Friday, July 31, 2009

I Heart UTA

Well, this past week was huge. Today was hard, but the week was great. UTA really came through, I don't mean the big Beverly Hills talent agency... I mean the University of Texas at Arlington. My Alma Mater.

Everything was centered around getting a college campus. At first I didn't consider UTA because when I went there (now a very long time ago)... I wasn't sure it would be the right campus. My have they built it up since my days. The campus will be absolutely perfect.

And the campus is really working with us and I just can't say enough nice things about UTA. We start shooting now in 10 days. Early next week we'll do a camera test on campus.

And I'm real glad this day came to an end. Had a major crisis that I hope has been solved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For the Love of Art

If it isn't africa hot, it's raining buckets. Really interesting weather, but at least it dropped fifteen degrees. Week two of prep has started and today marks exactly two weeks left on the countdown timer to first day of shooting.

Art department has started, and two weeks is unusually short for art department. But for this script, I wrote it in such a way to have minimal art. For the layman, art department is run by the Production Designer (PD). Underneath her is the Art Director. Then you have a bunch of different positions... Prop Master, Set Dresser, Buyer, etc. But on indie films, this might all be combined.

What is the art department responsible for? All sets. If you don't have a set, they build it. If you have a set, they'll dress it up. All signage in your script. All props. All picture vehicles (picture vehicle is the term to denote a car that is seen on camera... for instance, "Garrett" drives a hot sports car. The sports car is a "picture vehicle"). Anything the actor holds that is not wardrobe is part of art department.

The PD and her team will take the script and "spot it." That means going through and listing every single prop, sign, picture vehicle, etc. If a scene calls for a sofa for the actor to sit on, it's their responsibility to have it on set, ready to go. So now they comb through the city looking for what they need. They look for deals on signage creation. They buy and collect.

Once the movie begins, the PD usually works a day or a few days ahead of the main unit, prepping out the next locations. One or two art department people are left with the main company on shoot days. You have the prop person and maybe a PA that's assisting as dresser. That way if anything needs changing, repairing or moved, you have someone ready to go.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Inside Judging

Here's a post for the Believer reading this blog. For the non-believers, take a Sunday off, and I'll talk film stuff tomorrow.

My study in I Corinthians continues. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 are very interesting. Five deals with some immoral behavior that the Corinthian Church was kind of proud of. So there was this guy, a "brother" in the church who was sleeping with his father's wife (mom?). I imagine the Corinthians make it a side show. "Hey lookie here, can you believe this guy?"

Paul kicked their behinds on this. He said to deliver the man to Satan. THEN, he goes on to say that a little leaven leavens the whole dough, and lists sexually immoral, greedy, drunkards, etc... that they need to be kicked out of the church... "Don't even eat with such a person."

Is this in play today? I have rarely seen someone get kicked out of church (although I know a church who fired a staff member... but that's a long story). What if they're not on staff? What if Joe Congregational member is a drunkard... he gets kicked out? Where's the grace and "Christian-like" attitude?

I believe (and very strongly) that a person who gets drunk, is not necessarily a drunkard. A person who tells a lie, isn't a liar. But when that person tells so many lies that it affects his purpose, his mission, those around him... then he is a Lair. So when Paul writes about the Sexually Immoral, it's a person who is habitual, a predator, given over to this behavior. Others might take the position that if you kick out a liar, drunkard, greedy... then no one would be left. I believe Paul wasn't talking about a single instance, but a lifestyle behavior.

So then, Paul says you've got to judge those inside the church... those confessing to be "brothers." Don't judge those outside the church. If a non-Believer wants to be a drunkard, so? I believe in the 100% inerrancy of the Scriptures... it is the law as far as I'm concerned. If someone doesn't subscribe to the same set of principles, then how can I judge them by it?

Conversely, if someone says he does subscribe to the Scriptures, then consistently violates them by a lifestyle mentioned by Paul, for their own, best good, I need to kick them out. Call it tough love... call it refusing to enable. And even more importantly-- call it protecting the true Believers. A little leaven...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Everything's Down the Toilet

Thank goodness for compression nuts. In the evenings this past week and today, my wife and I have been redoing the master bath. And boy did the toilet give me trouble. First, I pull the old one out and set it on the curb. One of the screws coming from the foundation had rotted away.

So after some research and trips to Lowes, I found a flange repair piece, which saved me drilling up concrete. So I bought the stuff and the new toilet. In the meantime, we worked on painting the walls.

