April 25, 2019
We had a really successful screening! People were overflowing from the theater and there weren’t even enough seats left! I am so happy with how everyone’s thesis turned out and it was a great time to celebrate with all of them.
I have decided to return to the original plan and film the short! As of right now the plan is to film this Sunday in Columbus in the morning and then next Sunday in Mt. Vernon at either the Alcove or the Kenyon Inn. I have decided to cast Camille Pipino as Jackie and Eric Rutkowski as Ethan. Neither of them are “actors” and so I’m excited to work with them. They were able to do a table reading for me last Monday night, April 22 and it went very well. Camille had this know-it-all tone in reading and Eric was able to keep all of his lines very plane and springy- like a “perfect” robot boyfriend.
On Sunday we are going to film the second scene which takes place in the bed room. We are going to use Camille’s bedroom in Columbus which with white walls and a huge window should work well. For costumes I want to keep the world very black and white and plan to have Camille wear a black lace tank and Eric wear a black short for their sleep costuming. I am also bringing my comforter with me to dress the set as it is black and white stripe - continuing the theme. As of right now it is just Kyle and I working on the production as others are caught up in their own productions. I am still hoping to find someone for sound but if I can not, I will be working that as well with it being such a short shoot. I have included the storyboards for this weekend’s shoot. I want to have 6 main shots but will likely adjust how they are used in post. I have chosen to have the action focus on Jackie and keep her in close ups, having the audience connect to her. I have also chosen to avoid showing the placing of the batteries in Ethan and use a sound effect instead so this will give that same illusion.
April 19, 2019
I passed comps! Last week, all film seniors took an exam that was a component of the senior exercise. There is an exam portion, the making a film portion, and an oral defense of the film- which is really more a discussion about what worked well and what didn’t on what you presented. And I just found out that I passed all three!
The senior majors have been working on the screening of our thesis films coming up on Sunday. Since we were all super concentrated on comps- the production of the screening was pushed to the side. Now it’s been in full swing invitations being made, Facebook events being created. I had made an invitation but it wasn’t the vibe of the production and so Jacqueleen made this one that is more text based. On Wednesday, Rad and I drive around to Mount Vernon and handed out invites and thank you’s that I hand made to each of the people and shops that helped us out during the production of the film. Since the screening is on Easter- all of them said they couldn’t make it, but look forward to a link to it! While I don’t think this really does anything for Rad and I- I think it ensures a good reputation for the Kenyon Film Department and is for the benefit of future students who want to use the spaces.
As for continuation of work on “I DO” I received more notes about the script. With the comments that I have been getting have been focused on expanding the story and it’s starting to require more scenes, more actors, and more time to produce and I have begun to doubt my ability to execute it. I have recently been struggling to find a crew as they are being tied up by their own projects in other classes and are shooting all weekends for the rest of the semester. Kyle, the DP I was hoping to use is already DPing several other shorts as well as directing a short of his own. As for actors, AJ is directing a short of his own and also acting in another short and working with me as the bachelor still (We just had our first filming and it went really well). With all of these other commitments it’s hard for me to see a way to still do this. I’ve begun to consider expanding and working on the script I have now- maybe turning it into a longer pilot script to a series and writing short synopsis to the rest of the episodes. This would mean I would be able to just focus on the content and not have to worry about the logistics of it all. I plan on talking with Phil and Martha about these options— but a pilot would mean I could take my time with it and not have to rely on the availability of crew to execute my project.
April 4, 2019
Writing dialogue has always been one of my strong suits, I have been able to create realistic, casual conversations feel as though they are being created in the moment. Looking at the dialogue I have written for “I Do”, I have attempted to create a cringe worthy, sappy piece of a film. Over done, over dramatic.
I want them to seem grossly in love, but with the feedback I have received I realize this might be to a fault. I don’t want them to seem like they are acting out a part- but like they are so engrossed with each other that they are ridiculous - however it is coming off too comical.
One direction that was suggested was for me to have Ethan not be as interested in Jackie - showing no or very little emotion. This would cause the audience to feel confused and dislike him as a character until he is revealed to be a robot. This would cause a shift in the tone of the film - making it more about how Ethan is disinterested because he is a robot rather than about how Jackie is so fixated on having her “perfect” love life that she will go so far as to play up this charade.
Therefore, the direction that I see myself taking the script is leaning more toward creating their dialogue seem more subtly in love rather than going overboard. I want the audience to be involved in their love life to think it is cute, not to a point where they hate how much they love each other. I can see this by rewriting the first portion of dialogue above to be more similar to the second. The first section seems over dramatic and forced, clueing the audience in on the charade too much. The second piece is less in your face, mirroring a conversation that could easily occur between any committed couple.
March 28, 2019
The short film, “I Do”, is centered around a highly driven individual named Jackie who is intent on having the perfect life, and the perfect man to complete it. This is a science fiction short that questions how far we are willing to compromise the “realness” of a situation for piece of mind and the new american dream. This is a science fiction short influenced by “Ex-Machina” (2012) in which a scientist creates a robot with artificial intelligence to act as a real being. The robot toes the line between having sentience and following orders which is similar to my script however it focuses more on how humans will accept this figure into their lives fully being aware that it isn’t truly human.
