Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wow. That’s all I can say right now. A week ago, I knew the basis for Derek, but I didn’t know where I wanted to go with it. I was torn in two directions. After doing some filming with my friend Kim Cruz for Leap: Rise of the Beast, she told me she’d be interested in working on any future projects. She does a lot of work with horses, so I figured if I could somehow add those skills to a film, that it would be awesome. I thought and thought, prayed and prayed. Finally I realized that I could move the setting for Derek from suburbia to a ranch in the middle of nowhere. With that change of setting, suddenly the whole story came to me!
I spent all day yesterday writing the three page treatment/outline on my laptop. I finished, saved, and saved a PDF. I emailed the PDF to Kim so she could check it out and see what she thinks, and also as a backup. I even said so in the email. Five minutes later I went to move the PDF onto a thumbdrive so I could print it from my other computer. The laptop wasn’t recognizing the thumbdrive so I did a hard restart. I heard the Mac chime, but the screen stayed blank. I tried again. Nothing. I gutted the PowerBook and sprayed it down with some air. Put it back together and still nothing. My laptop is toast. Fortunately I have the Derek outline online and can grab it when I get a new computer. The bad part is that I have to get a new laptop. I think I’ll buy a cheap one at Walmart, wipe Windows and toss on Linux. I only need the thing for internet use and screenwriting.
I need to start writing the script for Derek ASAP, but I can’t write at a desk, which is where I’m at right now (I’ve hooked up my internet to one of my PC towers until I get a new laptop). I’m just amazed though at God’s timing. It’s almost like He was keeping the laptop going for a bit until I got done what I needed to get done. The fact that it was backed up through email just five minutes before dying is incredible too! I had also backed up the outline for Leap 3 a week ago as well, so I didn’t loose that either! God is good!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Had my friend Kim come over today to shoot the news reporter scenes. We shot it greenscreen and used my laptop as a teleprompter by using “Prompt 7.0”. After a bit of coaching, Kim caught on pretty quick to reading from the screen and how to move her head to hide the fact she was reading. She also did a great job with a Spanish accent. Why the accent? To help open up the movie so it doesn’t seem like it’s all American. For sound, I decided to shoot dual system because her lines were basically mini monologues. We used the Yeti, and since the shots are going to be a news style setting, I just set it on the desk in front of her. The audio was recorded onto my music computer and we used my clapperboard to slate the takes. It was our first day shooting with the Rebel ML as I’m now calling it (a Rebel T2i running Magic Lantern) and had no issues with it.
I did however have some issues with the transfer and backup process. My backup drive took the footage just fine, but I spent nearly two hours trying to make it work with my primary. Finally I did succeed with getting at least the takes I needed. Coincidentally, When I went to see how much footage I shot, I saw that I had used 6.66 GB of space on my 16 GB card. On the last film, I had problems with file 666. The digital demons are back harassing us again. Good. It means I’m doing something right.
Tuesday, December 20, 2010
The past few days have been pretty interesting, as far as our camera is concerned. A company called Magic Lantern (they hack DSLRs and create new firmware) has been releasing a bunch of updates to their T2i firmware. What does that mean? It means that our little camera now has crop marks, no AGC, zebras, a stellar ISO range, audio meters and an adjustable bitrate! I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so I took the plunge and hacked the camera. Now, since the hacks/updates are free, I’m technically still using a kit Rebel, so we’re still the first feature using the kit lens, and the majority of the film was shot with an early Canon firmware. I’ve been playing with the “new camera” all afternoon and so far I haven’t been able to crash it. I do have one issue though-I like to format my card after each use to clear the contents. The way the new firmware is set up, if you do that you’ll lose it and have to reinstall 😦 Other than that, I love it!
This new ML release is great news for us and the independent film community!
Monday, December 20, 2010
So this is pretty cool. My friend Twinkle (and yes, that’s her real name) is a very talented musician and songwriter. She wrote this amazing song called “Truth” and has allowed me to use it in/to promote the film =) She came over last Sunday and we recorded it on my setup. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it sounds AWESOME! I cut a music vid using footage from the film to the track that we’ll be using as we get ready to start our marketing campaign which includes: The music vid, all new screen grabs, a new website for STARS Pictures and the ability to pre-order a copy of the film (to help offset the cost of getting DVD’s made).
I’m very pleased to introduce our new website! The best part? No need to update your address book! Simply type “starspictures.info” into your browser and you’ll automatically be redirected to our new home here on wordpress.com!