Saturday, April 28, 2007

Feature Film Blog #2

Okay- I owe you some updates. Since last I blogged I met with a Detective from LAPD's Major Crimes Division, then with a Detective who was in LAPD's elite RHD: Homicide Special and was featured in the book: "Homicide Special" written by Miles Corwin.

I attended Locations Expo at the Santa Monica Civic Center and met with rep's from New Orleans Gateway: Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. which was followed up by an introduction by Greg Giannakis, a friend from my hometown whose help I've enlisted on this project, to the Communications office of Tourism: Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism.

I submitted an ad on Craigslist: New Orleans for actors and an ad in for a producer here in L.A. I rented a PO Box in hopes of receiving an avalanche of headshots. So far nothing has come in except by e-mail. Hopefully some photos start coming in soon.

The meetings with the detectives was worth this whole extravaganza in itself. They are genuine men, devoted to what they do. As the homicide detective put it, it's not for him to judge the victims, even if they have a wrap sheet longer than both his arms. His job is to provide a voice for these people by solving their murder. Both interviews ran the gamut of emotions from personal to revealing, sad, and at times extremely funny. It's a job and a lifestyle.

Speaking with the Major Crimes detective who also worked in drug enforcement was almost hypnotic. By the end of the interview I wanted to be a cop. It's kind of like the movie "Goodfella's" while being on the right side of the law. When asked what his favorite film was he replied: "Electra Glide in Blue". Good answer.

I still haven't decided fully on which format I intend to shoot this whole thing on.
I'm testing Super 8 film-

So far I've tested Kodak stocks: 200D Color Neg with my newly acquired Sankyo XL40s which once belonged to Augustus Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola's brother and Nicholas Cage's father.

I shot 50' of 64D Color Reversal through my Nikon R10. Both processed at Spectra in North Hollywood.

I also ran some Plus-X that's been in my fridge a couple years through my Nikon. This was processed at Pro8mm in Burbank. I'm sending them to Canada to be transferred by Justin Lovell of frame discreet.

I bought a Beaulieu 16mm camera from ebay. It was DOA as expected. It's packed and going out to Super16, Inc. of Maine in the morning for an overhaul. The camera came with a C-Mount Ang. 12-120. Not the greatest lens ever.

I'm hoping to locate a C-mount to FD adapter so I can test my Canon lenses. I just scored a 50MM Canon FD 1.4 SSC coated lens on ebay for $45.00! These magnificent lenses are going to have a resurgence as everyone begins mounting them on their Panasonic HVX200's via Redrock M2 or Brevis35 adapters. Trust me. Get your glass now before it goes back up. As it is you can grab these still lenses dirt cheap.

I have a Nizo 481 on delivery from Germany. A great Super 8 camera that does time-lapse. I also grabbed an inexpensive lightweight steadi-rig. Nothing fancy, just a rig some guy on the internet makes in his kitchen.

I located an F2.0 25mm Super Baltar! I love the look of these lenses. Gordon Willis used them on "Godfather" (another Coppola connection, hmm). They've been kind of retired for a while. The one I found doesn't have a mount. It might be worth it to have it mounted and collimated for Super16. What a cool lens to add to the collection. Vincent Gallo had a set mounted to his S16 Aaton XTR Prod for the film "The Brown Bunny". The film looked great and was mostly lit with natural light sources and a small kit that fit in the back of a van with the crew and a motorcycle that was in the film. Wish me luck on my bidding.

I continue to refine the script getting new ideas from listening to music for the film. It's great to have this time to think of the music and the visuals. I'm also thinking a lot about sound design. Of course I'll hire an audio dept. but I'm considering purchasing a Zoom H4 field recorder to capture nat. sound on location. I'd love to wander about just listening to the environment, absorbing the ambience. I can save these as wav. files and have them mixed later.

And to be honest, I've spent countless hours glued to YouTube, just admiring all the "amateur" work out there that inspires me more than what the "professionals" are making lately. That's not a knock on anybody. I'm just really buying into the whole user generated media concept right now.

Of course I'm doing this as my job is in potential transition. I was approached to shoot AND cut FOUR breaking news stories a day for our online presence. It sounds like fun and a great opportunity but it'll be major pressure to make delivery with 4 "DAY OF AIR" deadlines. Hard enough for an experienced editor, harder for someone who edits his own material with no deadlines (me). The camera side of it is a cinch, it's the edit that will be intense, so we'll see if that pans out.

For excitement we had Quentin Tarantino appear in the guest seat last week. I got to introduce myself and chat with the master for a few minutes. It was a really inspirational moment for me. Quentin was gracious, engaging and totally self deprecating. I got to compliment him on his camera work on "Deathproof" and he seemed truly grateful. We had Dr. Phil in today.

I guess that's it for now. The last movie I watched was "Das boot". Excellent stuff. Shows what you can do in one location. "Great Expectations" (1946) is on deck.

Looking forward to UCLA's Festival of Books tomorrow. I hope to see Kirk Douglas, Joseph Wambaugh, James Elroy, Mitch Albom, Frank McCourt, and Andy Summers (yes, that Andy Summers).

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