Sunday, March 29, 2020

Nearly 2 Months Behind

So, the whole Covid-19, self isolating thing?  My wife and I started that over two weeks ago.  We have been working from home, did some photography for agents who had property or empty houses, but aside from our yard and walking the dogs, we did little else outside the home.  We even sat in the car or out in the parking lot during most of the closing, until one of us was actually needed.

What I didn't risk in that time was bringing a cast together.  That alone wouldn't have been bad, but I lost two shoot dates to a Real Estate Class that kept getting rescheduled due to snow and flooding.  Those who know me, and have seen GRIM, know that snow and flooding are far less a problem for me than a virus.  Weather doesn't stop me from getting things done (except filming in the rain when it shouldn't be raining ).  Anyway, things happen and if this class had to keep conflicting with my film life to keep other agents and students safe, so be it.  It was a state required class to keep my license, so I had to finish it and couldn't miss a single entire class.

That said, I am a bit irked, because NOW the class is being offered online and it is no longer mandatory that you be there in person!  I couldn't done my shoots if I had any inkling that would happen.

As it is, I am attending a class online Monday.

Fortunately, in order to try hit my goal I had been planning several "one man shows", like This Is Space Force and one about the last worker in an undersea lab.  I hadn't planned on playing all of the single roles myself, but if I have to, I will.  I'm probably adding "Johnny Pitchman" to the roster and of Course, Pratt was always planned to make a come back.  Maybe Jack will go on a particularly shopping adventure.

One real bit of irony?  I finally have an entire country full of empty locations and I'm not allowed to bring a cast and crew together in any of them.

Meanwhile, I have made all of my videos on Cocoscope free until the end of May, the rental at Little Creek Rentals is open to Covid-19 Responders and I am uploading old episodes of "Inside HFP" to Amazon Prime (all of our movies there are going to "included" as well. Amazon is taking their time with it though.)

Jason is sad.

Oh well, back to work!

See you in the streaming world, gang.

Monday, February 3, 2020

"This Is Space Force" - Season 2, Written

Instead of following political stories and doing random videos this year, "This is Space Force" will follow a full season story arc.  The episodes will lead into each other and continue from Season One's last episode.

Don't worry, the main elements of the show will still be there.  It will still look at social and political goings on from today as seen through the eyes of a future "Space Force".  Each episode will still feature me as Commander Ramrod and the special F/X will still look like they were made for a 1970s episode of "Doctor Who".

There will be aliens, explosions and painfully slow space travel.  The episodes shouldn't run more than a few minutes, so even with seven separate episodes the entire series will be like a short film.  With me playing nearly every role, with the exception of a Martian, portrayed by a puppet most of you will find familiar (If you have watched "Biggy Wiggy")

The scripts are all written.  The biggest problem I'm having getting them done is memorizing the lines and figuring out the best times to shoot the episodes around doing laundry.  You see, the only location I need is the studio downstairs and I'm the cast and crew.  But, with all of the dialogue in the episodes being performed by me, I have to remember at least long enough sections to do entire takes.  Some planning for how to layer myself into shots with the backgrounds and, well, myself, is also needed, but I have had most of those images planned in my head since I wrote it.  It's really how to shoot over the shoulder shots and close ups when the camera stays stationary.  I have to plan where I'm standing and what backgrounds I'll be using.  It's a lot like how I had to shoot and edit "Jack vs Lanterns".  I know how to do it, but I worry about it until I get into editing.

Meanwhile, I'm writing my undersea adventure.  I have come up with a bit of a side story to add some depth and mystery to it.  It's still a bit cliché, but I find that tried and true concepts work well in shorts.  They're instantly recognizable and only the details need to be filled in.  I'm planning on trying to play most of the roles in that story as well.  Costuming and miniatures already worked out, except for one: The monster.  And I need to paint my tentacles.

Overall, I'm going into February quite a bit behind where I wanted to be production-wise, but that's no reason to slow down.  If anything, I think to crank things up.

Meanwhile, take a peak at the tentacles in action their very first time.

Friday, January 10, 2020

One Down, 19 to GO

So, while trying to cast my Christmas sequel to "Hey, Doll!" and then schedule that cast alongside when I have access to my rental cabin, I met some new local talent.  They were free to shoot, but my other cast for that movie wasn't gelling.  I had the cabin, had some willing people and had a big need to film.

I looked at my existing props list, asked for opinions of monsters on Herebemonsters on Facebook and used those elements to write a new script. Then we scheduled a single evening shoot.  My wife was pretty much the crew.  She handled the puppets and the extra sound recorders.  Leia Crowder, one of the stars, help decorate the set while we waited for her co-star, Richard Baxter to get freed from another shoot and head to set.  Everyone was present by the time it was dark and we began filming.  Until midnight.

