Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Random" cast annoucement

It is with great pleasure that I announce the cast for our upcoming production of the short film "Random":

Nate Styles as Johnny
Stefanie Tapio as Priscilla

There are two additional characters that play small (but crucial) parts in the film, but you will have to see the finished film to see who plays those roles.

Crew (partial):
Marc Longbrake - Director
Chris Zech - Producer/Writer
Trace Vardsveen - Director of Photography

Other crew members are pending and will be announced as they officially sign on. Given the nature of the film and the way it will be captured, we will be shooting this with a stream-lined crew but sound and lighting will be crucial components to the success of the project so that will remain a work in progress.

Location scouting is ongoing as well, though we have a couple of interesting prospects.

Cast rehearsals will be ongoing over the next several weeks and filming is set to take place sometime in mid-July.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Knock on wood if you get the chance

If you have a chance to knock on wood, or the opportunity presents itself, my advice is to go ahead and do it. It can’t hurt, right? I’m not superstitious, at all, but today we had a knock-on-wood situation. More on that in a second.

“Random” is moving forward. Chris and I headed down to Lincoln to hang out with Trace to talk about the script and to start talking about lighting, shooting angles, camera movements, etc. After talking through some of the specifics, I’m really looking forward to shooting this. I think we are going to end up with a pretty cool looking short film. During the conversation, we were talking about the various casting and crew options and I was mentioning how, in all of the films I’ve been involved with over the years, I’d never had a cast or crew person not show up for a scheduled shoot or rehearsal. Then I mentioned that we should probably knock on wood. No one did. Which brings us to the auditions for this evening.

We had two auditions scheduled for the evening, one of which sent an e-mail stating that they wouldn’t be able to get back to Omaha this weekend due to extenuating circumstances, and the other of which just didn’t bother to show up. Certainly a first for me, but you live and learn. That will certainly make the casting choices a lot easier. So, we should have cast announcements in a few days.

Crew-wise, we are going to experience a few changes from the last film as well. I was hoping that I’d get the whole crew back, but due to summer internships and various other projects, we’re going to shoot with a slightly scaled down group. I predict it will still turn out awesome though.

Next up, finding a location and rehearsals.

In other news, I talked to Trace about shooting the music video for Brad Hoshaw’s song “Sorry” and after listening to the song and going over my shot list, he’s on board. I need to find a male actor and a green screen, then we’ll be ready to shoot that as well.

To all of the fathers out there, happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Random" auditions III

Our last round of auditions are set for Saturday night so hopefully by this time next week we will be announcing our cast. I will say right now, for the record, that picking a cast is going to be extremely difficult because we have such great talent to choose from. I may wash my hands completely of the decision. Or we might do something else clever, but that’s yet to be seen. I do know that everyone that’s reading for this part is extremely talented and I definitely want to work with each of them so whoever doesn’t make it into this film will be hearing from me for different projects.

Our crew meeting is on for Saturday afternoon as well so we’re going to be in great shape when we’re ready to shoot. Still one minor detail remains.. a location. No problem. Unfortunately this script requires a very specific type of location, so it’s a work in progress. If anyone knows of a run-down out-building or barn (preferably wooden) that is away from the sights and sounds of civilization (cars, fireworks, etc.) but that is near enough to all of the power that we will be consuming (lights, cameras, my personal refrigerator, etc.), please feel free to let me know (as soon as possible) so we can take a look at it.

I’d mention “Wisdom” in this blog, but then I’d probably end up talking about how I’m not really an editor and blah blah blah… we’ve all heard it. So I won’t even bring it up.

Saturday will be a fun day. Check back in on Sunday and I’ll tell you all about it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

"Random" auditions II

Round two of auditions went well for the upcoming short film "Random". We still have a couple more people to look at and need to find that perfect location and we're ready to go. We have a preproduction meeting with the DP and crew coming up next Saturday so hopefully we can have a location before that and can work through all of the necessary production issues. Hopefully casting will be set by then as well. Chris has a couple of good leads through some real estate folks for locations so we'll all keep our respective fingers crossed.

