Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kickstarter Complete

And that's that. Kickstarter complete. Success. Wow.



We had never heard of Kickstarter just four months ago. Now we've run a successful campaign and that's thanks to all of you who donated, re-posted our links, took a chance on us, supported the arts, and generally helped us spread the word. Our success is your success. Congratulations to us all!
Things are coming together (proof? - I just ran into our D.P. at my local coffee shop!). Now that we've cast our female roles we'll turn our attention in other directions - like the male roles! Matt's hard at work on putting the budget together. And as we enter the new year we'll begin our search in earnest for our principal location (so if you know of a two-story, preferably white, house that at least looks like it's out in the middle of nowhere, and that's available for us to take for a month beginning in late July or early August - let us know at reunionproducer@gmail.com).
Thank you all again. You are amazing, spectacular, generous people. We love you.
See you at the movies!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kickstarter winding down

As I write this there are a mere 37 hours left in Reunion's Kickstarter campaign, a campaign that, through the generosity and faith of 72 backers (so far!), has been a success for nearly a week.





Our campaign officially ends at 11:59PM (PST) on December 29th, but we reached our goal a full week early (12/22). It's been an amazing experience to see so many different people support the production of an independently produced horror film. And thanks to that support we were able to enjoy the Christmas break without worrying about whether we would reach our goal.


One thing we've taken away from this experience is that we will support other Kickstarter projects in the future. It's an amazing way to support creative people and the passion that drives them.


And Kickstarter is free to use! They only make money when projects are successfully funded (like ours). At that point they receive 5% of the money donated. So when you back a successful project you're also helping to support the whole Kickstarter community of projects, a community that includes novelists, graphic novelists, video game designers, filmmakers, musicians, and more. Pretty cool.


We'd like to again thank all of our donors for helping us make Reunion. If you'd like to be a part of our little production there's still time to donate, earn rewards, and support Kickstarter. Just follow this link - http://kck.st/b9F3fi - and then click the green "Back This Project" button.

Be seeing you...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meet Reunion's leading lady...

With the rest of winter, all of spring, and the first part of summer ahead of us before we actually start shooting, we've completed the casting of our female roles!


Last week we introduced Trin Miller and Jen Page and today we are announcing the casting of a third beautiful and talented actress, Alison Monda, who will the play our female lead, Heidi. 




Alison fought hard to earn this part -- she's an avowed horror film fan, including High Tension -- one of our own touchstones -- on her list of favorite films. Tall, tough, and multi-talented, Alison was made to kick ass in a horror film.


Not only can Alison scream -- she can sing! She's booked up doing theater work throughout the first half of 2011 (visit her site for her full schedule: http://alisonmonda.yolasite.com/) and has been compared to Idina Menzel (that's Rachel Berry's mom on Glee, yo!). You can currently (through December 31st) see her onstage in Olympia where she's starring in A Stardust Christmas Carol (http://www.harlequinproductions.org/seasonpages/11/starcarol.html).




We couldn't be more excited to welcome Alison aboard the Reunion train as it chugs out of the station. She's fun and funny. And she's working hard at becoming a cat lady, which, as we all know, is the highest, most admirable life goal there is. Wish her luck and wish her well as she joins the cast of Reunion!




Keep an eye out later this week -- we'll be introducing our bad guy...oooh, scary!


Be seeing you...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

First casting announcement

This announcement was promised for Friday, but I finished it early. So why sit on it?


After two plus months of accepting video submissions from actors and two rounds of in-person auditions, we couldn't be more excited to introduce the first two members of Reunion's cast.
Without further ado, meet Trin Miller (as Sarah)... 



 and Jen Page (as Lucy)...




Trin and Jen are currently working together on a web series set to debut on Christmas Day. The Dirty Do Gooders is  an online episodic series about four close friends who mysteriously gain superpowers. Armed only with wisdom gleaned from stacks of comic books, they decide to tackle the rising crime wave in their home town of Milton (taken from their web site).


While they are playing supporting roles in Reunion, both Trin and Jen have headline talent. And beyond their acting chops, they are also the kind of people we would love to hang out with even if they weren't in our little horror flick. 




