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!

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Borealis – Two Year Retrospect

Over this past weekend, a picture showed up in my memory feed on Facebook. The picture was from the Borealis Film Festival, back in April 2015. In the picture, I’m holding the two trophies for the honors that my short films received. Lights won “Best Dramatic Film” and ms and me won “Best in Festival”

At the time, that was exactly the boost that I needed. Both of those short films were a culmination of everything I had come to learn during my academic career, and as my time in academia was ending, I was scared that I wasn’t where I should be.

I knew that the Borealis Film Festival wasn’t a huge prestigious event. It certainly wasn’t comparable to Sundance or Cannes. It was being held at my university, and there weren’t many submissions. Nevertheless, it was my first time showing my work on a big screen in front of people at a public venue. It was a milestone event for me.

When my films received the honors that they did, I was floored. It was an amazing feeling. What started off as an amazing feeling, however, soon became more stressful.

Despite the fact that the festival wasn’t prestigious, I started having lingering feelings of anxiety. Would my future work live up to this? How would my future work be received when compared to this? Did my career just peak? What if it’s all downhill from here?

These feelings aren’t good at fostering a creative atmosphere for writing new projects. I found myself growing stagnant. I was still working, but I wasn’t working on creating anything new of my own. I was too worried about meeting this imaginary standard I had set for myself. Nothing seemed good enough.

I’m still dealing with this anxiety, no matter how much I try to nip it in the bud. My work pace has slowed. I’m far more critical of myself. The best thing I can do with this hyper-awareness is try to use it positively. I can continue to try to create work that I’m proud to stand behind. I can continue to better myself and continue to grow. That’s the plan anyway.

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.

Lights: Official Trailer

The time has come for the release of the official trailer for my upcoming short film, Lights.

in this trailer, we get to see a little more of at least part of the conflict of the film, and I’m hoping that it helps spark some interest with audiences. So far, test audiences have been pretty enthusiastic. There have been plenty of squeals and chill bumps from those that have seen the full film so far. I consider that a job well done.

Take a look at the official trailer below, and let me know what you think!

Shyamalan Marathon

Anyone who knows me personally recognizes that M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favorite storytellers. It always pains me to hear people talk about how much of a horrible director he is with no valid reasoning. When asked why, these same people often don’t know what to say or say that it’s because he always uses a twist ending and it’s getting old.

I’m embarking on a mission to watch every single one of Shyamalan’s films and create a short, objective review of each while simultaneously ranking them from best to decently bad. Now that I know more about the film production process, I feel like I can look at his films with a more objective eye to see just where he loses people or if preconceived notions influenced by the media are really the culprit for the distaste surrounding his work.

I’ve already rewatched The Happening and The Village, and as I’m writing this, I’m preparing to watch Unbreakable. Look forward to seeing the full written piece once I’ve watched all of the source material.