Archive for Making-Of

The Pre-Pre-Production Come-Along of January

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by Rathan Krueger

filmmaking1

Last month was a bit of a preparedness overkill, knowing that making WAKE UP ALONE is gonna be as much of a one-man show as possible. After taking care of The Most Important Part of Filmmaking, copyrighting the script, I made a list of things to do each month leading to the first day of filming (Mayday). January was dedicated to:

  • Looking into the average cost of locations, crew, and equipment
  • Checking The Knife’s “Marble House” for availability
  • Forming a producer list and sending inquiry letters
  • Building a budget
  • Storyboarding
  • Making a style guide [got bumped from February]

Everything got handled except for two things. I didn’t check the Knife song because I wanted it to run through the ending credits… but there wouldn’t be enough people in the credits to use the whole song. The whole song was important because of the idea I had for the credits needed all five minutes and eighteen seconds of it. WAKE UP ALONE isn’t gonna be the only film I make and I highly doubt that I’m gonna forget that ending, so it’s not a big deal. Plan B was for me to make a song, and I have an idea of what to create. The other thing that didn’t get handled was storyboarding, partially because I wanna lock a location before settling into visuals and partially because storyboard notebooks for the 2.35:1 format are expensive for me right now. “Buy a 1.85:1 notebook and draw matte boxes, dummy.” I said expensive for me right now. Once the money starts coming in and I lock a location, I’ll bite the bullet and buy what I need.

Something I’ve learned this year is that the world wants you to succeed, yet is indifferent to whether you do or not. It offers you SO many avenues to do whatever you need, but it’s up to you to take advantage or not. I raided producers’ info for query letters all month with IMDbPro’s free trial, for instance. I’ve found so many great sites that talk about average costs and making budget sheets, and Maureen A. Ryan’s PRODUCER TO PRODUCER has quickly proved invaluable. Spending years absorbing filmmaking info from DVDs, Blu-rays, YouTube, Vimeo, and books, the one person I’ve heard the least from is the producer. Ms. Ryan’s book tears down that wall for the indie producer. Or the indie writer-director-editor-producer. However, there’s an aspect of producing that I dislike. Ms. Ryan’s book goes into detail about how to write a proposal for investors, and I loathed the part where I had to break down WAKE UP ALONE into an economic statement. Not planning the budget (I liked that a lot), describing my film as a product and doing a fucking fantastic job of it. Art is resistance, but it is also commerce.

Making the style guide is one of the most fun parts of this. A style guide is making a folder of pictures that represent clothes, hairstyles, make-up, locations, and cinematography choices for the film. I do NOT want a shitty-looking film just because it has a micro-budget. I’m as far from the mumblecore movement as one can get. Closer to bargain-basement Rococo. Some might feel that it restricts the creative process, but I’d rather everyone know what I want than wasting time trying to figure things out. I’m open to further discovering styles and such, but I also have a very stable foundation for them.

This month has a lot going for it, so I better get to it. There’s a BIG gamble that I’ve been dragging my feet about taking because of the attention, good and bad, it’ll bring. Fortune favors the bold and all that jazz…

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Death is for Losers! And What It Takes to Make a Short Film

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

It’s been four Summers since my first attempt at making a film. For reasons mostly involving me, it turned into a short film that wasn’t close to what I wanted it to be. I didn’t mean for the gap twixt one directing gig and the other to be so long. I’ve tried many times to get another film off the ground, but it’s damn hard to convince people to give you money if you have nothing to show (but I had nothing to show because I didn’t have money [oh, you vicious cycle…]). I did get a chance to direct again last year, but that was more of a sketch than a drawing. I’m still proud of it, though.

I decided to back away from being a writer-director, for a while, and became just a writer. Almost immediately, things started happening. I wrote a feature film that led me to being part of a production company, Artigianale Films. I made a few industry connections. I got two IMDB credits by way of shorts I wrote. I wrote a dark comedy web series that’ll premiere in September.

I got to write and direct DEATH IS FOR LOSERS!

Here’s the script, too: Death is for Losers!

And the IMDB entry.

