Thursday, April 30, 2009

S&B Edit & 140 Back on Track

Things are going well on Slán Agus Beannacht, I cut 6 minutes out, so it stands at 18 minutes now. I think it works better. I don't miss the scenes. The story is there and told in a more effective way and the pacing is better. I did cut myself out! My debut acting performance has been consigned to the deleted scenes forever! 

I just thought the scene was unnecessary and I couldn't find a place where is sat comfortably, it was always jarring to suddenly be in this pub in the middle of everything. The idea of the scene was that this gang were crashing into Pat's life, taking away his feeling of security, even the most sacred of places. But all that was already there. After the first scene there's a feeling of unease that stays throughout, so I don't need to be bashing the audience over the head with it!

I've tightened to screws on the other scenes too, quicker in quicker out. Cut out the shit. Trim the fat. Tell the story. I'll give it a couple of days and go back to it. I may cut more, I'm not sure yet, might have a friend take a look. Then the sound mix and music. I put in some temp classic music which works really well, always a mistake I think! Fine for editing, but then you become attached to it. Better to edit to your own rhythm and to the rhythm of the scene. I think anyway - but I'm not an editor.


I've kicked things off on 140 again. Set a date for June 21st! I figured if there was a date there would be more of a push on, especially for me to get the 88 filmmakers still needed to complete the 140! 

So for any 140 members who I have failed to contact and still want to take part in this exciting experiment, let me know if the 21st works for you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Edit suite.

I've been editing this last few days. Last night I completed the first cut, what is in effect the assembly cut, from which I will work from. I'm happy to say there seems to be a film there! It stands at 24:33 minutes, which is loads to work from. 

I'll start trimming the fat shortly and bring it down to 20 minutes and then see what's what. I think I will need a fresh eye to have a look at it, someone who doesn't know anything about it, who can come in cold with no attachment to it. 

I'm happy with it anyway, which is the main thing right now. The story comes through and there are strong performances throughout. I'm also happy with the look of the piece, I lucked out with JJ and the availability of equipment. 

I have a fair bit of mixing to do on the sound and I need effects and layers to go under and over everything, so that should be an involved part of the process. I also have the music to write and record, which I always enjoy. Hopefully my musical ability can do my writing directing ability justice... (".) 

Back to work!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

That's a Wrap!

Recovering from a night of much libation! Many an ale was supped last night in celebration of the end of our short shoot. 

Everything went well, we got all the scenes we needed, nothing was dropped, we managed to shoot all 21 pages in 5 days.

Day Four: Pick-Ups and Council Offices.

We started late on Tuesday. We had four pick-ups from Monday, due to the weather. I had planned to go back out to the canal to get a shot there, but I couldn't figure time, I was worried about getting back in in time to get the other shots and get to the council office in time. So I cancelled that shot, it was an after thought anyway, took some pressure off. 

It was a beautiful sunny morning so was glad of that. But as people started to arrive it clouded over. We got one shot done when the heavens opens and it poured down. Not good for us, or the equipment, but good for the shot. The stuff we shot on Monday in the same location was in the rain, so it works for continuity. 

We got those shots done and headed to the council offices, thanks to Dom Wilton and Gary Delany for their help there. Dom organised getting us in and Gary is the caretaker, so he was there to keep an eye on things. Both lovely guys and both very patient guys!!! Which helped.

Started with Ann Russell's scenes, got those done quickly. Then we moved into a disused office right beside the hatch where we were working, which was an unbelievable stroke of luck. It was a cool office to boot. Large window out onto the street and a frosted wired window on the opposite side, so it was a interesting space to photograph. 

Time was ticking on, and stress, though not high, was building. I was always aware that we had so many scene to get in such a short space of time and there were people giving up there evening to watch us.

We then moved into the council office itself, a large open plan room with walls lined with binders and desks cluttered with files and office paraphernalia, couldn't really ask for a better location. We got the scenes we needed there. The extras were great, my friend Wendy Tinsely came down, she's some how managed to be in all my films, well - except for Emily's Song, but she was involved. Eamon and Ann Lawlor were down, Ann did a great job with a line I gave her. Maryann jumped in too and I gave Dom a walk on too! Just to say thanks for the help, he seemed to enjoy it.