I am thinking of having a color palette similar to that of the Black Mirror episode, Nosedive, since this will bring out the “fakeness” of the world around my characters. However I have also considered having more of a dark navy blue and green tone for the dinner scene that would create a look closer to that of Blade Runner.
As of right now, Kyle, my AC from "he's Here" is set to DP. I am still liooking for an AD but I hope to cast myself and AJ (the Bachelor) as the two leads - but I want to film myself a few times before I really settle on this. For the two scenes I have been considering the KI and the Alcove, two restaurants in Kenyon/ Mt. Vernon Area that have been so helpful to filmmakers in the past. I am having the script read in my class tomorrow - so I hope to get feedback on it then!
February 28st, 2019
This week I took time to create a website for He’s Here. I want to start submitting the cut to festivals and while it’s hard for me to look at it and say it is “good” I have been encouraged by my friends and family to do so. Rad is still working on the sound for the final cut and so I’ve decided to continue my focus on marketing. After speaking with Phil Garrett, I decided on a minimalist layout focused on dark tones and these sections:
- Still gallery
- Showing Date
- News and screenings
- Cast and crew
I wanted to create this in Dreamweaver again but my expertise in this is not quite there yet (even though this site is made through dreamweaver) - so I switched over to a Wix Site. (it has ads so I’m really not the biggest fan but it’s something) I started by placing a banner at the top - I made this in photoshop by bringing in too pictures and fading them in the background and then placing the title card centered and fading that too. (It is also the same one featured at the top of this blog). I then wrote and placed a synopsis of the film under the banner on the homepage - broad enough to create interest but to also not give anything away. I then added two links at the top to both Rad and I’s blogs but they aren’t super explicit that you click on them to go there - maybe this is a change for the future. I then wrote small bios for both myself and Rad and placed those below with a link to see the rest of the Cast and Crew. I emailed all of them asking for their short bios and will add those in this upcoming week. I then added a BTS Photography page and placed all of our photos on there and at the bottom of the front page added Rad and I’s contact info as well as a link to the instagram. Finally I added a showing date page and wrote in our thesis screening, high hopes that this will grow?? You can check out the website here
As we wrap up with He’s Here, I have started to turn my attention to a new project: The Kenyon Bachelor (Name is still being decided). It is still in it’s very beginning stages- but a group of the senior film majors and myself have started to get a team together. Jess and myself are producing and Masen and Rad are signed on to DP. A rough outline of the idea is it will be a condenced version of ABC’s show the Bachelor and also a little less serious. Tomorrow we are doing interviews for the main contestant and they will be filmed. Our host for the show is Michael Lahanus and he will be conducting the interviews. After this, we will choose the Bachelor or Bachelorette and start looking for our contestants over break! Got this project started rather quickly but excited to see it take off.
February 21st, 2019
Recently I have wanted to keep moving forward and work on the marketing with the film with instagram on my last post and now a website to promote it but it is also important to take time to look back on the process. This week focused on reflection. My partner, Rad and I each had our “oral defence” with our professors in which we talk about the film and the process through which it came to be what it is today. Rad had his earlier on Tuesday and talked to me about how it went - not going into detail but saying it made him think about some things we will really well and aspects that could have gone better. While I did really appreciate hearing about his experience, it wasn’t thrilled I had to wait two more days until I got this kind of reflection time. But it caused me to think through the week back on to what could have gone differently, which helped later on while I was speaking about my film this afternoon. I was asked about the choices for whose story the film was and the genre of the film, which were really rather hard for me. I have trouble writing active characters so when it comes time to film it’s hard to know whose scene is whose and who the audience should relate to. Something I touched on was that you can’t have a character that everything happens to them, they have to have things happen themselves. I eventually fixes this in the script - but I could have been stronger with my choices here. Picking a side when it comes to genre is something Rad and I really didn’t do until during shooting. I spoke about our first day of shooting in the studio and how nothing seemed to go right. We spent what felt like an hour on lighting and then still didn’t get anything we liked. Rad and I sent everyone home early that night- we weren’t getting anywhere- and we stayed late to watch the dallies from that day. Everything looked like shit. (not actually - but it feels that way when you become hyper critical of it.)
Then the shot of Lane sitting in front of the computer came on the screen. Black - sound of her creeping into the room - then her face - white against the black, lit up from the computer. In the blackness of the Screening room, rad and I felt it, we finally felt our film in that. We went through the rest of our shots that night, trying to make sure they sparked that same feeling, the darkness, the positioning, the TONE. Then we went back in and set up the lighting again in the studio, I stood in the scene acting as the characters while Rad moved lights around saw it through the camera. It was a long night - but worth it.
