It’s a great film

This looks like a fun festival

With festival season opening it’s legs, I’m scrambling to finish 2 films on time. Time for what you might ask? Time for TIFF you dingus. The 2 films in question are Rainbow Connection (a coming of age story about a teenage boy with Down syndrome) and  the 3.5 hour epic The Last Pogo Jumps Again (a documentary which features numerous musicians and welfare bums from 1977).

As a side note: Maybe welfare bums was a tad bit harsh. They prefer to be called artists.

Both films are currently being mixed by Mix Master Daniel Pellerin at Theatre D. I sat in on The Last Pogo Jumps Again mixing session yesterday and was amazed at how good it’s gonna sound. Especially since most of the audio was done with an onboard mic. You may not know this but I have a very hot and cold relationship with The Pogo. It’s been a 6 year relationship, the longest I’ve ever had. I must admit, seeing it projected on the big screen and hearing the music up front and in your face brought a smile to my face. It just might be a good movie after all. Tomorrow, I’m sitting in on the final mixing session for Rainbow Connection. Pretty excited!!! It’s a pretty simple design/mix. A lot of diegetic sound and no music, unless you count this…

Next up, colour correction. Not exactly sure what the plan is. I just found out my favourite colourist got laid off. Just might end up being a Klopko living room session. Or maybe we’ll end up at a proper colour correction facility. Isn’t that why I raised all that money online? Vandewater keeps throwing around the name Alter Ego. I’ll look into that. The major benefit of going to a proper colourist is that we’ll hopefully get a few tapes out of it. That’s really where the money goes.

As a side note: I have 3 HD Cam and 5 Digi Beta tapes of Animal Control if anybody is interested in purchasing a copy.

I figure both films will be done by July. At that point it’s full on festival mode. It’ll be this Fall that determines whether the last 6 years has been a waste of time or not. I think Rainbow Connection has a good shot of playing a lot of festivals. I’m not so sure about The Last Pogo Jumps Again.  What hurts the Pogo’s chances are 3 things…

A: It’s a 3.5 hour long film about Toronto Punk Rock

B: It’s a 3.5 hour long film about Toronto Punk Rock

C: It’s a 3.5 hour long film about Toronto Punk Rock

Swollen Members @ Shock Theatre (photo by Paul Till)

Although I do think it is enjoyable, it is pretty specific. It’s about Toronto in the late 1970′s and a bunch of bands that very few people have heard of. I mean how many of you can name a Swollen Members song? With that said, there seems to be people who are looking forward to it…mostly Mike Dent, but still, he counts as a person sometimes. What it has working in its favour is that  it’s a film about Toronto. If it’s gonna play any festivals it’ll probably be in Toronto, right? However, I think our chances were better last year. Last year TIFF had a bunch of music docs playing like the Bruce Springstein one and the U2 one. Another thing we got going for us is Colin Brunton, the co-director/co-producer/financier of the project. He’s been able to make a name for himself over the last 35 years in the local film industry. You may have seen such films as Roadkill and Highway 61.

As a side note: I really don’t understand the hype behind those 2 films. Someone please fill me in.

I’m definitely a lot more worried about getting into festivals this time round though. I had no expectations last time because there wasn’t any. Animal Control set the bar pretty high as well. Even as I write this, Animal Control is still in the running to play film festivals. Over 2 years strong. Why the fuck can’t I make any money off it? If there’s any positive reinforcement, Phil Booth said that this year was gonna be a good one for me.

As a side note: For those who don’t know Phil Booth, he’s an astrologer in the East end and Liz Worth’s other boy friend when I can’t afford to buy her Diary Queen. Don’t believe me? Ask Nathaniel Chadwick.

Meet Phil Booth

It’s basically the waiting game right now. I’d rather it be Catan but I don’t make the rules. Failing to play film festivals is not really an option. It’ll basically fuck up everything else that I’ve set into motion (ie. working on a feature film of Rainbow Connection). I haven’t heard of any unsuccessful short films that have gone on to be developed into a feature. Have you? Also, I feel there’s a bit of an expectation for Rainbow Connection to succeed, especially after receiving over $7,000 from people online. I’m sure I’ve said this before but doing the festival circuit with Animal Control made me realize that you can’t take it personally when you get rejected. You have no idea what type of films a festival is looking to program that specific year. However, it is an extremely warm feeling when they say yes. Kind of like the feeling I get when I colour correct with Klopko at his place. Either way, you’ll be the first to know…I promise.

As a side note: can someone please program I Spyders.

