Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Adventures in Filmmaking

My Portuguese roommate, Jorge, and I have been auditioning actors and interviewing potential crew members for several weeks, and it's only now that I've made time to write about the unfolding experience. I wanted to establish distance so that I could see the good and bad of what's been happening, and what might take place in the coming weeks.

Jorge and I are at different places in our respective creative careers. He's a new photographer and videographer, and I am a trained stage and film actor who made the transition to writing and editing.

We posted audition and crew ad on Craigslist, Backpage, Backstage, and in forums on Meetup.com, with varying degrees of success. Craigslist by far was the worst because our ads were constantly being flagged by insecure or jealous people.

We held the video auditions in our small living room, and there were times when we felt overwhelmed by the process. I was approached by a representative of an online audition service to upload our audition tapes to their server for future use by actors who'd sign a release form. I never heard back from the person, and resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't meant to be.

This is our first time producing a film. Jorge has enough faith for both of us, but I know I must dig in and rev up my faith and believe in the genuine goodness of people. We're both optimistic, but that's not enough when we're asking actors and crew to volunteer their talent, time, equipment, and skills on weekends for several months until the summer.

The story is semi-autobiographical, which in itself was unnerving as we explained the character descriptions and motivations to the actors and other interested parties. There were times when it felt all too real as actors soaked up direction and pointers that poured forth from my lips. There were times when I revised the characters and their history on the spot in an effort to distance Jorge and I from the people depicted in the script.

Jorge and I have met with a few people who say they've experience, equipment, and filmmaking expertise. We've no one else to rely upon for the time being, but are taking mental and literal notes on which personalities and procedures work best for the types of projects we'd like to produce.

There's more to learn and refine as we gear up to film promotional trailer scenes in early March. Jorge read a few books to get up to speed: The Complete Book of Scriptwriting, Film Directing - Shot by Shot, and Film Directing - Cinematic Motion.

The goal is to shoot three scenes to attract investors, producers, and additional crew members. Wish us luck!

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