And if Trin occasionally shows up on set with baked goods, well, so much the better for all of us! And if Jen gets to occasionally rub elbows with the stars of the web series The Guild, don't be jealous - she's just cooler than you.




But seriously, we are lucky to have these wonderfully talented and wonderfully wonderful women on board. 


You can read Trin's blog about her experiences fighting off randy doors here: http://www.dirtydogooders.com/2010/12/im-a-door-able/. Look at this picture:



You can hardly blame the door. Trin's other tales of adventure on The Dirty Do Gooder set can be found here: http://www.dirtydogooders.com/author/trin/.

Jen has her own website, which you can visit here: http://www.jenpage.net/ "Like" her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/thejenpage


Welcome, Trin and Jen! We can't wait to get you both in front of the camera!

All photos of Trin by Johnny Miller.

Jen's headshot by David Ward. Her other photos are hers to do with as she pleases!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quick Update

It's been a busy couple of weeks. On December 4th we had our first round of auditions. For that we sent the actors we invited sides (scenes from the script). We scheduled them in fifteen minute intervals. For the actual auditions we had them read with producer Jared Callaway Hagen. He was great, but the actors we brought in were even better. 


On Saturday the 11th we brought back a number of actors for callbacks. For this round of the process the actors were in groups. This allowed us to pair them up and combine them in a number of ways to see how they played off of each other. Again the performances were great. By having actors working off of each other the performances were elevated even further.


Two actresses have already been offered supporting roles (although they could both easily be leading ladies) and they have accepted. We will introduce them here this Friday (12/17). Next Tuesday (12/21) we are bringing those actors still in contention for the leads in for one final audition where they will again be able to act opposite one another. We can't wait!


In other news, last week I completed a blog post that should appear at http://infdist.com/blog this Friday. In it I write a little about my own journey into filmmaking and touch on the availability of new distribution methods in the internet age.


And finally, we're down to the final two weeks of our Kickstarter campaign. It's been an amazing ride so far, with 52 generous donors pledging over $8,000 toward our $10,000 goal. Let's keep that surge going so everyone who has pledged so far will get their richly deserved rewards! We can use your help - fake blood and body part prosthetics are not cheap, but that's what we want for Christmas!


Be seeing you...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kickstarter Final Month


This is it! Our final month on Kickstarter! But what the hell else is going on?




Casting. Tomorrow - December 4 - we'll be holding auditions in Seattle. We received A LOT of great video submissions (a couple originating in the U.K, London and Dublin specifically) and from those we were able to put together a great group to come in for in person auditions. We are excited and a little nervous -- it's time to grow the Reunion family.


FX. We're in the early stages of trying to work out an arrangement with Bandersnatch Studios (a new, Seattle-based makeup and fx house) to do our gore and goo stuff. They're currently putting some budget numbers together for us. While nothing is set in stone, we're optimistic we can work something out with them. We'd love nothing more than to keep the money we raise on Kickstarter in Seattle, and spending it with Bandersnatch would be awesome.


New Producer! Jared Callaway Hagen is officially onboard as a producer. You can see more about Jared on our main Kickstarter page, but suffice it to say we are THRILLED to have him on board. Even before our auditions tomorrow we've grown the Reunion family by one this week. Welcome, Jared! As we get closer and closer to production Jared's going to have a lot to do. And, if we meet our Kickstarter goal and receive the funds that have been pledged so far, Jared will be working side by side with Matt to see to it that that money is spent smartly to make Reunion its scariest, prettiest, bloodiest, nail-biting best.


Speaking of the Reunion family, you who have donated already, ARE the Reunion family. Kickstarter, and crowd-sourced funding in general, is a very new concept. And an exciting one. It's a chance for people like us to live our filmmaking dreams while reaching out to a potential audience before a frame of the movie is shot. And you took a chance on us and on the potential of crowd-sourced funding. For that, we are eternally grateful to you. Words cannot express what it's meant for us to see your donations come in and move us closer to our goal. We take the commitment you've shown to us, and to Reunion, seriously. It is our commitment back to you to continue doing what we've been doing, which is to go slow through the pre-production process so that we are fully prepared for the unexpected surprises that do come up on all film sets.


