Archive for March, 2011

Set Dreams

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 30, 2011 by PoPS blog

I’ve been burning the candle at so many ends lately that it never even occurred to me that by naming the update below “Disaster Strikes” it might actually worry some of the PoPS audience. A few of them were worried that I was canceling the show or something. It was very sweet.

I think I’ve finally realized that I was TOO ambitious when writing and planning episode 5. We’re getting everything we need so far, but it feels like we’re just barely keeping our feet underneath us. We shot all of Saturday, all of Sunday, and then after work on Monday until midnight. The setups have been crazy, we had a ton of extras for the shoot on Monday night, which was awesome and strange, and the scope is just much larger in reality than I anticipated on the page. We’re shooting for the next 2 nights attempting to get a visually ambitious 38-setup 2-page sequence for the opening, shooting only between the hours of 7pm to 11pm. For real. It’s a night scene and we still only use clip lamps for lighting. I must be crazy.

But the real reason I know we’re feeling a lot of pressure is that for the first time ever in the history of PoPS, the crew’s begun having set dreams. Set dreams are exactly what they sound like. You have a stressful dream about being on set so that by the time you wake up, it’s like you never left set and you feel like you’ll never be able to relax ever again. They happen more on particularly stressful shoots. Ryan (D.P./Producer) was the first to have one; at least he was the first to tell me about it. The plot of his seemed to hinge on my crazy desire to do a gagillion complicated setups in a day, each one involving some kind of move or focus pull, or my favorite, several moves accompanied by a series of focus pulls. The cause of the stress for Ryan’s set dream is perfectly understandable: I’m the kind of director with insane shot lists and expectations to match. I had my first set dream last night about coming to set tonight to discover that we forgot to bring any lighting to the night shoot. Mine obviously revolves around the forgetfulness that seems to be plaguing us throughout episode 5 production. I firmly believe that it’s a forgetfulness borne of all of us having to remember WAY TOO MANY THINGS and a need for me to pair the scale back a skoshe for episode 6.

Next week’s video should have a bunch of crazy footage from all the crazy shooting we’ve been doing.

Thanks for reading.

Jarvi out.

PoPS video update 56-Disaster Strikes!

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 28, 2011 by PoPS blog

Auditions and a 2nd 1st Day

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 23, 2011 by PoPS blog

This week has been more of the same. Scheduling conflicts and craziness. Getting hit from all sides. It’s been one of those weeks where you sit back and think, “Wait a second here. I could keep slamming my head against this immovable f-ing object or…I could not.” And then I tell my wife I’ve quit the show and she says, “Okay, honey,” and we watch some TV or make some food or do some dishes, and then in about an hour the show’s back on again. She’d put up more of a fight if she ever thought I was serious.

Auditioning prospective actors and actresses is just plain weird. This is why productions hire casting companies. Casting companies have people coming in all the time; it’s just business as usual. Actors are to casting companies what hamburgers are to McDonalds, necessary and popular but kind of nauseating at this point. But for day-job cowboys like us, dealing with actors is different. There’s always this moment when they come in and you have to get from the introductions to the slating and it’s always a really awkward transition. But even that is better than when the audition is over and you’ve thanked them and they have to get their stuff together to leave. They kind of stop interacting, because they’ve done what they came here to do. The guys and I are just standing around awkwardly waiting for them to leave so we can start talking about them. There’s just this weird “we just shared something intimate but we’re actually strangers” kind of vibe hanging in the room. Improv exercises like we did in the last video help to break the tension and give us a better look at who the auditionee actually is and how they think on their feet.

We’ve had a two-week break in ep5 production while scheduling fell through and we couldn’t get our hands on a camera. Tonight we pick it up again and do our best to soldier on. Ideally, once production starts, you’re shooting at least a couple days every week. Coming back from a two-week break, it’s almost like the first shoot day all over again. Any momentum we started to build with our first three shoot nights is solidly worn off and it’s like starting from scratch, and the first shoot day is always the hardest. It’s better if your production only has one of them. By this time next week though, the schedule says we’ll have taken care of four more shoot days. Some of it is pretty complicated stuff, so I’m curious to see what ends up in next weeks blog entry.

Until then, Jarvi out.

PoPS video update 55-Mugging for the Camera

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 20, 2011 by PoPS blog

I don’t think this car has brakes.

