Archive for July, 2008

Day Three

Posted in Production with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2008 by Richard Diaz

Friday went really well. Much like last week we started to have some sound issues by midday since it is a working bar. However I think we’ll be fine. I need to go through everything to make sure it is all fine. Of course I’ll also be adding background sounds to the soundtrack as well so I’m hoping what little there may be can be covered up with other sounds.

Mike and Brenden rehearse.

Mike and Brenden rehearse.

Mike and Brenden were in prime form and doing amazing work. I knew I cast this film well. It made everything run smoothly. I like having a laid back atmosphere and having actors like this helps. They know what their doing which only makes my job easier.

A frame from Fridays shoot.

A frame from Fridays shoot.

A frame from Fridays shoot.

A frame from Fridays shoot.

I did blow a bulb form one of my lights so I need to go get another one this week. As well as some hard drives. I don’t want to keep using the ones I have. I want to have one that is used for working on the film and another strictly for back purposes. So a few more expenses this week.

The footage gets transferred from the P2 card through the laptop to the external drive.

The footage gets transferred from the P2 card through the laptop to the external drive.

Sunday’s shoot did not happen. Shon had a last minute thing come up and Eddie got stuck at work. I still haven’t shot anything with Shon yet so I am hoping I can get something soon. I can’t wait to shoot something with the film villain.

So Friday I’m back at the bar to shoot the last scene there. While there may be one more day there to do pick ups this will be the last day we shoot an actual scene there. Should be a lot of fun.

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Day Two And A Small Scene With A Work Light

Posted in Production with tags , , on July 25, 2008 by Richard Diaz
Last night we shot a small scene. Literally half a page and about four lines. It was easy basically but still took about an hour. I do’t have a generator so I need portable lights. Here comes Home Depot. I needed a work light or something and I found these little lamps that were around $20 or so. They don’t give off enough light to light a scene but holding them just off camera gave a nice side light for the actor.

The light from Home Depot.

The light from Home Depot.

The light lit up.

The light lit up.

Here is a frame from the scene shot with the light just off camera.
One little light from Home Depot.

One little light from Home Depot.

Tomorrow I shoot another scene at the bar. Back at the bar and considering the time frame from last week I am only doing the one scene. It’s also a scene that the actors did during auditions so they are already familiar with it. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll post afterwards. Hopefully it all goes well.

First Day

Posted in Production with tags , on July 19, 2008 by Richard Diaz

The first day of shooting has come and gone. As on every other shoot I’ve ever been on that first shot takes forever to get to. I think we started shooting the first scene around the time I was originally planning on finishing it. So we were behind. Plus the bar opened earlier than I thought they did. Not a huge problem except for the occasional bang of a dish from the kitchen or a ringing phone. But as we got closer to finishing the second scene it was an issue. People talking, music, etc. I’m hoping it’s usable. Otherwise we’ll have to reshoot Kimberly’s stuff on another day.

Brenden and Jeff get ready for a take.

Brenden and Jeff get ready for a take.

And if that wasn’t enough of an issue, I had so much stuff with me I’m surprised it fit into my little car. I made sure I had everything I could possibly need. And of course, there is always something forgotten. As I was setting up the camera I realized I had forgotten my tripod. Since we were in a time crunch I did not want to run back home and get it. It would have cost a half hour. So I went handheld on some shots and balanced on chairs for others. I think it’s ok but we’ll see.

The mighty director without a tripod but plenty of coffee.

The actors were fantastic. They showed up and did what they needed to do. Everyone was in good spirits which is how I like to keep things on set. Things can get stressful but if you keep chugging along then it’s not an issue. When sound became a problem we still kept going. I could have gotten upset and wasted time complaining but what would have that gotten us? Instead we plunged ahead and we got both scenes shot.

Mike and Kimberly rehearse.

In the future I am only going to do one scene there in a day. I think it’ll be better. Plus I will have a day that will be a cutaway day. Some of the extra shots I didn’t get yesterday, and may not get on other days, I’ll get then. And if I need to redo Kimberly’s takes then we’ll do it on that day.

So the first day is in the can. The second … I’m not sure. Sunday was going to be the second day but one of the actors had a last minute family thing and isn’t sure he’d make it in time. I know how these things go so that scene is being pushed back a week. There may be some miscellaneous stuff on Monday but I haven’t decided yet.

Production has begun.

One Day To Go

Posted in PreProduction with tags on July 17, 2008 by Richard Diaz

Tomorrow is the big day. I think everything is in line. I’ll be contacting everyone to make sure they have everything they need. I’ll visualize the scenes a few times to get an idea of the look and feel. See if there is anything I want to add. A line or something. Granted I’ll probably do that tomorrow but I’ll see if anything jumps out now. I need to charge one more battery for the camera although I’m sure I’ll be fine but I don’t want to take any chances. I’ll go through all of the equipment to see if I have everything. I’ll get it all packed up so in the morning all I have to do is load up the car and go.

I’m still not sure what to do about Sunday. Because it’s outside so I need to consider the weather. So far it’s:

Sunday…Considerable cloudiness with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s.

Sunday Night…Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s.

So I have no idea. I’m still planning on shooting. Hopefully I won’t have to reschedule because then I would have been able to shoot with all of my leads. Momentum is starting so I want to keep it going.

Two Days Away

Posted in PreProduction on July 16, 2008 by Richard Diaz

Two days away from shooting the first scene. I keep going over the scene in my head to make sure I know how to shoot it. You want to make sure when you get on set that you know what you want. You can still try things and rethink something but there should also be a basic idea. Luckily it’s a dialogue scene and I let actors handle those. I just shoot basic coverage on those for editing purposes but I don’t get too fancy with the camera with simple scenes. That’s why I cast the right actors.

The only other thing will be lighting. I’m thinking pretty simple lighting but I do want it too look good. To look cinematic. I need to avoid spending too much time on lighting though. For a lot of these scenes, especially on location, I don’t want too much time spent on things. An even amount of time but I don’t want to have to rush through the actual shooting. If it looks a little flat but the actors are giving me gold then I can deal with the flat lighting.

I still need to get Shon’s costume. Nothing fancy. Literally a dark shirt and pants. It must almost be boring. I have an idea in my mind but we still need to get it. Hopefully we’ll find something tomorrow. We only shoot the first scene with him on Sunday.

Almost there.

Friday Is The Day

Posted in PreProduction with tags on July 16, 2008 by Richard Diaz

This Friday marks the official start of production. It’s odd to think after all of this time that it is time to start shooting. The first two things being shot are simple scenes which should be a nice way for all of us to ease into the process. I admit that I am nervous and you do start to doubt yourself. It’s easy to sit around talking but when it’s time to prove yourself you need to see if you’re more than just talk.

A shot of the pub that will be used in many scenes.

Two guys I don't know acting as my actors.

First up …

Posted in Filmmaking, Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2008 by Richard Diaz

This is the blog for the production of the low budget independent feature film ‘Distortion’. A horror thriller being made in Chicago with very limited means. However, my goal, as director, producer, writer, editor, cinematographer, key grip, etc., is to not make this look like a low budget film. It may have restrictions but I’m using them to my advantage. I can only hope it works.

How this all got started will be explained shortly. I mainly wanted to just get this thing rolling. It’s been a long process so far and I haven’t even started shooting yet. Luckily I found a great cast that are eager to get started.

This blog will either be a diary of one of the best things I’ve done in my life or one of the worst. I remain optimistic but we shall see.

Richard Diaz

– Director of ‘Distortion’.