Tuesday, December 15, 2009

photo shoot

had actors over on sunday to take still photos. these will be seen in the opening shots, establishing where they live, who they are. the main focus will be a wedding-day shot of the two, a happy shiny time immediately contrasted by the scenario as the movie begins: a couple running late, a man yelling profanely up that stairs at his wife. The weather was slightly uncooperative, the morning filled w/ icy roads that for a time threatened to prevent the entire thing before it began. but it all worked out. actors and photographer showed on time and we were off.

1st shot, couple in front of xmas tree w/ their dog. we were aided by lennie briscoe who agreed to lend his likeness provided we dealt w/ his bs. 2nd shot, the couple hiking in the woods w/ backpacks, smiling and giving thumbs-up. this we shot in the backyard, cheating the tall trees for a forest w/ a well-selected camera angle. 3rd shot, wedding day. this necessitated costume changes, beard shaving, caravan to mt. tabor park. Instead of driving to the top of the park as planned, the gates were shut, no doubt due to the earlier ice. So 6 of us trudged all the way up winding paths to the top of the park. Once there, cold rain started to fall. Actors were positioned against a tree, giving best happy day smiles, a bouquet, a white dress. A passer-by leaned in and wished sincere congratulations to the happy couple.

we got the shots

Saturday, December 12, 2009

questions, decisions

saw friend's clinic today. it's workable. it's do-able w/ some slight re-imaginings of what's in my head. but it begs the question: just b/c it's workable does it mean it's correct? so, i'm right where i started: no closer to nailing location. at the same time i'm beginning to feel a sort of layer forming, a hardening of how i'm going to direct this, which in case that sounds totally fucking abstract, is a very good thing. i'm starting to see it. as i've alleged before, the hospital ($) location alone will elevate this film from amateur-land. not that that's everything - after all there's still acting, shooting, cutting to contend with - but i'm oh so eager to extract myself from the student-film pitch i feel like my mail gets delivered to.

along those lines, i emailed a close tie this week and asked to borrow 2 grand. She said no but was willing to match 1/2 of it if I could raise the rest. to my thinking that was a nice gesture on her part but one that would bear no fruit. when i mentioned it to my wife, she jumped on me for being a dim-sighted buffoon. all i have to do is raise a grand somehow, my wife claims, and i'm home free. but how?. herein finds me still sticking to the shadows and keeping my back against the wall and the comfort of sure footing instead of manning up and walking into the darkness. There's a vulnerability that i'm attempting to avoid which is a stumbling block preventing me from avoiding achieving what i need to do. it's a conundrum alright.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

slow gatherings of steam

Bit by bit this thing is gathering form and motion, willing itself from the void, up out of the muck. I continue to be the default and at times unwilling producer. After waiting wks for the media director of a local hospital to finally touch base w/ me (I was out of town, then her, then it was Thanksgiving) she called me at the day job to inform me they just didn't do things like that. "I could lose my job" I was told. When I told her another hospital already said yes but it cost too much for our budget she was shocked, stupefied. I think there must have been a profound misunderstanding or something but that's where we left it.

At about the same time I touched base w/ friend who has small medical practice to see if i could film in his clinic and he said yes. I haven't seen the location yet but in the back of my head i heard a voice urging me to go w/ the first one. the hospital. the thousand dollar fee, million dollar insurance one for my short film budget of zero. it's perfect for the movie and out of my grasp. unless of course i have a rich and willing relative step out of the shadows.

meantime, doing a photo shoot this wknd for a couple still photos that hang in the house of a youngish married couple. So that will feel like motion, like a push, and shove.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Starting to feel like the constant weighing on this-or-that film is a bit of an interference so i'm going to stop doing that here. I'll just save this blog for the ins/outs and errata of pre and post-production of my own stuff and everything in between. from time to time i'll still put up ramblings and natterings about films and cinema

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"good food" stills

almost done

directed a short in june called 'good food'. got a new cut this morning. almost there. i'm very excited about it. yes, errors were made and i exclusively made them. doesn't matter though. 'good food' was designed to allow me to screw some shit up. (note: like location scouting sound). the actors are great. i've seen it ten million times and they still make me laugh. more in the wks to come...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

location scout 10.23.09

script calls for reception area in clinic and exam room. went to 1st possible location today. promising. expensive but promising. tbd whether or not i can swing it.
more here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

not so fast

due to some scheduling complications looks like production now won't happen until 1st wknd of dec at the earliest. this could be a blessing in disguise so i can get everything together. sadly there are two rotating parts of my approach: the eager part which is all enthusiasm and the pondering side which can tend toward paralysis. need to find the middle naturally. part of this is my fault. i could have - should have - activated things more quickly in august but i drug my feet and now i'm up against the holiday corridor. not going to beat myself up about it - it'll happen when it happens - but the lesson is to jump in when you feel it. as mentioned in previous post, i'm doing everything myself currently so i am the only one being both too hard and too easy on myself w/ regard to timings.

more specifically, going to check location for shoot next fri at local hospital. they were able to get me a 'deal' by lowering their standard rate of 2500$ to under 1000$ which i appreciate but they could lop off a zero and i'd still barely be able to hit that. still going to check location out though. if it's amazing maybe i'll see what i can do...

