We’re Making A Movie

As I type this, Ray Flynn is editing our movie, “External Monologue” on a Mac here on the kitchen table.

We started early. Actually, I started excruciatingly early – 6:30 AM. Helaine woke up and I was too jazzed to go back to sleep. Three hours – as I’m now seeing, not enough sleep for me.

As hard as we tried to preplan, it became obvious much of this would be written today.

The members of our movie team started arriving around 8:20. At 8:50 neither our writer nor director had shown. No problem. They made it in the nick of time.

Our ingredients, the special things this movie had to have, arrived via email at 9:00 AM sharp.

July 16, 2005

CINEMASPORTS Remote Ingredients and Guidelines

Here are the ingredients for today’s event. No interpretation is wrong, so be creative.

1. An unexpected visitor

2. A tickle

3. Crumpled paper

Movies should be 3 minutes or less. (20 seconds allowed for credits, so movies should not exceed 3:20 min. total.)

Not much time. Still, we took well over an hour before we shot the first frame of video. Everyone threw ideas back and forth.

A concept that Chris Arnott and Hugh Mackay brought with them was our framework. The rest was molded to fit.

People brought medical instruments, lab coats, all sorts of things. We used none of them! That was OK.

On the other hand, a lineman for a local utility drove by in his bucket truck… and we got him to shoot a few seconds of ‘crane’ video. Not too shabby for an ad lib.

I’m not going to say much, because I expect to put the finished product here on the website tonight or tomorrow. Why spoil the fun.

The question is, will we be finished in time? At the moment we’re two and a half hours from the deadline to start uploading. I think we’re OK.

The accent is on the word think.

Making A Movie

I don’t know how the bug bit me… but it did. Ever since I first read about ‘instant’ movie fests, I needed to try one.

I scouted the Internet and finally latched on Cinemasports, out of San Fransisco. They sponsor competitions&#185 from various locations. The filmaker gets a list of ingredients – a name, a character, a place, some dialog, and then fashions a short movie in a very short time span – usually no more than 9 or 10 hours!

In that time the script has to be written, or rewritten to include the ingredients, then shot and edited and uploaded. I’m breaking out in a sweat already.

The finished movie is no longer than three or four minutes. Still, it must be a real structured movie… well, it doesn’t have to be anything, but you’d like it to be a real structured movie because people are going to watch it that night in a club in San Fransisco.

When I started calling friends, asking if they’d like to be involved, I was surprised, because everyone said yes! In the end, not everyone could fit it into their schedule but we’ve still got a good turnout.

Our Director of Photography is Ray Flynn. He used to work with me at the TV station. Now, he runs a production company. He’s a good guy, plus he has the equipment.

The Director is Hugh Mackay. This is a great leap of faith because I’ve never met Hugh! He comes recommended by our writer, so why not?

Chris Arnott is the principal writer. I say principal because it’s a good guess there will be improvisation and suggestions from the rest of us. Chris writes for the New Haven Advocate, so he can push out words against deadline.

He and I had dinner this evening. It was Hollywood on I-95. I was ‘taking’ a dinner with the writer.

He has ideas, but it’s going to be tough to pin anything specific down because we need to work in the ingredients. More specifically, we want it to look like they belong, not that they were squeezed in.

Rick Allison, professional voice guy, poker fiend, bon vivant, will be there. I’m not exactly sure what Rick will do, but Chris said he wants to take advantage of Rick’s pipes. He has an incredible and distinctive voice. Trust me, you’ve heard his voice.

We’ll all be acting. That’s for sure. We’ll also all be holding boom mikes or reflectors or logging shots. There’s plenty to do in the field.

My friends Steve and Harvey (as opposed to Steve Harvey) are also in on the action. The funny things is, they’re the most educated – both being physicians. They have the least amount of discernible skill in this endeavor. They’ll probably have the most fun. If nothing else, Harvey is going to learn to edit using Final Cut Pro on his laptop, which he’s bringing.

I am the producer. I really don’t know exactly what a producer does. I picked up the check for dinner tonight. That’s a first step.

I’ll try and draw everyone together to get this to be a team effort.

Actually, the team might not be done. Depending on what he writes, Chris will recruit a few more actors and (this is so over-the-top it’s beyond me) someone to score the film!

Yes – a four minute movie with an original score. How cool is that?

So, there you have it. Our production opens and closes Saturday. Barring unforeseen grief, I expect to post the film right here for anyone to see.

Wish us luck.

&#185 – Competition is probably a bad word, but the best I can come up with at the moment.