Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

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“Cheap” Is Relative

January 28, 2009

My old college roommate, Marcus Phillips, is a musician.  He’s written, I’d guess, over a hundred songs in the time that I’ve known him.  He’s produced at least three complete CDs.  All this took was time, energy, talent, and practice.  He’s spent maybe a couple hundred dollars on guitars over the years.

I, on the other hand, have made less than a dozen short films in the same period of time, and spent thousands of dollars over the years.

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the democratizing effects of inexpensive video production.  Don’t believe it for a second.

A good HD camera costs thousands of dollars; renting one can run hundreds per day.  Same for a decent grip and lighting package.  Art direction, costumes, make-up are variable, but consistently expensive.  And don’t forget sound and editing!

Then there’s all the people.  Even if you don’t pay them, you at least have to feed them.  You might resort to the indie film mainstays of pizza and sub sandwiches, but buying lunch for ten to twenty people still ain’t cheap.

Movies are not and never will be inexpensive, at least for an individual.  I’m confronting this fact as I go through my script to determine what I have, what I can borrow, and what I can afford to buy.

There is, of course, a fourth option: what I can afford to rewrite.  But let’s try to avoid that, shall we?

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Making a Mountain Out of a Mole Hill

January 7, 2009

After publishing my first post yesterday, I got a weird feeling about this whole process.

Not the process of making the movie, but the process of documenting the process of making the movie.  I fear there might be an element of of Heisenbergian uncertainty, that the mere act of observing the thing might change it.

My wife got me the Bitter Films collection for Christmas.  One of the best parts of the DVD is the 140 page history of all of Don Hertzfeldt’s films.  It’s got pencil tests and story boards and all kinds of fascinating stuff.

The thing is, almost a hundred of those pages are devoted just to Meaning of Life.  Now, I’m a huge Hertzfeldt fan (Rejected cracks my shit up every time), and I was really looking forward to MoL.  But when it finally came out, I reacted with a simple, “Meh.”  It was cool-looking, sure, but it was a little long, kinda meandering, and very self indulgent.

The DVD made it clear to me that Hertzfeldt really felt he was making something Important.  He kept every sketch and doodle related to thing.  Hell, he even filmed himself animating.  Seriously.

Which makes me wonder if it’s healthy to closely examine a film that doesn’t even exist yet.  Will my head swell with self importance, simply by dint of writing about my own activities?

Of course, it might be equally unhealthy to examine the process of documenting the process of making a movie.  If I pull back any further, I might fall out of the panel and wind up at Grant Morrison’s house.

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It Begins…

January 6, 2009

Hello, gentle readers.

You’ve probably stumbled across this blog and wondered, perhaps aloud, “‘Matt’s Making a Movie?’  What could this blog possibly be about?”

Well, on one level, I’m simply documenting the process of making a short film.

I’ve already written it (you can see various drafts to your right), and I’m already starting to scout locations.  So, you kinda missed those parts of the process.  Still, I’ll keep you abreast of further events.  Promise.

“But why would anybody be interesting in the making of this short film?”

What a great question, Hypothetical Reader!

I don’t really know if the end product will be worthy of your notice.  I do know, however, that filmmaking, while boring and laborious to those of us in the Industry, fascinates the general public.

I don’t have a big budget or recognizeable stars, like the movies you read about in Entertainment Weekly and People, but hell, everyone likes a plucky underdog story, right?  It’s very possible this blog will end up being more entertaining than the film itself.

Here’s hoping.

And here’s the best thing.  Because I don’t have celebrities or money, I can be completely transparent.  I won’t give you any of the superficial crap you get from making-of videos and DVD commentary tracks.  I can tell you about each and every step, as it happens.

On a deeper level, though, I’m not really writing this blog for you, at all.  I’m writing it for me.

You see, I was telling my beautiful wife, just the other day, that I don’t feel like I’m getting enough done.  I’m not writing enough, I’m not shooting enough, I’m not creating enough.

My wife, smart woman that she is, suggested that I needed a new way to motivate myself.  Moping on the couch just didn’t seem to be doing it for me.

So, I figured, if I tell people I’m making a movie, I sure as hell better do it.  Plus, since the blog is just sitting there, waiting to be updated, I’ll have to keep working in order to have something to write.

I’m tricking myself into finishing what I start.  Let’s hope I fall for it.