Senior Media (FVIM) update # 2 - The Character Study

*This is the second update on the post-production work of my grad film.

Since our last group meeting, I have gone back to our interior location to reshoot the climatic robbery scene. I was able to get the CUs and coverage I felt were lacking in the original cut, and I'm very happy with how this scene now plays out (I will have a new cut to screen in the meeting).

version 1 of grad poster

version 1 of grad poster

Apart from editing in the new footage, I've been playing with some new music tracks throughout that begin and end based on different character cues, such as the cop answering his cell phone. I've worked on the sound design a lot more since my first cut, but I have to start putting the tracks into surround. 

There was also a seam that ran down the middle of some of the frames in the exterior scenes, a known glitch in the camera I used. I figured out that is I placed two of the same movie files on top of one another in FCP, and cropped out half of the top video, I could colour correct the seam out. It took a lot of trial and error, but I've all but erased the seam, though it still needs tweaking. 

An early cut of the film, compete with the new footage, was screened last night at Slamdance in LA as part of the Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking showcase. Hopefully I'll have some feedback on how it was received by the audience there. 

Scream all you want, it's cool.

I've worked with the actor Andrew Tkach twice now, and on both film sets he's had roles that require a lot of yelling. Haku has been present for each of these instances, and the first time he was pretty upset by it. It's amusing that now, the second time around, Andrew can yell as intensely as he does and Haku is totally used to it now. "Yell about who you're gonna kill, it's cool." - Haku

I'm fresh off getting the new footage from our Tisol location, which went very smoothly - thank you Ju. We got it just a few days before the final Slamdance submission was due, so it was down to the wire editing-wise but it's in! In classic fashion - as in, this how we roll - as soon as we came home after filming, Ju and I finished installing some shelves we made earlier for the living room. She also designed some nice new shelves for the kitchen, which I happily put together (anything to get the millions of plants we've somehow accumulated in there). 

I expect the amount of plants shown here to double in the next few months. 

I expect the amount of plants shown here to double in the next few months. 

If you're in Van and looking for high quality sushi on a budget, check out Iki on broadway. My god. Probably the most delicious rolls I've had, period. So good! 

I checked out Inherent Vice the other night with some friends, P.T. Anderson's latest film. It had some pretty funny moments, but coming off The Master I was a little disappointed. I found it to be pretty forgettable story-wise, and a lot of the characters seemed thinly written with the hope that the well-known actors in them would do the heavy-lifting. It's interesting that Wes Anderson can make a movie like The Grand Budapest Hotel work under similar circumstances, with a huge ensemble cast of famous actors, and still have each character resonate in some way.

Hm. Now I just want to watch TGBH again.

Senior Media (FVIM) update #1 - The Character Study

*This is an update on the post-production work of my grad film, The Character Study.

The film was shot in November last year, and was intended to be presented as a single, unedited take. This was the main challenge for us, and through several rehearsals and feedback from the cast and crew, we were able to complete eight takes in total. After reviewing the footage, it became apparent that although the one-shot was intriguing, it lost some of the actor's performances during the film's second act. To get around this, a portion of the second act is going to be re-shot (Jan 17) using multiple camera angles, keeping the one-shot format to the film's opening act.

Kristopher Nielsen stars as the protagonist in The Character Study short film

Kristopher Nielsen stars as the protagonist in The Character Study short film

The one-shot opening act of the film is, in my mind at least, a huge success, and I'm very grateful to everyone who helped make it possible. We had a sizable crew of talented individuals that put their best efforts forward, and I'm proud of what we've done so far. It was a big learning experience, figuring out how to manage a larger-scale production. We were short of time due to our limited time with the police being on-site, but we made the most of the three hours we had available.

Currently, I'm colour-correcting and grading the footage in DaVinci Resolve. I have a sample edit complete that gives a good idea of what the final film will be like, but I'm still experimenting with the darkness of the shadows, as well as the purple-grey look I initially pictured this short to have. I'm also editing the soundscape, mixing our location sound with some post-effects and background tracks.

One of my commitments of shooting the exterior scenes was to use studio lighting as minimally as possible. I wanted the film to look as though it was lit only by available light sources, which in the end, it mostly was.

