Saturday, April 28, 2007

A mouthful of desert.

Some more desert photos, courtesy of Jen...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Viva second unit.

John, Jen, Stacey, and I are in Vegas at the moment, working on some "second unit" shooting for Interplanetary (among other things).

Here are a couple of behind-the-scenes shots Jen took. I'll post more later...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You know. For kids.

Somer Miller, my sister and a second grade schoolteacher, was teaching her students about outer space. During a discussion about Mars, she mentioned that her brother was making a movie set on the red planet. The kids immediately wanted to know all about filmmaking, so she asked me to stop by for a question and answer session.

I took some time off from the day job and visited her class on Friday. I started off showing a relatively kid-friendly clip from Hide and Creep. The students immediately got on my good side when they laughed at the right places. I then showed them some Interplanetary props (the kids took turns trying on a space helmet), filmmaking equipment (director's viewfinder, boom pole, Bolex camera), and behind-the-scenes photos.

What was planned as a 30 minute discussion turned into an hour and a half. I heard about some of the creative writing projects they'd been working on for Somer (sounds like these kids are quite creative). One student suggested we make a zombie movie, with the students as the zombies and Somer as the heroine-in-peril -- that would actually be pretty hilarious, though I'm not sure the students' parents would appreciate it. We also discussed current cinema -- Meet the Robinsons was recommended to me, and we all agreed that The Incredibles is awesome.

I was really happy to see that these youngsters are excited about films and filmmaking. There's a lot of talk about new media killing off traditional feature films, but, if Somer's students are any indication, I think there's still a future for the cineplex and DVDs.

Here's Somer, taking her turn in the Interplanetary space helmet. To prove her geek cred, she's also throwing a Mr. Spock "live long and prosper" salute.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Norton and me.

Someone pointed out in the comments that the photos of Norton Dill and me from Birmingham Magazine (see previous post for details) are viewable online at Beau's Web site.

(Thanks to Marty for the heads-up.)

The other side of the camera.

Carla Jean Whitley, a reporter for Birmingham Magazine, called me up about doing an interview a few weeks ago. She was working on a story about the filmmaking scene here in Birmingham, Alabama. Never one to turn down press, I met her a couple of days later, and we had a nice talk about the scene (or my impressions of it, at least). Carla also asked me if I'd be willing to have a photo taken for the interview. I'm much more at home behind the camera than in front of it, but I understood that the filmmaking story was being written for a glossy magazine, not a textbook.

So when I went to Beau Gustafson's photography studio, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd only been photographed once for a magazine (Chuck and I were in Portico), and that time the shooter stopped by my condo, snapped three shots, and was out the door. Beau shot several pics, then asked if I'd like to sit down at the computer and review them with him.

I was really surprised he was interested in my opinion. I mean, who is a worse judge of a photo than the subject, right? I told Beau as much, but I had to admit that the shots he chose were pretty great. Well, as great as a photo of me could be.

The magazine hit the stands (locally, at least) a week or so ago. When I finally saw the article, I was surprised with how much coverage Interplanetary received. Aside from the huge shot of me, the magazine used several Interplanetary behind-the-scenes shots that George Smyly was nice enough to share with them.

Which brings up a couple of good points. If you're making a movie, get somebody to document the process with some high quality (35mm or digital SLR) photographs. And be sure you have a selection of the high-res (300 dpi) photos ready to email. Then, if a publication asks you for photos for a story, you can deliver them via the 'net in a matter of minutes. I think if you can make the newspaper or magazine (or Web site) editor's job easier, said editor is more likely to get the word out about your project.


Since shooting Interplanetary is a part-time job, I've started taking advantage of time away from the set to get a jump on editing. Editing while the movie is still in production means less work to do when production is finally wrapped. It also means I'll hopefully be able to find any problems with the footage while it's still relatively easy to do re-shoots (as opposed to finding a problem after the sets have been torn down and all the actors have new hair-dos).

So far, I have about six minutes of edited footage. Assuming a 90-minute final runtime, that means almost seven percent of the movie is already cut! Well, roughly cut, at least.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Best day yet?

We had a great day of shooting on Saturday. I've mentioned that the shoot's been going pretty slow for the most part. Well, on Saturday, we ripped through six or so pages, about twice as many as usual. That is assuming, of course, that there were no major camera problems or anything. I'll find out for sure in a few days, when we get the footage back from CineFilm.

Saturday also marked the temporary end of our shooting in "Master Control," the set we've been using exclusively for the last several working days. When we return to the Master Control set, it'll be to shoot scenes with our Monster (yay!).

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Comment away.

I just realized that I had the comments on this blog set to allow registered users only. Actually, I knew that -- I just realized that I had control over said setting. Yes, I'm a bush-league blogger.

Anyway, now you should be able to leave a comment about a post whether or not you have a Google Blogger account. So, by all means, comment away.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


One of the things I regret about Hide and Creep is that we never made a poster. I mean, I designed a couple of posters, but we didn't have a bunch of big Hollywood poster-size (usually 27" x 40" these days) prints made.

Thankfully, we won't be making the same mistake on Interplanetary. John talked to friend and local artist Katie McClung about making us some old-school silkscreen posters. She only required a few reference photos.

Enter actress Mia, who agreed to strike some pulp-influenced poses for the digital SLR...

And, yes, Interplanetary does feature big guns, space helmets, and girls in their underwear. Though not necessarily in that order.