Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Life as a Filmmaker, Now and in the Future

Man it's been a few weeks since I did a new post, and I'm not sure why. Twitter has become my forum for truly getting out what I'm thinking about through the day, so I suppose I save my blog posts for when I actually have a lot to say. Anywho,

So last friday I shot a new video with my Laugh Taxi group. As usual it was filled with ridiculous things that we allow ourselves to do on camera. Lots and lots of takes, and usually a lot of uncontrollable laughter for a few hours. I was a little nervous at first that we were trying to pull this together last minute, but it turned out really really well. I ended up screaming a lot, which for some reason I find myself doing often in our videos. I read a quote by Will Ferrell where he said "There's just something about yelling that I find funny," and that's really the truth.

We only had four guys there filming, and sometimes that is the best route to take. If by some chance I do make it in the movie business, I always want to make sure I find time to make short sketch comedy videos with just my friends. For some reason, there is just something liberating by working with people you know and making up shit on the fly and somehow piecing it all together. It's not conventional and sometimes it can really backfire, but on the most basic level, its satisfying.

In other news, this coming Tuesday I'm working on the most professional shoot I have ever been on and I'm extremely excited. Honestly, I'm not really nervous and I don't know why. I'm directing a script I wrote and I'm just excited for the opportunity. I get to have an entire crew, an assistant director, lighting, professional dollys, producers, real actors, monitors on set, the whole nine yards. Hopefully one of the producers will bring a camera and snap some photos and I might post them up on here. So yeah, we've been in preproduction for like 3 weeks now, and I really have come to appreciate the importance of preproduction. It's just so crucial, I can't imagine trying to be this professional without mapping out every detail beforehand. It really really benefits.

And finally, this weekend I had a weekend seminar with a professional agent from Hollywood who came and talked to us about his career, what he does on a daily basis, the process a project goes through in development, as well as interesting anecdotes he's encountered while working in the industry. It was pretty interesting, and while I don't see myself becoming an agent at all, I learned a lot about how much creativity can actually come from that job. We did a mock project development where we had writers, agents, producers, and studio heads, and we had to pitch ideas, and find out peoples interests, and eventually try to get a project sold to one of the studios. Really cool stuff, I found myself getting much more into it than I thought I would. Taking this class really got me motivated for when I move out to LA. I found out some great places online to learn about assistant jobs and learned about the routes than can be taken to help get to the place you want your career can be. My goal is to be out there in less than 2 years, but I hope it doesn't take quite that long. But the point is, im more excited than ever, and I'm just really happy that I have a lot of projects that I'm working on right now as well. That is all for now, have a great day everyone.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Being Sick and Wasting Money

Hello there,
So last week I was pretty sick. The most sick I say i've been in the last 4 or 5 years, which was a pretty weird feeling. I had my girlfriend to take care of me when it was at it's worst but sadly I think I had the stomach flu. I was dry heaving and I forgot how much that shit sucks. I remember a few years back leaving work early one night because I was feeling like shit and as I was driving home I got that feeling in your stomach where your like "okay, calm down, I feel like I might throw up." I parked my car ran up to my front door but I couldn't make it. I turned and threw up all over the rocks by my front door, then started dry heaving for a few minutes. I have no idea why this memory sticks with me but I always think of it when I think of throwing up lol.

So the flu lasted about 2 days and I was back to my normal self. See, for some reason I always felt like i had a strong immune system because I get sick very rarely and even when I do get it bad, I always recover from it somewhat quickly which isn't something I complain about at all. The only (ONLY) good thing that came out of me being sick was Friday I sat down and was able to watch the whole first season of 30 rock (21 episodes) which is something I've been wanting to do since I never have seen them. So that was that, I got sick, I feel better, the end.

So this past month I will be honest, I have spent wayyy too much money. I have had about 6 of my friends turn 21 so I've been to the bar a lot, and then there was Valentine's Day, which I didn't mind spending money for, but its just another holiday that money gets spent. Combine that with only taking about 24 hours at work a week and I have over and over again found myself struggling to have enough money for things. This has led me into to stressful situations, and anyone who knows me, knows that I put a lot of my time thinking into money. I don't know why, but I'm always thinking about spending, saving, calculating, planning, budgeting, just everything. It is a curse, but it's just something about myself I can't change. But one thing I'm going to actively be trying to change is how much money I waste. So I don't have any big secret, I'm not someone who thinks the best way to do this is have a major budget with every detail covered. I'm someone who is realistic and understands that if I want to save money, in the most basic ways, i need to not spend money.