The story behind it, like most things, is interesting. The web series has one director and I thought that I could direct an episode. To ease the burden and to get behind the camera. But he said, and I agreed, that things are better with one voice. There was a brief period twixt auditions and filming for the web series where, if I really wanted to, I could squeeze in a short film. And I really wanted to. So I started thinking about what to make.

I knew that it had to have one location, two actors, and very few camera set-ups to comfortably do it in the time I had. Three weeks, from conception to final edit. I wanted to make a comedy (or what passes for a comedy) because I wanted a pallet-cleanser from my usual brand of Sturm und Drang. I quickly latched onto the idea of two women plotting to kill a man, which led to the original title: HOW TO FAIL THE BECHDEL TEST (AND HAVE FUN DOING IT). Because a way to fail the Bechdel Test is to have the female characters do nothing but talk about men. The women were gonna gripe about a man in their lives and settle on killing them. Then it became one woman killing hers and the other killing him in a song. Because of that, one became a martial artist (Ileana) and the other became a musician (Freya). Then I changed the title to DEATH IS FOR LOSERS!, because they were gonna kill/”kill” the losers in their lives. Then Ileana became a lesbian and a musician.

I thought about why they’d kill, and quickly latched onto Freya having a terrible father. With Ileana, I didn’t wanna fall into the trope of a psychotic lover. But I wanted her to have, from her perspective, a strong reason for murder. That’s when I thought of objectophilia. To be left for an inanimate object is grounds to at least entertain the thought of murder, methinks. Then I changed it so they both kill with a song. If I kept the original idea, Ileana was gonna slip more and more into derangement, Freya takes her outside for a smoke, and they pretend like everything’s ok. But since they’re “killers”, it felt better to leave them on the stairs.

Them talking about the worst things in their lives came about because I wanted to make a 20-minute short and needed a way to fill the time. I also wanted to build up to Ileana’s dramatic reveal. Another thing I wanted to do throughout the short was to show sex in a positive as well as a negative light. Usually, sex is A Very Bad Thing, and I wanted it to be A Thing. Freya masturbates and doesn’t feel guilty, Ileana loves burlesque shows, Freya had a bout of incest when she was wee, Ileana’s lover left her for a roller coaster… Oh, and even though Ileana (rightfully) has bad feelings about her ex, I didn’t wanna make fun of objectophilia. It’s an easy joke, and I didn’t think that mocking a fetish was funny. If it’s not child-endangerment or snuff, I don’t see the problem with kink.

Albert Brooks once said that he’s funny in the way people are funny and not the way comedians are funny. That always stuck with me. A comedian has to make everything funny: it’s their job. People don’t have to be funny all the time. That’s the kind of “humor” I was going for twixt Freya and Ileana. If something makes you laugh, great, but I wanted them to keep your attention rather than make you chuckle. Now, sometimes I go for the funny, but I’m content with you not cracking a smile while you watch.

I wrote the camera angles in the script because I was directing and I wanted everyone to know what I wanted.

After writing (and reading aloud what I wrote to make sure that it’s easy for the actresses to say), I put out an ad on Craigslist. I hear the site gets lots of flack, but it’s been nothing but good to me, so far. I put out character descriptions, what I was able to pay (nothing, but I’d make lunch and give IMDB credits), and when auditions would be. I got a few replies… then I sent parts of the script and got fewer re-replies. I knew that was gonna be the case, though. Freya and Ileana weren’t traditional women, so I was prepared to see a nice drop-off in interested actresses. I wanna point out, though, that I wrote in the ad that I was looking for any race, and that the age range was 20s-40s. I don’t write with anyone in mind, though I do have traits tucked away. It’s a matter of finding the right person for the role, to me, not the right name.

Over a Saturday or a Sunday, I saw a few actresses. One stood out to me as a great Ileana, though she came in for Freya. Lexi had an energy that I thought counterbalanced Ileana’s gloom. Imagine if Fairuza Balk played Lydia, and you have an idea of my mindset. Freya was a character who WAS the spotlight, so having a high-energy actress play her could’ve tipped the scales. Luckily, Lexi understood and latched onto Ileana. Later, she thanked me because, after reading the script, she felt that Freya would’ve been harder for her to pull off. Freya came by way of an actress who almost couldn’t be at the audition. The day that I was gonna reserve the rehearsal room for x amount of hours, I got a reply from Nadia asking if there was space left. She wasn’t sure which character was right, then settled on Freya. Her audition was interesting because she almost talked herself out of it before she started. As a director, you have to be the calm in front of any storm that comes your way, so I just had to be reassuring and patient.

