31 Days of Reviews: Round 5

Wow! It’s hard to believe this will be my fifth year doing this. I mean.. I know it’s been a while, but it’s interesting to put a number to it.

I feel much more prepared going into this October than I have in the past. I’ve gotten a lot of prep work done. I’ve even exceeded the benchmark that I set for myself by a bit. This year should be okay.

Just like last year, I’ve got a bit of personal business going on in the month of October as well as writing all these reviews, so that should be interesting.

Here’s to hoping for another successful round of 31 Days of Reviews!


Pin 5:29 – Production

While 31 Days of Reviews was dominating my blog, I didn’t have much time to write about the newest production I’ve been a part of. Throughout October, I jumped back into the producer’s chair for a new short film by Jason Rugg called Pin 5:29!

I don’t have a ton of insight about pre-production because I was incredibly busy with other things. The other producer on the film helped with casting and some script doctoring. I managed to be able to help with securing the location and planning for the actual shoot day, making sure everything ran on schedule and all that.

On the day of the shoot, we had an early crew call. This allowed us to get the equipment set up and start practicing all the things we would have to do. It helped us to be a lot more prepared. When the actor showed up at his call time, we were able to brief him, get him in costume, and jump right in.

Everything was in the same location, just different rooms. This made it easier to transfer equipment from scene to scene. It was just a matter of moving things. We had craft services set up in a nearby room. I think the location served everything really well.

For the most part, we shot in chronological order. I had it organized as much as possible by what lens we would be using to get each shot. There were definitely some interesting shots included in the shot list for this one. You can get a peek at one of the interesting shots in the picture below.

There were a couple of hiccups along the way, something I attribute to having one less set of hands than what we were planning to have. In the end though, we finished everything pretty close to the scheduled time, and the director is very happy with it.

From what I’ve seen in editing thus far, it’s looking really good. The director is excited about it. I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to show it off. We’re aiming for a 60 second cut at first. There may be a secondary cut that is a tad longer, but for the time being, the 60 second cut is the main focus.

Stay tuned for Pin 5:29!

31 Days of Reviews: Round 4

Here we go again!

This will be the fourth year that I embark on 31 Days of Reviews. It’s hard to believe that this started as a challenge for myself all those years ago, and it has blossomed into such a regular thing for this blog.

My preparation for this year was a bit different than previous years. October is going to be a very big month for me (I’m getting married). Since I know how busy I’m going to be, I’ve gone a bit further in my prep than usual. I’ve been watching and writing reviews for the last couple months in an attempt to lighten the load.

I don’t have all 31 days planned out, so there will still be quite a bit of work for me in the coming weeks. Hopefully what I’ve accomplished so far will help take some of the edge off though.

Prepare for 31 Days of Reviews 2017!

Exit Interview

Don’t let the title deceive you. I’m not leaving any jobs.

This post will be about the short film Exit Interview, directed by Jason Rugg, which I recently produced. Conceptualized as an entry for the 2017 Rode Reel competition, Exit Interview follows a man who doesn’t understand that his ideal girlfriend is just not that into him.

Going into the production of this film, my role was more of a line producer. This means that my main job was to keep the production on time, to make sure that everything happened and stayed on schedule.

Over the last few productions I’ve been a part of, I’ve used Shot Lister to help with this. I definitely have some complaints about the current state of the program, but it has the potential to be a very nice organizational tool. I would suggest checking it out. It might be of use to you.

We had a small crew, but there was a bit more help than we usually have. Rugg was directing. I was doing my producing role. Erik Leal of E Leal Productions was running audio and helping with lighting. Rugg also brought in someone to record behind the scenes video and assist when needed. We had three cast members, and two groups of extras throughout the day.

It was an all day shoot. As a crew member, I was there from 9:00am till almost 10:00pm. All of the scenes were shot at a central location, so break down and set up throughout the day wasn’t incredibly difficult. Overall, the day was very eventful and a good learning experience for everyone involved.

You can view the Behind the Scenes video below.

As for editing, that was a bit of a challenge. Everyone just has so much going on, its hard to set time aside. We managed to get an edit done for the Rode Reel deadline. It’s so nice to see how everything came together in the edit.

I’m a really big fan of how the locations look and the performance of the actress who plays Amy, Emma Baker. She was fantastic on set, and her performance comes off really well in the final film. I’m super pleased.

You can see the Rode Reel submission below!

At some point in the future, there may be a director’s cut that would give a little more freedom in the edit without the Rode competition restrictions. If that comes to pass, I will be sharing that as well.

Xcelerate 2017: Week 4

The end of week 4 has arrived! I had two different classes this time around, and both of them were quite messy.

My first class was all about decorating cupcakes. Due to a lack of materials, I wasn’t able to actually decorate any of them myself, but I did pick up on a few things. I know (theoretically) how to create the bag used to pipe the frosting. There were several lessons about how to make various shapes and designs, and the week ended with a lesson about creating different types of flowers.

It was pretty fun. I enjoyed the class. It was also relaxing in many ways when compared to some of the other classes I’ve assisted so far. There was quite a bit of set up and clean up though. That was probably the most stressful part of it all.