You have already done so much for Reunion but we could use your help with getting the word out. If we don't reach our goal by 11:59PM on December 29th, we will not receive any of the pledges we've received so far. Please consider posting to your Facebook wall, Twitter feed, or email and let your friends and family know that you donated to Reunion and include this link: http://kck.st/b9F3fi. And if you know anyone with a blog or a forum where we could reach an audience that would be a huge help in getting us to the finish line as well.



If each of you could get just two, three, or four others to donate that would be amazing. We need lots of smaller donations - $15 is the low pledge and it basically equates to pre-ordering a Special "Donors Only" Edition of Reunion on DVD, a DVD unique to donors and one that donors will get first. A lot of smaller donations can add up quick. But,i f you have a rich uncle who's always wanted to see his name in the credits of the movie, $500 gets him an Executive Producer credit. For $1000 your uncle gets a character named after him and he gets an invitation to the set for the day that character is slated to meet his demise!


We have 26 days left to reach our goal. We can do it and you can get the rewards you so richly deserve.
Thank you all so much for taking a chance on Reunion. We love you all!


Be seeing you...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another casting update

Hi! This is a newer version of a previous post detailing our casting process. I've re-worked it now because we're down to the final week for actors to submit videos (original using sides from us, or a link to a reel).


With December fast approaching, we at Reunion headquarters are looking at the last (we hope!) two weeks of our casting process. That being the case, it seemed like as good a time as any to update you all on how that process is being handled.

Because of our micro-budget status, we will be shooting Reunion on a shoestring. Which means we had to make a choice: SAG or no SAG. SAG is the Screen Actors Guild -- the union representing actors. We would have loved to been able to go the SAG route, but the minimums we would have been required to pay actors risked our entire budget.  So we decided to go the non-union route and cast a wide net, hoping to discover some excellent local talent that we hope to see turn into household names. And we do very much hope to be able to offer our actors some kind of financial reward for the efforts. The work they do is very hard (and often under appreciated by the average viewer). They allow themselves to go to places emotionally that most of us actively try to avoid -- and they do it on camera! For that we owe them our utmost respect, admiration, sandwiches, cookies, and some greenbacks. How many greenbacks we're able to provide will be in large part determined by how well our current efforts to raise funds go. I can promise lots of sandwiches and cookies though!

ABOUT OUR PROCESS

Our goal entering the casting phase of our pre-production was to see a lot of people. We have a relatively small cast (eight speaking parts, of which three should be considered co-leads). So, our feeling was that by seeing as much talent as possible we should be able to fill our relatively small cast with some great local (Seattle) talent. Most of our casting search has been conducted through Theatre Puget Sound (great site!).


At this point our operation is still small (and spread out -- Seattle, LA, and points in-between) so for our initial audition listing we have asked actors to submit videos for our consideration. These could fall into one of two categories:

1) Submit a video reading sides (script pages provided by us).
2) Submit a link to their reel (a short video featuring representative clips of an actor's onscreen work).

We are asking for videos so we can achieve our goal of seeing a lot of people, without becoming overwhelmed by hordes of hungry actors at in-person auditions. The last day we will accept video submissions is Friday, November 26th. Over the following weekend we will make our final assessments of the received submissions and on Monday (Nov. 29) or Tuesday (Nov. 30) we will contact those actors we'd like to see in person to schedule audition times for Saturday, December 4th. All actors reading that day will be reading for the leads. On Saturday, December 11th we will have callbacks. At that time actors may be asked to read for supporting roles.

It is our hope that we'll be able to begin announcing some casting decisions shortly thereafter. If things go really well (and we've already had A LOT of really talented people contact us) we may even be able to announce our whole cast. That said, if we feel we haven't found the right fit for a part, we will at that time extend our search until we have the right person in every role.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in auditioning, visit our Theatre Puget Sound listing for complete details:


I'll reiterate what was stated above: it is our goal is to finish casting after callbacks on December 11th. However, if we do not find the right match for a character, we are prepared to extend the casting process as needed.

This is your chance to star in a movie. Email us at: reunionproducer@gmail.com to send us a link to your reel or to request sides so you can make an original submission. And remember -- all submissions must be returned to us by the end of the day on Friday, November 26th.

Be seeing you...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Casting, blood, and guts...