One of my commitments of shooting the exterior scenes was to use studio lighting as minimally as possible. I wanted the film to look as though it was lit only by available light sources, which in the end, it mostly was.

So that's where the project is right now. We have one more shoot day planned to get the rest of the footage I want, and then the bulk of the editing can really begin. I'm also co-ordinating with an animator to get the title design prepared, which I think is going to be pretty rad. 

2015 - Year of the Cock!

Now let's not get too excited; That's just a lesser-known expression. It is the new year though, and that means new and exciting things for this popular, mainstream blog: dog pictures and ramblings!

I'm still in ecstasy after spending the night on Main street sippin' down milkshakes and eating pub grub with my favourite humans. If life was fair, I would be 300 pounds by now, so thank god it's not.

I've been crossing out a lot of names off my list of films to finally get around to seeing. So far I've seen Blue Ruin (excellent film, gripping, well-acted and beautiful cinematography), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (a Coen Brothers film that was just okay until it got great half-way through) and Magnolia (P.T. Anderson's sprawling, annoyingly predictable and taxing epic). I am looking forward to P.T. Anderson's latest film, Inherent Vice, however; I loved The Master, and this looks like its more in that vein. 

I'm back to school this week, and the focus is definitely on everything grad film. I'm going to be shooting some more scenes for The Character Study this month. After editing an early cut for the Slamdance festival, I feel like I'm losing focus on some of the great performances from the cast towards the end by limiting the film to the one-shot format. To get around this, I'm using the one-shot as the opener, and getting back to my style of scene-coverage when the film gets inside the convenience store. Looking forward to getting that footy.

Home improvement planz for the week.

Home improvement planz for the week.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a pound of cashews. 

Pandatastic.

We did it! I'm happy to extend a big congratulations to everyone who was involved in the creation of the short film Growing Cold. The film was nominated for Best Screenplay in the Golden Panda Film Festival this year, and I'm honoured to have received that award at the ceremony Saturday night! The whole event was pretty incredible; the organizers really did a tremendous job making the evening exciting and a blast to be a part of. The most insane thing is that along with the award, we also get a week-long trip to China sometime next year. This is so dope!

I threw some pics up here from the event, along with the other random things on my phone (note: All hail Julie, Queen of The Naam). There was a ton of press photos being taken, so hopefully I can show some of those soon, too. 

Still can't believe that happened. I'm also going to be submitting an early cut of The Character Study (my grad film) to Slamdance, a short film festival going on next year. The festival is accepting shorts that were shot on the Digital Bolex, so it seems right up my alley. 

slamdancefestival

Anyways, it's Christmas this week!! I cant wait to give Ju her gifties, and watch the Year in Review together. It's been a good one. 

 

 

 

Set, action, cut.

The Character Study has officially wrapped as of Sunday night, and it's a mixture of exhaustion and relief. The shoot went relatively smooth, and it was a good experience for me as an amateur director trying to coordinate a large group of people to create a single project. It was great working again with some familiar faces, as well as meeting some of these people for the first time right on set. We had just over three hours to prepare and get as many takes in as we could manage while the police were on-site.  

I am very grateful to everyone who donated their time and energy to helping create this film, and I hope that in the end it can be something we're proud of. It won't be shown - or ready - until sometime in April when graduation comes around, but that means there's plenty of time for editing and making the necessary tweaks in post. I'm looking forward to seeing what this film becomes in the end. 

Set photography courtesy of Patrick Deato Photography.

Now that the shoot is out of the way, I can relax a bit more and focus on the important task of lazing about the house, scratching Haku's belly when it calls for it, and filling Ju's hot water bag on the daily. There's also that fireplace that is constantly in need of being set alight and fed firelog after firelog, so that'll keep me occupied this month. 

Looming in the horizon is also this year's Year in Review - a collection of footage randomly taken from anytime this year compiled into a single 5-minute video - that needs to be put together in time for Christmas! You might think I would get a bit tired of editing, but going through a year's worth of home videos is so much fun, and always brings a smile to my face. Reliving so many silly memories and picking out the best ones to keep as a document of our lives is a cool way to hold onto these memories. 

So whether it's the cat trying to meow with a mouth full of margarine, or Aflie sounding like a goblin from hell, it's gonna be just fantastic.

 

Pre-Production crunch time.