Soon after auditions, I had rehearsals. Part of casting is finding the right performers for one another along with finding the right performers, so I was glad that Lexi and Nadia were friendly as soon as they met. The first day of rehearsals was in a big room with three chairs. I didn’t want them to get too used to acting in the space because the location was a living room. They might plan their routine with chairs in a big room when they’re supposed to be on couches and stairs in a living room. The point of that day was to get them to know their characters and lines so that when they got to the location, they were ready.

I had specific ideas of what I wanted, but casting the right way meant that I didn’t have much to say. It might’ve been weird for the actresses, me not giving lots of direction (especially during filming), but they were doing most of the things I wanted already so all I had to say was “Yeah, that’s fine.” I’m not at all one of those dictatorial directors or asshole directors who feel the only way to get what they want is to scream or treat people like shit. I’ve learned from the best that the best way for actors and actresses to give a great performance (a director doesn’t get great performances) is to make them comfortable. That doesn’t mean be a pushover or let them do whatever the fuck they want, it means to let them feel that they can do anything and be safe doing it. Martin Scorsese and David Lynch don’t get people wanting to work with them again unless they create safe environments, because their films are so intense and demanding.

What surprised me most about Lexi and Nadia was what happened after rehearsals. We only had about a week left before shooting, and they took it upon themselves to rehearse with each other, with no provocation from me. They went to a place that had two couches and rehearsed for a night, then called each other to rehearse throughout the week. They wouldn’t have done that unless they thought the script was good, so I had to make more than sure that I wouldn’t let them down when it came time to direct.

We had a day and a half to shoot, which was whittled down from three days due to life getting in the way. I would’ve preferred to have shot in sequence, but because the first day was the half-day, we had to shoot the stair stuff first. We rehearsed that a few times, but it was hard for them because, y’know, it was the end. They made it through, though, and we finished up on time. The second day was everything else, and we shot that pretty much in sequence. Instead of moving the camera back and forth, we shot all the stuff with one angle, then moved to another one, and on and on. The ladies rocked it so well that we ended up finishing three hours earlier.

Then came editing. I was really up against the clock (two days, in all) because the web series was starting soon and the computer I was editing on was gonna need the space. It wouldn’t have been so bad if my hard drive didn’t make all the footage skip during playback. You can imagine how I felt when I was cutting together Freya talking about Rusty and her half-brother. Luckily, the skipping didn’t mean the rendering was gonna skip, too. What also sucked was that the clips didn’t snap together, so I had to zoom in a lot to make sure they were connected in the work area. There were a few slight hiccups during filming that I knew I could fix in editing, that’s why there are black cards with words during certain shots (to hide the two takes). Then I noticed there was a gap towards the beginning, so I had to slide EVERYTHING incrementally. Then the footage was shorter after that point, so I had to stretch EVERYTHING incrementally. There was a little vignetting added and I wanted to add some grain, but the rendering would’ve taken too long. Then it was just a matter of putting in the credits and the songs I made. Then gloating while feeling geekily proud because I finished editing the same day that SUICIDE SQUAD did.

I burned the short to a DVD and was ready to show it to the world… then I saw that the DVD split the file so that there was an 18-minute clip and a two-minute clip. I fixed it soon after, and released it. It’s submitted to one festival, and I’ll submit it to another at the end of the month. I’m so proud of it because of what I did, and also because of the people involved. Hope you enjoy it and whatever else I do in the future.

Death is for Losers! - Poster

Cinema. Comics. Piracy. “Dreams and Things”.

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Or, what I’ve been up to since July.

