Tuesday, June 30, 2009

our first commercial

On June 29, 2009, we shot our first commercial! It's for the "Big Game" contest for CareerBuilder.com. Lori called us one weekend with the idea and asked us to shoot and act in it. Sounded good to us! We met the next afternoon at a business. After quick hello's with the other actors, and a quick run down of the script, we were off and running. It only took about an hour to get all of the shots we needed.

We couldn't set the commercial to music before entering, but Craig did edit a version with music. Once the contest is over, I'll upload it to our youtube page. Until then, you can view the video below.

Update! 8-7-09
Our contest entry has made it past the initial selection process and will now be voted on by judges. Hopefully it will continue to push on!

Here is the official CareerBuilder.com contest page with our entry:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on my first public showing

Li'l Film Fest 10: Family has come and gone. Despite losing several attendees due to the schedule change, we still had a decent sized support group of friend/family for our film "Sunday". We didn't win anything, but... I did experience something that for a filmmaker is greater than any award. Audience acceptance! We got a nice applause and a good reaction from the audience during the showing. I even had a few people come up to us afterwords to tell me they liked it. I enjoy making movies for people, an audience. That is what filmmaking is all about! So to have it perform well is a dream come true!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Postponed - Li'l Film Fest 10 (Updated!)

Due to inclement weather, Li'l Film Fest 10: Family was postponed from last Saturday. The building the fest is being held in has been without power for several days. Still waiting on a confirmation for the rescheduled date.

Stay tuned!!!

The fest will take place Sat, June 27th. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"SUNDAY" playing in local film fest!

In early May we made a 5 minute short for a local film festival, and I'm happy to report that it has been selected!!! It'll play in the Li'l Film Fest 10 this Saturday along with 12 other entries. This "little" fest is put on by Live from Memphis. By entering, we are granted consideration for the Indie Memphis Film Fest that is held every October. Live from Memphis holds the Li'l Fest every quarter with a required theme and a time limit of 5 minutes. This fest's theme is 'family'.

"Sunday" was put together in about a week and was filmed over a rainy weekend. It was edited and scored within a few hours. We definitely beat our editing time from "Don't Look in the Fridge". While awards will be given at the festival, I'm just thrilled to be a part of the event and to see our movie played on the big screen!

directed by: Val Overstreet
written by: Dolan Mills
shot by: Craig Morris

Jake Mills
Lori Mills
Dolan Mills
Valerie Campbell
David Jacks

For more information about the fest vist:
Li'L Film Fest 10

Li'l Film Fest 10 Entry - "SUNDAY"

I'm superstitious when it comes to filmmaking (among other things) and did not want to post this until after I knew whether or not "Sunday" was accepted into the Li'l Film Fest 10. I'm very thankful that it has been selected and now I present to you the story behind how it came to be.

Back in March, one of my filmmaking buddies invited me to a local film fest to see his movie screened. I thought it was a cool experience and mentioned that I'd like to participate in the next one. Live from Memphis hosts a quarterly fest every year with a required theme and a 5 minute time limit. The event is called "Li'l Film Fest". The theme that my friend's movie, "Journeyman", was a part of was "Memphis - Fact or Fiction?".

When Arnold sent word about the next fest (#10), I was very excited. The theme was "family" and you can imagine the ideas my dark and disturbed brain immediately thought of. However, all of those ideas seemed too easy, too cliche. So, I turned to a script idea that I've been working on that fit the theme of family perfectly - and was not horror. However, it turned out that there was no way to write a 5 minute script without jeopardizing the story, which I was NOT about to do. I was bummed.

But... all was not lost. Dolan, my brother-in-law, saved the day by coming up with an idea that could benefit from a shorter time limit. Oddly, it wasn't really horror either. He wrote the script, sent it over, and I immediately went to work storyboarding. "Sunday" was literally put together in about a week. I would have preferred to have had more time, but circumstance didn't work out that way. Considering the time that went into production, I am pleased with the outcome.

