Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our First Oxford Film Fest

Friday, Feb 11 - Tonight we head down to Oxford for their annual Oxford Film Fest. "Blood Therapy" is screening along with several other horror short films at the Malco. This will be the second time I've watched my movie on the big screen. I could get used to this.

We were put up in an inn on the square. It was a nice place with a touch of old Southern charm. We arrived with just enough time to check in and head to the theater. We met up with Christian Walker, our lead actor, and a couple of his friends before the screening. I felt good about our showing. The audience laughed at the appropriate spot and a few even jumped at the end. Yes! A man and woman were sitting to my right who I did not know that appeared to enjoy our film. That was neat to see them reacting to it.

Sunday, Feb 13 - The fest has come and gone. It went by way too fast. My only regret regarding the festival is not staying longer. Our schedules weren't jiving with the festival dates this year. But I so could have hung around all weekend making new friends, watching movies, and eating good food. I'm a southerner... we have the BEST food!

Oxford, MS is a beautiful place. Its gorgeous architecture on the square and rolling hills make for a perfect setting for a film festival. My only minor suggestion for improvement would be to hold the festival during warmer months. Oxford screams photo opportunities and with the landscapes in bloom, it's my guess that the city would be picture perfect.

"Blood Therapy" played in the late night block of films along with other genre fare from all over the country. That was really cool seeing our film amongst films from all over and not just from our own city. The stand out short for me was "Night of the Punks", a fun and funny journey into the world of rock n' roll and demons. The performances were spot-on and the standout element for me was the special f/x. If this gets made into a feature (it's a possibility), horror fans like myself will be in for a fun treat. To see our little short play alongside something as polished as "Punks" was exciting! And it gives me a higher standard to strive for.

I've only been making films for a few years. And even fewer have I participated in festivals. I would wager that the Oxford Film Fest will be one of the better fests I ever experience. The directors of OFF really make us filmmakers feel like royalty. But they're the royalty. They've done a fantastic job bringing in movies from all over the country. Coupled with the beautiful setting of Oxford, it made for an inviting experience. It has been an honor to participate in such a well organized event that was clearly designed by people who love movies as much as us filmmakers. It is my hope to have the opportunity to be involved with many more OFFs.

Thank you again to Oxford Film Fest. I hope to see you again soon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Suffering Fools - A Note from the Director

Suffering Fools - Teaser Art

As I sit and edit the footage from Suffering Fools, I can't help but laugh. The outtakes make me giggle constantly. Our actors are pure entertainers, not only for the viewers of the finished film, but for the crew as well. Allow me to recount a few things I learned during principle photography:
  1. It's a bit awkward to be 3 feet away from 2 actors filming them making out, especially when they start before I even say "Action" and then having to hear the boom guy laugh at me when I clumsily whisper, "Umm, action" instead of saying "Cut!".
  2. Designing creepy costumes can give me nightmares, even when I'm the one who wrote the script and designed it. The actress scared me then. She scares me now. lol (Teresa, you rock!)
  3. I saw more girls touching each other during this shoot than I have in my entire life. The DVD extras will be interesting!
  4. What happened to all the cookies?? Wait, what's that crunching sound I hear in the headphones? Oh, it's Rodney...and the cookies!!
  5. Speaking of Rodney, he is unable to eat pizza while watching 2 girls make out. And I can't aim a camera either.
  6. Christian's pants are too tight, but not all the time.
  7. Never, EVER, buy a disco light that only responds well to the sound of "Around the World" by Daft Punk. Your cast and crew may start to hate you.
  8. Get bigger breakers and upgrade the wiring in a house before using tons of high-wattage lights.
  9. "Thumper" is a mysterious figure. He's kinda like Quato from Total Recall. *giggle*
  10. No matter how many times you practice and perfect practical FXs, they never work when the camera is rolling.
  11. Irish Spring soap is EXCELLENT at removing fake blood stains from skin. Highly recommended!
  12. And finally, take the time to light properly and never rush. I'll eventually learn this.
Filmmaking is a lot of work, but it is worth it when you see the footage come to life for the first time. Last night, I burned the first test DVD to check out the sound mix and color correction in the home theater setup. At that moment, I knew we had accomplished what I wanted. It looked and sounded great. I think I'm getting better at mixing 5.1 surround.

Thank you to all who were involved in this project. You will see the fruits of your labor soon. And a HUGE thank you to my precious wife. Her encouragement, enthusiasm, and support is what keeps me going.

~ Craig

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ours goes to '11

Last year was a good year. We shot 2 shorts that each played in festivals, prepped another short which we filmed in early Jan '11, and shot a commercial for local tv. Our goal every year is to top the previous year's accomplishments and to go further with this mad passion.

2011 is shaping up to be a good one! "Blood Therapy" is set to screen at the Oxford Film Fest on February 11th, and our latest project, "Suffering Fools" is in post-production now. Plus, we've got some very cool new things planned that guess what.... I can't spoil yet! I will give one hint: We are working on ways to get our movies to more people. We are honored that people have asked for this.

As for more movies.... We've got some projects in the works that we cannot wait to reveal. From teaming up with some film friends to making our own movies, we are really excited about the stories we get to tell in 2011!

Which brings me to an important point. We want to take a moment to say "thank you" to all those who have helped us over the past 3 1/2 years (wow, has it been that long?). We could not do this without our awesome Cinegore cast and crew, and are very appreciative of their hard work and enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm and excitement make filmmaking fun!

Break out the ear buds baby, because ours goes to '11!!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

all Roped up

While writing my current feature script I am also watching movies that take place in one location. Hey, when I get to use the excuse of "research" to watch MORE movies, you better believe I'll take it! Last night I watched Alfred Hitchcock's gem, "Rope". Now, if you don't know anything about this movie, stop right here and either go read about how it was shot, or rent it. Better yet, do both.

"Rope" is a remarkable piece of cinema. "Rope" was originally a stage play, and when Hitchcock decided to adapt it, he was adamant about making his film "look" like it was unfolding just like a play would - in real time and as one single continuous shot. While dialog heavy (like a play), it is quite engaging thanks to the remarkable cast.

But the real beauty comes in how it was filmed - how the filmmakers pulled off this "continuous shot". Sir Alfred employed a mobile camera setup that would allow it to freely follow the action on a studio set. Since a reel of film only holds 10 minutes of footage, Hitchcock hid his cuts by pushing in on the darkness of an actor's back or furniture in order to mask any cuts. I can only imagine what pre-production planning was like!

This unique approach to photographing movies isn't very efficient by traditional standards, but I think it's important as a filmmaker to study different techniques. I employed the traditional "coverage" shooting for my first 3 shorts with fairly short takes, but I hope to move into more lengthy shots in my first feature. Longer shots, while requiring extra rehearsal and time, add to the overall cinematic feel to movies. "Rope" is an excellent reference tool for any filmmaker.

~ val