We wrapped there at 9:30, just half an hour over the promise time, so I think we did alright.

Day Five: Intensive Care
Elaine Reddy and Rory Mullen in a scene

Wednesday, last day, and we were in Dundalk at the DKIT School of Nursing, Midwifery, Health Studies and Applied Sciences. Sharon Touhy was extremely helpful there, apart from allowing us access and use of the facilites and equipment she was our consultant for then day and when it came to it she rigged out patient up to a heart monitor, a drip, a blood pressure mach and a ventilator - even had a mocked up central line! Great! I would have been jamming tubes everywhere! People would have been looking at it saying "That doesn't go there!" - so she was a life saver! Literally!

Graham Newcombe replaced Sue Downey on sound and like Sue was very professional and easy to get along with.
JJ Rolfe and Eoin McGlaughlin

We were a while getting set up. We had to dress the sets and Maryellen Darby had a lot of make-up to do. We eventually got going and started with the intensive care scene. Once filming we moved quickly and got the scene done in less then an hour. We were shooting on a 3-1 ratio the entire time, a lot we got it first time, I saw what I was looking for, but went for one or two more sometimes for safety, sometimes just to try something a little different. 

Then stopped for Pizza! Nice.

In the afternoon we shot the ward scene which again went quickly. Lovely performances from Elaine Reddy and Rory Mullen, many many thanks to them for coming down and giving so much to their characters. 

We wrapped at 3:45, which was great, because we were to be kicked out at 4pm! And that was it. We wrapped up the gear, headed back to Drogheda and vegged for the afternoon! Most everyone headed off but Paschal, Maryellen, Maryann, Noel and Gerry headed for a few drinks... of course a few turned into many! 4am I was staggered home in something of a stupor! It was fun though.
Paschal Scott and Maryellen Darby

Over all I was very happy with how the shoot went. We got everything I wanted, all 21 pages in 5 days, which, as I said, probably good have been condensed to 4  days - but it was nice to have the luxury of time and to have breaks day to day. 

Everyone was great to work with, JJ was fast and professional, I enjoy his easu going demeanour, which never gets in the way of his commitment to getting the shot. He's easy going, but never complacent. Sue is an absolute pro, again, I know I'm getting the best job done when she's with me. Maryellen was great, a lovely person and an enthusiastic part of the crew. She had little experiences in film but she did a wonderful job and will be scene in the final product. Eoin was a pleasure to work with, kind natured and good humoured and of course talented and professional. He's a great photographer as I mentioned previously and he was snapping away during the shoot, so I'm exited to see what he's taken.

The cast were great. Paschal was a gentleman, a professional, kind and generous and a pleasure to work with and indeed, drink with! I was glad to have had the opportunity to get to work with him. I've mentioned all the others in previous posts, Gerry, Noel, Shane, Eric, Connor, Andy and Ann, so I shant repeat myself, less to say they were wonderful. 

Elaine brought a subtle sensitivity to her part. She captured the raw emotion and anger brilliantly. Rory again brought a soft sensibility to his character. He has a great face to photograph (I mean that in the best possible way Rory!) a he can convey so much with so very little. 


So that's a wrap. Job done. Now I have to see what we got and start cutting, see if we have a film in there somewhere. Well, I know we do, I just don't know what it's going to be. It's odd, I wrote the script, I storyboarded it, I visuallised the scenes over and over in the locations where we shoot, and even though we captured everything I imagined and often so closed it was scarry - I still don't know what the end film will be! Something close to what I pictured I imagine, but different enough to be something else, be a surprise...

I just hope it's a good one!

Me, Paschal Scott, Gerry Shanahan and Noel Kelly

Monday, April 06, 2009

Day Three

OK, this will have to be a quick post - After a long, tough day, I've just had to redo tomorrow's schedule and shot list so I'm a little tired and need a rest! 