It was also nice to hear some of the positive feedback from my professors too. It meant so much to hear about the community that Rad and I created on our set. Honestly, during filming it was hard to see that myself, tensions were very high and I didn’t have time to stop and look around. I was really worried that i was making a bad impression with all these freshman into the film department and they would swear me and all the department off because of it. However, hearing from the professors that they saw our crew as working together is so reassuring. Sherman talked about seeing them all being so needed - recounting when he walked in and saw 3 of them paining the set during our first day on Friday. Martha talked about how Rad and I were able to spread our positive energy to them. Even after having my oral I walked into the hallway and my Script Supervisor Cat was there. I hadn't talked to her in so long but was so glad to se her in that moment. I can't wait until the screening in April when everyone will make it.
Overall, it gave me a chance to really reflect on the process, and if nothing than that, I’m thankful.
Also ~ I passed.
February 21st, 2019
See something a little new at the top of the screen? That's right! It's a banner! I made this in photoshop bytaking stills from the short and then blending them into a black screen. I put some process photos here
February 15th, 2019
Post Submission Depression Induces…
After the marathon that was the final night of editing, Rad and I stepped away from the computer for a bit. There are still a few changes that I would like to make ideally- most notably being sound- but we needed to step away from it for a bi. In the meantime I have been focusing on our social media. I have been posting on Instagram since we started our processes but I really wanted to take time to compile all of our behind the scenes photography and grab stills from our film. I then planned out the rest of the posts using an app called “preview” that allows you to see the complete layout of your instagram account before you post the photos. I wanted to create a layout that was engaging while also captured the theme of our film, and so I looked to other film accounts to see how they attempted to accomplish this. I looked at “Eighth Grade”, “Frozen”, “Isle of Dogs”, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”, and “Baby Driver”. These were my observations:
- “Eighth Grade” - Yellow theme- used one font and one color but overall not aesthetically pleasing
- “Frozen” - very blue very cartoon, what you expect really, looks like a childrens craft show.
- “Isle of Dogs” - posts are roughly the same color palet and work well as a layout, some posts are stretched across two or three squares and make the overall layout intriguing
- “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” - a mix of graphics, art, screen grabs, and text posts, all are pastel color and together create a “cutie” aesthetic
- “Baby Driver” - each post is pleasing, but doesn’t come together in one cohesive group
- "A Quiet Place" - Similar to Eighth Grade in that it is over all the same darkened color but has a simple text that is across most posts.
- "Get Out" - Also dark frames with red text...not very pretty looking as a whole but individually each post is well composed.
I chose to look at these accounts because I thought they would give me a good range on the artistic presence in the layout. I also looked at a few short films instagrams- but they never seems invested or had many posts. From all this: I created an aesthetic that is focused on the dark color palet of the film and breaks out the squares with black squares like a checkerboard. I might replace these with quotes from the film or ones that say Rad and I names, but for now these look good. Hopefully this will curate interest for my film before the showing in April. Below are screenshots from the layout I created.
Febuary 7th, 2019
Tonight started with a scare. I went to open the file to work with Teddy on a quick pick up for one of his lines and Premier was missing like 50 clips. Couldn’t locate them anywhere. Freaking out. After some frantic communication with Rad, I restarted the program, and all was restored.
Over the course of the past few hours, Rad and I have been putting the finishing touches on the audio, most notably we were able to take advantage of the Adaptive Noise Reduction effect in Premiere Pro. A lot of our audio in the Flower Shop was obscured by the air conditioner, and while we thought we had taken care of it on set (turning off the air unit, checking sound) we discovered while we were in the lab that this was not the case. The Adaptive Noise Reduction effect did not solve the whole problem though as the effect needed a few seconds to analyze the clip to then minimise the disrupting noise. Looking it up on forms- it seemed that the choice was to expand the clip, apply the effect, export it, and then reimport the clip and cut off the beginning where the clip is being analyzed. LUCKY- I continued to read the forums and the trick was to expand and “render and replace” and then refit the audio clip to the timeline. This saved my life! The audio came out very clear- so clear that we added back in a louder room tone to make it not sound like it was recorded in a studio. The rest of the night was spent working on tending to each audio, putting it between the magic numbers of -24 and -12 and making the credits.
With the final day being less than 4 hrs away, I’m really excited to wrap on this project, but I know that to me it will always feel incomplete. I know there are a million other possibilities with the cut and its so hard to step back and know when enough is enough. Rad has been an incredible editor and while it has been hard to give him ownership over Will, David, and Lane, he’s the only one I would trust with them.
January 28, 2019
It was a really great day for feedback! Rad and I received a lot of constructive and positive feedback for our work last Friday. There was a large mistake with how the preview exported and we has audio and video overplayed on the actual content but it seemed to be a happy mistake as the class saw something of value in that, asking us to explore the non linear editing further.
We got feedback on the editing of the scene where David gets hit by the car and that was helpful- Rad put in weird music after we had talked about it and that wasn’t okay with me - I don’t know why he did that- it has been sorta hard recently to give up so much control over the edit, these are characters I have created and brought into this world and now seeing him cut up, rearrange, and delete them is traumatizing. I still see them so much as my characters and it is hard to give that up. However, Rad is treating them well and it takes a lot of trust to be a team and I have that in him.
