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Friday, October 21, 2011

Life has a way...

MOOD: Hopeful

So, ready for post production and BOOM! We lose our CGI guy. Damn CGI. Well as we search for another artist...Wall Street becomes occupied. I'm watching this on the news and realize that what is being reported can not possibly be what is happening. So since I can't finish my movie yet. I started an new one lol. Don't know what we are doing yet but here are some clips

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Building and audience for and unfinished movie is a leap of out below

Mood: Open

So the Kickstarter campaign lead to this
If you can please donate to the film. It would be so helpful for us to take this great film to audiences. Film festivals are expensive but after making a movie it's unreachable for us. It's hard to explain to myself how we will get people to care about this movie before they see it. Some how we will though. Don't know how or who they will be but they are there.
It takes a village to raise a child and what is a film if not a growing child that you hope will reach it's potential?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Falling short never felt so good.

Mood: inspired 

Over the last thirty days the film "ghost hunted " has been entered in the kickstarter fundraising program. We set a goal of twelve thousand dollars to pay actors and crew and finish post production. We also included enough to enter all the horror festivals we would need to generate an interest from distributors.
As the final hour, then minutes ticked by the realization that we were only six percent funded was eclipsed by the people who actually donated their hard earned money to help our dreams come to reality. Then I realized that they wanted to share in our dreams not just support them.  That was a moment I didn't realize would come from filmmaking. Audience and art makers I got. Audience who become friends I got. Never thought an audience would really help produce a film or fund it's promotion. A realization that we have a core audience of people who cared deeply about our success was worth so much more than the money.

This core can relay why they care about this film. This core can promote because they want to. They are vested. How truly blessed to realize that now. This time round I am launching a private fundraiser on our website that we  control. no time limit. No percentage lost. This time we are going to focus on the festivals. Plot them out on a map, with their entry fees and invite the audiences from those areas to help us win. This is the Cypher way and I didn't even know it.  Well I forgot it.

In the past we would produce live events that funded Cypher projects. Now we are creating projects and asking an audience to help us fund its future. Amazing that people found it in their hearts to do so. 

Thank you all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I don't like it..I love it"

Mood: humbled

So I wake up this morning knowing that I have stalled Melvin too long. I could no longer not let him see "Ghost Hunted". Get to the station ten minutes early but my train didn't come. Then non service trains came.  Then I was on a train lol. 20 Minutes late. But not to worry...the train will move 5 miles an hour
Before I am underground my phone rings and I see the picture of an older black man smoking a cigar.
After I whisper my ETA I start staring at the clock. Now I'm sure he will hate the movie lol.
Long and short...he loves it! This man made me feel so good about what we did. I think he's becoming part of the cypher =)

Just wild. 

Sent from my Windows Phone

Friday, August 5, 2011

Careful what you wish for :)

Mood: Determined

A year of casting, rehearsing, searching for funding, recasting, re-rehearsing. Having assistants not having assistants. Now though I am happy to announce...
I have finished shooting "Ghost Hunted"!!! Needless to say I am clean shaven again :)

Now ...I have to turn 2 hours of roughly cut footage back into the 90 minute movie that the 88 page script was supposed to be lol. It's not that we added a lot of scenes. In fact for every line I added I probably cut a scene. It's just that the film is longer to look at than to read. I've been at it for about two weeks now (not including the 3 months of shooting/editing). Tonight the rough is about 1 hour and 38 minutes. Again, not an easy feat.

It hasn't been all work. When I'm not glued to a computer screen I'm on my roof enjoying what's left of the summer, feeding pigeons and..."Urban Gardening"

OK, Back to work. I have to stress that there was NO scene that I didn't like and nothing I cut out because of poor production. Every cut was painful but needed to happen to service the film. I have a simple rule for this one..."Does it continue the story?".
I think I'm doing a good job with this but I need to pull out the big guns.

If I can get a few more cuts done, I'll be ready to give it to Melvin Van Peebles. He has been ready to see this from the first week of shooting, lol. Am I ready for his cuts?
If I am or I am not...I'm doing better than the US congress. Pathetic.
I am soooo ready for you guys to be at another premiere. There's always so much between the end of the shoot and that night. For now I'm enjoying the ride this time. My actress Lauren has a lot to do with that this time. She reminded me I do this to have fun. Sounds simple but with the world around you becoming chaotic it's easy to forget you like making movies. The day can easily become a series of tasks to complete. Valuable lessons learned on this film. I also have learned to not try to alter things that you have no control over. That also lends to people. If you can't change them or they are not open to be changed...don't.

If they work, great but if not keep it moving. Till next time cats.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three shooting days comes the heat!

Mood: Melted

The Marathon is almost over...the problem is I'm not racing anyone. It's so hard to push to the finish line when no one is chasing. This film h
as been defined in my mind by trying to schedule it. I've never done so many different jobs on a film at once, but the schedule has been my main job. Odd... I thought it would be directing, lol. Now that the film's last days are scheduled my energy level has shifted. My every day panic is being replaced by thought of promoting this film. It's just not time yet. Oh...and it's getting hot.