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 17, 2011 by PoPS blog

This week has just been a week of general craziness. Every day the shoot schedule has been torn apart and pieced back together because of some new unforeseen circumstance. One cast member’s new job drastically limits her weekend availability. Our famous cast member gets invited to Pixar Studios for some reason or other and derails the most logistically difficult shoot day of the whole shoot. We need to figure out how to get production insurance if we want to rent any gear. Our D.P./camera operator is going out of town for at least 2 or 3 shoot days and we need to come up with someone to shoot. I might end up doing that for scenes that I’m not in, but it’s no good if we can’t find a 7D or a 5D mark ii for a couple days. My day-job has suddenly become ridiculously busy again in terms of the sheer amount of work I need to accomplish in a short time. And we held auditions for muggers and hot girls this week. That’s what next week’s video is going to have as a centerpiece. I’m pretty sure this is the most frustrating and difficult a PoPS production schedule has ever been. It’s like we’re in a car without brakes rolling down a very steep hill. It’s hard enough without the road falling apart underneath you and kids running out into your path at the last minute. It’ll probably all work out. Somehow it always does.

For now, I gotta go. Too much work and planning to do. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week.

PoPS video update 54-Photo shoot

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 13, 2011 by PoPS blog

Down time-ish

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 10, 2011 by PoPS blog

This week has been pretty slow. One of our cast members just went on tour with his band so we’re limited in the amount of shooting we can do. I spent last night organizing auditions for this coming weekend for some of the episodic roles that need casting in ep5. A sometimes-colleague of Tim and Ryan is letting us hold auditions at his office, so we have a nice space for the call. We’re scheduled to hold auditions this Sunday the 13th. Later that night, my wife, Eliza, also known as The Princess of the 4th Dimension on PoPS, and I are headed over the Lake Forest College to be on their radio station. We should be on between 9 and 11 p.m. CST, and they stream it live in case anyone wants to listen in— All things considered, life is pretty good. Except…

The last video store by my apartment is falling to the wayside. Soon there will be no more shelves to browse when the wife and I feel like renting a movie. This saddens me unbelievably. Video stores have played such a huge part in my life since forever. Eliza and I met in the local video store, at which she was a customer and I was a clerk. I actually know of THREE MARRIAGES that resulted from people meeting across that store’s counter. THREE! Center Video was a mystical sanctuary responsible for almost as many successful relationships as the island from “LOST.” It also has already been closed for a number of years. The one close to us that’s closing down now is a Blockbuster, of course. They managed to hold out the longest around here. The only good thing coming out of this is that I was able to buy the first 2 seasons of “True Blood” for under 40 bucks. Unbelievable, right? Now if we feel like going out and renting a movie, we better do it early, because it’ll have to be from a library and on the weekends they close at like 5 or 6. You may think I’m overreacting, but this is a rough blow for me. I love video stores.

Check out this video too. It’s a different perspective on PoPS production. One of the guys that came to help us out the other night brought his video camera and filmed some of his experience. The PoPS behind-the-scenes footage starts in earnest at about 1:15.

Jarvi out.

PoPS video update 53-Production Begins

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 6, 2011 by PoPS blog

Everything’s going blurry and I love it.

Posted in Hypothesis the 5th on March 3, 2011 by PoPS blog

The video below has some footage from the episode 5 script read through. I tried to keep it fairly spoilers free, but even what’s decipherable in here was too much for some of my audience, and they were not afraid to let me know it in the comments.

I’ve always made it a point to read every comment that comes in when I put up a new video—be it part of a PoPS episode or just a little update. Communication with the audience has always been very important to me. Initially just because I was so excited to have people around that wanted to talk about what I was doing. Then it kind of became a point of pride. Several audience members told me how cool it was that I took the time to read every comment and respond to quite a few of them. But lately it’s been getting to me. You can actually SEE it getting to me in the video below, when I go out of my way to show extra footage from the production meeting to try and appease ONE COMMENTER. I think something has changed on my end, because I don’t think there’s that much difference in the comments. It just seems that every single video I put up, even just updates, somebody has something to complain about and so many people want to tell me how to do things differently. It’s really depressing after awhile. I’m wondering if I’m reaching that stage where in order to keep making stuff I have to limit my interaction with the vocal contingent of my audience. That would be sad, but maybe necessary. We’ll see. Next week I won’t read a bunch of comments right before writing this and there’ll be a lot less rhetorical complaining.

The title of this post has to do with the fact that we’ve begun shooting episode 5 of PoPS and we’ve been using a Canon 7D. It’s beautiful. The depth of field is so much more shallow and gorgeous than anything seen on our show before. I can’t wait for the audience to get a look at this episode. It’s really going to be something else to watch it all come together.

Oh, heavens! And while we’re talking about the PoPS audience, how about the other side of things? Our Kickstarter campaign just ended and our audience ended up donating a final total of more than $9,200 to our show. I know, right? I can’t believe it. Amazing people.

Thanks for reading, guys.