This week we are really trying to get the picture to its final form. Our picture lock is February 8th and so we want a week to be able to put finishing touches on, not to change anything dramatically. I think we truly are almost there in places. I am nervous about the editing still, but the music that Ethan Starr, our composer has written for us seems to compliment it nicely too and the pictures we have on screen I think look really good. I hope to work with Rad more closely this week and we get it figured out and hopefully meet with Ethan again toward the end of the week.
January 25, 2019
Hey all, I’m back!!!!
It has been a couple weeks since my last post, and in that time Rad has been working diligently on editing the rough cuts together. While I was unable to attend the first showing of the rough cut this past Friday, I did get a change to watch it on Monday and ended up with a full page of notes after. It was relieving to see this cut, knowing that after all the work that Rad, Lindsey, our crew, and I put into this project, that it was going to amount to something. However, it also posed that there was still so much work to do. It was hard to watch the choices Rad had made with the film so far, having been interested in editing in high school and having opportunities here and there to edit at Kenyon, I found myself falling back into the groove of editing as I played around with the beginning scene. Like riding a bike. I fiddled with the boys playing in the show, trying to splice the picture so that it captures the ball being passed back and forth seamlessly. Rad and I have spent a few nights together in the studio looking at different cuts of things, he would work a bit and then we would switch off. It gave us new perspective on edits and what we liked and what we didn’t.
Rad also gave me the two big comments from class from the week before, one, that it should be Lane’s story and that there should be more reaction shots. This was not too important to me as I was really worried about reshooting and having the time for that, which didn’t seem to spur out of any of the comments.
It was also a relief to hear the audio recored through the shotgun mic, so much clearer and defined then that on the camera(duh).
I also had the chance to go through edit the next two scenes of them in the Christmas shop and of them outside. And I was able to mark the good shots for Rad with color so hopefully it won’t take him as long now to edit. I have heard he’s been in the room editing for 7 hours a day at times. wowza. Overall, I think it looks very good, not anywhere close to done, but I can definitely see a story there and am excited to be in class to hear feedback myself.
December 14th, 2018
Last week of shooting! Everything really does get better with practice, doesn’t it? We had another very busy weekend, getting those outside snow fall shots. It was really nice to have the scenery that I wanted for the story, but it was hard to have my crew and my actors outside for extended periods of time. It brought up the issue of how do you balance the uncomfortable with your vision and the shot you want to get? I was actually able to discuss this with David Nutter yesterday. He sat down with the senior film majors and gave us a chance to eat dinner with him. He talked about how as the director you need to be a cheer leader for your crew and cast, that your energy needs to motivate those around you. It was hard this weekend to keep pushing through at times and I had my crew and cast take breaks to warm up, but this cut into our overall shooting time and make how long everyone had to stay longer. I think looking at the dallies will really show if this effort was worth it.
Speaking of, Rad is still working on getting those together. It’s hard with finals week being right up against such an important deadline for us. I wish that I could compile them, since I don’t want him to rush and I know he has a lot of other work, but I am trying to let him do his work on his time. It’s proven hard so far to not stick my fingers into his work, but it’s really important to me that let him have ownership over this part of it.
This weekends shooting consisted of being cold. On Friday we filmed the first scene between Will and David, with Will getting accepted to Harvard. On Saturday we were able to work with the two child actors in the morning and then with Will and Grace breaking up in the evening. We were able to have breakfast this morning sponsored by Southside Diner! And Sunday we filmed at the flower shop again as well as right outside another flower store window. We had a quick insert shoot yesterday of Beth answering the door for Lane. Check out more photos below.
December 3rd, 2018
Well, a lot was learned this weekend to say the least. Friday went great, we worked with the crew to finish the set, painting and setting props in place under the leadership of our Props and Set Designer Eleanor. The actors were set up with their costumes by our costume designer, Cat Carroll and we did a table read with Grace, Teddy, Will, and Courtney. We then also got a few sound bites of Courtney as Beth trying to open the door to Wills room during the bat scene thanks to Sam, our sound guy. We also had an all crew meeting, where Will, Teddy and Grace read their lines for the film to the cast so that everyone could really visualise the action and the story and we went over a few general pieces of information such as conduct on set and how this is a learning environment, so be ready to learn as well as teach.
I worked with the actors to run through their blocking on the last scene and then we called it a day.
The next day did not go as well.
We started with filming at Lindsey’s house a scene between Beth and Lane. It wasn’t terrible, but looking at the dalies after, Rad and I realized it wasn’t what we actually wanted. So retroactively, we messed up. I wish we could have had some time to do test shooting to avoid this, but with the nature of this project that couldn’t have been possible.
The shooting at night really didn’t go as planned though as we only got one take that we really liked. We spent quite a bit of time with the lighting of the scene only to decide on having it lit minimally and with just a regular lamp an a set light with a bounce board. It was a very steep learning curve. We also had a few issues with the camera battery and such, which made for a long day. The problems really didn’t slow down either, and I let everyone go at 10 since we weren’t getting much of anywhere. Rad and I then stayed back until midnight, going over lighting and camera and shots making sure everything would run without a catch the next day since we knew of the nature of the beast this time. This made for a great time on Sunday.