I spent some time today at my good friend Adam's house writing and recording some music. The kid is a genius when it comes to music and it is fascinating to watch how much he has learned about the process of recording and producing music. He has books, dedicates time to the proper micing of instruments, invests money in equipment and all around knows music. He says he wants to be a music producer which I honestly think seems like his calling. Me and him used to record music together a few years back and he always had an ear for the tiniest of details and thats a quality I'm glad he's learning that he can capitalize on. But I had fun today, we both got to sit there and fuck around with guitars and his new drum set (which he is surprisingly good at). I could honestly spend HOURS just bullshitting around on a guitar and for some reason having one in my lap and playing is the most relaxing thing ever. I can't wait until I save up enough money to buy my own. Btw is any of you reading play guitar I want to get an Epiphone ES333 Dot guitar. I played one at Guitar Center last night for like half an hour and fell in love.

I'm going to Vegas in a couple days with some friends of mine and really looking forward to that, so my post next week I'll probably talk a bit about that. So I will see you all until next time!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Hardware, Old Projects

Hello all/one.
So, recently I just purchased a new external hard drive for my computer because for months I have been deleting old movies and documents to make room for new ones and frankly it was just getting damn annoying. Also, in one of my classes I was advised to get one if I continue to pursue digital filmmaking, which of course I definitely will. I'm excited because now I will be able to never delete anything (until the bastard fills up), and I'll be able to have off-hand a much larger body of work.

Which brings me to a topic that I'll probably write too much about but thats what my fucking blog is for so get off my back! Lol. It all starts a few years back when my production group Try Harder produced a feature film called "Clawman II". This was a crude film, with a pretty interesting storyline and some awesome characters. The movie was great, we all loved it, our friends loved it, and while it took a lot of time and dedication it was worth it. I myself learned the sense of accomplishment a finished feature film can give a filmmaker. All those hours of time spent writing, planning, filming, editing all come to one point when the audience will sit and watch the whole thing. And that premiere night is a night that I'll probably remember for the rest of my life. I remember having all of my friends there, my group, our shoddy construction of a projector screen and the anxiety I had as the time grew closer. I remember when it was over and people were applauding and looking over at my friend/co- director Shawn and shaking each others hand and saying "wow, man we did it." And it was great. It was the first time I truly felt like a filmmaker, and like i said, that memory will stay with me forever.

We took a few months off, finished our last semester of our SNEWZ productions and that was it, we had all graduated. It wasn't long before I began itching to try another feature film with the guys, however a few of them were slightly resistant, which I now understand was justified. We had done what most kid our age hadn't done, but I think we all realized that the next one would surpass the first one by miles. It would have to be longer, funnier, have more characters, more locations, better editing, better camerawork, and more ambition.

We spent that summer producing more shorts and in that time we created a series called Cranberry about a secret agent, and the cases he had to solve. Yes, quite cliche, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't secretly in love with these kinds of stories. Secret agents, spies, detectives; they were all something I had a desire to write about. So summer ended and I began work on a feature length script called Cranberry: The Movie. I wrote for 3 months, all the while trying to convince and justify to my group members that we were ready to do it, and that it was going to be great. Thankfully, Shawn the other creative half of the group was on-board, or at least he gave a level of commitment that I desperately needed from somebody. We planned it al out, we cast all the main characters, got costumes, had production meetings, invested in better equipment, constructed equipment, the whole deal. It was fun, it felt like we were doing something professional.

Shooting started that winter and we thankfully hit the ground running. But, as every story of a no-budget feature film goes, production was ridden with difficulties. Scheduling became nearly impossible, getting props and locations was difficult but we managed to make it through that winter break with probably 60% of our movie shot. We shot for probably 16-17 days sporadically. Once school hit, it became even more impossible to schedule things. My main actor, my star, and best friend, however became increasingly difficult to work with. He cancelled last minute, was late, didn't know his lines, and didn't seem that enthused about the whole thing. The cast and crew started to turn against him and everybody became sick of him but damnit the whole time I was there trying to stick up for him. I know production was hard and I have ideas of what everyone thought about the movie and myself, but it was my lesson in directing a movie. It was my film school.

