Return to Sender: Storyboard

Due to some shuffled plans, I was able to start on pre-visualization for my next short film sooner than I was expecting. With my particular team, we have developed a way to start pre-production that runs very smoothly. It happens in stages.

During the first stage, I go through my script, and I think about how I’d like to see it transfer from page to screen. I pull out my own storyboard template, and I draw it out on paper. Now, I’m definitely not the best artist in the world, so my drawings really help no one out but me. (We figured this out while in production on Lights).

In the second stage, we take my drawn storyboard, and we turn that into a 3D visualization. To do this, I work with my cinematographer, and we figure out exactly what I’m trying to say, and we translate that into something that he can understand. In the end, my storyboard is a plan, and his 3D visualization ends up being the actual storyboard.

Return to Sender Shot 23

This process makes production run so smoothly. We can make a plan for shoot days and know approximately how long each shoot day will take. We can factor in set up time, lunch breaks, and factor in room for error. It helps to put together a production schedule, find locations, use time efficiently, and don’t even get me started on how well it works as a plan of attack for editing.

As I mentioned above, this is the process that I’ve developed for my films with the people I work with consistently. I’ve worked as a producer for other filmmakers, and they don’t all do the same thing. It really depends on the filmmaker.

With all that being said, the storyboarding process is now complete for my next short film, Return to Sender. The images included above are examples from that.

We’re still in pre-production, just moving on to the next phase of that. We still have location scouting to do and casting. I’m considering doing casting differently this time around than what I’ve been doing, but that will entirely depend on scheduling. I’m still up in the air about that.

Stay tuned for more updates on Return to Sender as the process continues!

Clare Oaks 2017

Last month, E Leal Productions filmed two employee appreciation videos for Clare Oaks Senior Living. The employees had earned recognition from Leading Age Illinois for their work.

Filming for the videos took place over two separate days. Since the videos were only 60 seconds each, editing took approximately one day per video (including basic edits and color). Both videos include original music by Ryan Cwiklik.

These videos can be viewed below.

3:03 Needs a Trailer

Last year, I started work on my latest (as of 2016) short film 3:03. Due to its original purpose, I didn’t really go about promoting it the same way I normally would. Hence, here we are in 2017, and 3:03 still doesn’t have a trailer.

I only recently created a poster for 3:03, and uploaded some stills. Since the film is only 3 minutes, I never even thought about making a trailer for it, until now.

303-poster

I would like to submit 3:03 to a local film festival. It would be the first film festival I submitted this particular film to (although I had planned on submitting it to my alma mater’s festival that apparently wasn’t held this year). In order to submit the film to this particular festival, it needs a trailer. This causes a bit of a dilemma.

How should I go about making a trailer for such a short film? I don’t want to give away the surprises that make this one stick out. Right now I’m leaning toward a very minimal, maybe abstract approach. Similar to the poster, I will probably lean on the success of my last short film that had a festival run. I’m pretty sure my name doesn’t hold enough weight on its own yet.

In any case, I will need to create a trailer for 3:03 soon enough, so I’ll update again once that has been completed.

Return to Sender: Writing

I’ve been pretty discreet about this, but I have begun working on my next short film.

The concept is an idea that I originally thought of for Project Greenlight back in 2014. I ended up not using the idea at that time, and I started conceptualizing my undergraduate thesis film instead.

Since then, that original concept has definitely changed. The idea for Project Greenlight was extremely short, less than three minutes. That was part of the reason why I didn’t go through with it at the time. I felt it was going to be too similar to my other work, and I wanted to take the time to try to make it a bit different.

The struggle has been letting go of that original idea a bit. I held on to that original concept for so long that now that I’m changing it, and making it better (hopefully), it’s been a bit of a process to change those initial visuals that were in my head. I just got stuck in a rut with that original idea that I held on to for years, and it kept rearing its head, even when I was trying to make changes.

Hence why I’ve been keeping it a secret for so long! In order to get to this final draft, I went through multiple versions and approximately 5 drafts for each version. That’s a lot of changes.

Now that I’ve reached a point where I’m happy, and the associates that have read the final draft are happy, I think I can finally move on to pre-visualization and casting.

Keep an eye out for future updates on this project.

2017, New Reel

One of the items that has been on my to-do list for nearly two years is making a new production reel.

The last one I made was in 2013, and over the years I have grown embarrassed of it. At the time, it was my first one. I had done a lot of work in the first year of my career, and I wanted to show all of that off. I put in every little thing I had done. It was sloppy. It didn’t hold up well. It’s been put on private at this point. We do not speak of it.

When it came to making a new production reel, I wanted to really focus it on what I do now. I wanted to focus it on what I want to do in the future as well. While I do camera work, for example, that’s not necessarily something I want to put in my overall reel. I would rather make a reel just for my camera work at that point.

What I wanted to do with my new reel was make it centered toward my work as a producer. I wanted to highlight the television shows I’ve produced and the short films I’ve self-produced. My skills lie more on the creative, storytelling side than the technical side, and over the years, I’ve come to accept that.

I still haven’t uncovered the perfect formula for a production reel, but for right now, this works.

Reborn (2017) Online

After a very long wait, Reborn is finally available to view online! Sitting at 45 minutes, this feature was originally intended to be a pilot for a television series. People have been asking about possible continuations, but only time will tell.

Unlike the other films I’ve promoted on my blog, Reborn is not written or directed by me. I was lead camera operator for this project, and I was a co-editor. There are some scenes within the feature that I did storyboard for, or where I was assistant director or a stand in director of photography, but in the end, for this project, I was a part of a very big and talented team.