We started with the flower shop, getting about 5 different angles and leaving earlier than expected. However, looking back at the footage, it will be a continuity error depending on the weather outside, luckly we have another day to shoot the scene next Sunday the 9th.
We then went back and tried out the last scene again and we were late to start it, but it turned out well! I am worried about the space in the room and hopefully we were able to film it like it looks like a room and not like it looks like a studio. There are some shots I am worried about but for the most part it should be fine. Rad is going to work on starting to edit these scenes together so we know which ones we need to redo and which we are okay with for next weekend. Oscar also came to set and got some photos for us!
November 30th, 2018
We start our production today! Lindsey, Rad, Sam, Jack and I stayed up all night creating, perfecting, and printing. Sam and Jack are our double 2nd AD’s(a role they finalized last night) and they certainly earned their role. Lindsey and Rad worked on the call sheets together and I had Sam and Jack help me with all the paperwork from hazardous filming forms to writing email to the location owners we will be using (Sam likes to use an abundant amount of exclamation points in his correspondence).
Earlier this week on Monday I wrote another draft of the script (again, Sorry Rad and Lindsey!!). I infected the scenes with Christmas since everywhere we wanted to film has those decorations in it and it would be strange for our characters to ignore them. Did you know this is the longest time between Thanksgiving and Christmas possible?? So everyone has decorations up early. Well, it turned out to be for the better since the story fixed a few of the plot holes. One of those being the appearance of David. Martha brought up a good point as to what are the rules with David? Why does Will see him when he does? This fixes those by having his death closely related to Christmas and so he appears around that date and that date only. The rewrite also included another scene indoors which is great since it has started to get really cold outside.
We also went with Martha to Lowes and got the floor into the studio!
As for locations, Rad and I went around on Wednesday and found a flower shop for us to film in. The store owner was unbelievably nice and happy to have us come in on Sunday when the store is closed to film. We also found an exterior for Lane’s house (this is where Will and Lane break up now). We are using the front of my Studio Art Professors house which was just totally by chance! Rad and I were knocking on doors and happened to knock on his.
All of the props are getting moved into the set today and we will be working on blocking. It’s finally time.
November 16th, 2018
This past weekend Rad and I worked with Jace to build the skeleton of our set! The Wright Center has a studio inside of it that we are able to use which is honestly amazing. There have been some minor difficulties with using the space because it is so new, but it’s also great because this means that the materials inside of it are still very new and taken care of. We started by getting in touch with our professors and with Chris Elsworth, the man of all knowledge. He was able to come in and show us how to move the walls around, screw them into the ground (with power tools!) and how to flush the walls against each other so there were no seams showing. Rad did an excellent job with this, he’s a natural flusher if you will. Despite a few stripped screws, a minor burn, and having to redo our walls, we were able to make the shape of a room! We then all went to Lowes together to pick out a color to paint the walls. We were between a few grays blue swatches. Rad wants to film with a cool colored tone, so we felt by choosing a color to paint the walls that was a little cooler in color, this would reinforce this pallette. After the intense debate over charcoal gray and slate gray, we chose charcoal and moved on back to the studio. We taped over everything and painted the walls, with the help of my mother who decided to drive up and see the studio. She also brought a few rugs for us to lay down on the floor. We then moved the studio bed into the room, cleaned up our materials and called it a day. We worked from 10am to 5pm, it was a long day but it was completely worth it.
Rad and I then moved furniture into the room on Thursday. Tuesday, he and Blue went around to find and gather it and then we loaded into my car Thursday and off we went. It makes the room look a bit fuller but it should really pull together by the time we get all of the props in the room. We have also been talking to Martha about options for flooring. It sounds like Rad and I will be able to research what like of removable flooring we want and then purchase it through the studio (advantage of a new studio with not a bunch of things in it yet, we get to decide what they are!).
Over these next two weeks are when Rad and I really start making final decisions before production. We start our shooting dates on Friday November, 30th, However, we decided to use that first day to work with the actors and crew in the studio to become familiar and finish the final touches to the set. On monday, I made the schedule for shooting, I anticipate it changing since I will probably change the script once more before we start (sorry Rad) but all of our shooting will take place on the weekends of November 30th and December 7th.
Nov 9th, 2018
It feels like I am coming to an end with edits I have been making to the script...but I know that this is just the very beginning. I have included a quick outline of the script so you are able to have a feel for it.
- Will and David play outside in their front yard. Will is less than superb at throwing the baseball to David who is attempting to hit it with the bat. Will asked David to switch, David refuses, and the boys get into a fight, falling into the road. David sees a truck coming up the road and pushes Will off of him. David is left in the road.
