in IndieWood!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Staying True To Your Vision

I have so many things to blog about; I promise to catch up soon. I wanted to share my excitement with you all. I’ve been watching the footage and it looks amazing. Matt, Brian and the rest of the crew did a great job and the cast was phenomenal. I am so blessed, grateful and thankful that the images I’m looking at belong to the film I set out to make.

In my journey making this film I’ve learned so much, I’ve had both good and bad experiences. The most frustrating thing I’ve gone through was watching the footage I shot last November and just saying “What the F*ck”. I shot scenes that shared the same locations as Christine’s and Laura’s, I’m glad I did not shoot anything else because the images I was looking at were not what I envisioned. That footage will end up on the deleted section of the DVD. It’s not to say that the footage wasn’t shot well (with the exception of the frame rate issue) the footage looks good but it’s not my vision. Ultimately, I hold myself responsible because I was the director, I should have said something.

The most powerful lesson I learned is that when you see something that’s not going the way you envisioned it, speak up. Once that day is over you most likely won’t be able to go back to that location. The same goes for the people you are working with; if someone is not working out, or if someone does not deliver or make good on what they said they were going to do, it’s ok to fire them.

Fast forward 7 months later and I love every frame we shot. Matthew (Matt) Boyd the cinematographer never questioned what I wanted but he came with suggestions that improved my vision. We work well together, we like a lot of the same music and that helped. We never watched movies for references but we listened to a lot of music, I explained my vision of what I wanted through songs, particularly The Fabulous Miss Wendy’s (because she’s pretty much letting me use all her songs). I would tell Matt, this song will go on this scene and we would start from there.

As I watched the footage, I laughed and almost shed a tear – I tried to contain myself because I did not want my mascara and eyeliner to run (I went to a networking event so I had to get dolled up and I did not want raccoon eyes). The clip that almost made me cry was of Shane and Dustin walking on the beach at sunset, they were shot in a beautiful silhouette against the Santa Monica Mountains as the sun was setting. I remember when we shot that scene, so many things were going through my mind, particularly the hundreds of hikes I’ve taken on those mountains thinking about that very moment. I remember saying Thank You God. Shooting it was magical but watching it back was indescribable. I LOVED IT. I was so excited I could have burst.

The mistake I made the last time was that I watched a lot of films with Leah (the other dp). I’m sure that works for other people but in retrospect, that didn’t work for me and maybe that’s why I didn’t feel that the November footage was my vision.

As a filmmaker you need to figure out what works for you and what works for your particular project.

The next film I shoot with Matt may have us watching some shows on The Food Network because the story deals with food or maybe I’ll take a cooking class, who knows.

Stay true to your vision and figure out a way to get it; that usually starts with a kick ass team who can bring it!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

My short is in a film festival this weekend - in VENICE!

Cool. I get to go back to Venice this weekend and explore some more.

And this time, the purpose of my trip is to reap the benefits of hard work.

Last year I directed and co-wrote a short film, titled "Las Perdidas" (the lost ones) with a couple of friends of mine. It is the story of three friends who take a road trip to Mexico - their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and they are rescued by a local one legged vagrant, of whom they become suspicious when they discover a box filled with various driver's licenses. This story is based on a real life experience that happened to me a couple of years ago, and it touches on cultural barriers and prejudices.

We've been submitting this film to various film festivals and we have managed to get a little attention from it, having won a Remi Award at World Fest Houston, we were recently at the Cannes Short Film Corner and have been granted early selection by the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Hopefully there will be more good news to come.

This weekend "Las Perdidas" will be screening at the Broad Humor Film Festival in Venice. One of our goals was to get as much local exposure as possible, because I think ultimately the best place to make contacts and spark interest in our talents is Los Angeles. We are one of four narrative shorts that will be screened this Saturday at 1pm! The best part of this is the fact that they will be screening our 28 minute version as opposed to the 16min version that most of the other festivals will prefer.

Here's the info.