We're at a fun stage of the game. Our initial (and last?!) casting period is winding down. November 26th marks the last day interested actors can submit videos to be considered for auditions on December 4th. We've already received A LOT of great submissions and, if this past weekend is any indication, we'll receive a bunch more between now and the 26th. If you, or anyone you know, has ever dreamed of not just appearing in, but STARRING in, a feature film, now's your chance! Visit our final Theatre Puget Sound listing for details:


http://tpsonline.org/auditions/auddb.php?Aud_ID=20725


What else is new? We're beginning the exhilarating process of shopping around for blood and body parts! To be as revolting as possible, we want to rely on as many practical effects as possible. Practical effects are those effects that are actually done on camera, live on the set, as opposed to digital effects done in post-production. Because our budget will be so tiny, we're shopping around early to get the best deals on blood -- fresh and congealed! -- and dismembered body parts! Tonight we are meeting with a local effects company that does great, bloody work. Fingers crossed we work out a deal without losing an arm -- or leg!


Consider donating to our Kickstarter campaign so we can afford lots of guts, gore, and goop!






Be seeing you...






Thursday, October 28, 2010

Casting Update

Hello, horror fans! With November fast approaching, we at Reunion headquarters are looking at the last (we hope!) month of our casting process. That being the case, it seemed like as good a time as any to update you all on how that process is being handled.

Because of our micro-budget status, we will be shooting Reunion on a shoestring. Which means we had to make a choice: SAG or no SAG. SAG is the Screen Actors Guild -- the union representing actors. We would have loved to been able to go the SAG route, but the minimums we would have been required to pay actors risked our entire budget.  So we decided to go the non-union route and cast a wide net, hoping to discover some excellent local talent that we hope to see turn into household names. And we do very much hope to be able to offer our actors some kind of financial reward for the efforts. The work they do is very hard (and often under appreciated by the average viewer). They allow themselves to go to places emotionally that most of us actively try to avoid -- and they do it on camera! For that we owe them our utmost respect, admiration, sandwiches, cookies, and some greenbacks. How many greenbacks we're able to provide will be in large part determined by how well our current efforts to raise funds go. I can promise lots of sandwiches and cookies though!

ABOUT OUR PROCESS

Our goal entering the casting phase of our pre-production was to see a lot of people. We have a relatively small cast (eight speaking parts, of which three should be considered co-leads). So, our feeling was that by seeing as much talent as possible we should be able to fill our relatively small cast with some great local (Seattle) talent. Most of our casting search has been conducted through Theatre Puget Sound (great site!).



At this point our operation is still small (and spread out -- Seattle, LA, and points in-between) so for our initial audition listing we have asked actors to submit videos for our consideration. These could fall into one of two categories:

1) Submit a video reading sides (script pages provided by us).
2) Submit a link to their reel (a short video featuring representative clips of an actor's onscreen work).

We are asking for videos so we can achieve our goal of seeing a lot of people, without becoming overwhelmed by hordes of hungry actors at in-person auditions. The last day we will accept video submissions is Friday, November 26th. Over the following weekend we will make our final assessments of the received submissions and on Monday (Nov. 29) or Tuesday (Nov. 30) we will contact those actors we'd like to see in person to schedule audition times for Saturday, December 4th. All actors reading that day will be reading for the leads. On Saturday, December 11th we will have callbacks. At that time actors may be asked to read for supporting roles.

It is our hope that we'll be able to begin announcing some casting decisions shortly thereafter. If things go really well (and we've already had A LOT of really talented people contact us) we may even be able to announce our whole cast. That said, if we feel we haven't found the right fit for a part, we will at that time extend our search until we have the right person in every role.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in auditioning, visit our Theatre Puget Sound listing for complete details:


Be seeing you...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thanks for the party!

Last night (October 2, 2010) Gainsbourg, a little bar serving French cuisine in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood, hosted a Reunion fundraising party, donating $1 from select drink specials to the funding of our little blood bath to be.


We had a great turnout and want to thank all who attended for coming, and especially the fine folks at Gainsbourg for allowing us to invade their space and splash filthy (Hooker's Revenge, Arousal) trailers all over their lovely walls.


We had a blast. We think. We can't really remember anything that happened. So that must be a good thing...right?






Check back tomorrow for an update on our casting process, currently in full swing and set to conclude in early December.