I Spyders poster

 

 

Waking goes to WSFF!

After a long wait, the film I made along with Sophia Chirovsky will finally see its big screen debut at this year’s Worldwide Short Film Festival! Waking stars Emma Wardle, was produced by the great Aaron Kopff and lensed by the one and only James Klopko!

The film will be playing at 8:30pm on June 6 and 7:00pm on June 9th. For more info on the screening head on over to the festival’s website.

Hope to see y’all there!

Embracing the mistake


The Master at Work

I’ve recently come to realize how a fuck up during a take can make a scene even better. Now I’m not talking about the blooper reels you see at the end of Jackie Chan movies, I’m talking about a cough, stumbling on or repeating a line, a character tripping over themselves, over falling asleep on camera. All of the above have been edited into Rainbow Connection and have made the film that much more interesting/better. The real stuff. Like so many others, I was always about finding that perfect take, even if it meant shooting 7 takes of a wide master.

As a side note: That’s why it takes over 6 days for me to shoot a short film.

With a mistake comes something genuine. The actor is no longer acting, they are reacting to the moment. That, to me, is the most interesting thing about performances. Sometimes they react in character, sometimes they look at the camera and sometimes they stop and say “sorry”. But sometimes, just sometimes, they float somewhere in between, where you’re not quite sure if the mistake is intentional or not. Those are my favourites.

I actually started to think about incorporating flubs in the edit while we were filming. The original opening to Eugene’s first scene with his mother had him waking her up and lighting a smoke for her. Dylan (Eugene) was not familiar with using a lighter. The 3rd take in he burned himself and the moment/tone of the scene instantly changed. Even Deborah (Eugene’s mom) changed and for a slight moment you saw a side to her character that isn’t in the rest of the film. That one little fuck up showed more about her character and their relationship then the rest of the film. Ok maybe I’m stretching, but you learned a lot in a little bit of time, which too me is also key to filmmaking, especially shorts. When I was working with Patrick, who has autism, every take was a flub in a sense. Nothing would ever be the same and I had no idea what to expect one minute to the next. Some of Patrick’s reactions in the film were from me coaxing him, a lot came from exterior sources (ie. someone opening a door off screen) and some came from a place you and I know nothing about. No matter where they came from, they work. And although his reactions to certain scenarios may seem odd, they’re real.

This is what comes up when you search Auteur Filmmaker

Now that I’ve started to look at mistakes in a different light I’ve been going through all the footage again, keeping my eye out for gems. Vandewater may have found the ultimate fuck up/awesome moment the other day. I don’t even want to give it away. Leave it more as a Where’s Waldo type of thing. I don’t know how much more I can really say about this. It’s pretty straight forward, just be open as a director. Being stubborn or staying focused on making the movie you want, even if you don’t have it, doesn’t make you a auteur. It’s makes you an asshole.

As a side note: Doing drugs also helps.

 

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, In…Indi…IndieGoGo

The face Mitch makes when I post something after Foley Friday

After spending all my Rainbow Connection Arts Council money on Hash and Casino Rama, I needed to find a way to finish the film. I turned to IndieGoGo because I’d seen how much money Bill had raised for I Spyders (something like $3000). Bill, if I’m wrong please correct me.

As a side note: I might be waiting on Bill’s reply for a while. I don’t think he reads this blog anymore.

I got asked this question the other day…

Jen Kassabian: “Why did you pick IndieGoGo over Kickstarter?”

Kire Paputts: “Mind your own fucking business.”

Just joking. I told her I chose IndieGoGo over KickStarter because with IndieGoGo you have the option of Flexible funding. This means that you keep whatever you raise, minus IndieGoGo operation fees. With Kickstarter, you have to raise your entire goal or you don’t get dick. I learned this from Bill. I also had this discussion with a friend the other day and he convinced me that Kickstarter wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. His point was that with Kickstarter, people know where their money’s going. The idea with Kickstarter’s Fixed funding is that if people give you money then they know, for the most part, that the project will get completed, because when you sign up with Kickstarter you are saying that you need this much money to accomplish a certain project. With IndieGoGo’s Flexible funding there’s less certainty. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an example…

Other IndieGoGo campaigns

Say someone needs $10,000 to finish a short film about a teenager with Down syndrome who has a fascination with rainbows. Say that person only makes $3,000. That person gets $3,000 but he still needs another $7,000. How’s he suppose to finish the film? What if that person isn’t able to raise the other $7,000? What happens then? Well, depending on the person, that particular project may never get finished and that person is now $3,000 richer.

