Friday, August 24, 2012

Leopardactyl Scores!

Musical stupor-group Leopardactyl was enlisted to record the score to "Clipped." Because we had only a very rough cut of the film at the time, Kirk and I decided not to attempt to create the music based on visual cues and instead went with the traditional Leopardactyl approach--wing it. We thought back to the script and storyboards, watched the rough cut once, and then went off wherever our inspiration took us.

Kirk came up with 4 or 5 beats on his Korg Triton while I tuned up and got Pro Tools running. Each beat would have 2 or 3 different variations. Then we jammed on the beats until we had something we liked, and recorded it. Sometimes we would record different, but related parts for each beat's variation, and other times we recorded straight through the changes. Again, we weren't overtly concerned that we had something for each and every scene--we just wanted enough music that we enjoyed and felt represented the tone of the film overall.

The next day I edited down the sections. Some were split into short, loop-able segments to be squeezed into whatever length the scene was, and others were left in their long, complete forms. I then tackled our "dance song," which was specifically called for in the script. Two weeks earlier, I had written a few lines of lyrics, then Kirk turned them into a scrappy little techno demo in Garageband by the time we needed to shoot the scene. I then took Kirk's demo, added some MIDI percussion straight from 80s and 90s electronic drumkits, and expanded the vocals a bit. Then we slapped it right into the film.

Other tracks seemed to fit so perfectly in some scenes that it scared us. Weird, free-form sounds that Kirk added on the Korg the night before ended up mirroring visual cues with no editing involved at all. Of course, not everything was quite as simple, so the next day I recorded a few bass-only tracks based on our longer themes to fit our short framing segments. I also recorded echoing chords intended to run backwards into the flashback sequences (there's a story about those too, but it's so nerdy that I won't share it here).

In the end, we had something we liked for each scene that needed music, and even felt that some of those scenes were actually enhanced by the soundtrack. We did have one track that ultimately found no home in the film ("Clipped" is only 10 minutes long, jeez), but we liked it enough to finish it and share with you. It's called "Superjumper."

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Calm After the Storm

Now that the filmmaking frenzy is over and Team Guts Guts Guts Guts managed to send our submission to Project Twenty1 on time (just barely) we can take time to reflect on the experience and post some photos we didn't get around to posting while we were so busy rushing to get our movie made.

During one of our late-night editing binges, Kirk snapped some photos of the other guys hard at work and goofing around. So sit back, relax, and take a Kirk's-eye-view of the action.

Rollie, wearing his Leopardactyl* shirt, relaxes with a gooey green facial while waiting for the other guys to get settled.
*Leopardactyl wrote and recorded all the music used in our team's movie. 

Wally guides the other guys through the editing process, often trying to distinguish between three different opinions being shouted at him simultaneously.

Wally searches the audio track of a scene involving our two lead actors, probably looking for some previously undetected glitch in the audio track which we will try to cover up and hope nobody notices.

A hungry Alan eyes Kirk menacingly. Time for a dinner break before we resort to cannibalism!

Alan emerging from the sandwich shop on the corner from which we were able to acquire much needed sustenance.

After our sandwich-buying trip, Wally beat us all back to the elevator...

... but the elevator was slow enough to allow us all to catch up with him. There is no escape from the making of this movie, Wally!

I have one more photo from that day, from when Kirk clumsily skinned his knee trying to stand on top of a large concrete planter out on the sidewalk. But that will have to wait for our crew injuries blog post. Keep your eyes peeled for that one! There will be blood blood blood blood to go with your Guts Guts Guts Guts!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Less-Than-Ten-Minute Warning

After finalizing the DVD, gathering the paperwork, and finally arriving home at 8:30AM (in the rain), I decided to pop in the finished product for just one last check. Yes, we knew the film inside out already--we had watched every scene before and after every single update, format swap, and render-bender. But it had not yet been viewed outside of studios, and I figured it was worth trying on a different TV.

And of course you know what happened next--I noticed some mistakes that none of us had caught before. And others we had brushed off seemed worse with a change of scenery. The combination of my sleep deprivation and marathon creative obsessive disorder meant that I could not let it go.*

So I fired up the Premiere and played "Can I Live With This Mistake?" vs "Do I Have Time and Ability To Do Anything About It?" for a while, then moved on to "Audio Quality" vs "Video Quality." (That was a draw.) One losing battle that wasn't worth playing for long was "Hey, Let's Check Things Out With Headphones On!". When I started hallucinating while watching the credits of The Tron Legacy during one particularly long rendering process, I admitted I was no longer mentally fit to edit.