We filmed "Sunday" on a rainy weekend in May. The production went well. All of our actors were prepared and hit their marks as expected. Jake, our nephew, shined once again. It was a good experience. I missed a couple of shots due to how rushed we were, but that's how it goes in the world of amateur filmmaking!

Craig got the footage edited and we scored it within a couple of hours. I even mailed our entry with a few days to spare! Today (6-10-09), I learned that our little movie was chosen to be screened in the fest! I'm very excited. This is the first time this has happened for us in our very young filmmaking endeavor. There will be awards given at the fest, but I can honestly say that I'll be happy just to be there. I can't wait for my friends and family to come out and support our efforts and see our movie on the big screen!

A big THANK YOU to all of our awesome cast/crew!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

final thoughts - "Fridge"

When one of my closest friends (and actor in the short) came up with the idea for "Don't Look in the Fridge", I was elated to be given the opportunity to make it a reality. "Fridge" was not only my directorial debut but also my first opportunity to perform duties in cinematography. Lighting for a cinematic feel and proper mood were of importance for this story.

Principle photography occurred over two afternoons and was shot with a consumer camera (Canon HV20). It was edited on a MacBook Pro using Final Cut Studio 2. With my team of friends and family, I feel I was able to accomplish my goals and am proud of my first short film effort.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"FRIDGE" poster art

Craig finished up the poster for "DON'T LOOK IN THE FRIDGE". Check it out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

watch "FRIDGE" now!

our latest short, "DON'T LOOK IN THE FRIDGE" is finished!

story by: james mcelyea
screenplay by: val
directed by: val

"FRIDGE" was a test in lighting and VFX for us. i'm pleased with the outcome, as it was a good learning experience. craig did an awesome job helping me learn and kudos go out to him for the VFX also. and a big thanks goes out to james and jake. they both did a great job!

watching the footage, i already know of several things i can improve upon. one of the biggest things is camera movement. i want more movement so that the scene transitions will have more energy. even if it is simply peaceful, flowing energy, it would be an improvement over plain cuts. that's just one of many things i hope to 'do better next time'.

i appreciate everyone's help with this project and cannot wait to make another movie! i'm very eager to use what i learned on something new.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"FRIDGE" is in the can!

our shoot sunday went really well. everyone was prepared which helped us move along quite nicely. our nephew, jake, was a joy to direct. he hit his mark every time, followed my suggestions to the letter, and gave a great performance. james did great, too. his interaction with jake was very believable.

i'm also happy to report that we had no lighting or blocking issues, which is good considering how much preparation went into filming. since we filmed at our house we had ample time to prepare.

craig has already built the end sequence with the f/x and it looks good. i'm very pleased with how it turned out! we will work on editing this week and hope to have the timeline ready for music and foley soon.

stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"FRIDGE" special f/x and visual f/x

how does an old married couple spend their friday nights? making movies, of course! hahaha

craig and i spent last friday evening working on the special f/x and visual f/x for "Don't Look in the Fridge". Without giving anything away - because I'm NOT! - it turned out well.


Friday, February 13, 2009

filming: "Don't Look in the Fridge"

filming for "DON'T LOOK IN THE FRIDGE" will commence on sunday! woohoo! james mcelyea, a cinegore cast/crew regular, came up with a story idea a few months ago that i agreed to write the screenplay for and direct. it will be really short, but it should be fun.

james will also star in "FRIDGE" along with my nephew as a horror-movie-loving kid. could horror movies be bad for our health? nah....

Friday, January 16, 2009

update - degree of blood

filming has been sorta slow on degree of blood. scheduling and weather have caused a delay. but that's the life of independent art. you have to go with the flow sometimes. once the weather warms up a little we should resume filming.

in the meantime, i'm working on various things:

short film - an idea that james passed along to me. if we can get together with those involved, we should be able to knock out 80% of the shoot in one day.

short story - working on something that is in the vein of "murders in the closet", a fun horror story i wrote last fall.