Be seeing you...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seattle Friends - Come and have a drink with us!

As we near the end of our first month of fundraising ($1600+ so far! - thanks everyone!), we've decided it's time to have a shindig. A hootenanny. A blowout. A slobberknocker. A damn good time.


If you live in the greater Seattle area come and join us for drinks next Tuesday at Gainsbourg in Greenwood. Check the poster for all the details:




Matt's bringing some exploitation trailers that are beyond ridiculous -- and ridiculously awesome! You must see them. If you're really lucky you'll even see the trailer for The Crippled Masters. It will repulse -- and inspire! -- you!


We'll be hanging out from 7PM until close and would love to see you there. All are welcome. Hang out, watch some trailers, talk about movies, learn a little about Reunion and, if you like what you hear, consider donating to our blood drive. 


Be seeing you...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What the hell is Kickstarter?!

Last week we launched our REUNION Kickstarter campaign and I blogged a little bit about it here. But because this is an entirely new era in crowd-sourced funding, I thought a follow-up post explaining a little bit more about Kickstarter was in order. You can also visit Kickstarter's main page and learn a lot there.

So what the hell is Kickstarter? In their own words, Kickstarter is "a new way to fund and follow creativity". It was created to allow people to fund creative projects of all kinds. Authors use it to fund books. Musicians raise money to record new CDs. Diaspora, a proposed Facebook alternative, most famously used it to raise over $200,000 toward the development of their new website. And filmmakers are using it to fund their dream projects. It has been featured in Wired, The New York Times, and on NPR.

How does it work? Project creators post their project. Kickstarter requires a monetary goal to be posted and a time frame within which that goal must be attained. It is an all-or-nothing proposition. In our case we are hoping to raise $10,000 in ninety days. If we receive pledges totaling at least $10,000 before the ninety days is up we will have made our goal. When a goal is met donors are charged at the end of the campaign. If a goal is not met no donors are charged a penny. The project is back to square one. This deadline based system encourages donors to act now and not wait (if they're excited about, and want to fund, a particular project). People seem to respond to deadlines. And the all-or-nothing element ensures that donors are only charged to support projects that have the most chance to succeed. 


So besides supporting the arts, what do donors get from the experience? For one thing they get to see a film, a book, a CD, an art project move through all of its various stages toward completion. 


They also get rewards! Project creators, in addition to setting monetary goals and time lines, also offer rewards to donors. These rewards are, ideally, unique to the specific project. In our case our lowest possible donation is only $15. Essentially you are pre-ordering a Special "Donor Only" Edition of the finished film on DVD. And you get a thank-you on our website (launching soon - the design work is almost done!). The more you give, the more you get (higher level donations also receive the rewards applicable to all lower level donations). If you want receive a thank-you in the credits -- that's one of the rewards! Want to be an Executive Producer? If you have $500 burning a hole in your pocket, you could be!

For filmmakers this is exciting because it allows us to invite more people into our process, a process that is collaborative to begin with. With camera costs being what they are now, it is more possible than ever to make great, original films outside of the Hollywood system. Our hope is that we will be able to get a lot of smaller donations -- pre-order the DVD and save a spot on the shelf for REUNION in your horror film collection.

We will also be offering referral rewards. If you refer other people to our Kickstarter page email us at reunionproducer@gmail.com with the subject heading "Kickstarter Referral". In the body of your email let us know who you have referred to our page and, if any of those people become donors, we will add up their total donations and give YOU the reward at that amount -- and we'll round up! If you can get enough people to give you could end up with a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU in the movie! And you'll be invited to the set to watch that character meet a bloody end.

But first we have to raise the money to buy blood! Help us out, donate blood!

REUNION's Kickstarter page 
Kickstarter Frequently Asked Questions 

Be seeing you...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fundraising AND Casting underway

FUNDRAISING


Fundraising is underway! We've launched Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to try to scare up some scratch. Kickstarter is our primary vehicle right now. The Indiegogo campaign is meant to supplement the Kickstarter campaign and to make it easy for anyone who already supports projects at Indiegogo to find and donate to us, should they choose to do so.


We have some really cool rewards -- T-shirts, visits to the set, invitations to screenings and wrap parties, etc. Check them out and help us get off to a fast start. Once money starts coming in it's easier to attract more donors -- everyone likes to back a winner! 


