Sunday, October 24, 2010

2 roles cast: Introducing Andre'a and Skylar

I'd like to introduce Andre'a Thomas, playing Gangster's Moll 3, her audition showed us her talent, she was cool calm and confident in the audition and we're very happy to have her on board!

and I'd also like to introduce Skylar, who is playing our Gangster's Moll 4, she was fantastic in the audition, followed the brief perfectly in her outfit and attitude, and my casting team and I all agreed we had to have her involved in the project.

At the moment, we are waiting on a few more of the audition videos for Gangster's Moll 1 and 2 to come in, we have the ones that auditioned on Saturday shortlisted, and once the final videos come in we'll be able to set up a screen test with our hero actor and see if any of them gel.

Moving the string forward, inch by inch...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Fox - Armourer of Killer Elite

The other day I spoke to John Fox, a very experienced armourer of over 250 films and TV, including The Pacific and The Killer Elite, the SAS film with Jason Statham and Robert De Niro that was partly filmed here in OZ.

Considering I'm building my own SAS project, it was fantastic to talk to him, but the funny thing was, it wasn't in regards to Redeemed, it was about my short film 'For Amy' the one that is still currently waiting to be cut and film one last scene.

It was this scene that I wanted John's expert advice. He looked over the footage of the A side of the fire fight with his critical eye, and it is here that I am perfectly honest -

He said it wasn't the greatest.

In fact, he suggested it wouldn't be in my best interests as a burgeoning film maker to put my name to it. Now that's the kind of honesty I want from the industry, no vague niceties, his appraisal has given me a lot to think about.

Whereas my professional credits are in documentary, news and TVC's, this film would be my attempt to show my film making skills.

John raised a good point, even though this film was made for next to nothing, with a handful of crew, people don't care about that, they care about whether it's a good film or not. Now in this particular case, these videos, the sneak peaks at 'No love for Harry' were made for Frankie's other project, a project which eventually was shot by someone else.

The action sequences here were shot by me, and are not the greatest and I'm the first to admit that, it was the best we could do with what we had.

However, the film we have created around this one scene, I think, is a testament to the possibility, with a fresh edit, After Effects Compositing, plus vibrant B sides to the fire fight yet to be shot, something can be made from it. It is what it is.

What I should be absolutely clear about is, John hasn't seen anything else of 'For Amy' just the 'NLFH' clip above, from which we will be generating our own action sequence from, so his comments are based on that footage alone, and I agree with him. I really appreciate the time he gave me to discuss action sequences and his honest appraisal of that clip.

However, lot of people have invested their time and money into this project and the other scenes and I will do my best to make it into something worthwhile. It's part of the learning curve, and it is with great honesty that I say, I'll finish this film, I will release it, and I will show what it is that I can do, and if it is not up to scratch, then that means I have more to learn, and any person who says there is nothing left to learn is an idiot. It will be my line in the sand, a milestone to gauge my efforts.

Ex Pertinacia Victoria - From Determination, Victory.

I'm determined to make this film work. Obtuse, tunnel vision? Perhaps, but if I don't try to complete this film, then I'll never know if it worked. Once it's cut, composited, graded and soundscaped, then I will be able to see if it is worth putting my name to. All film makers have to start somewhere...

I'd be keen to hear what you all thought of the clip. email

Monday, October 18, 2010

6 hours of Auditions

So Saturday 16th October rocks around and I get in the car to make the hour long drive to the audition space I've hired. I punch in the address to my GPS iphone app and off we go. 45 minutes later I realise the GPS is taking me the wrong way and I do an about face, re-enter the details and high tail it to the auditions.

I get there with 10 min to spare thanks to traffic and set up the area and camera with my Associate Producer Dr. Mark D. Ryan. And so it begins.

The auditioners turn up and we put them through their paces, and then there's gaping holes of silence when some fail to turn up. Now in normal circumstances in the big film world, it's the actors loss that they didn't turn up to audition.

In the indie world, that's one possible perfect asset that didn't get screened. I prefer to leave no stone unturned and no option unexplored. So I check my emails on my iphone and discover a couple of apologetic emails sent late the night before or that very morning. Viable reasons for failing to show up, paid work, films, stage plays, day job shift changes etc etc other jobs basically. I can understand that.