- Ten years later, Will is walking home with his highschool sweetheart, Lane. They joke around with each other, playing a game; Will is troubled by a car passing too close to them. The conversation turns more serious, as Lane worries about their plans to go to Cornell together. “Will we both get in? What if just one of us gets in?”. Will tells her not to worry and they will work through whatever happens.
- Will finds out he got accepted to Cornell and is ecstatic and excited to tell Lane. David encourages him not to go, questioning his decision to leave. David then decided that he could go with Will to Cornell, but Will refuses this also. Will, knowing that David will never let him go, stops fighting back.
- Will tells Lane that he cannot go to Cornell. She pressed him, demanding an answer, and Will lies and says he was rejected. Lane is skeptical and Will, upset by how hard she is making his for him, storms off.
- Lane, still unconvinced by Will’s claim, goes to Wills house. His mother opens the door and invites her in, saying she can wait in the living room for Will to get home. The mother leaves and Lane makes her way to Will’s room to snoop.
- Will catches Lane going through his stuff. David appears and starts to yell at Will about Lane being in the room. Will talks back to David and lane asks who he is talking to. Will says David and points to him, but Lane says she sees no one there. Will starts to become overwhelmed and lane walks over to help him but he pushes her away into the closet. David then starts to come after Will with the bat and Will is beaten. Lane runs to Will, tearing the bat from what was David’s hands but is now his hands. David is gone.
In a way, each character's biggest obstacle is another, making a sort of love triangle of obstacles. David is against Lane, Lane is against Will, and Will is against David. I was also about to talk to Iris about the disability present in the script and after the conversation I decided I would try a draft without it, and I think it is stronger now.
Rad and I have our directors presentation today. We have been working on it all week with finding materials to fill it and finalizing details. Pulling it together has been extremely telling of what parts of our production we still need to flesh out, but it has also been rewarding seeing everything come together! I have included some details (and the rest of our cast!) below that will help flesh out the story.
Costumes and Makeup
We still really need to focus on our locations. I have been relying on Rad to figure out the set building, but now that I feel more secure in the script, I am able to help out with it. We also need to find two house exteriors and to find the bench where we want the break up scene to happen. This feels like the weakest part of our presentation, so once we flesh this out this next week, we should be okay!.
November 1st, 2018
Another two drafts done! I have been looking for fresh eyes for my script this week. I worry that those who have read it since the beginning are able to follow the story more easily and understand it better than those who have not. I was able to use the “Ask A Phi Tau” event to have a few of the brothers come over to read my script with me! They gave me more notes to think about as seen below, but it also reassured me that my story was still able to be communicated!
The issues of representation came up, which reminds me I really need to reach out to Iris. They also suggested having some positive connection between Will and David. Right now the question is why Will stays with David at all? He really seems like a jerk. This makes me think of the Depression Kitty from Big Mouth. The Depression Kitty appears to be very comforting and gives Jessi all the reason to be relaxed, however she then becomes too controlling and don’t wasn’t Jessi to leave her.
The second thing I want to work on is the relationship between Will and Lane. I want to show that they are so in love and wonderful together and instead I made Lane too similar to David. I would like them to mimic a relationship like Harvey and Sabrina have, which is presented in the first 10 minutes of the series Sabrina. Harvey and Sabrina come home from a horror movie and chase each other home, making it a playful tone. Then Harvey stops them and pulls out a ring saying he loves her and happy birthday. It’s truly so cute and makes me care about them so quickly.
I’m going to be working on these this weekend and having more and more people read the script, as that helps quite a bit with determining what I need and don’t need.
October 25th, 2018
First pre production meeting with Kenyons ONLY film production manager, Martha Gregory was today! We talked about set building, the crew, cast, the script, and by the end of it determined that I was in a good place! I am trying to do everything relatively early so that everyone isn’t stressed a week (or day before) the shoot! I need to work this week on getting a schedule together and my broduction binder made. The documents that I need to put in it won’t be too time intensive, but rely on the script, which I am still working on.
From Martha's feedback and my advisor Sherman's feedback, I have started to add more content back into the script. I need more of a reason for why my characters act the way they do. There are several places in the script where I have been working on this:
- The first scene with Will and David is too expositionary. I am giving too much to the audience too fast and not letting them make connections on their own. To fix this, I have added a scene before this one with Lane and Will talking about going to college together to understand their relationship.
- This addition of Lane and Will talking also shows their relationship and how it is something Will wouldn’t want to give up. However, I want her to also be a bit controlling like David to show these characters are overly present in Will’s life.
- Martha and Sherman clash on their feedback in if it should be set in high school or in college. The last script I had them being in college, so I am trying high school in this draft and will get feedback on which is more believable.
- The journal that I gave Will is too revealing and clutters the script. The audience will understand without it, so, the journal is gone!
- If I have them in highschool I have to have Lane question why he doesn't get a job in Utica if he didn't get in.
- David needs to be more persistent on going to Utica with Will, and Will needs to be more in control. While he is being controlled by his guilt, he should still have some say and action in his life.