BTW, don't believe them when they say you can use that texture paint to go right over the wallpaper. After killing half a gallon of the expensive stuff, we were yanking it off and putting an oil based primer over everything. Smelled lovely. Then we textured and textured and textured. Four or five coats.

Today it was time to put the toilet back in. So all this afternoon and into the night, I worked on it. The initial going wasn't so bad. I got it seated and screwed down. Then I stretched the old copper water hose to connect it to the bowl and it busted. The faucet in the wall looked scary.

I also take a call or two to talk casting with the producer and Jeff Rodgers.

Out near the mailbox, I opened the water connection and saw nothing but dirt (and bugs). Twenty minutes later, with the temperature rapidly falling from 103 to 101, I had dug out enough to find the water meter. Another ten minutes and I found the little brass knob to turn the house water off.

So then I worked on getting the faucet thingie off. But no go. Now it's getting late. The sun is setting. I run to Lowes for what I was hoping was copper eating acid, or a nuclear bomb... I didn't care. Just wanted that fixture off. The worker told me a pipe wrench would work best. So twenty bucks later, I'm back at home and with a lot of effort, the thing turned. And turned. And came off. It was smooth. The darn thing had been soldered on when they built the house. No screw on.

Now I'm in a panic. I cannot turn on the house water until this problem is fixed and it's 9pm on a Saturday. I run back up to Lowes and the other worker takes a look at the faucet thingie and grabs another one from a bin as I mumble about needing JB Weld or something.

"Compression nut," he tells me. "Just put this on the copper pipe sticking out and tighen. You're done." I ask him why in the world they didn't just use a screw on valve when they built the house. He said plumbers like future work. Think you've got to call them to fix this kind of problem. I thank him and leave.

By 9:45, everything's connected, the waters back on, no leaks and I think I'm ready for the sack.

Whew. I'm glad making movies is easier than this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Worth the Wait

Yesterday was a day of waiting. Waiting to hear about the main Location. Waiting to hear about a certain actor (actually two) that I'm hoping to get. Waiting on some other things.

This morning we got unofficial notice that we're a go on the main location. We're going to move forward now with all the dominoes that follow that. Then later next week we'll have a big meeting with the location to go over all logistics.

Today, after the unofficial word, we started nailing down housing. In the afternoon, watched a bunch of audition tapes and we're compressing the ones we like and uploading for the producers. Auditions continue over the weekend.

Got the phone call from the actor I wanted-- he's a "no." He's got a conflict. What's meant to be is meant to be.

Some out of state (and in one case out of country) crew people arrive this weekend, so we're taking care of their local arrangements.

End of first week. Good week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Talent Caliber

This is my fifth feature film. I've had movies with Adam Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Sean Patrick Flannery, Joey Lauren Adams, Lou Diamond Phillips, Tom Wright, Yancy Butler and others. Without a doubt, on the whole, this is the most talent rich cast. Sure Lou and Mimi and all were incredible-- but instead of just the top being incredible, the word "great" can easily extend way down the roster on this cast.

As a director, I look forward to an actor and a scene or two. "I can't wait to see how they play this," I say to myself. Well, on this movie, I'm thinking that question quite a bit.

It also puts pressure on our local casting. I am an impatient type. But it's great to take the time to find "great" and not just "good enough." So with this caliber of talent, the production team finds a bar that's being raised. And I think that's a "great" thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Video Contest

Hey everyone,
The movie "Rising Stars" is about high schoolers competing in video and music. One of the characters makes a video for the competition (theme is “Life is Beautiful”). I was going to go shoot one (maybe 45 seconds), but thought I’d open it up if anyone’s interested. We do not have anything budgeted, but if you submit a video and it’s picked, we will credit you in the film.

Let me know if you’re interested. Parameters:
45-ish seconds long. Wide screen, but doesn’t *have* to be HD, but prefer it. All footage in it needs to be cleared. All sound needs to be cleared. And people in it would need to be cleared. If selected, an agreement will be drawn up in which you get credited and you provide any clearances.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prep - Day 2

I am sooo glad Stewart is on the clock. I've been able to delegate a bunch of stuff off to him and just in time to take on a bunch of other stuff. We did local call-back auditions today. We juggled music cues back and forth. Arranged more travel for the cast and out of town crew. Talked in depth with a couple of department heads. And continued dealing with a couple of other fires.

