There are two big locations that I'm trying desperately to get. I've taken a great step towards one of them today thanks to some great work from my location manager. The script calls for a concert scene and at this location, a few scenes will need to be shot. The setup of the show, the actual show, the crowd boogeying down, and finally, the agent speaking to one of the members of the band.
Let's just say it's not easy to get a place like that for cheap. Using some of my location managers connections, she's put me in touch with someone who can get the deal made. She said it was a good possibility that we could shoot there on two conditions:
1. We shoot on a slow week night at the restaurant. Therefore, when I bring my cast of anywhere between 20 and 50 people, my crew will be spending money on alcohol and food and having a good time during the show. Thus, the restaurant will stand to make a profit on a slow night.
2. The head honcho at the restaurant needs to like the band's music.
I've sent them a link to the music of Allah Las and told them the date we'd like to shoot (Allah Las goes on tour mid April, so we have to shoot before that).
My fate lies in the hands of the musical talent of Allah Las. Keep your fingers crossed, boys and girls.
This is the part where I contact my casting director and tell her to find me some A-List celebrities to make my movie great. Insert Picture of Great Actor Below: Oh wait, that costs money. Let's see how this really works.
After creating the script, I can now create a casting breakdown. This includes a bio of each character, age, nationality, race, shoe size, favorite color, favorite food to eat, gum to chew, hobbies on the weekend, whatever. Anything you want potential actors to know for auditions/submissions, you put in the breakdown.
For a low budget project like this, you have to find creative ways to get good actors. After exhausting all your connections, and butchering all friendships by forcing people to be in your movie (you know who you are), you go to the glorious internet.
Online are many useful, FREE casting websites in which you enter your breakdowns and then offer a date/time for casting calls.
How good are these websites you ask? I'll let you know in a few weeks.
Overall, it was a successful day. I finished the next draft of the script and sent it out to some more of my readers.
On the business side of things, I've begun the opening paperwork to create an LLC for the film.
Will start the paperwork for SAG on Monday. They have a very old fax machine that all the new film submissions go to. They have not updated into the 21st century yet. You can't scan and email forms to SAG. You still have to fax. Easy to work with? Hmmm...
Getting to sit in the James Cagney Room at the Screen Actor's Guild was quite a luxury. The workshop, however, was not. Yes, they were informative, and yes they answered as many questions as possible before we got kicked out of the Cagney Room.
But you know what? When they happily tell you that their motto is "Easy to work with, tough to fight," my initial reaction was WTF.
I fully understand the whole concept behind SAG, but I just wish they didn't take all your money and sing Tra La La the whole time they did it.
Nevertheless, the workshop is a useful tool to realize just how much bullshit goes into legally filming a short, a feature, or anything new media.
My condolences to anyone like myself who for some reason, feels obligated to play by the rules.
Heading to a SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) workshop tonight. For those who don't know, SAG is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide.
If you want good actors for your film, you have to go through SAG. Yes, you can find good non-union actors now and again, but overall, SAG is where it's at. And with SAG comes a lot of paperwork, and rules and regulations that I'm going to need to know like the back of my hand.
This implies anything from how long an actor can work, whether or not they get a trailer, first class flight or coach, etc, do they get paid for days off between shoot days, etc.
Because I'm dealing with such a small budget, it's important that I know exactly what I'm going to pay and when I need to pay it. Can't have any hidden fees popping up on me in any department (they always do). Thus, the importance of the SAG workshop tonight, which is a free 2 hour class that goes through everything I'll need to know to get actors.
In a martial arts film, you damn well better have a great fight choreographer. In a horror film, it's all about the makeup. There's nothing worse than finally revealing what your creature looks like and then realizing it's downright laughable.
SPOILER ALERT: Think M. Night's "Signs" with our favorite lunatic Mel Gibson. I think it's a great drama, not a horror film at all (which is one reason I think so many people hated it). The first reveal of the aliens was perfect. Remember the little video that Joaquin Phoenix watched of a birthday party and then the alien quickly walking by? Perfect.
Then Night butchers his entire movie with that retarded CGI alien at the end of the film. Downright laughable. Totally took you out of the whole finale.
SPOILER ALERT: Now think about films like "The Exorcist" and the Pazuzu demon. Scary ass shit. From Reagan's transformation to the white-faced Pazuzu. More recently, look at Ti West's "House of the Devil" and tell me the reveal of the Satanic creature isn't perfect. Again, he teases you with a side shot at first, and you can't help but ask yourself, what did I just see?
Makeup, can make or break a horror film. This includes blood spilling out of heads from a gunshot wound, or the pouring of blood out of one's slit throat. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes, more really kicks ass.
Sometimes I find myself wondering, "Am I really going to make this movie?" I've been away from the blogging for quite some time now, and have received numerous complaints from people.
Well, I'm back, and yes I'm definitely going to make this movie. Perhaps it won't meet the beauty and grace of the beloved "Wrong Turn" franchise, but damnit, I'm gonna have a go at it regardless. All I can say is, watch out Dushku, Boogeyman 3, Saw 75, The Grudge 40, Final Destination 3D times 50, and Chucky reboot (actually I'm always okay with another Chucky movie). Watch out.
The script continues to go through mini rewrites. I'll be getting "The Devil's Playpen" to multiple producers and fellow writers this week. From my perspective, each of these readers will see things from different angles than I'm used to seeing. The script could get the shit kicked out of it this week, but in the end, all criticism can only make "The Devil's Playpen" better.
Let me close this post with a scene from The Shining. I know all writer's have felt like this at some time or another. Jack Nicholson is our voice, for now and forever.