The Broad Humor Festival Presents:

Las Perdidas: (the lost ones)
Saturday, June 14th at 1pm

The Electric Lodge
1416 Electric Ave.
Venice, CA 90291

Tickets can be purchased online or at the venue. Go to

Free Parking

We are part of a shorts program--there are 4 shorts. Total running time for the program is about an hour. There are parties going on all weekend too!

I anticipate this will be a very small festival, with little publicity, but it will be a great opportunity to meet other women filmmakers in the area, and get our names out there, building a presence for not only myself and the other Las Perdidas ladies, but I'm also going to talk up Love 10 to 1. Hey, you never know!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Beautiful Cast

Onahoua Rodriguez as Shane, David Villar as Dustin

Onahoua Rodriguez as Shane, Justin Klosky as Jim

Daniella Alonso as Cali, David Villar as Dustin

David Villar as Dustin

Justin in the limo (I think we all clapped the slate at one point)

The Fabulous Miss Wendy & Onahoua in the limo

Lynn & Onahoua


Suzie & David

Mari Marks as Sonny Vivian, the band manager

Justin as Jim - yep, we had to get him to take it off again!

Cast n Crew poolside

The Best Looking Crew

At the Beach

Mr. Fabulous a.k.a Ian

Jarred - Sound Mixer

Suzie - Make Up & Lucy - Director

Matt - Cinematographer

Brian - Gaffer

Casey - A.D., Grip & Matt

Lynn - the God send - she did every job at least once!

Natasha - Costume Designer & Suzie

Friday, June 06, 2008

Things to blog about

Here's a list of upcoming blogs - I need to write this so I don't forget:-)

1. The house - how I found it, shooting there, the neighbors, etc. - good news is, nothing damaged or broken

2. The cast

3. The Fabulous Miss Wendy

4. Shooting in Venice at night after your pertmits expire - heavy police prescence and no one bothered us - we even got spectatators watching. (we shot on 18th and speedway - we had a light on the crane of Brian's truck and two lights on the street, I for sure thought we would get shut down, we wre there until about 1am and our permit expired at 10pm.

5. Shooting on the beach - I will tell you that the end scene was magical - we shot during magic hour, I got to yell CUT as the sun set behind the Santa Monica mountains - It was Ona's close up and we had about 1 minute to get all her dialogue - I almost cried because her eyes welled up as she delivered those line. The chemistry between her and David is just amazing.

6. Justin's haircut - LOL, I shouldn't laugh, but I do think it's hysterical. His hair is long and spiky in Christine's and Laura's and super short on mine, the middle story. I added a line in the script to acknowledge that he got a hair cut.

7. The Process of getting it all together

IT'S A WRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ok, I will need to blog in more details, I'm still on production schedule and only got a few hours of sleep. Here's the great news - I CAME IN UNDER BUDGET (ok, only by about $50) AND ON TIME.

I'm pretty much done, I need to get the opening montage which is the band hanging out in various parts of Venice. Scheduling the actors was a total nightmare so knowing their busy schedules it'll probably be sometime in July. I needed to manage the time as efficiently as possible because I only had 5 days to shoot and I wanted to get EVERYTHING. The band in venice is something I can get anytime because that location is always there. I needed to get all the scenes in the house (about 65% of the film done in 3 days).

The crew was tiny, I had worked with all those guys on the last round of production and I also PAd on a film that they all worked on. Carrie and Ray - our sound mixer (Carrie) and boom op (Ray) from the last round were unavailable so Carrie hooked me up with Jarred (sound mixer) and Ian (boom op) - Matt (DP) has worked with them a lot - if I'm not mistaken, I believe they all came from the Brian Sorbo school of sound training. So even though I had never met Jarred and Ian, they immediately became part of the family. You should see how cute they are, I call them the kids because they are so young, passionate and so efficient. Because the crew was so teeny tiny, Jarred and Ian (as did all of us at one point) helped move lights, they did slate, helped move stuff - really, this film was made in true indie style.