Today went well, we got a lot done, considering the weather, which was appalling, rained all afternoon, never let up. Of course we were working outside. I thought it was going to be handy, considering we were filming outside my house, ended up being the hardest day so far.

Late call and a late start due to weather, but as it wasn't letting up we decided to shoot anyway. Switched the shooting schedule around to suit make-up and weather. Shooting the person with no make up first from inside their house on all their scenes over three days, then reversed. They were Noels scenes, his first full acting experience, he did really well, he came across great, I was delighted and relieved! I was happy, good start.

Then we did the first of Mrs.Smith's scenes, played by Ann Russell. I didn't realise but her and Paschal are old friends, the did a play together for a long time, so that was great. She gave a great performance as a fiery Aul-wan! 

Then the weather just got ridiculous, it started pouring rain. So we abandoned ship for warmer shores... coffee and cookies courtesy of MAryann, who I must say was brilliant today. She started the day being the runner and umbrella holder, then shifted into chef mode and then in the dogsitter mode, georgie was out the back going berserk because she couldn't get in. 

We then did Gerry's scenes. He was playing Charlie, a nasty vile character. He was brought a lot of lovely little quirks to the characters and captured perfectly what was on the page and brought a lot more besides, had us all in stitches. Very happy.

The weather calmed down so we shot the last of Mrs. Smith and Pat and then wrapped for the day. Soggy, but happy. 

Because of the delay on the weather we decided to leave a couple of masters for tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is going to be a tough day I think. I'm hoping that we'll get the weather, because I really want to get the shot that we missed on Sunday. Then we're back here for 4 missed shots today. Then we're in the council offices, that's where it gets complicated. Although I gave a lot of time for everything, and we've ended up shooting fast and getting scenes done quickly, I was not as generous with time here, simply because I knew we didn't have the time. So know we have to squeeze all of that into one evening and I have a feeling there are going to be come people on our backs to get moving. I hope it goes well, I wont feel good about it until we're out of it.

Well, that's tomorrow, today was a success and to celebrate I'm going to have a beer and watch some TV with my most amazing and patient wife!

Some more pictures soon.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Day Two

Day two of shoot is done. Another successful and fast day. This morning we shot in McHugh's pub - thanks to TP McHugh for use of his pub, much appreciated! The scene took about an hour and half. Then lunch and then we went down by the river to get a couple of shots, the main character Pat having his lunch and then out along the old canal to get the penultimate and the final shots of the film... little bit of trouble there, the battery for the lens adaptor died unexpectedly! So we could get the final shot. The shot we did get were beautiful I must say, I was very happy with them. So we're going to go back out on Tuesday to get the final shot. I hope we have the weather we got today! It was beautiful. I would have happily stayed out there all afternoon in the sun. 

So another early day in the can, or on the tape I should say. I was happy with everything, would have been nice to have gotten that shot, but these things happen and can be fixed, so wont lose sleep over it. 

Eoin McLoughlin came down with JJ to help with the lights and take some stills, nice to have him down, he helped with lights on Emily's Song during some pick ups. 

One of the highlights was Maryann's Chilli! That was good! Everyone seemed to really like it anyway! Maryann has been great though, a strong support and great with the meals and just being on the ball with the little things I tend to forget, like the main props for two scenes on the first day! 

Tomorrow we have a late start and full afternoon. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do for the Mrs.Smith scene, where the actress and location class with dates, but hopefully tomorrow I'll have it sorted... not sure what I'll do instead if it doesn't work out. 

This evening was spent just thinking about tomorrow. Shots lists, going over storyboards and getting he costume change right in my head. There is no costume department, everyone is just wearing their own gear, but as we're shooting out of sequence I do have to keep reminding myself of what's been worn. 

Anyway, time for bed. Here are some photos on Monday's shoot. Enjoy.

Sue and Maryellen on location in the Dale.

Eric, Connor, Shane and Andy in the Dale.

Rory Mullen as Liam, waiting for the set up.

Setting up in the dale, Saturday afternoon.

Crew gets set up for the tunnel scene.

