Monday, September 24, 2007

Free Landis

I was pretty disappointed last week when the news came down that cyclist Floyd Landis lost his appeal on the charge that he doped at last year's Tour de France. The anti-doping system is
screwed up and Landis's case more than proved that.

Jim Caple has a great piece over at ESPN.com (thanks to Chief Running Miles for sharing) that sums it up:

"Finally, four agonizing months after your trial, the judge announces his decision.

The fingerprint evidence against you, he says, was unreliable. And the lab analyzing the DNA evidence, he acknowledges, did shoddy work.

And then he delivers the verdict. You're still guilty."


I just did my, very small, part for Floyd and bought his book about the Tour and the controversy. The couple bucks he nets from it will help, I am sure!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Party All the Time

My Girl Wants to Party All The Time, the 80's Eddie Murphy song, just came on the radio. It's even more funny now that Murphy has sung some songs as Donkey from Shrek on the Shrek soundtracks...

American Pie Explained

Cool video that helps explain the meaning behind the song American Pie. There is also a website that walks through the song with a little more detail on possible meaning. Don Maclean has never really explained the song.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm Here

I've finally come up for air, 10 days after completing one of the most challenging, fun and rewarding experiences of my life. For 22 days, I was hip deep in helping shoot a feature-length independent film called A.S.L. (Age, Sex, Location). My business partner (Devon) and I acted as producers, Devon directed, and I was the assistant director. I'm also getting a writing credit for story suggestions/edits I made to the completed story.

The movie is called A.S.L. (Age, Sex, Location) and is a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of the internet. It follows three story lines and none of them end terribly happily. Here is the production blog we set up which has daily pictures from the shoot (and captions from your's truly):

http://lyonfilms.blogspot.com/

There are links on there to the IMDB page for the film. Via that page, I now have an IMDB page as well. (My producer and asst. director credits haven't been added yet to the IMDB page).

We co-produced it with a company called Dirt Poor Films and their owner Don Jensen, who is the executive producer. Don and the team at Dirt Poor were incredible to work with. They handled all the financing, HR, legal paperwork, Screen Actors Guild maze (trust me, it's a maze) etc. Plus they assisted daily on set with tasks like set decoration, wardrobe, locations, script supervising etc.

So what is it like to make a feature film? Incredibly busy, quite a bit of stress, but really a lot of fun. Since it is a low budget indie (shot under SAG's Ultra Low Budget agreement, so it won't go over $200k in total budget) it ends up being all hands on deck, so you do whatever it takes to get the job done. There were times when Devon and I would be cleaning up garbage or moving stuff around and we'd look at each other and say "We're livin' the dream!"

Of the 22 days, we shot on 19 of them. We went seven days on, one day off, six days on, two days off, then six more days. Each day was easily 12 hours after you factored in arriving early (because we were producers/director/asst. director) and packing up gear at the end of the night. Slot in my 35-45 min drive to the sets (we shot it all in Salem and Keizer, Oregon) and the days were long. I was pretty exhausted both physically (you stand nearly the entire day) and mentally (more on that later).

As producers, we set-up the professional crew that helped us make this a reality. We hired the director of photography, asst. camera, gaffers, grips, sound and boom guys etc. We also participated in casting, location selections etc. And one of the biggest things we did was ORGANIZE the actual shoot. Devon and I joke that if we ever sit on a panel about film making and someone asks us what it takes we're going to say "Become an expert in Excel". We had more Excel spreadsheets plotting out more aspects of the film that you can imagine. But it paid off when it came time to actually shoot.

That is the "mentally exhausting" portion. As Asst. Director in was my job to keep things on track, particularly timewise. The Asst. Director is the whip cracker on set, keeping every one on task so we get all the shots we need. This is particularly important on an indie film. We could only afford to shoot 19 days, we had to get it all within that timeframe. So I had to keep the creatives (like the dir. of photography and lighting crew), actors, wardrobe, make-up etc. all on schedule. I had to be firm with the Director on how much time he really had to get the next shot etc.

So, you can imagine that the best compliments Devon and I received during the shoot came from experienced crew members and actors who complimented us on being one of the most organized shoots they have ever participated in. We're talking about actors and crew that have worked on big budget Hollywood films shot here in Oregon. It made us both proud of all the pre-production work we put into planning and the way we handled things on set.

And I am happy to say that, in all honesty, there wasn't one moment when I wanted to beat the crap out of the Director, my business partner Devon! We got along very well under very stressful situations, which I hope bodes well for our future success.

Now, all of you have to promise me that you'll ALWAYS sit through the credits after a film. Everyone listed is integral to making that movie. Especially look for the name of the Asst. Director, because in all likelihood he was the LEAST popular person on the set!