I had to balance everything, try to keep everyone happy, seem like we on our way to the goal, and that when it was done it was be incredible. As time went on things got harder, but in spite of it all, we finally wrapped up the last of production late that summer. Everybody was exhausted we had just spend nearly 8 months shooting a movie with nothing to show for it yet, and I know it was frustrating on everybody who dedicated their time to help me with this project. Something I could probably never thank them enough for.

I had an editor lined up who was going to edit it for us, because I myself was no editor. I had experience but not the control and skill to do a whole movie. Well, after a few days of working on it with him, he backed out. He had our footage for a month or so and then backed out. Fuckin eh, so I searched for another editor and posted an ad on craigslist. Found one, drove out to meet him at Starbucks, explained the project and it all seemed great. He worked on it for a little while then of course, he fucking backed out too. So after this I was left with the footage and it seemed like nobody wanted to edit it for us.

I was exhausted, crushed, and losing my momentum with the project, yet I had all these people wanting it done, so i opted to try and edit it myself. I worked on it for probably 2-3 months. Progress was slow, i was editing on a new program while trying to learn it at the same time. I invested so many hours and nothing good was coming out of it. So at this point I just stopped. I don't wanna say I quit, but I took a step back because honestly I just couldn't look at it anymore. Something I had so much passion for was now becoming something that was becoming too difficult and my optimistic attitude faded. So put it all away, and stopped.

It has now been about one year exactly since I did any work at all on Cranberry. My friends have never seen any of it, my group members probably stop wondering when it would be done. I felt like i let down a lot of people (including myself) and i was left hoping that one day I would be able to edit it myself.

Well, last week I showed my girlfriend our Clawman II for the first time ever. She was mildy amused and said she liked it, which was really sweet of her. But the thing that really startled me watching it again, was how entertaining it was to watch an entire movie as it progressed from scene to scene as the story moved along and it was great. It somehow rejuvenated my energy for Cranberry and with my new hard drive coming in I sat and thought: Fuck it, I think its time. I've been using the editing software for almost a year now, I've gotten pretty damn good at it, I have a lot of free time this semester. I think its time I finish it.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to really talk about it too much with my friends other than the occasional mention of progress, but I realized that this is now something that only I can help run up to the finish line and I think I'm finally ready to do it. It hurts knowing how weak some of the story will be or how my filmmaking techniques have surpassed what we filmed over a year or so ago but I don't give a fuck. I want it done, and I want everyone to see it. I am proud of what we have done with it so far and I want everyone else to be able to be proud of their work when they can sit back and watch a 90 minute movie they gave their time for.

So that's my long rant on everything, it felt good to get it out, because most people don't know the internal struggle I've had with this project for so long, but that's fine. I'm the writer/director of it and its my responsibility. So thats that. I'm sorry for this long boring post of me just getting shit off my chest. I promise to have a more upbeat, humorous post next week. Thanks everyone.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bee's, Scripts, and Netflix

Greetings one person who reads this from the privacy of their room. I'm no good at constantly writing, so my goal is to try and make a post once a week. Chances are that won't work but since my 2004 goal of getting into the Olympics, I am used to failing.

Anyways, interesting thing happened to me last week as I got off of work. I hopped into my car, started it and reached back for my seatbelt, when GASP what did I see on my window. A bee. I know, holy shit. It was stuck in that part where the window rolls down into the sleeve or whatever. I have never been stung before and chances are if I had seen the bee before I got in, I would have probably spent five minutes trying to knock it off with a water bottle. But it seemed stuck and I thought well hey I have a 15 minute freeway drive home, I'm sure the speed will make the bee fly off. 15 minutes of me constantly looking over at my window, however, would prove me wrong. This little fucker really was stuck. But luckily when I got home he seemed to have suffocated from the power of the wind and he was dead, yet still stuck. Oh well, I left him there and the next morning I finally knocked him off. What a way to die.

Scripts: Man have the creative juices been flowing with my new group and writing team with Shawn Orr. We, especially him, have been pounding out handfuls of scripts a week and its awesome. We probably have somewhere near 15 scripts that are in various stages of production, many of which we probably can't stand to look at anymore lol. But the point is this is good, because we are tapping into some creative energy that really keeps things fresh. I wish that we produced more though, but that isn't as easy as working at a script from home. I wrote this script for a mockumentary style movie with the main character as a delusional karaoke singer. It's great, I'm really proud of it, I can't wait to see where it ends up a few drafts down the line, and hopefully we can find time and dedication to organize this one because I have an exact tone I really want to get.