With the plan to shoot The Character Study at the end of the month still on track, preparations are under way. I've made more phone calls to the police this week than normal, which I guess isn't that surprising. Ju and I checked out the Vancouver police museum to check out some uniforms they've agreed to rent to us for our actors. They have a very cool collection, and not just from Canada; They even had an old German military-looking uniform. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

I feel very fortunate to have a talented production crew that is so generously donating their time and energy to the project. All this work is sure to pay off, and I can't wait to see what we can do.

I was pretty happy to learn that I won the Vimeo Weekend Challenge from a few weeks ago. The theme was to create a short centered around the concept of pause consisting of 5 five-second clips with in-camera audio. Now I have another year of Vimeo Plus for free! Sweet.

This project is what got me inspired to build on it and create the short I posted last time, Things I Hope Remain.

Ju is cooking up a delicious Tofurkey roast dinner and the smell of mushroom gravy keeps wafting into the bedroom. Must. Control. Hunger.

Ah, fuck it. Goodbye.

A collection of vignettes.

A lot has happened to us since Ju and I moved to BC some odd years ago. We added two furry members into our small family, got new jobs, got several more new jobs, lived on one side of the water and then another, and on one particularly fine October night, got engaged. There's a lot of things I love about our current situation, but they're not always big life-changing occurrences; Instead it's a bunch of little things that I've come to appreciate as being things that make my life awesome.

I made this short collection of vignettes to capture some of those things.

My fundraising campaign is finally over, and we were able to raise a decent amount; It's enough to get the project off the ground, and that's all I really care about. This month is going to be pretty much dedicated to this thing's production, so wish me luck. 

To help get us through this challenging time, here are some cute pictures (of mostly dogs), as always:

I also made this poster recently for my short film from earlier this year, Growing Cold. The concept was designed by Ju, as most of my artistic ideas do. I'm looking forward to working with some of these talented guys again next month, who will be starring in The Character Study.

growingcold.jpg

That's it for now.

Figgety riggety.

Scrap wood, check. Jigsaw, check. Power sander, check. Let's make some cool shit! Ju decided that since we need furniture but aren't rich yuppies (yet) we should try our hand at making our own; I couldn't agree more. So far we've made a ladder, two respectable plant stands, and some gallery shelves for next to the fireplace. On a side note, I need to start stockpiling my absurdly massive pile of firewood. It's going to be a long and toasty winter.

In film news, I just put up the first of a possible few camera stabilizer tests. I'm experimenting with what contraption I'm going to put my camera in for The Character Study. I started out with the fig rig, which I just rented from school. I sort of knew going in what the footage would look like, but it was fun to get some footage of Haku running around nonetheless. 

It's not quite what I'm looking for this film though, so I'll move on to a more effective steady-cam next.

Obligatory corgi puppy pictures, among others:

The great campaign - Part II.

The Character Study is quickly becoming more and more a reality, as the generous donations keep coming in from friends and family (Thank-you!). We're officially over 1/3 of the way there! How awesome is that!? 

                                                  You can find The Character Study Indiegogo campaign here

                                                  You can find The Character Study Indiegogo campaign here

Right now I'm getting a lot of the components of the film prepped, specifically in the prop and wardrobe department. My last group meeting with my fellow filmmakers at ECUAD was really helpful in finding out how to make the trickier parts of this production possible. I'm talking about the whole fake-police-officer-with-prop-gun-in-public-yelling-at-criminals aspect. Of course you can't film a scene like that in public without the aid of the actual police force being involved, so that's something that is in the process of being worked out. 

It's all very exciting though, of course. The plan is to shoot in November and leave the rest of the school year for editing and sound design. 

In other news, we just had our guests from Windsor leave us today after spending the week in our place. It's always great to have guests and watching them experience a totally new place. Never before have I played so much Mario Kart in my life, too; I can't believe it's already over. 

Also, you should watch this music video if you're bored. I love this guy's work, and this one is pretty great. Those flips!

The great campaign launches.

This year marks my final year at Emily Carr University, and my grad film is beginning its pre-production. In order to raise some funds to help get this project completed, I've launched an Indiegogo campaign! 

I've never done anything like this before, but I've heard some great things about this service, so I'm giving it my best shot. I am so excited to be moving along with this project; I think it's going to be a very cool short, and I already have some very talented creatives signed up to be a part of it.