Then, there's Suzie and Natasha - Suzie did make up for us on the last round and when I called her offering her way less than her going rate (everybody on the crew worked for way less than their going rate), like the rest of the guys, Suzie came on board with love and a smile. Natasha came via Craigslist. One of the scenes in the film is the band's photo shoot. I tried reaching out to a couple of local designers but like Laura said on her last post, it's hard to get people to donate stuff. No one wanted to lend me their clothes, mostly, they didn't know who I was. I told Laura to put an ad on Craigslist. When I was talking to Matt about the look of the photo shoot, I told him it needed to be like a post apocalyptic fairy tale, think Disney after the world blows up and starts again. We came up with a Mad Maxx meets Sleeping Beauty theme - we didn't quite get there but I love the results we got. For the Craigslist ad, I told Laura that I needed a cross between Galliano and Gaultier. When Natasha replied, so eager and sweetly I was taken by her, then I saw her designs, OMG, it's like she read my mind - there it was, Mad Max meets Sleeping Beauty. The only problem was that she lives in Canada. That didn't stop me from getting what I what I wanted. Natasha was willing to ship me her stuff, but to ship it back and forth was going to cost almost $1,000 - for half of that I bought her a plane ticket and in exchange she brought EVERYTHING and was a HUGE help on the set. Did I mention she's 24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then there's the actors - I don't think I've seen an indie movie with as many beautiful people (and they can act, actually, they are exceptional, I predict big things for all of them) - I will blog about this as well because casting your actors is KEY.

I had a few friends come and help a day here and a day there, I am so grateful that they did because the crew was so small -
here's a breakdown;

Cinematographer (Matt)
Gaffer (Brian)
Cinematographer's other "right hand" and P2 downloader (Frederic)
Grip/A.D. (Casey Slade) (he was there the first 3 days)
Grip/Still Photgrapher (Lynn)
On day 3 & 4 we had a lot to do, and with Casey gone we needed additional help
Grip - Jeff (aka Sid Vicious)
Grip - John
Grip - Stephanie
Script Supervisor - Declan
Producer - Meagan Watts

Then there were the people who came to help:
Tony, Mak, Mike, Kevin (Brian's buddy and owner of the 5 ton grip truck - Oh yes, the same 5 ton truck from Laura's Cerrito's pool scene. If you go back and read about our first day of production in Cerritos, you'll read about the heart attack Christine and I got when this monstrous truck was parked outside the Cerritos Swim Center - fast forward 7 months later to a tiny, one way street in Venice with this crazy truck and I almost got an anurism as Brian was trying to park it and almost chopped off the top of a beautiful tree. I thought for sure the neighbors were going to kill me if anything happened to that tree, yes people, this is Venice and in the west side of Lala land we take our trees very seriously - no worries, tree was fine). Then, there's my friend Declan who I met at a class two weeks ago. He's from Europe and came to LA to take the Acting for Director's class and somehow, he ended up staying and became my script supervisor and grip! I also met Mak in that class.

So that was the crew - really, that was it! We shot for 3 days in a lovely home in Venice - that's another blog's worth, I promise I'll write about it once I catch up w/my sleep. I'm averaging 3 hours a night!

I wore many hats as well - director, producer, PA, production designer (I'll share that with Matt, we made the nice house look fantastic) - between the two of us we redecorated the house with colorful artwork, candles, curtains etc. Two nights before filming I went to Kmart, Ross and Bed Bath and Beyond - I spent about $800 (most of the stuff is being returnend in the next few days), but we made that house look AMAZING.

I really wanted to get this as real as possible - I wanted Shane and Dustin to live in Venice and shoot in Venice. Everything, except the photo shoot and Jim's apartment was shot in Venice. The scene in Jim's apt. was shot as an exterior in my apartment complex's swiming pool and the photo studio was on melrose.