I have also been thinking about the role that David's disability plays into my script. While no one has brought it up, I am still nervous about how I represent him. I really don’t want to story to be about disability, but I need some device to convince the audience that David just got injured and that explains the first scene. This is further complicated by the idea that David isn’t real and stands up at the end. I talked with Mason about this too, another senior film student, who delt with representation in their script. He worked with transgender representation and how to cast an actor for his piece, untimently choosing a trans actor. he suggested I reach out to Iris, a student who has experience with film and is disabled and ask her options. Hopefully that will give me more clarity.
October 18th, 2018
ALRIGHT. So we have come a long way since that last post! That was a doozy. Class was truly not completely terrible. There was a great deal of feedback for my script, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and nothing that wasn’t meant to be constructive! I was reassured that the feedback was only so large because I have so much packed in here, and it's a lot better than no feedback at all. What all of you were thinking after that last post:
It gave me a lot to think about and a few movies to watch. Over the past two weeks I was able to sit down and watch Black Swan and Fight Club, two movies that have non reliable main characters.
In Black Swan, the viewer is inside the head of the protagonist, Nina as she rehearses and prepares for her role as the black and white swan in Swan Lake
. Nina slowly loses her sanity over the duration of the film but it is not obvious until close to the ending as she is performing on stage. The audience remains inside the head of Nina, making them unaware of how far gone she truly is. Then when she seems to have killed another dancer, Lily, and Lily appears later in the film, we realise that Nina had hallucinated the murder of Lily and it’s all down hill from there. In Fight Club, the main character(who remains unnamed for the majority of the film) meets a man named Tyler on an airplane. The two eventually meet up again and start a fight club which develops into a sort of anti establishment organization. The protagonist tries to stop this, but in the process discovers that he imagined Tyler out of a need to break away from his boring life. Everything that Tyler did, he was doing himself.(It’s rather hard to explain in a few words, you should really just watch the film) While I liked how these movies presented the conflict, I was still struggling with how to do this in such a short amount of time. I only have around 10 minutes to tell a story! This lead me to watching a whole bunch of shorts. In each one there was a common theme of minimal characters, minimal dialogue, and minimal sets. Therefore, I somehow had to mush together a combination of the two, the short film, and the content of the feature. I struggled for a few days, walking around like a zombie, brain dead about everything BUT this film. I eventually was able to meet with Sherman about it all, and after 4 hours of running between his office and the editing studio in the basement of the hill, I ended up with a new 5 page script! Me:
The story has changed significantly. I was able to plan out a few different variations of the story using the chalkboard in the editing room as seen below. I eventually decided on this story:
- Will and David in Will’s room, Will gets accepted to Cornell but David convinces him to stay
- Will and Lane break up with each other since Will tells Lane he didn’t get into Cornell. Lane leaves suspicious
- Lane doesn’t trust Will, either through cheating or lying about not getting accepted
- Lane goes to snoop in Wills room, she finds more than expected
- Will comes back to the room and Lane hides in the closet
- Lane hops out and confronts Will
- Will gets pushed by David to kill Lane
- David disappears and Will is left alone
This limits the settings to two locations, the bench outside where Will and Lane break up, and Wills dorm room. It also cuts down on the time that it takes for Lane to discover Will’s secret and builds the action quicker. I also chose to kill Lane this time instead of just having the mirror fall on her. I want there to be a consequence for David not being real. That’s something that I have tried to keep in mind with the story. There must be a bridge that Will crosses because of David (which is killing Lane) that he can’t undo once he knows David isn’t real, otherwise it’s not important that David is dead. So, Lane dies! Welp!
But since there isn’t much violence in the script, I wanted Will to seem overcome by his guilt (David) to hit Lane repeatedly. Similar to this scene from the Netflix show, Insatiable. Debby Ryan’s character is overwhelmed with her need to be a good person that she kills James Lastovic’s character. You can see the full clip by clicking here
Then, when Will regains composure and see what he has done, David is gone and he is left alone, making it important that David was always dead.
Rad, Lindsey, one of our PAs, Callie, and I casted actors this week too! We have a wonderful cast of Teddy Fisher as Will, Will Sayegh as David, and grace Halpern as Lane. We had them go through some chemistry readings and we loved them.
Now that they are cast, I am going to have an easier time writing and visualising the world in which they exist.
October 5th, 2018
I wrote my third draft this week. Somehow, it got worse. I have a feeling it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better though.
The script is still long, 16 pages instead of 18 though. I feel like I know my characters better than ever now, yet I can't get them to act how I want them to in such a short time. How you do make two people fall in love and then not in 7 minutes??? It feels impossible! I'm dealing with a boy who can't make up his mind and a passive girl (which is exactly what I was trying to avoid) and I want to fit a whole movie into a tiny film and it's. not. working. An accurate depiction of how I am feeling could be summed up in Meridas expression in Brave as seen below:
I also just recieved comments from my peers and they are not great. My ability to understand voice and tenses is non-existent as I modulate between passive and active in the whole script. I know what I want, but I don't know how to make it happen. At this moment I just feel rather discouraged. Now is this time when I would look on the bright side of it all and say, "but feedback is how you grow!" "You can never make a pie without a few rotten apples!" (thats not the expression, is it?), but frankly it just stings for awhile.