On the horizon? The biggest is Location. We've got crew arriving as early as this weekend. I need to know where to put them. To know that, I need to know where we will be shooting. The DFW area is quite large.

Casting. We've got all the principle roles filled. Now it's all the day payer parts. On board is an incredibly talented cast, so we want to continue that. I think Jeff and I are taking more time than we ever have to look at even the smallest of roles. Good Enough is the enemy of Great and we're fighting that battle.

Script re-write. With the principle cast now in place, some little things need tweaking. Pink will be forthcoming pretty soon.

And maybe I'll have time to throw in a photo now and then in this blog like I used to back in the good ol days (last week).

Secret Agent Man

So today was the real first day of pre-production (all those people who mis-read yesterday's post-- we have *not* started shooting). We're off and running. Had a big crises that I dealt with most of the day. Spent much time on the phone. Keeping chargers everywhere now.

Here's one thing I dealt with toward the end of the day-- an Agent. I believe that Agents are a good thing. You've got a Talent and the Producer is going to try and take advantage of Talent. For all those who think Man is basically good inside-- it's not true. Man is a lion, prowling for food. So Talent needs a lion of their own to match up with the producer lion. I get it.

But here's where I don't get it. When Talent has an Issue with Director and calls Agent to "be the bad guy." Now one might argue-- "but you want to keep the relationship Talent/Director clean and good." Well, when I've got an agent calling because we didn't put enough green M&M's in the bowl in their trailer (see "Simone"), believe me, I know who's really looking at me through the smiling teeth of the Talent.

If Talent's got a problem, talk to Director and clear the air and work on a solution. If Talent uses someone else to do their dirty business, communication is compromised.

Again, I'm not talking about contract issues.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Day of Shooting

It was a tough day of shooting. Our location was an auditorium. PLUS, it was also the first day of official pre-production. So we had to go with my prelim schedule for Day 1. Stewart, back in the office was going to have to work really hard to get us back on track. What a nightmare.

Actually it was. So the dreams continue. That was last night's nocturnal matinee.

In the real world, pre-production officially begins in the morning. For the next three weeks, we're going to prep this show for shooting. They say the movie's made in pre-production and I agree. I feel under the gun, but feel confident we can get it done.

Big on the list this week-- Location! Then we've got to hurry and get some housing lined up. Some out of towners arrive later this week. Also, casting continues on the few day player parts still left open. Music is in high gear. And we start crewing it up.

Lots start happening with the starting gun shoots in the morning!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Soothing the Savage Beasts

Music. For this film "Rising Stars," as with "The Imposter," music is extremely important. Part of RS is about musical acts competing against each other. We will see them performing. So unlike most movies, some music has to be set before we shoot particular scenes.

So back in June we brought the Composer on board (or in our case, two composers). Jason Germaine and Ben Reynolds have been creating songs and starting to record them. For most movies, this happens long after wrap, and even after the edit is locked.

So today I spent time listening to music. I really like the direction Jason and Ben are going. I can't wait to hear more. The soundtrack will be awesome, especially with the actors we've got cast in the roles.

By the time we're on set, we'll need to do playback of the songs and have the actors sing along. So they'll need to have heard them. With three and a half weeks away from shooting, there's not a whole lot of time.

Playing Dominoes

There is much to be done as we enter pre-production (which technically officially starts next Monday, but in reality has been going on for a few weeks). However, there are many dominoes waiting for one to fall.

Waiting to fall are dominoes like housing for cast and crew, transportation, minor locations, anything set design, choreography, and so on. The domino in the way? Our main location.

To be able to shoot a feature film in 18 days (three 6 day weeks), you must be able to shoot quickly. I wrote this script so that we could park at one place for 80 to 90%. This puts hours back onto the set where we can be shooting rather than pulling stuff out of trucks or packing it all back in.

So in our case, this is a college campus. I've been visiting campuses, taking pictures, talking to administration. I'm hopeful in the next few days we can get an answer on one particular campus. Once that's done, I can scour the area around for a few smaller locations, and also look for housing and try to work some deals.

So come on domino, fall baby, fall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And our male lead is...

Playing the role of 17 year old Chance McCoy will be Kyle Riabko. We are very, very excited that Kyle is coming on board. An accomplished singer/musician/writer, he will bring an incredible depth to the role.