This is our T-shirt design, created specifically for us by Chris Lytle:




If you've really got some bread to spread around, at the high end you could get a character named after you! And you'd be invited to the set to see that character meet his (or her!) maker! Now that's a good time.


Rewards are the same at both sites. As mentioned above, Indiegogo is meant to supplement Kickstarter and make it easy for anyone who already belongs to one site or the other to find and help fund us -- if they want to!


CASTING


Originally casting was not going to begin until December or even January, but because I've already received some (very) impressive audition videos, it's only fair to offer the same opportunity to everyone.


What's that mean for you? You can begin submitting digitally immediately!


The purpose of the videos you create at this point is for us to see your bountiful talent so we can decide who we'd like to see in person. No casting decisions will be made based on video submissions alone. At the end of this post you'll find the email address where you can request sides, submit small video files, or links to videos hosted elsewhere. Don't worry about the quality of your camera -- we're evaluating your talent, not the resolution it's being displayed in.


You are free to shoot whatever you'd like (like I mentioned above, sides will be provided if that's your preference), but remember this is a brutal, feature-length horror movie. See French films HAUTE TENSION and INSIDE for reference.


PARTS AVAILABLE:


Three female roles -- one lead, two supporting, all 26-28 years old.


HEIDI - LEAD. 26. Married to David, finishing up her Master's Degree in Special Education. Sexy and smart. Deadly, but she doesn't know that yet...


SARAH - SUPPORTING. 26. David's sister, Heidi's sister-in-law. Dating Adam. Sweet and caring. 


LUCY - SUPPORTING. 28. Married to Travis. Attractive, but she spends a little too long in front of the makeup mirror. Long red nails could do some damage in a pinch...


Five male roles -- two leads, three supporting. All 28 years old.


DAVID - LEAD. 28. Married to Heidi. He also works in education, on an administrative track. Destined to be a principal -- if his own school misdeeds don't catch up to him first. 


CASWELL - LEAD. 28. The bad guy. Something happened to him in high school and he cracked. But he's not over-the-top about it. He's slow and methodical. Has spent ten years preparing for one night...


ADAM - SUPPORTING. 28. Dating Sarah. Friends with David for most of his life. His waist bands are starting to expand -- just a little. Might have got up to no good in high school with David, Travis, and Brandon.


BRANDON - SUPPORTING. 28. Apparently single. In high school he was a gym rat, ripped. Now the heaviest thing he lifts on a day-to-day basis is a Twinkie. But could he tap into the old strength if it will save his life?


TRAVIS - SUPPORTING. 28. Married to Lucy. He's been a serious swimmer since high school and has the long body to prove it. 


Should you choose to read sides, the sides provided will be for Heidi and David. All submissions will be considered for all appropriate parts, but please state your role preference if you have one.


Send submissions and request sides at: reunionproducer@gmail.com


Be seeing you...


                       

Thursday, September 30, 2010

REUNION teaser vid...

In anticipation of our Kickstarter campaign (launching tomorrow) here's a very (very!) brief teaser (we don't start shooting until next July!)


REUNION teaser from Jeremy Bell on Vimeo.

Check back tomorrow for information on our Kickstarter campaign. You can be a part of this process -- and see your name in the credits as a result!


Also, actors -- keep your eyes peeled the next couple of days. Because I've been contacted by some talented people already, I think we are going to open up digital submissions immediately. More details to follow (maybe Saturday).


Be seeing you...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

$15,000 Monster Movie

Gareth Edwards is a micro-budget filmmaker. And creative. And talented. 


His feature length creature-feature, MONSTERS, was shot by a two person crew (Gareth on camera, plus his sound recordist) on location in various parts of Central America. An editor also traveled with them so scenes were able to be cut together right away, once the day's filming was done. Gareth did the digital effects work himself.






The end result? A monster movie made for the (relatively) paltry sum of $15,000.


Check out this short (3 minute) making-of from Best Buy:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyAkI3l4wxY

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, because it's a great example of what can be achieved today with a little creativity and know-how. And independent filmmakers like Gareth should be supported. 


