Monday, June 10, 2013

Men Without Scripts (Unsafety Dance)

Davs good people!
Right now I'm sitting here waiting for the batteries to recharge, looking forward to tonight's recording sessions at some long since forgotten and heavily decayed bombshelters and stuff! During the week I and Anette has spent a lot of time sitting on the balcony in the summer heat, smoking like chimneys, and discussing scenes, monsters, and timeline frantically.
Not rarely it follows this pattern: I tell idea. She doesn't like. I disagree. She explains. I agree.
The longer version: Proudly I tell her the idea for a scene I just made up. She doesn't like something in it and suggest I ditch it, or certain aspects of it. I disagree and consider going along with the original plan, thinking it's just a matter of taste. She explains her reasons after giving it a little further thought. I agree fully and rebuilds the scene from scratch, but with the bad parts removed and solved by other means.
This thing is by no means new to me. Before Anette proved her tremendous talent in listening and understanding stories, I checked ideas I wasn't sure about by making temporal edits using existing footage and temp-recordings of dialogue I recorded myself in the livingroom to get a feel of the scene. Took hours, and I had to sleep on it to know for sure how I actually felt about it. With Anette it takes minutes: I get an idea, or tells her one I've been thinking of lately. She disses it. I find a new idea that really truly works. Much rejoice. All within 5-10 minutes.

Normally, writing a script takes time. A lot of time. It might very well take years to complete, and during this time a lot of people are involved, all giving feedback and opinions, resulting in endless revisions, ending with something that most likely has very little in common with the first draft. And after the production starts, there will be even further, though much smaller, revisions based on practical reasons and sometimes actors or the director finding better ways to do things.
Here, I have no script. This movie is mostly improvised. I do have a firm timeline with fixed points and events that MUST be fulfilled no matter what, otherwise the story will make no sense and be no more than a series of events noone cares about, but those are not really scripted parts, just very detailed notes of what must be included for the movie to work at all. That means I will not have the luxury of writing the script in peace and quiet, having it perfected, and recording it by the means called for by the script. Much of the story will be made up during recording, and we often, for numerous reasons, have an extremely small window of time to work with at many places, meaning we absolutely have to get everything we can get in just one or a few sessions. For the "script-points", that means we will have few possibilities to return to many locations should the material not work in editing. We might not have an actual script, but we must as far as possible know what we want when going to important locations.
Thanks to my and Anette's "script-meetings" (well, she's still my beloved girlfriend so we'd meet anyway, but you get the picture!!!), these things are now getting extremely efficient!

This might sound like a totally impossible thing to get together, but to be frank, if it was I'd be pretty retarded for even trying the first place! There will always be the risk of things fucking up no matter how carefully one prepare things, working with a non-existent budget is risky and demands a lot more work, and no matter how hard you try, a lot of unpleasant things can happen. It might be technical aspects, it might be something with the location or the performance that, when checking dailies, proves to not be up to par. This is guerrilla filmmaking in its truest sense, and as such, very little is certain until caught on film and backed up. As such, from the very beginning (though I didn't think it would evolve into a full feature at the time), I already planned the footage with this in mind. Missing an opportunity at one location means nothing more than having to do the same thing somewhere else later, and perhaps retrofitting the scene to work with the new location. In some cases it might even be even a good thing! You could compare the philosophy of this movie to a jigsaw-puzzle - if you know exactly how you want the picture to look like in the end, making all the pieces individually fitting is preferred. But if you want to be able to reconfigure the picture while piecing the puzzle, or even replace pieces altogether, you better make sure to find the perfect balance. Not making the pieces too uniform, but still as interchangeable as possible.
This has actually proved to be the hardest part of the entire production of this movie so far, and one of the things I'm most proud of for solving!

The downside of this way to work is, you never know exactly beforehand what you'll end up getting in the end. The beauty of this way to work is, the result may very well overtake you completely in ways you could never had imagined!

And now some good old technobabbel - the technical formats for the final movie is as follow:
The genre is Surreal Industrial Horror/Thriller/Black Comedy. It is recorded and edited in 720p, cut in Adobe Premiere Pro, shot on iPhone, though it might get upgraded to 1080p later on, depending on. Picture aspect ratio is and will remain at 16:9 letterboxed  to 2.35:1. I love letterbox (the black stripes over and under the picture in movies)! Some elements used for the effects (all, except some of the flares, made from in-camera footage using a wide variety of techniques and processed in Premiere like if it was analogue film or video. No CGI or After Effects) is being edited in Photoshop and Gimp.
As for the future color-correction, I can honestly not say right now whether or not that part will be performed in After Effects though. The color correction of a movie is, by definition, not visual effects, and even when recorded in 25mbps the iPhone picture, especially when shot with sparse light, is pretty (read: very) unforgiving to unprecise filters.
My decision not to use it or any other dedicated effect-program for visual effects in this movie is seriously not due to sentimentality, on the contrary - my opinion is that the right tool for any given task is the one getting the best result with no regard to petty prejudice. The reason is due to realism and forcing myself to think in new ways. More on this later.
But most important for this project - the audio will first and foremost be optimized for 5.1 channel 24-bit PCM and DTS-HD in Steinberg Nuendo and Wavelab. All sound without exception, mostly due to technical limitations on set, will be added in post using lots of Foley and heavy Worldizing for the sake of realism.
Though not necessarily in studio.
And synthesizers for non-synthetic sound effects? Hahaha! No.

I really love Blu-Ray!


In Blade Runner, Deckard is looking for four skin-jobs. I don't get it... What's wrong with his foreskin the first place?

Roy finds Deckards predicament very funny

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