I think the next step is to just completely start over. Try to fix what I can, but take it and start over. I am not looking forward to reading this out loud.
September 25, 2018
Today, Savage, Conant, and my advisor, Professor Sherman met to discuss the script. While each scene is well written, they aren’t all doing everything they can to move the story forward. Yet, I was unsure what to change or remove from the script and still convey my point and this held me back from doing a rewrite. As a writer, I find it hard to step back from my story and critically analyze it at times. Knowing the ins and outs to the story sometimes prevents me from seeing holes in the narrative or I underestimate the viewers comprehension and add to much clarifying detail. Having this meeting I hoped to gain a better understanding of the clarity of the script.
We discussed the structure of the story and broke it down to the wants and objectives of each character. These being:
- Will wants to be happy
- David wants Will to feel guilty
- Lane wants to be with Will.
- Lane is happiness
- David is a reminder of guilt
This gave my complicated story a clear corse of action. The main conflict in the story, Will’s guilt holding him back from being happy, is internal and challenging to show in a film. However, by making the characters a representation of Will’s internal struggles, the story is able to portray his conflict externally.
Now we have two conflicts in the film. Wills internal conflict, and the representation of Will’s conflict. The representation of the conflict should be obvious, and the viewer should expect for this to be only conflict of the film. Then, their expectations subverted to understand that this conflict was a representation of the second conflict in Will’s head when they find out David was always a hallucination of Wills. To clarify:
- Will's internal conflict: Will wants to be happy but the guilt of his brothers death prevents this.
- Representation of Will’s conflict: Will wants to be with Lane, but his brother David constantly stops this.
In my next draft of the script, I am going to focus on writing Will’s internal conflict through the whole story using characters as channels to dramatize the issue which will compliment the slow build I want to achieve with tone.
September 18, 2018
This past week I have been focusing on clarifying a tone to my film. As of now, the film is somewhere between thriller and suspense, but not quite either of those. I don’t want the film to be scary, rather I want it to be creepy and uneasy but not be clear why until the end. When explaining this, I think of a short story:
A man, tired and cold, wanders into a cabin in the woods for a night. The interior is dark and he strikes his lighter to get a better look around. He sees pictures of mutated humans, some with a whole face of 30 eyes, another with 4 heads and so on, completely surrounding the room. Thoroughly disgusted, he finds the bed and turns off his light, going to sleep.
The next morning, there are no pictures, only windows.
The story doesn’t quite make sense until the end. It makes me feel a jump in my stomach, similar to when you go over a large hill on a country road, it drops a bit. It is uncomfortable, but not terrifying. Which is how I want my film to read.
Knowing this, I have looked to films that create that same feeling. I have been thinking of The Sixth Sense, which has a very similar idea of seeing those who are dead BUT is completely different in the fact that Cole isn’t crazy and actually sees dead people, as my protagonist Will, is hallucinating the whole time. That aside, The Sixth Sense leaves viewers with the uneasy feeling, learning that Bruce Willis character, Malcolm Crowe is a ghost the whole movie. It subverts expectations and gives the movie a deeper layer.
September 13th, 2018
Over the course of the next few months, I will be working on writing and directing the short film, Love Death and Change Now known as HE'S HERE. Love Death and Change HE'S HERE
- is about the relationships that can be formed and broken through our lives.
- follows a young man as he struggles to define his reality.
- touches on the hazy line between reality and imaginary
- questions the relationship between perceived reality and idk
follows a college senior as he struggles to move on from a traumatic past while maintaining his relationship with his brother who constantly reminds him of the former. It centers around Will, a college age student who is torn between his loyalty to his brother, David, and exploring a new romantic relationship with another student, Lane. Will feels a strong connection to David as they have grown up together and have rarely been separated in Will's reality. In actuality, David has been dead for several years after being hit by a truck when the boys were playing outside. Will has developed schizophrenia from the traumatic nature of this accident and while he still sees David, those around him tiptoe around the sensitive topic, often giving him a sympathetic look, but never confronting him about the issue, while also not understanding that Will's thoughts are more than that in his own mind. I want to stress the uncertainty of reality and those around us. Not just in the sense of hallucinations and mental illness, but the idea that our friends and family have unseen struggles, barriers, realities that we might not understand or even know about.
While I am still in the process of writing and rewriting the script, I have started to assemble a team for production. My partner in this film is Radclyffe Savage, who will be working on Cinematography and Editing for the film. He will also be blogging during the film process; if you would like to check out his blog here
. My Assistant Director for this project is Lindsey Conant. Since working with her in the past she has been integral in my successes and I am pleased to have her again on this film. Conant and I have been working to organize a team the past few months and pulled together a short meeting with them last Sunday. We will meet again in a few weeks to finalize roles.
Until then, I will be editing and organizing the script. Cutting it down from 18 pages to around 10, which will no doubt, keep me very busy.