The other class I was assisting with was a painting class with 7-10 year olds. As you can imagine, giving acrylic paint to children of this age causes quite a mess. This was another class that required quite a bit of clean up time. The kids were pretty rambunctious, but it was still a fun time. It definitely gave me a bit of inspiration to maybe paint my own things later on.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on the edit for the kids’ film from Lights Camera Action last week. Due to my busy schedule, it’s taken me a bit longer than I was hoping to get everything completed, but the edit is almost finished, and I’ll be turning it in at the beginning of the coming week.

Reborn is Complete?

I’ve had this blog for several years now, but I’m unsure if I’ve ever written about Reborn.

Way back in the fall of 2011, I showed up to a “Movie Makers Club” meeting at my community college, and a group of people was attempting to make a music video. I didn’t know much about it, so I asked how I could help. I got a pretty simple job at first. They wanted me to press play on the song that the video was for so they could keep time.

During this simple job, I gave some insight that helped solve one of the problems they were running into. This led to the directors bringing me on to do some camera work for the last parts of the video. You can view said video below.

Apparently I made a good impression during this time because I was soon brought into the bigger project that the music video was a precursor to. The project was called Reborn, and it centered around a woman named Luna who discovers the hidden truth about her own dark past. In the beginning, it was meant to be a pilot episode for a television series.

Since most of the people who were working on Reborn were just starting out (most of us were all pursuing the same degree at the community college), we didn’t have a lot of the experience required to know what decisions were good or which decisions weren’t so good. The writers got excited and turned the pilot episode into a 6 episode story arc. The rest of the crew was just as excited at the prospect of doing such a cool thing!

In due time though, reality set in. It’s hard to take on such a big project at any time, but it was even more difficult when everyone was a full time student, some with additional jobs on top of that, and our participation in Reborn was on a volunteer basis. When you mix those type of schedules with the time constraints of filming and locations, it doesn’t take long to realize that you might have to pull back a bit.

We filmed pretty much the entirety of episode one before we realized we were going to have to make some cuts. The writers condensed the 6 episode arc back down into an extended pilot, so they could get to the actual point of the story they were trying to tell. Unfortunately, this ended up cutting some characters, making some filmed scenes unnecessary, and creating some plot holes.

I started off as a lead camera operator for the project, but as the changes continued to happen, I ended up getting more responsibility. Reborn was the first project that I started storyboarding for, and this process has continued on to every one of my projects since. At some shoots, I had to step up as an assistant director or a director of photography. Many of the shoots were very ambitious, especially for the beginners that we were.

I can honestly say that I learned from both Reborn‘s successes and it’s failures. Being a part of this project has shaped my own career in countless ways.

We finished principle photography on Reborn in 2013. This brought us into post production, and that was the next hurdle to cross. By this point, I was heavily involved with E Leal Productions, and both Erik Leal and I took on the editing of the project.

We were still working and going to school, and there were a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with in editing, so it wasn’t a fast or easy task. I believe we finished piecing the story together sometime in early 2014. At this time, I made and released a teaser trailer. I definitely acted on that far too early. There was still a significant amount of work to be done. You can see that teaser trailer below.

We sent the final edit out for original music in 2014. During this time, there were a lot of issues. Nothing ended up getting done with the project for almost two years. There was some discussion by producers about canning the project, and that was shot down. Too much time, money, and effort had been put into the project over the years for it to just be dropped like that.

In 2016, the task of creating the original score was given to Ryan Cwiklik, who composed the music for my short films Lights and ms and me. He was able to fit time in his schedule to supply music for Reborn, and on the first day of 2017, he finished it. This gave E Leal Productions a good push in the right direction to finish the sound mixing, foley work, and color correction. In just over a week, everything was finished.

At this point, we’re just still reeling that after so many years, Reborn is finally done. A concept that was first thought of in 2011, will, at last, be shown in 2017. We contacted the producers of the project to share the good news and got promotions underway, all while planning a special cast and crew screening for all those involved.

With this blog post, it will become official that Reborn is finally complete. Check out the trailer below!

Evolved Opportunity

I was recently given the opportunity to work on an independent film. This opportunity was slightly different than previous opportunities because the film is being written and directed by someone I have never worked with before. I was looking forward to working on the production of this particular film because I had never had that experience before. Most of my work has been done with the same group of people.

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to work on the production of this film. I’m pretty bummed about the loss of that particular experience, but the opportunity did evolve in a way that will still be beneficial.

While I am not able to work on the production of the film, I can work on the post-production aspect. It’s much easier to make hectic hours work over a computer than actually meeting in person.

This leads me to describe the new experience I will gain through working on the post-production for this film. I’ve never edited any narrative work that wasn’t my own. When editing someone else’s work, you’re putting together someone else’s vision, not your own. When I edit my own work, I’m basically just piecing together what I have meticulously planned since the beginning. This new opportunity will be a test of my skill in pacing and team work. I’m looking forward to it.

Of course, I’m worried. I am used to having everything planned out extensively, so accepting a job where I don’t really know what I’m getting into is a bit stressful. I haven’t seen any of the footage. I don’t know how any of the shoots went. I can’t be sure of exactly what I’m getting. I have had the chance to read the script, so I’m hoping there won’t be any problems.

Since this isn’t my project, I won’t be making any updates throughout the process unless I learn something about filmmaking in general that I wish to share. I will reflect on the process once the film is completed, and if I can share information about it, then I will at that time.