I set out to make a movie about a girl from Venice Beach who sings in a band and has a crush on her roommate. The film was inspired by my love of music, the ocean and the RHCP - I know I'm about to give Christine a heart attack, but there's a scene of Shane reading Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis - hey, worse case scenario, we can blurr it in post. I hired Matt as my DP because he got my vision. When I gave him the script I told him to listen to RHCP and then read it, I told him what I wanted and he didn't second guess me when I said that basically, I wanted a 35 minute music video. He didn't try to disuade me, he didn't try to recreate my script, he just got it and we ROCKED IT! I'm really proud of the results we got.

As we were setting up the 2nd scene on the 1st day, Brian and I were standing in front of the monitor and I told Brian that he did a great job because what we were looking at on the monitor was Entourage/Californication quality. Here's how that exchange went.

Brian adds a gel to a light, and tells one of the guys to move something to get rid of a shadow - as I look at the monitor I'm amazed at what this tweak did for the scene

Brian that looks great, thank you.

It's a team effort Lucy, it takes a village and you're welcome.

Yeah, well in this case, we're just a little hut in the village.

That's how I think of this whole production, there weren't enough of us for it to be a village, we were just a small family in a little hut working our asses off.




Thursday, June 05, 2008


In a couple of hours Lucy will have wrapped production on her segment of the film!!!!

YIPPIE! One step closer to completion.

I believe as we speak she and the rest of our party are in Venice shooting some kind of exterior action. Last I'd heard they were planning on putting a light and a generator on the sidewalk, although we technically weren't permitted to do anything but shoot and HOLD a light. I imagine shooting in that neighborhood would be tricky since it's so heavily trafficked, but I'm hoping that because Venice is filled with good natured hippies that they'll look the other way.

I haven't gotten to see much of the action since I was mostly running errands for them and/or at my night job so I'm excited to see how things turn out. I don't get down to Venice much but being around there over the last couple of days made me realize what a great location it is for a film about young artsy people. It's cool how LA has become a character in the film, you see so many movies where New York is that, but LA..not so much. Each of our stories take place in a specifically LA centric neighborhood, Venice, Hollywood, Cerritos...(heh heh). If you know Cerritos you laugh, but it actually is LA Centric or is that, OC?

We were able to get permits to shoot in Venice from Film LA, who also hooked us up with the Parks and Recreation Department, and they kindly gave us approval to shoot on the Venice Boardwalk. I thought for sure we'd never be able to do that, and was shocked when it all turned out so easily. But then I realized that it would be crazy to discourage filmmakers here, this is the Movie Capital, after all. The one thing I did notice, however, is that even if people welcome your film making, they aren't going to be throwing around discounts or favors anytime soon. It was impossible to get any discounts or donations from anyone. I could barely get people to call me back, once I mentioned "non profit"! It's so different from my Austin days, when business owners gave out freebies just to get their name listed in the credits. Hell, California doesn't even give tax breaks to filmmakers like everyone else does. I wonder how the ladies would feel about doing a western told in three parts?

Anyway, congrats to Lucy and the rest of our cast and crew for finishing what I know was a hard won week.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Second Wind

I must say that it's good to be back to work on our film. The past several months have had me waiting with bated breath, wondering if we were ever going to get there. Coming to set yesterday and seeing all the familiar faces from last fall was truly a joy, and I felt really good to know that the team had enjoyed working with the three of us well enough to make a comeback. Christine kept asking me why this time around seemed less stressful, and I think it's because we all had done a majority of the leg work the first time. To those of you wondering, yes, it really gets easier each time, not harder. Because you get better, aka, more experienced, with each production!

As far as "Love 10 to 1"'s uncharted territory of post: Christine and I are meeting quite a few obstacles in post production, namely our difficulty in finding an editor, 1. who is willing to work for next to nothing since we blew all of our money in production, and 2. an editor who is experienced with the P2 card output. It's amazing how few highly skilled, professional editors know about this new way of capturing footage. My friend Eric has been editing for over ten years on Avid, and when he did my last film (which was shot on the panasonic hvx 200 as well), he had a lot of new ground to cover. I think the entire staff at his post house got in on learning this new format, even going as far as buying books on the subject and studying up. So editing the stuff is not as easy as shooting it.