All photos by Maryann Kelly. 

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Day One

Hard to believe, but Day One is at an end! And what a day it was! Went much quicker, and dare I say it - easier than expected! Very fast, very precise - there was no messing around, we got stuck in and everyone involved was very focused and very in tune with what we were trying to achieve. 

In the morning we set out at 9:30am approx. I thought we would have a difficult shoot up until 1pm, perhaps even pushing it to 1:30pm, but it was fine, I knew what I wanted, as did JJ, we got what we needed, and more and finished at 12... right as it started to rain really heavily -  the timing was eerie! 

I was happy with the performances, everyone did a great job. Paschal and Shane were pitch perfect with there characters. Eric brought what I thought he would, something honest solid and convincing. I was impressed and Surprised with Andy and Connor, who came on very last minute. 

Connor has never acted before but was great, showed a real ability and presence and brought his character to life with energy and enthusiasm. 

Andy, a seasoned pro! Having starred in Gangs of New York no less, brought something unexpected and very special to his dialogue free role. He gave empathy and humanity to w a character who was written as background. By doing that he  became the character who will come away from this experience most scared and changed, if not redeemed - it was something I had not written and is entirely his own doing, just by the actor he is. He'll be someone I'll be eager to work with in the future.

Paschal captured everything I hoped he would. The scene we shot this morning was near the end of the film, and near the end of this character's journey, at the point where he stands to lose everything - it being the first scene, having only met his co-stars 30 minutes before and not had any time to rehearse the scene, except for the few minutes before, he gave an honest, beautiful and sad performance. I was extremely happy with it.

We shot from 9:30 to 12 and then had lunch. Rory arrive at 1pm and at 1:30 we went to the next location, the Dale. It's a common hang out for teens, usually of the trouble making sort. Luckily it was empty when we got there, we managed to get a couple of shots in and then they started to arrive to spectate. 

They decided it would be fun to make as much noise as possible and to walk into frame whenever possible. Thanks to JJ for framing them out of shot and to Sue for capturing the sound as best she could, between them they gave me enough to cut together. Among other things the little bastards got up to was throwing a stone that landed right beside the lens case and starting a belching contest when we asked them nicely to keep the noise down.

It makes me wonder what people like that think when they decide to do this kind of crap. Probably they think it's funny, or amusing, but why does it happen around film, I mean - do the go into stores and through stones at the person behind the checkout, or do they go onto building sites and belch while people are trying to put up dry wall? If I were to interrupt their game of football buy steeling there ball every 5 minutes, how would they feel? If I were to go into their place of work and wreck whatever it was they had just done, making them have to do it again, how would they feel? Not good I'm sure, we then do people feel it's OK to wreck a take, to interrupt my work, cost me money and waist my time and the time of everyone on the crew, people who are just doing their job and want to get home on time but can't because some moron decided to honk their horn and now we have to reset and do everything again... I don't know!

Sorry! Rant! 

It wasn't too bad, as I said we got enough to cut around it. And we got everything we needed in about 2 hours, which was great, so we finished at 4pm! Nice!

I had some stuff to figure out afterwards, juts getting the script in my head in terms of costumes, what clothes on what days for what scenes! Bit of a muddle! But it should be fine. I had a bit of a wonder to relax, browsed some DVDs and Books and then had some dinner before meeting Paschal for a few pint and a Michael Collins whiskey, which seem to becoming something of a tradition! Fun, but hard work! I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow! Luckily, thanks to an audition Paschal has to do we have a lie in on Monday!

We still have much to do, and with one of the location having just fallen through for Monday night I still have some things to figure out. 

I'm sure tomorrow will go well and it'll be another straight forward and quick day... I hope so at least - well, when I say straight forward and easy I'm leaving out the part where I have to act!!! I'm playing the bartender! I left it too long to cast anyone so I have to step into the clumpy boots! Jeez I hope I don't make a balls of it!!!

Well, seeing as I have to act and direct tomorrow I suppose I should get to bed! More tomorrow hopefully, with photos too, I have them, just have to upload them!