Here's his bio from his website:
n a short ten years Kyle Riabko has transformed from a precocious singer/guitar prodigy to the lead actor in the Broadway musical, Spring Awakening.

Kyle Riabko started his performing career at the tender age of ten. The young singer/guitarist started touring his native Canada during his summer holidays with musicians more than twice his age. At 15 years old he signed his first record deal with Aware/Columbia and his debut single “What Did I Get Myself Into” went top ten at AAA radio in the U.S. Kyle spent the next three years performing in Japan, the U.S., Canada and Australia opening for the likes of John Mayer, Keb Mo, Buddy Guy, and Maroon 5. Along the way, he’s dedicated his time and talent to various charities including Telemiracle and Song for Africa.

Kyle’s love for acting also started at a young age. He directed and acted in two of his own indie films at the age of 14 and went on to play the lead in numerous high school plays. He’s currently a principal actor in the upcoming season of Instant Star, the teen drama from the makers of Degrassi: The Next Generation. But his most astonishing feat to date is winning the part of Melchior, the thoughtful student heartthrob of Spring Awakening, the eight-time Tony-award winning musical. Riabko’s current residence is in New York and spends his free time songwriting, producing and recording. His music has been recorded by a variety of artists and he has placements in both TV and film.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So yesterday, I posted that during this phase of moviemaking, I'm usually wracked by dreams. Well last night was no different. At 330-ish, I woke up. I was sitting in bed answering some question by my wife-- my PDA in my hand as a flashlight on the sheets. I didn't know what was going on, so I put the PDA away and quickly dozed back off.

In the morning she told me I woke her-- I was going through the sheets with the PDA flashlight looking for "bugs." Not sure if they were the crawly kind, or maybe spy stuff... that would certainly make for better dreaming. Anyway, at least I wasn't sleep walking. This time.

So today, I worked hard on finding our campus location for Rising Stars. I can't wait on one place-- I have to go to them all and start the process. Campuses have administration, which means committees and long decision making processes. So we will see.

In addition, my DP and co-offices mate Ron Gonzalez had set up one office as a small green screen room. I took advantage of it to shoot a little standup for an exclusive Facebook video-- the Carry On Wayward Son music video. What we have found is that churches are getting the movie for their church usually based on the recommendation of a person in the congregation. So I'm thankful for all those who are doing that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's All Downhill, Where's The Brakes?

I remember on my third movie, Striking Range, we were a few days out from principle photography and I remembered Scorpion Hill as a kid. It was a hill in our subdivision with a road and cul de sac, but had not had any houses yet built. We took a powerless go cart to the top and rode the thing to glory down the hill. About half way down, I realized we had a serious design flaw-- no brake.

THat's what it felt like a few days before shoot. Why? Because we were cutting more corners than I had on the first two and I just knew some things were falling through the cracks. And they were. But that's okay.

So what do I feel now, four weeks out from principle photography on Rising Stars? The dreams have picked up-- just like they always do at this point. Dreams of being on the set. Some just work-type dreams, maybe a few nightmares here and there.

Usually we have an official prep that is five or six weeks. So I'm feeling uneasy about that. Spent some time on the phone today with Stewart Young, the Line Producer. I asked him point blank, are we okay with an official three week prep? He said he thinks so. Because of all the work I'm doing. Scary.

So what work am I doing? Well, we've been casting and have a significant chunk of that done. And that's a big part of prep. Thanks to Cindi Rush, Michelle, Andrew, Bill, Robert, Jeff Rodgers, Tracie Morgan... we've taken a big bite out of this.

Next is locations. I wrote the script to be mostly shot on a college campus. Today I got word that the one I wanted is a "no." Wasn't meant to be. So now I'm chasing the others we had been looking at. This is the biggest piece of the puzzle right now. I can't do housing and some other things until we know where we're going to be.

So that's the story from the director's chair on this, four weeks out and counting.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Back in January or February (you can check the archives), we talked about one acronym for writers-- OTN, which stands for "On the Nose" which is the driving element for cheesy writing.

Another important acronym is DTM-- "Do The Math." In filmmaking, this translates to letting your audience draw conclusions. In Christian filmmaking, this is very difficult to do-- what if the audience draws the wrong conclusion? Can't have that. So let's just tell them the conclusion. I think it happens in a lot of pulpits too.