As a side note: The key part of the last paragraph is depending on the person…I’m not that person.

 

I started working on the IndieGoGo campaign page about a month ago. Klopko and myself spent an afternoon working on a little promotional video. We invited Dylan out and he gave us his thoughts on everything from working on Rainbow Connection to manscaping. I got the video down to just under 5 minutes. When I was researching other successful campaigns on IndieGoGo I quickly realized that the majority of them had videos under 3 minutes. I also realize that people’s attention span in fucking pathetic, but the video is what it is. I think it’s interesting and will keep the viewer watching. I’m not gonna cut it down for the sake of following a particular structure.

As a side note: Sticking to structure for the sake of structure, whether it be writing, editing, etc. is a totally separate blog entry in the future.

Mike Hurlbut at Parts and Labour

After a few video issues with Vimeo we finally launched yesterday. In the first hour we raised over $500…majority from friends, but still. It sits at $615 as I write this. So far the response has been positive. I think a big part of raising money is knowing the people/communities we’re trying to appeal too. For instance, I’m not marketing this campaign towards Ossington hipsters or Mike Pierro, I’m gonna reach out to local Down syndrome organizations, communities and other special needs organizations. I’ve already established a dialogue with a lot of these people when I was doing casting and many have been extremely supportive towards the project. Another reason I’m steering the campaign their way is that they have a better understanding and appreciation for the project and its cause. Many parents who have kids with special needs don’t need me to tell them that a film like this doesn’t happen that often.

Another thing to put some effort into is the perks people get when they donate. I probably could have come up with some better ones but they’re not bad. I think the key thing is to have a good variety or denominations. I have $1,000 option called The Executive but I don’t expect anybody to donate that much. I’m expecting to make most my funding on the $10 or $25 options. Both great options by the way.

Now that I’ve emailed everybody I’ve ever met with this campaign I’m trying to figure out other avenues to explore. I have a few ideas but I’ll share them on a later date. I think the most important thing to keep in mind when doing this type of stuff is that creating exposure for your project is just as important, if not more important, then raising funds. Raising $10,000 would be awesome, but the fact that people are learning about the film is more valuable. Getting back to I Spyders, I think Bill and Kyle did a really good job promoting the film before it was done. It was something that people talked about and looked forward too. The premiere was also packed.

We also launched the film’s website at the same time. I think it’s important to show that the project lives outside IndieGoGo because…

1: IndieGoGo doesn’t last forever and you need other outlets to further promote the film and keep up the little momentum you might have.

2: The more work you put into things like a website, Facebook and Twitter account, the more serious you look and the project looks. Hence, people are more willing to trust you with their money.

Use information at own risk!

The campaign’s gonna run for 45 days. I figured that’s enough time to accomplish everything. I’m gonna to update the campaign often. Vandewater’s gonna cut a trailer, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I’m also gonna add more pics and other interesting goodies.

As a side note: Keep in mind, everything I’ve written up to this point is shit I’ve pulled out of my ass. What the fuck do I know? This is all based on how I think good fundraising works. I maybe totally wrong. Maybe $615 is all I’ll make. I just checked again and it’s still $615. I could be doing another blog post in 45 days with my tail between my legs. If you’re stupid enough to trust a Macedonian then you get what you deserve. For other fundraising tips check out this video.

Now here’s where I get serious. How can you help?

1: Donate. If you feel like donating that’s great.
2: Create Awareness. Aside from raising money, I’m trying to create awareness for film. If you could pass this email and info on to others it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe they’ll donate.
Here is a link to the IndieGoGo campaign page

Dinner with James Vandewater and Dylan Harman (Part of the Executive perk when you donate to Rainbow Connection IndieGoGo)

 

‘Rung’ visits Tribeca Film Festival 2012

Stills from 'Rung'

I can finally announce that Rung, a film that I did the cinematography for has been accepted by Tribeca Film Festival 2012 for the Narrative Shorts Competition!

Here’s a short synopsis:
In Rung, after a cathedral bell ringer passes away, his spot on the bell-ringing choir is up for grabs and two women find themselves in an unlikely competition for the coveted position.

Please check out the film on the Tribeca web site here. There’s a small clip on the web site too! So if you happen to be in New York during the festival please go to the screening!

Chris Hanratty (Director of Rung) was particularly great to work with for the first time on this film. I also have to thank Nathanael Chadwick for all his help, without his gaffing and rigging skills we would have been lost!

Click here for Rung‘s official web site.

Preparing a shot for the final scene of the film.