No complaints from anyone but me. I had wanted to let people head home around 10 PM, but knew later was more likely.  That was Jan 8th.  I started editing on the 9th and finished this morning (the 10th) at 4 AM.

During filming we flipped part of the script, giving our leading lady more action and our leading man more jokes.  I did some on-set F/X in case the post production stuff I planned didn't work.  I decided to save those tricks for another movie.

And I'll be working with this cast again.  "Chick in a Box", the "Hey, Doll...!" sequel is re-cast, again and about ready to go.  We're striving for 20 video projects in 2020 and now we have 19 to go.

Check in on the Herebemonsters page, January 11, 2020 to see the premiere of "Biggy Wiggy" and join the watch party.  We're hoping the whole cast can be there. (Both of them). And the whole cast (Both of us).

If you miss it, watch it alone.  In the dark.

See you tomorrow, gang. Unless you're not reading this today.  Then, I missed you, I guess.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Plans for 2020

Sometimes it's just easier to ramble about  what's going on in a video rather than type it all out and since it will be Christmas in an hour, I'm going with the simpler option for this blog.

Happy Holidays, gang.  See  you before the year is out.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Adjust, adapt, produce

Recently I took a second shot at casting a short I've been trying to make since last year.  I got some good submissions, but did not gather the cast I needed to get this short produced.  This time, rather than wait until the perfect cast comes together, I decided to write a new script for the actors I do have.

I have short stories dating back 20 years.  I have props I've built for other films and others I bought because they were a bargain and something I might want to use in the future for "something".  I took those elements and put them together in my head, shook them up and wrote a script around what I have.

See my last blog post for more on that.

The main point is, I'm moving forward.  Independent filmmakers have two passions that often conflict.  One is to create a huge body of work.  To leave a legacy of ideas and stories.  The other is passion for specific projects.  As a writer, if I have characters I'm very connected to, which is always the goal, they will torment me and beg for life until I give it to them.  My book a few years ago was a need to get a specific story out of my head before it drove me mad.  I knew I couldn't make the film of it myself, so they characters had to settle to being given life on paper.  A couple of those characters still ask for a new adventure now and then and some day I'll give it to them, but in the meantime, I have a few screen characters who need their stories told.

At the moment, this one short I NEED to make isn't gelling.  I'm not giving up on it, but I need to set it aside and regroup.  I need to build my local network and to do that, I need to produce more work here.

So, instead of trying to gather the resources to match my current passion project, I am trying to get passionate about the project I can make.

It will have monsters.  Votes on my social media suggest small monsters are what people want.

I'll be using a creature, props and fake tools I got while working at the Halloween store.  I will be recycling some props from "Lumber vs Jack" and "Jack vs Lanterns".  I'll be filming at my cabin again and I'll be working with new talent.

Meanwhile, I've been bringing the blogs back.  "Inside HFP" is having old episodes moved to a new outlet and new episodes will be made about more recent projects (like the one I'm working on now).

My biggest problem this coming year will be finding the time to make a feature or two and figuring out which ones to make.  I have the ones I REALLY want to make, but if they don't come together I'm not going to sit around doing nothing waiting for everything to be perfect for those projects.  Instead I'll try to stay alert.  Keep my mind open and realize which idea in the back of my head or from my archives can be made.  Now.  With the resources I currently have.

"Z" was from one of my first short stories.  It came together as a project I could do at the time and in spite of people's reactions to its unusual format and outdated production values, it is one of my favorite movies of mine.  Largely because Xena and Val are in it.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Be ready to Strike

I did a blog video on this subject a few years ago and I'm reposting here and revisiting the idea because I'm going to the "opportunity" well again.

While casting for a short I really wanted to do before Christmas things went wrong.  A planned shoot.  One I wrote for, bought props for and have a location for just didn't gel in time.  But, I met some new actors and they WANT to work.  I want to work with them, so I'm going forward with a different short until I get the planned project together.

Now that I am doing Real Estate with Nancy full time, my free time is even less than it was before.  This time of year, however, things slow down at the rental cabin.  That leaves me a bit of extra time AND an empty house as a location.  Throw two available actors into the mix and a couple of monster props I came across while doing my winter storage rearrangement in my studio and I have the makings for a short flick.  So, I'm going to make one.

Meanwhile I'll get to work with new talent.  They can get a feel for my style.  We all get new stuff for our reels and we can go into the other shoot with a bit more prep time.

I feel so much better when I'm behind a camera.

Monday, December 16, 2019

So, What Have I Been Up To?

Nothing Like Kisses from a 75 pound Dog

Aside from getting my Real Estate License and doing my seasonal tour at the Halloween Store, most of my life has been at home.  We've added a new member to our pack and he takes a lot of time and effort, because, happy as he is, he has some health problems.

But, the trip to get him certainly prepared me for life with Dom.

This is not my best work, but it's the best work I could do while still paying attention to the road and the task at hand at the time.

This is my Journey to Dom.