We did find two editors who were willing to take on the challenge.

But once we found them, there was the absolutely depressing discovery that half of our footage was shot in the wrong format. Not a little bit of the footage. HALF. OF. OUR. FOOTAGE. One of our camera operators neglected to double check their settings on the camera, and now we are stuck with part 23 and part 59. What does that mean? Basically it means that when you try and play the 59 footage, it moves in slow motion. Now before you go banging your head against the wall, or slapping your hand to your forehead or even tearing your hair out, let me just let you know that although yes, this is tragic, it is not a life threatening or fatal issue. We can fix it "in post".

I've noticed a lot of people in indie film production throw around the phrase, "We'll fix it in post." Let me tell you, filmmakers, if anyone tells you that when it comes to YOUR film, DO NOT giggle and make that the running joke on the set like I see so many directors who are shelling out their own money for their life dreams do. Make that person take the extra time to fix it right there on set if they can. Because it'll be a lot less expensive buying a grumpy crew a second meal than it is to pay a post house to convert half of your footage into the right format or to color something that was shot in the wrong color tone, or do adr. All these new cameras and do-hickeys are really nifty and are being marketed as "time savers" and "money savers" but a lot of people are still learning to use them, including your crew. Nobody is coughing up the money to fix it in post except you - and if you're a true indie filmmaker, you've just about coughed up all your money getting the damn thing on film, or on a P2 card, in this case. By the time you get to post, all those people who told you to fix it in post, will be on to some other shoot. And you'll be hanging around some colorist who is shrugging his shoulders saying, "that'll be $500 an HOUR." Post houses are not indie friendly, unless you're sleeping with someone who works at one.

But what do you do when you don't know about these potential problems?

Here was my biggest mistake. Not looking at the footage every single god damed day of the shoot. I put my trust in my
co-workers and that was to my detriment. They are good people, and I adore them. But I should have looked at the footage every single day and I should have had a professional editor looking at it too. I would have caught the problem early on and avoided this mishap. Next time around, I will make sure to have the ability to do that.

So basically I have been sitting on half of my footage which needs to be converted from 59 to 23. Ok, you think, no biggie. Convert it. The problem with that is that it is going to take many, many hours to do so. I think Christine and I figured out that it will take about 16 hours to convert about 2 hours of footage. I have no idea how much I've got to convert because my editor hasn't been able to make the time to convert it, because he's been so busy with his real editing job that it's hard to make time for mine. And who wants to make the time to convert all that? Well, it's come down to me, since I now work as an assistant editor I'm going to step up and do it myself. There's so many steps to this than just pressing a button, forgive me if I get the exact steps wrong in this description. Each clip has to be put into the editing system, then decompressed, and turned into a Quicktime file, that is HUGE. Like a couple of gigs for a five second clip. FIVE SECONDS. Can you imagine? I purposely shot long takes because I wanted it to have this specific flow to the scene. So my takes are like, five minutes or more each. Paul, the editor, demonstrated the way to do it using a five second clip of the media. It took about five minutes to turn a five second clip into a Quicktime file. So let's do the math.

One minute is comprised of 60 seconds. There are 12 five second segments in a minute. That means 12 segments of a minute times 5 minutes per five seconds to quicktime, (Following me?) is...

one hour to convert one minute of footage.

now, because I don't want the big files, I'll down convert it to a lower resolution in Quicktime, just for the cut. That'll be much less gig space, but will take double the time to convert for some bizarre reason. Then when we're ready to "print" - which in HD is transferring to I believe a D-5 tape, I'll bring in the bigger files that have already been specifically selected for the cut.

Needless to say, these major fuckups have gotten me real passionate about a career post production. Lotsa money.

Up next...Justin got a modeling job and had to cut his hair off just in time for Lucy's shoot. Hmmm.

Now how are we going to fix that one in post?

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.