I enjoyed MONSTERS quite bit. Whether or not you feel the same way, should you choose to seek it out (please do!), I think you will agree that it's an impressive achievement that further marks the evolution of filmmaking away from a studio-based system to a system that puts creative decisions directly in the hands of those who are actually doing the day-to-day work of making the movie.


Check out the official trailer here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph04nV4yZVU



Be seeing you...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Script breakdown finished!

Finally -- finally! -- I've moved past the procrastination and finished REUNION's script breakdown (see my post on script breakdowns if you haven't already and would like to know what one is for).


With that done we can begin going through the script reports and figuring out all of things we'll need to shoot this baby -- actors, props, vehicles, locations, how many gallons of fake blood, etc. And we can start putting together a budget. Another step forward!




Be seeing you...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canon 7D and Rig

REUNION will shoot on Canon 7Ds. For those of you unfamiliar with this little camera, this post is for you. You'll meet the camera, see some of its key peripherals, and I'll include some links where you can find more information on the gear shown here.


You'll notice above I referred to this as a little camera. That's because it is.




It's a still camera with exceptional HD capabilities, leading it to be adopted quickly by independent filmmakers of all stripes. It allows independent filmmakers to use interchangeable lenses, much like would be used on larger, much more expensive film cameras, or even the famous RED camera. It's small size makes it ideal for shooting inconspicuously. If you're out doing some guerilla shooting most people will assume you're shooting stills (and maybe you're doing that as well) and leave you to it.


So why are we shooting a feature-length horror film on a still camera? Because it's low (relative) cost will save us a lot of money. By shooting digitally we'll save money by not having to buy film and then have it developed. It will save time on set because we won't have to stop and change film magazines as frequently -- we'll just swap out Compact Flash cards. And then interchangeable lenses will allow us (the director of photography specifically) to have the artistic freedom we'd like to have as we set up our shots. Different lenses create different looks and by being able to change out lenses we'll be able to create different looks for the various kinds of scenes and shots that will make up the finished film. By using different lenses and by setting our own f-stop we will also be able to utilize shallow depth of field. Depth of field refers to how deep the focus field is in a shot. An example of a very deep depth of field would be the look you get from your standard point-and-shoot camera: everything is in focus. A shallow depth of field allows us to choose the specific thing in the frame we'd like to focus on (for instance, a subject's face) while throwing the background out of focus. This is a quick way to draw a viewer's attention to what we, the filmmakers, want them to focus on in a given shot. It used to be that to achieve a shallow depth of field you'd have to spend a lot of money on high end video cameras (or shoot on film). The introduction of HDSLRs like the Canon EOS 7D, the Canon 5D Mark II, and others, has allowed a much lower cost of entry into this kind of independent filmmaking. 


Because I own a Canon 7D, and have access to another one, it is even easier for us. We'll need to rent lenses and other gear (lights, dollies, etc), but we're already set with the cameras.


There are, however, things to consider before buying one of these cameras for yourself. They are not made with the filmmaker in mind. What does that mean for you, as a prospective buyer, or renter, of an HDSLR? It means you'll need a few things in order to fully outfit your camera for filmmaking purposes. The onboard sound on these cameras is notoriously bad. One small microphone is it on the Canon 7D and there's no way to monitor the quality of the sound you are getting. So, you'll need a microphone. And some kind of external sound recorder. 






In the picture above you see the microphone I use on my camera -- a Rode Videomic. It can be found on Amazon(Rode VideoMic Directional Video Condenser Microphone w/Mount) for $150.


In this next picture you can see my external sound recorder, a Zoom H4N. It allows up to four track recording and accepts multiple inputs, including 3/4" phone jacks (like I'm using in this picture) and industry standard XLR inputs. In this picture the Zoom is the little silver box hanging off the back right side of my cage. Find a Zoom at Amazon (Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder).




One negative to recording sound this way, if you've never dealt with non-sync sound before, is that the camera is recording the picture while the Zoom is recording the sound. So how do you get the two back together? I'd recommend the same software I use. It's called Pluraleyes and it can be found here: http://www.singularsoftware.com/pluraleyes.html. To use Pluraleyes, make sure you are recording sound on the Zoom AND that the Canon 7D is also recording sound via its built-in mic. Then, once you've imported your footage (with the built-in audio still attached) and the audio from the Zoom into Final Cut Pro, you can use Pluraleyes to sync the Zoom's audio to the audio you recorded in the camera. It's a nifty, timesaving trick. If you need help figuring out how to use the software, the Pluraleyes website has a short video demonstrating how it all works. 