I can tell you "7" and you walk away, maybe remembering "7." But if I tell you 3 + 4, then your brain starts churning and you think "7." You know "7." The danger here is what if you walk away thinking and knowing "8." As a Christian story teller, I'll take the risk. I think it's far better for my audience to keep their brains-- not check them in at the brain-check in the foyer (check out the "Believe is an Act music video).

So I encourage you filmmakers and writers-- let your audience do the math. Your movie and its message will have much more impact.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Cast

Here are some more cast members for "Rising Stars." "Chance" is our male lead. He comes from a poor background and is a phenomenal singer/guitar player. We are out to someone on this and hope to hear Monday. It does amaze me how most actors seem to have three names. Two just don't quite do the job. :)

Playing his best friend "Petey" is Jason Edward Cook. Petey is part of Chance's band and Jason will fit right in with a high tenor voice and excellent musical skills. Plus he's funny, which is good since Petey is the comedic relief.

The bully of the teen group, "Garrett" will be played by Graham Patrick Martin. Graham is a familiar face to some. He's a series regular on the Bill Engvall Show. I had never seen it before, but one night in June on vacation, my wife and I stumbled on it. The next day, the producer called to tell me about Graham and if I had ever seen the show. Timing's everything.

Our resident animation expert in the movie is "Kevin" and will be played by Pierce Cravens. I'm guessing Pierce just didn't need that third name. Pierce did a great job in the auditions and it will be fun to see what he does with the character.

We searched high and low for "Eigsh" (pronounced "Ash"). She is to be the rapper to JR's crooning, to make up the second half of that duo. It's a very challenging role and we're very fortunate to have Jupiter Rising's Jesse Payo now in the role. What a talent!

More updates as they come.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cast Shaping Up

We have some very good actors coming aboard "Rising Stars." It was a tough audition (and maybe a few that auditioned and know about this blog can comment). Some of the roles required singing, dancing and playing guitar or piano. We saw around 150 people. There were some very, very talented people we saw that for one reason or the other, we just couldn't cast. These go into my mind vault of people to look for roles later.

The female lead of the movie is a young girl who is manipulated by her OCD mom. "Natalie" is dark and conflicted, and is led to think it was her fault her dad left them. Lauren Ashley Carter has accepted the role and we welcome her to the team. I'm real excited to see what she does with the role.

Playing the role of a young singer, half of a singing/rap duo is Leon Thomas III. He plays as "JR". Movie goers might recognize him from August Rush. My kids immediately recognized him from one episode of "ICarly." Go figure. Wait till you hear his voice.

One of the story's competitors, is a young Brittany Spears type. Just in time, we got Natalie Hall to join the cast in the role of "Brenna." Natalie has also just been cast in a Drew Barrymore movie and we were afraid we might lose her. I'm glad she's going to be a part of this movie. She's got everything-- acting, voice, dancing and the elusive "it."

I'll mention some more tomorrow or the next day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Enter Barry Corbin

We are excited to announce Barry Corbin will be joining the cast of "Rising Stars" in the role of "Farmer." Mr. Corbin has had a wonderful career and many know him from such movies as "War Games" and more recently "No Country for Old Men." In television, Corbin was a series regular on "Northern Exposure," "The Closer," and "One Tree Hill."

Farmer is a mysterious figure in the movie "Rising Stars." He seems to be at the right place and have the right thing to say, playing the archtype wise sage.

Rising Stars shoots in August in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shooting My Mouth Off

I get asked a lot when I travel about guns because, you know, I'm from the great state of Texas. So yes, some of my movies have used guns. We had small ones (.38 special in the hands of a detective in A Promise Kept) and we've had big ones (an M82 Barrett 50 caliber sniper rifle on top of a parking garage next to the state capital-- the reverberations from firing a blank lasted for 17 seconds).

We had fast guns-- fully automatic, class III weapons, like the Mac 11, and several M4/AR15 types. All sorts of AK's. And something our weapons master Doug Williams called the "Widomaker." Scarlett McAlister, in Striking Range is sporting that one.

So sit back and enjoy a short little video of the weapons used in Striking Range with Lou Diamond Phillips, Yancy Butler, Glenn Moreshower, and Scarlett. Just remember, the working title was "bloodlines" and later changed to Striking Range.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where We're At With The Imposter

As focus has been turning towards Rising Stars production, I work on something Imposter related everyday to get the movie out. While in NYC, I thought about a slight change to the distribution strategy after meeting with a tv person.