I headed over to Kinko's with a couple hours to spare, explained the situation to the FedEx rep, and apologized several times for sounding insane. As of 4:22pm on Day 21, we can officially call this production wrapped.

Now that everything's finished, we'll be able to talk more about specific things we learned during this process as well as post more pictures, and some video and music too. And if you wish upon a star, maybe Wally and Kirk will chime in. Give us a couple days though because we've got a lot of sleep and cleaning to catch up on.

* If you're confused by the scary manic tone of this post, please re-read this sentence and understand that I still have yet to sleep for longer than 2 minutes since yesterday morning. 

Ten-Minute Warning

After an all-nighter, Team Guts Guts Guts Guts is pleased to announce that we've finally cut our film down to the ten-minute mark. We've also settled on a title: "Clipped."

Working from just a 6 page script, we were a bit surprised when we learned our first cut was over 11:30. We then spent the first half of the night trimming two full minutes off of that in order to fit credits and a title. Remarkably, we did it all by just trimming--we didn't cut any original scenes out.

The rest of the night was dedicated to cleaning up audio clips and placing our soundtrack, recorded by Leopardactyl (Kirk + Rollie) earlier this week. I will now toot my own horn--I'm amazed how perfectly the songs fit into the scenes considering we sat down and recorded the music independent of watching the film for cues. Either we got really lucky, or it proves the film has really gotten into our psyche over the course of the project.

Regardless, our adventure is still not over. With less than 11 hours left before deadline, we still need to gather our mountain of paperwork and materials and get this sucker on its way to Philadelphia by 6pm. The DVD just finished burning and Wally is currently talking his sleep, so I'd better get my act together and head to FedEx/Kinkos.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Guts Guts Guts Guts Rap

3 weeks ago when we casted Matt Ringler as our lead actor, he became so elated with joy that he  instantiously created this rap about our team.

Me and Alan Camuto rolling in his Hugo bumping our Menudo, stealing babies just like Vigo. You're the turkey, I'm the hero, you're the Corgan and the zero, I'm the church and I'm the steeple. You're the peephole and the people so I see right in your evil. I'm the father, you're the son, and the holy ghost is Wally Chung, so we'll pick him up and run, he's not godly, just full of holes, he's not nosy but he knows that they stack the boats in rows. Rollie Hatch, Rollie Hatch, what a catch is Rollie Hatch, if you catch a catch like Rollie Hatch, you'd never throw him back. Back it up, back it in, back to Africa, back to Berlin. Back in the USSR, back in Alan Camuto's fancy car. Drive for days, Drive by Cars, Drive without the Real Girls starring Lars, we'll drive together to get real pally, and never bother to pick up Kirk Howle.

Free-styling is just one of the many talents Matt possesses. The Guts Guts Guts Guts team was very grateful to have worked with him alongside Jordan McLemore and our many other talented contributors. Tonight we finish our edits and mail out our masterpiece! We'll finally have a name for this film and a lot more will be revealed about it... Well, as much as we're allowed to reveal before it's premiere at Project Twenty1 at the end of September! Stay tuned to this space. This is only the beginning.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Storyboards of Us: Part 2

A lot of organizing and editing went down this past weekend. The editing program we originally planned to use for the project was Adobe Premiere Pro. We had some problems with it when we worked on editing our test shoot prior to the project start (duplicate audio tracks, weird footage anomalies), so we considered other software. Ultimately, we got lazy and decided to stick it out instead.

But yesterday, after many hours of organizing and editing a rough cut, frustration with the program reared its ugly head yet again. We loaded up a quick, cheap alternative program, iMovie, and prepared to cut our losses and move forward with it. Then we had difficulty importing our footage into iMovie, so we switched back to Premiere yet again in the interest of time. Though we will all take turns editing some of the footage, we're putting the bulk of it on Wally's shoulders as he is the most comfortable with the program and least likely to punch the monitor screen.