Not shooting and editing a rough cut every day or so has brought me into a strange calm. Almost
walking through a fog. A steamy, humid fog. It may be underlying sadness of ending the film and saying goodbye to the cast. It may be the anticipation of getting into post production. Or it may be that I am soooooooooo Damn tired of this "shooting beard"!
We'll be sure to post the video of this beast getting shaved off. Maybe it will be our first promotional video. See, that's what's going on in my head. Off to promotional head again. I guess we gotta keep moving but I'd feel better staying in the moment. Never in this pre or post-production have I been completely in the moment. Maybe this is a good thing? I'm always a few seconds ahead on set. I have an entire rough cut that represents 90+ of all the shot footage. This system with a full crew and a pay check would be amazing. Let's hope people love this one enough to get a budget again. If not...A lot of this cast will be kept in the Cypher stables. They're a good bunch of kids and for the most part getting my shooting style. More importantly they were willing to give their all, for no monetary reward.
Again the triangle rule of production is proven true. "You need three things to make a production. Money, Time and People, but you still will make an amazing
production with Time and People with heart". Heart can trump money :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feeding the frame not hugging the skeleton

Mood: Calm and Curious

When you write a script you give birth. Like a kid you don't know if you will like it very much or at all but you will love it till the day you die.

I see a screenplay as a skeleton that we hold on to during the rehearsals. To teach each other about the world we are about to populate. But once the actors become the characters I loose sight of the skeleton. Muscle and tissue begin to form around it and a living entity becomes clear.

What's hard is that other writers and directors live and die by the script. That means that most actors are used to that style of directing. It takes a bit of effort to free actors to live in the moment, outside of the script. Now though I have learned a different problem. Sometime, for some actors...the moments aren't the same. That's great for theatre but you have to edit film. In fifteen years you would have thought I would have had this problem already but I haven't. I had to learn how to keep a stallion wild but to only run on the track. I'm finding right now for actors like this coverage is the key. You have a much better chance to match them up if you have multiple cameras, lol.

I have turned the shoot into a one camera shoot because it was speeding up the shoots. Now I am bouncing between. Tomorrow I shoot the big dramatic end to the film and it needs to be one of these scenes. Perfect cuts but full emotional range. I'm confident that this is working. The answer to every problem I come across as a director is "Be like water." If you don't bend you will break and take a bunch of people and a feature film with you....and what a disaster that would be.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1 hour and 11 mins...I think it's gonna be done :)

Mood: Tired Optimization

So, on April 30th, I made what seemed like a rash decision to people around me and started another feature film. The year before I had written a screenplay for the sole purpose of being cost effective and create something between major budgets. Somehow after the first rehearsal for that screenplay an agent/manager found me and decided that they could could get budgets for not only that screenplay but multiple screenplays. I gave them a year.
Back to April 30th. I went ahead and cast the film. Started securing locations and on April 30th started shooting the 90 minute Horror feature,

"Ghost Hunted".

In a basement in Brooklyn, the cast of the hit show "Urban Ghost Hunters" are investigating reports of violent possessions and ghostly sightings. Barely settled in they quickly realize they are in trouble when their own personal demons start to show up. Will this team make it out of this lock up?

The shoot has been wild because I'm the only crew member who is on every shoot lol. That means they're days where I set up lights, do make up, set the cameras and check the sound. All before I have rehearsed the actors. It's been a trip. Also as I think I wrote before this cast would NEVER natural cross paths lol. Their schedules are amazingly opposite.

Some how though...we are almost done. 1 hour and 11 minutes out of 90 ain't to shabby. I'll take that for less than two months of shooting this. Let's see how long the last 19 mins will take lol.

Friday, June 3, 2011

1/3 ain't too shaby...still have an hour left though lol

So my new film has passed the 30 min mark or usable final footage. Not bad for about a month of shooting. Granted, shot in tiny, sparse moments. In two weeks there is a huge chunk about to be shot and that may bring us very close to the hour mark. At that point I will feel like their is no way we won't finish. That would be a great moment. I have never wanted to finish shooting so quickly. Not because I don't enjoy it and love this cast. But because with no budget there is a HUGE chance of not finishing this thing in a reasonable time.
Luckily we seem to be on pace and the footage looks great. I'll let out a small's a horror movie :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

1 year, 6 assistants and we've come full circle.

In the last 15 years, Cypher Productions and I have partnered with over 50 artists to create 4 feature films. Each project has a different life and is created by a different family. New issues and surprises. More years to draw from. Somehow though, if I'm lucky...there's a familiar part that shows up. I'm there again. If anyone reads this blog I apologize for my spotty posts but preproduction and early production is tasking.
This film (which I won't release the name of yet) has reached it's stride. It's an odd gate with a slight limp but it's moving and becoming it's own. As we get further into the process I will release more information. Look forward to another production soon.