Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Weeks Out and So Much to Do!

We are two weeks out from filming and every day, I go down my to-do list and do my best to address as much as physically possible in one day.

Typical issues to address:

1) Travel -- need to book travel for cast and crew
2) Find and lock locations
3) Finalize casting and crew and their agreements. Negotiating deals can take many rounds and when it's an Ultra-Low Budget, I am usually handling the Business Affairs. More work for me -- yay!
4) Product Placement. It's so important to our bottom line to find product placement. For a spot in the film, we get free product to use. Free drinks for cast and crew is a huge savings. And it takes time to lock in these deals.
5) Go Over Schedule. The schedule is a fluid thing. It ebbs and flows and you must keep up on all changes.
7) Changes to Script. It's inevitable that once you are on location that there will be changes to the script. When the script changes, the schedule changes, then you must change...
8) Lodging and food. People need a roof over their heads and food to eat. And it can't be crap. You need to think about it all. It's sort of like planning a wedding. You want people to be comfortable and fed well. Not easy.
9) Budget and financing. Budget and financing. Need I say more?
10) Relaxation, exercise and time to yourself. As soon as you are on location, all of these three things could easily go away. You need to make time for each or you will burn yourself out. And then be no help to anyone. Try to squeeze in normal activities that make you happy throughout the week. See a movie or enjoy a sunset (we took a sunset cruise last night -- both a location scout and relaxation) or sip a glass of wine as you wind down from the day -- whatever it is, do it. You will feel better in the long run.

What's the lesson here? Juggle, juggle, juggle. And be positive. No one's perfect. Do the best you can. Be respectful to yourself and others and it will all work out.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Images from Amelia Island

Making a Film on Amelia Island Finally! Thanks to all!

I have a calm moment on this Saturday morning as I sip my coffee here on Amelia Island so I thought I would do a quick post and profess our gratitude for being here.

After a decade, we are finally on Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island prepping for our film The Diary of Preston Plummer. We pinch ourselves every day when we wake up -- knowing the intense journey that brought us here and the long, but exciting, road ahead of us.

At this time, I feel pretty good and confident that we are on track with securing our resources, cast, crew, locations, and equipment. The support from vendors all across the country has been incredible and the support from the people who will be working on the film, acting in it, and the community in which we have been filming has truly been unbelievable.

And I mean it when I say unbelievable. Sean (the director) and I have been awe-struck by the generosity of others. First, the actors whom we have cast are being paid virtually nothing and yet they are excited and treating the picture as if it were much larger. So thank you Trevor Morgan, Rumer Willis, Robert Loggia, Erin Dilly and Christopher Cousins. We can't wait to work with you.

Second, I need to bless our crew for being willing to come to an island and make practically nothing and live in a beach house and work under the hot Florida sun. We love you and we will owe each and every one of you forever.

Third, the Amelia Island community, especially Fernandina Beach. For a decade, we have known the McCarthy family of Fernandina Beach, and they have had open arms all these years and introduced us selflessly to their community, family and friends. We wouldn't be here without them and we love them. They have allowed us to realize our creative vision of capturing this beautiful island on film.

And this kind of hospitality has been put forth by the other island residents. We are staying in two beautiful homes on and near the beach, thanks to the Coletti family and we have Nadine heading up our casting in Florida and we have locations offered by some really lovely people and the police and fire departments are excited to be extras!! We thank them all. Hugs all around.

Fourth, the vendors. Another unbelievable amount of support is coming from our vendors. Panavision is giving us a 35mm camera package with their primo lenses. Why? Because they love the script and Phil Radin and Suzanne Lezotte are angels. Kodak is supply the film stock and Canon is helping us with lenses and other equipment as we are filming on both 35mm and the Canon 1D Mark IV. On top of this, we have product placement deals allowing us to not have to spend money on drinks, etc.

And last but certainly not least, our family. Both the director and I left our significant others behind at home for the two months we are on the island. It's incredibly hard to be apart and worse to know that we are spending money here, not making it -- yet! The belief they both have in Sean and me keeps us going and we are working so hard to make the best film possible.

As you can see, making a film is not a singular effort. It's due to an awesome amount of support from all corners of your life. Sure, filmmaking is a business but it's also a community effort of giving and the people you meet along the way touch your life and show you a positive side of the world that reinvigorates your soul and belief in others. Really, all I want to say is Thanks. I'm truly grateful and if I missed anyone, well, thank you.