Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Production update: The Whole Truth


The screenplay for our feature project The Whole Truth - is locked. That means it's the script everyone's going to work with to create the production. Key production crew like the Director of Photography, Production Designer, Costumers, Gaffers, etc.

Now, "finishing" a script is a very misleading term. The script isn't finished until the film is released. I'll tweak, squeak, eek, seek, freak, peek, and wreak whatever needs to be done to it until it's the very best story told in the best way by the best characters to tell it before we show it to you.

There was a character in the script who had to be taken out because of the story's structure; our producer recommended I write a script based on that character (who *everyone* loved who read the script) and I've already outlined her story in the first step to writing the screenplay.

What *that* means is that we (Heart Break Productionz) are working on THREE more feature projects after this one, one after the other.

The script is now at the LA casting director's. Cross your fingers for a couple-three household names starring in this little film. For the casting director, I submitted "back stories" of every lead character as well as my directing bio so the actors can be assured I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, or however that saying goes.

The producer loves the script, which is very exciting to me because this is someone for whom I have profound respect and genuinely enjoy working with. He is extremely experienced and knows from what he's doing on all levels of producing and selling films. In fact, he was a buyer for a major studio for several years.

I guess just as importantly, *I* love the script. And it's director-proof. That means even the worst director should not be able to wreck it. Since I'm directing it and am at least a step above "worst," it should look pretty good.

We start interviewing potential key crew this week; that could take a couple weeks because we may pull people from LA.

We've already met with the head of SAG/AFTRA here and will now meet with the head of IATSE -- to be signatories and to let them know who we are, what we're doing.

Because this is an independent film, our production won't be affected if there is a SAG strike.

I found the best composer ever for this project in LA, as I told you, and we've already started working on the sound track, thanks to Skype.

I have the artwork and color palette ready for the production designer, director of photography and costumers who come aboard ... the script supervisor and sound guy from other films I've made who are immenently qualified are already signed up.

I need to draw a couple story boards for the two stunt scenes; I have potential locations scouted and photographed as well as lined up the use of a hot Mercedes by a local dealer to use for free by the lead character.

Hair and make up may also be a little more expensive if we get a hot actress who needs special attention. Any actress over 30 needs 2 hours make up/hair. And that's if the hair is reasonably simple, and all but one of the candidates we're looking at are over 30.

I'm learning how to delegate the work - I'm so used to doing everything myself. But figure if I have a head start on what I'm looking for in tone, texture and impact, it will help incoming experts so they don't have to start from scratch - leaving them to guess what I want.

More, when they come up with ways to improve on my visual ideas (which they will), everyone gets and stays excited.

Now that the script is locked, I'm free to do my directing-producing thing so we can be hyper ready for the shoot; we have minimum 6 weeks prep, we'll have at least a week to rehearse (possibly 2) with the actors before we shoot - and we have 6 weeks to shoot.

Without any major special effects, that should be a reasonable schedule and I should be the only one exhuasted from the production (first to arrive, last to leave, then preparing for the next day).

I'm making lots of notes for shooting ideas.

My personal assistant is aboard now, part-time until May 19, when he goes 3/4 time until the shoot, when he goes full full time -- so I can focus strictly on the work - and have the chance to see some filmmaking friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next week when I visit my parents for a whirlwind "vacation."

I still haven't decided on the format - that will have to be determined when the Director of Photography is aboard, but I'm thinking 3 sprocket 35mm.

Yep, this joint is jumping!

I'm happy as a free cow in India.


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