Sunday, May 28, 2006

48Hours - Day 2

We've just heard that our runners are AT the Embassy about to drop off the finished version.


16 minutes, 58 seconds before the deadline.

I'm very happy with the final result. It's a monster movie with attitude, it's a romance, it's a story of a beast alienated from society. And the team didn't lynch me - which is also a result I'm happy with.

Editing was great - Norman and Matt working together, editing separate scenes, which really saved our bacon. Learning to use Adobe Premiere was the best decision Matt made this year as far as I'm concerned. And I remembered how much I enjoy editing - that's an environment I'm really comfortable with.

I got to direct an action sequence - and it cut together really well, with many spectacular stunts.

All in all, we had a WAY harder shoot this year, but getting it in is making it all worth it.

Champagne now. Then much sleep. And maybe some food.

Oh yeah, and maybe some admiration and love, but that'll probably happen over at our forum, nzrag/jennisangels.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

48 Hours- Day 1

It's mid afternoon of the first day - very cloudy, been lightly showering and cold for most of it.

So, of course, we've written a movie where all of our cast and crew have to stand outside for the entire script.

I am hoping that they find it a bonding experience, rather than an incentive to lynch me.

Our genre is Monster Movie. This is awesome. We've got a couple of monster hunters who are romantic rivals in a John Carpenter/Predator hunt through the jungle buddy movie thing.

What I'm really happy about with the script is the pacing and the attitude. We're currently waiting for the first footage to arrive - so that we can see how the script's been interpreted. So weird to not be on set for this part. I think our cast is pretty damn good, actually but it makes me realise that it all comes down to how the director and actors'll work together, as to whether it'll come across broadly comedic, deadly serious, wryly amusing ... and all of that affects the music that I'm currently listening to Svend select.

Yeah, I'm not on set because I was up till 5.30 finishing the script. Jenni made me sleep and forbade from coming out there until I was fresh. Three catnaps later and I think I'm there.

So, we'll be shooting more tomorrow. We have professional stuntpeople doing the 'everyone gets killed by the monster' thing. Hopefully we'll also have a rough cut of stuff by tomorrow too.

More later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Limit - Interesting times

David emailed me, hoping that the Limit was going better.

Yeah it is. My last big post about it was just a demonstration of a writer getting emotional about what he wrote. That's cool; I expect ups-and-downs now.

At the moment, I actually feel pretty confident about the script. Everyone's feedback works together & ... more importantly to me ... I feel like the script is now 'telling' me what it wants to be. Adjusting scenes feels like a natural process now, one that doesn't require that much thinking about it. It's like there's an ideal version of this draft that I'm chiselling the unnecessary material away from.

Downside: I'm focusing on the 48 now, so not so much time to really dig into the writing and get into a groove.
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The Writing Table

Really fun session with the 48 Hour writing team auditions last night - a nasty little silent film thriller - and a valuable demonstration for me about what I want from a writing table (the group that sits around breaking a story ... and for more on what's entailed in breaking a story, read this blog post by Jane Espenson).

Simply: I like writers who listen. At its best last night, our group was having a fun, considerate, reflective, other-adjectives-that-mean-we-were-grooving-off-each-other's-ideas time.

A conversation without ego, with everyone willing to accept the best that each other has to offer. That's a writing table I can feel comfortable around.

Many well-functioning groups fit that description; it's just nice to have it illustrated for me.
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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Next for me

I've had a great and productive week – working 3 days at Women's Affairs and 2 days on The Limit. I'd like that to become my new routine. However, there are 2 things coming up that are going to take priority and I'm going to have to focus on.

First there's the Innovation Initiative – a New Zealand On Air project to get shows that deal with more challenging material onscreen. I've got one that fits the bill – in fact, I've been working on it on and off for about 3 years - so I have to work that up into a proposal by 18 May.

Aside: I don't think I mentioned, I put another proposal into TVNZ as part of their comedy initiative. It's called “The Whanau”, and I should hear back about that and The Improvers this week. The fun thing for me about The Whanau was that I came up with the idea on the night before the deadline and threw the whole thing together in about 4 hours. It was low stress and fun to work on.

Secondly, there's the 48 Hour Film competition. I'm Head Writer again this year, and I'm going to have to select the (very small) team for the Friday night script session. That'll have to take place either this week or next – and the actual competition itself is in 3 weekends time.
So with all that, finishing the feature script may start to slip in priority.

Hopefully though, I'll finish up this new proposal on Tuesday – and with that cleared, I can continue to split my focus in 3 or 4 directions at once.

And on a personal note – a great week of coffees, work drinks, double 30th parties, and Singstar victories on Dido's 'White Flag' and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's “Power of Love” (my performances on “Material Girl” and “Let's this Party Started” shall NOT be spoken of again).

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mission Impossible 3

Why is Mission Impossible 3 so good?
And make no mistake - it's not only the best of the series, my new list of favourite Action Movies now reads:

The Matrix
The Terminator
Die Hard

- I admire how the first scene gives you the structure of the entire film to come
- The first 10 minutes makes me care about the relationship (which is pretty vital to the film working)
- Keri Russell turns into an action-goddess the second she gets a gun in her hand
- Italy
- every single Tom Cruise/Philip Seymour HOffman conversation
- I like Ethan Hunt as a character (and anyone who's heard my 'I nearly vomited during MI2' story will appreciate how much of an achievement that is)
- the entire supporting cast is fun to watch (and sexy too!)
- it had real plot twists

And most importantly, it played action the way I think it should be played. The heroes fail at every turn + the writers ask at every point "What would make this situation worse?" That's the rhythm I like from my films.

It falls apart a little towards the very end - but not in any real way that messes with my appreciation of it.

Go see!

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How to TV - Story decisions

If it's a tie between which option will create the most interesting situation, go for the one that causes the most pain/problems.

Case in point: Veronica Mars, the election result.
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