That said, we now have about 3/5th of the film edited, but we still have our fourth and final shooting session taking place tonight. Why did we schedule our final shooting session only a handful of days left before the project deadline? Because this scene will feature footage recorded from an earlier session that needed to be edited first. Yeah, we planned some crazy stuff for this film.

How crazy?

Ok, not that crazy, but we do have a slightly meta concept that once again, I must apologize for not being able to share. It's not about Storyboards, if that makes you feel better.

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Location - Day 3

Day 3 of filming featured on our first interior scenes, which were filmed in Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights. Joining us on set for the first time was lead actress Jordan Scott, actor Christopher Boerger, and actress Cindy Howle returned for her second scene.

Day 3 Still Photography

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Storyboards of Us

Our third day of shooting scenes begins tonight after a two-day break in the action. We'll be working with our female lead for the first time on our most complicated dialogue-driven scene (ok, it's the only one) and also on a highly un-choreographed dance scene. We'll be producing an original song for this scene next week, so having people pretend to be dancing to it will prove to be a challenge. Wally suggested setting a metronome at the tempo we intend to record the song people on beat. He's Mt. Cleverest.

Since the past two days have just been location-securing and scheduling missions, we don't have any awesome new action photos to share. Here are some (altered) stills from the storyboard:

Monday, August 6, 2012

On Location - Day 2

With the heat and humidity pouring down upon us, Guts Guts Guts Guts had a very productive and successful 2nd day of shooting. Today the production team was joined on set by Billy Alpha, Meghan Ferrara, Cindy Howle, Daniel Stavina, Rachel Meyers, Nick Wiener, and Kristen Auciello, who excelled in their supporting roles to Matt Ringler. Today's shoot took place in Jersey City Heights, in front of a breathe taking panoramic. Sports played a role in our earlier shoot, where some of the actors got to shoot around a basketball as part of the fun. Production is full steam ahead as we pass the halfway point of our Project Twenty1 short film.

 Day 2 Production Shots

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Location - Day 1

Guts Guts Guts Guts is proud to be working with lead actor Matt Ringler on our Project Twenty1 production. Matt is an improv comedian and comes to us from the Schlock Treatment Podcast. Today marked the first day of shooting, which saw our team travel to two remote locations. The Guts Guts Guts Guts team braved the scorching humid weather today by shooting at locations Barnegat, NJ and Union City, NJ. After a full day of work, the team was satisfied with the day's worth of film and hope to carry the momentum tomorrow onto Day 2.

Day 1 Production Stills

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Friday, August 3, 2012

SOS: Still On Schedule?

We've decided that the best operating mode for weekday work is Divide & Conquer, so Kirk and Wally split up the final script and cranked out some sweet storyboards by mid-week. With those in place, our main roles filled, and a handful of locations secured, we were on track to begin shooting by Friday.

Of course, with our confidence high, it was time to be dealt our first major setback--the actor playing the main character would be unavailable from Friday through Sunday, our most important block of shooting time. It's mostly just bad luck, though we may have been able to avoid this by casting a wider net much sooner for potential actors in the first place with a clear communication about the unique urgency of the project and the need for flexible availability. I am mostly to blame for dragging my feet on this because I was initially pushing for a production without having to use actors at all. 

So, instead of freaking out, we quickly reviewed our options:
  1. Delay shooting until he becomes available. 
  2. Swap the male and female roles.
  3. Have one of us play the role ourselves.
  4. Recast. 
Being this is our first production together, and not necessarily knowing how long production and post-production will take us, we decided that waiting too long would put the final deadline in jeopardy. Swapping the male and female roles would require a rewrite of the script and storyboards--not a real big deal--but our main female actor was likewise unavailable for this weekend block. Playing the role ourselves would then put a bit of a strain on our limited production crew, though as a last resort, Kirk stepped up and volunteered for the task. 

The best option seemed to be recasting the role with the most available person of any gender. Amazingly, by the next morning, we found a replacement (who we'll tell you about once he signs his life name on the contract) and our shooting schedule was back on with only one day of lost time. His first day with us will be quite an adventure as our first two locations are nearly 100 miles apart. We will also be racing against the weather as thunderstorms are being predicted for the end of the day and all our Saturday shots will take place outside. 

BRB... gotta go buy some fake blood.

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