Last night was fun as well. For my birthday, Jeremy and Jason took me out for some fun and frivolity. Well, I guess there wasn't really any frivolity, but there was fun. It occurred to me as we were hanging out that that was the first time the three of us were in the same room together since the Omaha Film Festival. Weird. More OFF news coming soon with some special screening info. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"Random" auditions

Our first read-through and rehearsal for our upcoming short film "Random" went great tonight. Chris feverishly took notes as our actors read through the scenes for our first round of rewrites. After hearing all of the dialog live for the first time, I'm real excited about this film. It is going to be a lot more intense and gritty than anything we've worked on before and from what I saw from the performances in the rehearsal, it's going to be pretty intense. I can't wait to start filming. We've got one more audition tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening and a crew meeting tentatively scheduled in two weekends so hopefully we will be able to announce cast and crew sometime in the next two weeks. I feel good about everything except for a location. The perfect location can make filming very easy and a not so perfect location could make this shoot very difficult. Wish us luck in our search for the perfect one.

In "Wisdom" news, we got our much needed pick-up shot this evening. A half hour drive across town, a half hour of set-up time, and time for JD to come across town and get prepared, all for 3 seconds of screen time. Hopefully it will be worth it. I edited the footage into the scene tonight and it looks much better. So at this point, scenes 1-3 are assembled and looking pretty good. I have a lot left to do with the audio but the main parts are there. So, I'm happy that the first three scenes of a 9 scene film are done and feel like I'm 33% of the way there, but sadly that only represents pages 1-3 of a 20 page script. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Empty House Studio - "Wisdom" voice over work

We had a great time in the studio this morning. I showed up at empty house studio at around 9:15, we got the system set up and then spent some time recording some of the sound effects that we need for the short film “Wisdom”. Pete and JD showed up right on time and we got underway with all of the necessary voice over work. I’d scheduled just over two hours of studio time and all of JDs stuff was done in under an hour. I guess it pays to go into the studio prepared and I think having the rehearsal earlier in the week helped a lot as well. We blew through the entire script with several takes of each chunk of dialog and I feel like it turned out extremely well. Now I REALLY have no excuses not to finish editing. Lori came in a little after 11:00 and after a bit of chatting, went into the sound booth and knocked out several great takes of her dialog. So, with the one possible exception of a second unit shot that I need, we have all of the raw material to put this thing together. If there are any editors out there that want to come over and work on this, let me know.

Due to what I thought might be time constraints, I moved our “Random” read through that was scheduled for 2:00 today, to Sunday, but as it turned out, we could have easily had time to get to that today as well. Having a little more time tomorrow is probably a good idea anyway, so that should work out fine. I’m looking forward to seeing what Nate and Stef can bring to the roles.

Tonight is another great music night. Lee Hester (with full band) and The Chris Saub Trio are playing down at the Pizza Shoppe starting at 8:30 so I’m looking forward to that. Feel free to come on out and say hi.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Music is alive and well in Omaha

With an evening off of filmmaking, I took the opportunity to take in some local music. I attended the CD release party for my friends The Chris Saub Trio. Awesome show, great music and tons of fun. The evening opened with Chris singing a few lines a cappella then being joined on stage by indie music legend Lee Hester who played the opening set. Lee’s acoustic guitar and folky vocals are always enjoyable and were a great start to the evening. Lee played for about 40 minutes then Chris came back on stage to revisit the opening a cappella piece, then was joined by band mates Matt and Steve. They rocked and rolled their way through many of the new songs on their new CD to the delight of the approximately 400 people in attendance. I sat in the back near the merch table and there was a constant stream of people buying CDs, t-shirts and skull caps. Very successful evening. After the Trio played for about an hour and a half, the band left the stage and Chris was joined by Galen from Lovetap to once again revisit the opening a cappella piece then the evening was finished off with a set of power pop tunes by local group Lovetap. Excellent evening of excellent local music. A handful of other musicians were in attendance as well so it was great seeing all of them. Not bad for a Thursday night. By the way, the Ozone is a great place to see live music.

"Wisdom" editing

Editing is moving forward for the short film "Wisdom". Matt was able to give me some insights into the magical world of film editing tonight and we were able to knock out another scene as well as giving me some valuable pointers. Fun, fun.

The next couple of days will be film free. Thursday night should be an awesome night at the Ozone to check out the Chris Saub Trio's new CD release party. Come on out. Friday night, steaks on the grill, pool and relaxation. Then back to it on Saturday. Voice over work in studio at 10:00am for "Wisdom" and a first rehearsal for "Random" at the palatial King Penguin Studio at 1:00pm.
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