You'll also notice in the above photos the cage the Canon 7D is sitting in. Here's one more:




So what's the cage for? It's a way of attaching all of the extra gear needed to maximize the 7D's filmmaking potential -- the mic, the Zoom, and, eventually an external monitor. It also allows the top handle you see here, allowing for much more flexibility carrying the camera around. I bought this cage from CPM Filmtools. They have a huge variety in what rigs they offer and all of their rigs include a lifetime warranty. Nice!


That's it for me, but here's a few links you should absolutely check out if you're considering jumping into HDSLR filmmaking:


Philip Bloom's Blog -- He's the HDSLR guru online and his site is a great resource, full of great work he's done with these cameras (including his trip to Skywalker Ranch to teach the Lucasfilm crew how to use these babies) and also includes some great tutorials. A must.


Cinema 5D -- A forum for all things HDSLR. Is you have a question, someone here can answer it. If you have a question about gear -- someone here has probably already tried it and given their review. Great, great resource. 


Be seeing you...


Saturday, September 18, 2010

REUNION - A brief history

REUNION began with a letter. It was a number years ago now, and the letter arrived in the mailbox of someone I know. It was unexpected and its contents were a surprise. It was from an old high school classmate and in essence it was a letter of forgiveness. The letter's author was writing to let my friend know that what my friend had engaged in during their high school years together (mocking words directed at the letter's author) had not gone unnoticed. And then the author wrote that my friend was forgiven.


My friend had grown up and moved on, probably not thinking anything about how words spoken in high school might have affected the party the words were directed at. He was embarrassed by the letter, embarrassed by how he had behaved as a much younger person. 


All of this got me thinking. This kind of thing (and worse) goes on in high schools all around the country. Kids get picked on. It happens.


And for the most part it ends with graduation. People grow up, move on. High school becomes a distant memory. But, as the letter proved, sometimes the hurts and scars of high school aren't so easily forgotten. Fortunately, in my friend's case, the person he had once wronged chose to forgive him. It was probably the author's own way of moving on.


But what if that hadn't been the case? 


That is the premise of REUNION. Imagine the letter's author had not forgotten, had not forgiven, and had not moved on. Imagine that those years after high school had been filled with thoughts of one thing -- revenge. And what better time to put those years of planning and preparation into action than the weekend of the ten year reunion?


So if you weren't always the kind person you are today, if you had moments during your own high school sojourn you'd like to forget, and you receive an invitation to a cocktail party the night before your own reunion, an invitation without a return address and no host mentioned... It might be best to politely decline it.


Ten years is a lot of time for rage to build. It's a lot of time to prepare. And should you accept his invitation, you'll find that he's more than ready for you.


Be seeing you...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Early Casting Notice - Seattle area actors take note

If you are an actor in the Seattle area, or if you know an actor in the Seattle area, here's a little piece of info regarding our upcoming casting process.


Keep your eyes peeled in late December or early January for the casting notices. We'll post on all notable casting boards (http://tpsonline.orghttp://classifieds.thestranger.com/seattle/, etc)and, of course, we'll give you a heads up here too (so if your an actor in Seattle follow this blog or "Like" our Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Reunion-The-Movie/111296185594705?ref=mf) to keep up-to-date.


REUNION is a feature-length horror film slated to shoot in July 2011. We'll be using non-SAG actors so, if that's you, we want to hear from you. 


There are three female roles -- all between 25-35 years old. One lead, two supporting.


There are five male roles, also between the ages of 25-35. Two leads, three supporting.


There will also be five male roles available for teenagers (16-19). These will be the male characters shown as teenagers in a very brief flashback.


In December or early January we will place the notices and ask all interested parties to submit a DVD of a scene showing what the actor is capable of in a horror movie context. Details of what to submit will be included in the actual notices.


Once we've reviewed the submitted DVDs we will ask for in-person readings from actors we want to see more from.


This is your chance to be covered in blood and scream a lot. Hold nothing back!


Be seeing you...