Archive for October, 2014

Pre-production Blues

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30, 2014 by PoPS blog

I don’t have time for a very long blog post this week, but I always try to post every week and even though I’m about as production-depressed as I ever get right now, it’s time for a post.

This is just such a hard thing to do, you guys. Finding 10 evenings in November when everybody’s free to shoot is practically impossible. The thing that sucks too is that now that we raised all this money, we can’t just quit. We’re going into our 3rd major reschedule, and people who have previously agreed to be available on shoot days have new things popping up in their schedules. Some things are unavoidable. Really great opportunities and paying gigs. Some people just want to suddenly go out of town. Scheduling independent productions is a constant stomach-acid-churning, panic-inducing nightmare that sucks all of the fun out of what’s supposed to be a creative process. It’s not about discovering a story or crafting characters anymore. It’s only about trying to cram it into as short a time as possible around people’s busy lives. That’s all it is now. And I can’t wait for it to be over.

Production will just take a few months of headaches, heartaches, compromise, and misery and then I’ll have a nice little post-production reprieve to rediscover my optimism and enjoyment in the story we’re telling.

I try never to unleash the sometimes-paralyzing negativity and anxiety of this “hobby” in the video updates, but sometimes I unspool it here for the dedicated few who read the blog so my wife doesn’t have to bear the sole brunt of it by herself.

Thanks for reading; ‘cause I have neither the income, time, or interest to invest in therapy.

–Jake

Friday the 13th marathon-NIGHTMARATHON 3

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2014 by PoPS blog

Getting Ready to Go Again

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2014 by PoPS blog

I think that last blog post was just the kick I needed to stop procrastinating and kick this thing into gear. I went home that night, printed off all my tagged script breakdowns, calculated my eighths page count, and created some shooting blocks. A couple nights later, Eliza and I sat down and dropped them onto the calendar. I’ve sent that noise off to the actors and so far got back a couple of conflicts that need to be dealt with, which I will reschedule around soon.

I also got in touch with a weapons property master I used a couple years ago to set up the weapons for this episode.

Then Eliza and I talked about a couple of specialty props we need to move to the front burner and started discussing some locations we need to line up.

The last two nights we’ve met with actors who weren’t able to make it to the cast read through to work through the dialogue and make sure we’re all on the same page before we get to set. That’s a huge deal and outside of a read through, it’s something I haven’t given enough attention in the past. Luckily, we’ve had actors who are good at processing notes and adapting on set, but front-loading a little performance groundwork into pre-production is a really solid idea. Just from these last two nights, I could see the difference. We got to have some really productive conversations without slowing down the pace of a shoot night.

So the wheels are in motion. I’m sure I’ll talk about it in an upcoming update, but there is a certain crazy energy that comes with being in production. My normal indecisiveness about what to have for dinner or watch after work goes straight out the window and I drop into solutions/work around/results mode. Sure, sometimes I still feel a little more like playing video games than making shot lists or trading emails about schedules, locations, and gear, but in the words of MC Hammer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) soundtrack, “This is what we do.”

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

PoPS video update 228-How to Schedule

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2014 by PoPS blog

The Procrastination Effect

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on October 16, 2014 by PoPS blog

The last couple of episodes have been spurred into production by different factors of actors’ schedules, weather, or something out of my control that I’m trying to get ahead of. It’s always been about beating some kind of exterior force. So, before I even know it we’re just in production. This time, however, do to locations and actors schedules, we couldn’t beat it, I had to re-write, and the deadline I’m trying to beat is much farther away. It gave me a couple of moments to breathe and it brought back something I had long forgotten: In my heart, I’m a procrastinator. [SCARE CHORD!]

Did that scare chord get you? I know jump scares are cheap theatrics, but it’s almost Halloween. Get into the spirit, yeah?

What I mean by that is prior to the last few episodes of beat the clock, there’s always been a time right after the money is raised where I haven’t put the schedule together. There a span of time where I put of the scheduling because I know how busy I’m going to get as soon as the schedules in place. Once the schedule is in place and sent out, the production train is moving and it’s up to us to get everything into place in time to keep up with it. Production is exhausting. There’s an exhilarating energy to it, but it’s also an endless series of fires that need putting out. We need to assemble, plan, and provide everything we want to appear on screen. I’m not someone who ends up on set and goes, “Oh, yeah. We’re supposed to have a gun for this scene. Does anyone have a gun nearby?” or “I was hoping to have some fake wound makeup here, can someone drive an hour and buy some?” or “I was thinking this scene would be better with a crane up. Does anyone have a crane in their car?” I always know what I want to see and I want to make sure I can get it, so it’s all planning, buying, assembling, shooting, planning, buying, assembling, shooting, planning… You get it. It’s a lot. And it lasts a few months.

So, now that the ticking clock is a little farther out, I find that old bit o’ procrastination kicking in. I totally forgot it existed. I’ve been fighting it, and the time for scheduling is finally upon us.

Celtx (screenwriting software) doesn’t calculate eighths of a page automatically, which is what I use to determine the amount of days on our schedule, so I’ve been calculating eighths for the last couple evenings. Now that I’m almost done with that, I’ll have no more excuses not to put the days on the calendar and get to shooting. So…

Here we go.

–Jake

PoPS video update 227-U.P.date

Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2014 by PoPS blog

PoPS video update 226-Episode 9 Read Through

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2014 by PoPS blog