Sunday, October 11, 2009


things starting to solidify for "i'm your man": time-frame, DP, some cast. I still have to nail down location and cast for the male lead and a 2 female parts. as i'm doing everything myself there is an automatic time bloat that having, say, a producer and a casting person would mitigate. (here's to hoping those will materialize for the ensuing productions. they'll have to at some juncture). still, i'm feeling good about things, as they finally gain form. it's taken some time for me to feel confident about directing this one in particular, for a variety of reasons, but i'm out in front of it now.

Monday, October 5, 2009


formative movie for me. watched on endless loop 15 yrs ago and recently rewatched and discovered it all still works. i don't know if atom egoyan has matched it yet frankly. built almost like a collage - themes of grief, money, transformation repeat and ripple thru characters, each mirroring another - but it does not feel randomly assembled, quite the opposite. maybe grief is less so in don mckellar's character. we learn his father died recently but we don't see him being taken under like francis or even like eric, the dj whose lamenting is more about heartbreak than death. mostly. in any event, from the second the title started and the first piano of m. dyanna's score starts progressing i was transported. awesome

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


keep going back and forth on this one. love the idea and i liked the actors but i don't love the whole (for lack of better term) mumblecore-y aesthetic. there's something about design to me that feels fundamental, elevating things from a mere recitation of character on a stage w/ a video camera rolling - call it heft, call it a seriousness of purpose, call it gravitas. these films (the bujalskis, the duplass, the swanbergs etc) sometimes feel like a director called two friends and said let's shoot this wknd and just see what happens and cut together the most interesting bits. the only 1 of the mumblecore-y movies i've seen that could be classified as 'designed' would be a. katz dance party usa, which i loved. i don't know. humpday is a pretty innocuous and sometimes funny thing so i should probably just let it off the hook. still, there's a part of me that wishes for a different tech approach. back and forth...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


no interest in flogging something for the thrill of it, but after witnessing the train-wreck spectacle that is (500) Days of Summer, we found we could not stop discussing every level of its ghastly and abhorrent putridity. From casting to script to editing to music every single department seems to misfire leaving a sort of dim, sputtering thing onscreen that attempts to use staggered chronology and pop-culture to gloss over the glaring fact that this is a movie about nothing. There's nothing wrong w/ a film slight in scope but unlike say 'annie hall' or 'the graduate' (two films this seems desperate to be put in the same company with) there is no appeal to the characters or situation. It feels like we're watching a 21 year old's take on how hard love is. To make matters worse, it attempts to parody persona and the seventh seal to mind-bendingly unfunny and purposeless degree. Bad. Wow bad.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

kore-eda, hirokazu

not enough superlatives available for hirokazu kore-eda's 2nd narrative feature. it's 10 yrs old now but 110 yrs from now it will still work. the matter-of-fact approach and tone - making afterlife events the purview of the civil servant rather than the winged cherub - solidifies, seals, and underscores the frame and focus of the film's reach.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

new short

the last short i directed is still being edited (by the skilled and charming evonne moritz) as i write this but it was designed to allow for mistakes; that is to say that as opposed to going all in on something that i loved dearly and keeping fingers crossed that it wouldn't crash i instead opted to write something that would be of less emotional consequence (at least to me) which would allow me the freedom to make mistakes, which i did. oceans worth. this is not to imply i didn't care about last short in the least, i cared a lot - only to say that w/ a slight topic (a sandwich) to build narrative around my failures, shortcomings, errors would hopefully be buried in the slightness or maybe washed away if the short was funny.

now, moving into a new one. there is still some comedy in it, but less of a cloaking device. this one is a step up narratively, in heft and scope, though the plot is quite basic. [i co-wrote it with margaret malone, an up and coming new writer of great talents with whom i share the hometown of portland]. title: "i'm your man"

currently looking at dp reels. lots of talent in the nw for sure. any progress or inroads or stumbling blocks i'll be sure to note here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lorna's Silence

another amazing work by jean-pierre & luc dardenne, the belgian brothers of international acclaim (except, as ao scott points out, in the united states - no surprise there really). in the past couple mos i've rewatched 'la promesse' and watched 'l'enfant' (both of which - like lorna's silence - feature jeremie renier). it's hard to classify their importance in any original fashion - some intersection of world-view and aesthetic, engineered and verite-grimy all at once. Lorna's is a simple plot (built on a gnarl of moral complexity) but told in such a manner so as to subvert expectation; just when i thought i knew where this was headed it jumped the tracks and moved into different terrain, more than once.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

a beginning

this is the first post for the blog of northern flicker films.
thank you and godbless