Several slots were allocated to actors who expressed interest and then didn't respond to recieving the audition materials, and didn't answer their phones. Wishful thinking to believe they'd show up or just accepting people are busy and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Of those that said they'd be there and then didn't show, I called to see if they were ok. One of them had actually been in hospital in the lead up and had just gotten home when I called. Either that or they were spinning me a line, if so it was a shame they didn't attend because it was a believable performance, so I left it at that.

Out of the 27 people originally set to audition, 17 showed up for the four roles, and I filmed all of them. There are some truly stunning women in Brisbane, and it will come down to their performance ability to progress to the next stage.

On thursday I'm sitting down with my casting couch, watching all of the applications, and selecting 5 for a screen test with our hero actor.
Even if they are fantastic actors, if acting with our hero isn't credible or no onscreen chemistry there's no point continuing and it will look amatuer.

So Casting Couch here we come! One step closer!

As for my short film and soldier shots for this trailer, we're still waiting on the schedules of the professional armourer and military advisor to finish up with a feature and Spielberg's TV show Terra Nova...I've got some big competition for resources as discussed previously! Looking like December at this rate

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Auditions Tomorrow.

So in the last 24 hours I've had five actresses drop out due to work/filming commitments which is a shame as you can't tell what they may have brought to the film, and now we'll never know. Scheduling conflicts are part and parcel of the film making game, now it's time to concentrate on those actors that can attend and see if we can find the perfect person for the role.

Starting from 11.30 am and finishing at 5.30pm I'll be putting 22 women on the spot, to see what they can convey to me. I'm looking for that emotional punch that will carry in the concept trailer, for the trailer is a short piece, it has to be powerful in look and attitude, and so must the characters.

Looking for gold, and hopefully soon I'll be able to report what we found!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Film Making: Serious stuff...but not always

I can get pretty engrossed in getting my projects together, trying to make all the elements to work, and pull together all the threads that I sometimes forget that film making doesn't have to be serious stuff all the time.

Redeemed is a pretty serious concept, you can't make light of the SAS, but I'd love to make a project like this just for fun oneday. Freddie W and his crew are pretty amazing with what they do, and as a Time Crisis fan, this made me laugh.

It stars Andy Whitfield, who most know from Spartacus, however, he's actually an Aussie actor that was the lead in Gabriel, an indie feature film by Shane Abbess filmed in Australia on a shoestring, picked up by Sony entertainment and released worldwide. Shane is now in L.A. and Andy is doing well after his fight with cancer, he's doing a second season in Spartacus!

This other one they've made is just plain fun, plus the first person shooter game reference was a crackup.

They're actually going on a roadtrip, so if there are any American readers out there, check this vid of theirs. Help 'em out if you can.

These kind of films are hard to make in OZ, where the airsoft BB guns they use are actually illegal in this country. If you do use replicas, you still need a licensed armourer. So if I do make a fun little clip, it will be without the guns!
Currently I'm digitising my defence footage and I'll be After Effects compositing tonight. Busy busy busy, while I wait for Specialists! Fun will have to wait.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Competing with Hollywood - Literally

Obviously in this industry there is a pool of talented, qualified professionals, who are known for their expertise and skill. They are in high demand. Their skills are rare and cannot be done by anyone off the street. They are specialists.

Specialists I need to complete my projects. Specialists who are being employed by Hollywood to work on feature films, and being paid well for their time.

I cannot compete with that, and I am not so naieve think that I ever could, unless I was helming my own $75M project or somesuch.

So I am waiting for these specialists schedules to free up, and I have to be patient if I want their amazing abilities, and bide my time. Frustrating yes, but that's the way it goes.

So rather than do nothing while I wait, I've designed the costumes for my four female characters in Redeemed, and my wife and I are putting the patterns together in calico to see if it works.

I'm also building the After Effects project that the trailer vision will go into. Creating a visualling engaging base, background, colour pallette and titles, that all my vision can slot into. Step by step I will build this thing, in the hope that "build it and they will come" still has some magic left in it.