Writing to me is extremely fun, but at the same time I really hate it. Its definitely not my "forte", but I know I'm becoming increasingly better at being a storytelling, which in today's industry, you can't get anywhere without having that trait. Telling a story is so hard people don't realize it which is amazing. I rewatched a movie last week from my childhood days that I had watched a million times before. Maybe you've heard of it, its called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. Okay stay with me here. Of course I really enjoyed watching and remembering all the favorite parts I had as a kid, but watching it, I couldn't help but notice how incredibly tight and on point the storytelling was. It was funny, suspensful, exciting, and sometimes sad. All these qualities is just a ninja turtle movie? Insane I know, but I have an appreciation for it because most people really don't realize everything that goes into making a movie and how much goes into to crafting a script. It is something that you can't be explained, but only taught through your own experiences. Anyways, the movie was awesome, I was so happy I found it on Netflix oh and speaking of Netflix....

Netflix: So i have my xbox connected to Netflix instant watching or whatever and it is seriously the coolest fucking thing ever. I can browse movies on my xbox menu, click watch now, and....I WATCH IT NOW! so awesome. Problem is the selection is diseased with so many movies ive never heard of or never watch. But everyday the library is getting larger and larger and hopefully down the line all the netflix movies that are available, will be available to watch instantly.

Over the last week I have discovered that I have a love for documentaries, and I always knew I enjoyed them, but now often I would rather watch a good doc instead of a good movie. Strange I know but one amazing documentary was this one called King of Kong. It's the story of a guy trying to beat the world record on Donkey Kong and all the drama and controversy that video game nerds thrive on surrounding this kind of stuff. It was just so damn entertaining and I definitely will be watching that one again in due time. Other docs I've watched recently are I.O.U.S.A. which was very good, and one today called The Union: The Business About Getting High. It was also good, but kind of seemed to get off topic at times and even my love for weed couldn't keep me from feeling slightly bored sometimes. Oh well, I still enjoyed it a whole bunch. This netflix thing is seriously going to take up so much of my time because there are a million things to watch.

I also watched The Big Lebowski which lived up to the hype everybody gave it. People have been telling me to watch it for years and honestly with a few more viewings it could easily become one of my top favorite movies. I'm in the middle of watching The Royal Tenenbaums which is hands down brilliant. Wes Anderson did such a good job on this movie, and even though I have some complaints about his filmmaking style, so far it has been superb. My netflix travels will continue and I hope to see a lot of movies I would otherwise had never watched before. Oh shit, I think I may be becoming a better filmmaker. Lol.

I'll catch everyone later.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Post EVER

Hello, my name is TK and this is my first post for my first personal blog. Now that introductions are out of the way...
So the whole Conan/Leno situation has been "solved" now, and unfortunately CoCo has been kicked off of The Tonight Show and the big chinned loser Leno will return to his spot at the Tonight Show Desk. Honestly, it's quite sad to see this type of shit happen, since Conan is what I consider, a very fresh, interesting, late night talk show host. He cares about his work, and obviously doesn't care about his paycheck as much as many others do. His settlement gave him like 40 million dollars or something, but also stated that he cannot begin hosting another late show for at least 7 months. Hmmm...this seems ODD! The funny thing is that NBC has now brought back this "great" host to try and weasel out some more mileage for NBC's failing late night ratings. The very ones the NBC specialists fucked up in the first place, LOL. So now, O'Brien has been receiving offers from Fox, and it's no secret that we can expect a new show from the red-headed interviewer as early as the start of the next fall season. A show that will most likely crush the "new" Tonight Show host. NBC really screwed the pooch here, and even though they may enjoy the initial ratings Leno will get, they failed the plan for the long road ahead. So good job NBC, we all hope you fail.

On a happier note, I started my Madden franchise on xbox, and hoping I have a good season! Well, that is if I ever find the time to get around to playing all the games in the season. School will soon enough be suffocating me and my time, and between Call of Duty and NHL 2010 I have no idea when I will be able to finish it. Oh, well, those are just video games and I have real human interactions in my life to keep me busy.

My new sketch group with my buddy Shawn is doing well, I like the direction we are taking this one, and everything feels fresh, and I don't feel at all limited to what we can produce. We just released a new video entitled "Inhaler" and you can watch it here:

Subscribe, tell your friends, show some love, show some hate, do whatever you want I just want those views higher! So that's all for now, I'm sure there is nobody out there who will be reading these, but if you are, I will see you soon.