The traditional secular indie movie route is theatrical (lottery odds), followed by a video window, followed by a tv window. Because of our non-traditional distribution, I am working Imposter to get into churches for our "theatrical". I'm going to hold back video (DVD) until early 2010, and pursue the tv offers we're getting for Imposter.

So I hope to have a television premiere maybe late fall, early winter, and hit some talk shows and get the buzz continuing. Also, we've gotten GREAT feedback on the soundtrack and the Gracenotes are updated, so when you import into your ITunes library, all the info will be there.

And I hope I see some of you local Dallas-Ft Worth folks at the Borders on Saturday in Colleyville. They've asked me to speak, and I'm leaning towards a talk about acting from a director's perspective. It's from 2 to 4pm.

It will be great to get the exposure and get more people knowing and hearing about the movie. We had a steady increase of churches ordering the movie for their congregation, and hopefully we can kick that up. I believe with tv, we can also see an increase in churches ordering the movie. They can use it for outreach, fundraising, or to just minister to their congregation.

This was me right before going to NYC, when we were on "vacation" in Colorado. One of many calls I took concerning all the movies. While everyone else was sweating in the record high Texas temps, it was sleeting and we pulled the boat over so my daughter could get some pictures of a couple wayward Canadian geese.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Why is it hard to say "Jesus?" I'm not talking when you hit your hand with a hammer. I'm talking about a mature conversation, discussing what's important in your life.

I have friends who are Christians, and they usually say "Christ." I find that interesting. To actually say "I follow Jesus" seems to be harder to say than "I follow Christ."

Seems easier to say "Buddha". Or "Mohamed." Or "Christ." But to say Jesus, is to make people cringe. I can't think of any other name throughout history that has this effect on people. That certainly says something about Jesus.

Say "Jesus" and people think you're a nut? Say "Christ" and it makes it more okay? I'm just saying, it's interesting.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thanks for the Memory

Continuing on the acting from a director's POV, I am amazed as we start to do local auditions (Dallas/Ft. Worth) how much the NYC actors came in prepared. Almost all the NYC ators came in with their sides memorized. They may have still held the paper, but they had them memorized.

Here locally, so far, only one or two have memorized the sides-- and the roles are much smaller, so much less to memorize.

I can definitely see the advantage of knowing your lines. It frees your mind to concentrate on other decisions. I'm not sure why someone would not memorize if they've been given the sides a few days in advance. In fact, one guy who came in to read in NYC was pretty good, but clearly wrong for the role he read. We gave him sides to read for another part and sent him out. Ten minutes later he came back in with them memorized. That was impressive.

Anyway, just an interesting observation.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Topics for Discussion

So what would you like to hear about? I occasionally get invited to speak and will be at Borders in Colleyville this next Saturday, from 2-4pm. When I get the invite, I ask the inviter what they would like to cover. Sometimes they ask for a list to choose from like this:
* How to Raise Money for a Movie
* What Actors Need to Know from a Director's POV
* How to Get a Movie Greenlit
* How to Write a Script
* How Does a Christian Work in the Heathen Hollywood Environment
* What's the Difference Between a "Christian" movie and a "Secular" movie
* What's Lou Diamond Phillips like?

And many others. If you are coming Saturday and want to make a recommendation, drop me a line, either here in comments, or on the Facebook mirror of this blog, or in an email to me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's All About Location(s)

Ray Crock of McDonald's fame was once heard saying that the three keys to the restaurant's success were location, location, and location. As we start to pass the hump on casting, a low budget indie film director's next big task is finding the right locations.

In big studio films, there are huge budgets for art department-- to dress up a studio exactly the way you envision it. Need an apartment? Fine, build one on the soundstage. Need a restaurant? Use the one on the backlot. This makes the shooting much easier. Sets are built for cameras to move around. Dressing rooms are a short walk away.

But the low budget filmmaker often doesn't have this option. So it's up to the director and his locations team to find high production value locations that help make the movie look like a lot more money was spent.

My DP is pitching in on locations to help because he's best friends with half of Fort Worth. For Rising Stars, I wrote it so that 90% can take place in one company location-- a college campus. A company location can contain many script locations, but means the company can park and not have to move. Like a studio or a backlot.

So we visited TCU yesterday. Now we're going to try contacting SMU. And I have my alma mater UTA. Fortunately, there's a lot of colleges and universities in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.