You can follow the campaign here, and spread the word if you're feeling awesome.

And in case you need some motivation to contribute, here's a picture of Haku. Don't you want him to be happy, too?


Hello, grad year.

School's back in, and the summer is drawing to a close. Ju and I decided to go on at least one last hike before it starts getting cold again. We went back up to Lynn Valley, took the suspension bridge over and found some incredible places to wander through. 

Here are some pics from the hike, and other random summer stuff. Take a gander.

Right now I'm getting ready to launch an Indiegogo campaign to hopefully raise enough money to fund my grad film. I already have a lot of the pieces in place; I've been fortunate enough to have some actors who I've worked with before return for this project, so I'm very excited to get things rolling. 

I wish I had time to shoot and edit some more Digital Bolex stuff, but for now that's on the back-burner. I'm learning to grade in Davinci Resolve though, so soon enough I'll have something to put up.

I also just celebrated my birthday the other day; Ju spoiled me rotten with the likes of a gourmet donut platter and decorations all over the house. Also, there was this: 

My life is complete.

My life is complete.

I can die a happy man.

Alfie has cometh.

Haku has a new best friend in Alfie, the cardigan corgi puppy who just arrived a few weeks ago. I made this video for Stie, who wasn't able to make it to the airport with his partner to pick up their puppy, so he could know how it all went down.

Now that we have another puppy in our lives, we've been having a ton of fun dog-sitting and watching Haku teach him what's what. It's also a great excuse to take more dog photos!

Now I should really get back to work. I've been jumping between two jobs all month (one being film-related, woo!) and deadlines are quickly approaching. So much work to do, in fact, that I have barely even taken my fancy new Digital Bolex out for a spin. But fear not: Test footy to come soon...

Swimming holes and burping toast.

The summer continues to bake the west coast as we search for our wedding venue and new places to let the pooch roam free. Along the way we found a warm swimming hole in Squamish, Haku brought home a toy in the shape of a toast that makes a burping noise (?) and we paid a visit to our friend Ali who's currently ship-wrecked at the Granville Island shipyard; He's pretty much single-handedly replacing his houseboat's motor and giving the hull a fresh paint job. 

Now I have to pack some supplies and head off once again to YVR airport to welcome another newcomer to the 'hood...

The long wait.

Title is for two reasons; Number one of course is the wedding. I be gettin' married, foo'. And I guess these things need to be planned out and such, so that's an ongoing project. I think I found my wedding band, though I'm worried about sizing since my ring finger is just a little bit thicker than a toddler's. Still, I'm stoked on this party-in-the-making.

Second from that, my fancy new camera - The Digital Bolex Cinema Camera! - still hasn't shipped, even though I ordered it in February. Alas, the trials and tribulations of choosing 'indie' over 'multi-thousand-dollar-commercial-juggernaut.' 

In the meantime, there's been plenty of other things going on: I tasted a homemade rhubarb pastry and battled/defeated a "huge" spider that was terrorizing Ju in the bathroom. Pippin discovered her love for bread, a giant iced tea jug invaded the fridge and I somehow made spaghetti sauce that tasted like it had been marinated in vinegar or something. I've played every mission in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and keep going back for more. And when our friends aren't meeting us for cheap sushi night, they're asking us for puppy advice - that is, asking Ju. My advice? Let them eat nachos whenever possible and make sure there's a spot just for him in the bed.

If I left anything out, just see the pics above.

Kohaku turns one.

Ever since he first arrived in our home last August, Kohaku has been the snuggliest (laziest?) shiba inu that ever lived. He's also the cutest little foxy dog you'll ever meet; Just see the video.

Hittin' the banks

My fiancee and I recently took a walk with our dog, Haku, to Spanish Banks. We heard there was a big off-leash area he could run around in, so we decided to make the long trek out there. As it turns out, it's not just a fun place to bring your pooch; It's also absolutely beautiful there! 

We stumbled upon some bunnies (aka wild buns), a bald eagle, stick houses and a lone turtle that was laying eggs in a hole. Because it was overcast all day with the chance of rain, we had almost the whole area to ourselves. 

I can't wait to go there again; who knows what you'll run into.