Ahoy, all. Whew, I can smell the formaldehyde and abandonment all over. I guess I should get the obvious out of the way: “Quagmire” was a bust. The crowdfunding didn’t do much of anything except give me a few bucks. And a new appreciation of how selectively apathetic the world can be. But nay! This shan’t be a post of wet blankets and razor blades! I just need to say a few things before moving on. Hopefully, I can stay chipper. Yeah, two things and I’ll be fine. One: the “Quagmire” project wasn’t a perfect fit for me. Fuck, I doubt it wasn’t even a shrunken sweater of a fit. The film had things I’m drawn to (imperfect characters and lots of talking), but what didn’t work, ultimately, was the subject matter. I thought that I could convince myself that I could write something about teachers. Or rather, hold the enthusiasm it takes to move a film from page to screen. Two: I don’t like crowdfunding, as a funder or fundee. I could write a blog about that alone, but I’ll just say that there needs to be a better way.

I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but I didn’t wanna come back until I had definite things to talk about. Few things are as bad as someone always saying “But THIS one will be different!” with fuckall to show for it. There was a lull when I had absolutely nothing, which is why I’m forcing myself to always be creative somehow. Sucks to have an imagination with no engine to drive it. My first almost-return involved my first album. I’ve been making songs for a few years now, but none with the intention of presenting to the world alone or as a piece. “Her Revenge Will Be Vicious” looked like it was gonna be my Neo.
It was gonna be a concept album because they’re a lost art and I wanted to give people a reason to listen to the whole thing. It was gonna be about a woman who’s stalked by a bastard of privilege., frontloaded by his part in her story. It would’ve been a tactic to weed-out reactionaries. My hope was that the clever people would see the title, hear the first songs, and know that the second half would be all about comeuppance. I’d bait the reactionaries, too. The bastard’s songs would’ve been misogynistic and poppy. Trust would take them to the dramatics and the vicious revenge. It wouldn’t have been misogyny for misogyny’s sake, though. Poppy as they would’ve been, they’d also reveal a very pathetic character (sans sympathy).
So what happened? I wrote all the song titles and structured the album, even wrote the first song (“Exploding Sun”)… then I realized it wasn’t time. There’s one piece missing. Perhaps a female vocalist.

My second almost-return involved my short film , “A Real…” I got tired of being a director who hadn’t directed something they were proud of. I’m proud of the opportunity for leaning that “Dirty Thoughts” presented to me and the help I got, but I’m not proud of the end result. So I swore that I’d make something prideful by my birthday. And I did. Even started sending it to film festivals (three, so far). The problem was that I wasn’t sure if I could post it to the world yet. I’d rather not shoot that opportunity in the foot, so I chose to keep it secret/safe.
I felt that I should have a script ready, just in case, so I dug out “Academia” and started readapting it. Instead of being something heavily-inspired by “Battle Royale”, it became a meditation on suicide. Not mine, I’ve too much to do. Alongside that, I was preparing another novel. A very intellectual spy novel with flights of fancy. Metal Gear Solid fans will know what I mean. Alongside that, I found out that once in a while, BBC accepts unsolicited scripts (here). A backdoor into “Doctor Who”: are you fucking kidding? Granted, it’s implied that one should write an original thing, which this one will. I just hope to amaze enough that the TARDIS doors’ll crack open a little for me.
So I was juggling (successfully[!]) preparing… when an old friend reentered my life and ruptured a new path for me.

I gave up comics almost a decade ago for lots of reasons (none of them female [I never understood why people give up something that means a lot to them for the prospect, not even the promise, of a piece of ass… sex is great but it’s not worth giving up an important part of yourself for]). The state of comics was bland and there were attachments to people I couldn’t shake off in my head. It wasn’t until earlier this month when I was presented with comics’ state of the union address and my head was held still by two characters: Harley Quinn and The Twelfth Doctor. I have a very particular sense of humor that Harley’s comic serves up with ginger ale. The Twelfth Doctor (of the “Doctor Who” medical professionals) is the first Doctor I could say was My Doctor, so I support him however I can, within reason. When I got Harley’s graphic novel and the first issue of Twelve’s comic, the four-color flame burned brighter than the Batsignal. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.
Since then, I’ve been buying mainstream and indie comics, reflecting my tastes in films. If you can get beyond the title of Alan Moore’s “Saga of the Swamp Thing”, you’ll be rewarded greatly. “Wonder Woman” is great because it’s, among other things, a nurturer’s take on war. And the art doesn’t sexualize her:

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At least, until issue 36:

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“Daytripper” is a great comic about the life of an obituary writer. It was particularly important because of my new venture by reminding me that Americans want stories like this, too. Rewatching “Chasing Amy”, I was inspired at one point to write a scene with two women talking. I didn’t have anything planned, I just knew that their names were Vicki and Tracey. An hour later, I had pages of dialogue of what would become my first comic: “Dreams and Things”. I say comic, but I mean graphic novel. I hate single issues and monthly schedules. Anywho, it’ll be about two women who live together in a loft, and one gets the idea to make a horror comic. “Dreams and Things” won’t be a horror comic, I just needed Vicki to make a comic and I didn’t want it to be a superhero one. That and I love the challenge of making a horror comic since that’ll be in the graphic novel, too. I’m in the planning stage and I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve drawn the two gals and I’m stupid-excited to get to the end of their book.

There’re SO many things in my head going into planning DaT. It’ll be about two women, obviously. It’ll also be about making a comic. I’ve come across a few narrative features about making films. I’ve seen series’ about making anime. The only narrative books I’ve read that are about making comics have come from Japan (“Comic Party” and “Genshiken”). Plenty of how-to-make-comics books stateside, but nothing making a story out of it.
DaT will also be an incredibly selfish endeavor. “Lie” was a selfish novel, but I also wrote it for women. Although people’ll be inspired by the comic-making portions of DaT, I’m doing them for me. To show myself how I made it and to save myself questions about how I made it. Vicki’s path is mine (or “mine”). But that’s not my only bout of shameless selfishness.
I also wanna present sex in such a way that it’s character-centric and non-distracting. The only way creatives figured out how to do that is with sex addiction and prostitution. Shame and dismay (I’m not knocking sex workers, only pointing out how society feels about them [they fulfill a need like any other kind of worker, they’ve been around since time immemorial, and they’ll be around long after you’re dust: cope, puritans]). I love a good action scene, but I have to admit that it’s absurd how you can show a woman getting her heart ripped out on network TV, yet the camera cuts away away if her boob flops out. It’s just flesh, and I know from firsthand experience that it appreciates attention.
Another bout of selfishness involves me watching myself improve my drawing ability. I dunno how long DaT with be, but 300 pages doesn’t seem absurd to me. Oh, before I go on, I wanna say that I haven’t given up on filmmaking. I’m still sending “A Real…” to festivals and “Academia” just needs the ok to be made. Anywho, 300 pages is quite an amount, pregnant with potential to grow as an artist. I’ll be pushing myself throughout, but my goal is to make it all seem like stylistic choices and not someone who’s learning. Turn the negatives into positives.
DaT, like all the tales of this mythmaker, will be multiracial, but there won’t be any fucking pandering. They’ll just be people who look different.
As a System of a Down fan, there’ll be a subversive thread. As a System of a Down fan, I’ll make sure that it’s too fun to complain about.
There’re also so many other character, story, and tertiary things that I’m gonna stuff into “Dreams and Things”… but I hope the end result is something like this:

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…instead of something like this:

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Piracy. As an artist of the 21st century, it’s something that I need to deal with. I had the fortune in 2008 of seeing “Punisher: War Zone” in theaters and thinking that the person behind that was a genius. Then I saw “Green Street Hooligans” and thought that the genius had range. It’s so hard to find a comic book movie that unapologetically has the tone of its source material. It’s also very hard to get me to sit through anything involving sports. Lexi Alexander managed to pull off those feats so well that I thought she could do no wrong as a filmmaker. Then “Lifted” came out and then… nothing. I wondered what happened to her and figured that she left the game. Shame, but it happens a lot.
When I decided to join Twitter, I did what any cinephile would do: track down directors and wait for 140-character-sized chunks of wisdom. On a whim, I looked up Lexi Alexander. There she was. And angry.
Turned out that she didn’t leave the game. Turned out that the game remembered that it was a boys-only club and shut its doors on her. Turned out that she was beating on those doors. Not out of desperation or a plea to be let in. Each fist slammed was a shout that bellowed “YOU FUCKING SEXIST BASTARDS!! YOU’RE RUINING IT FOR WOMEN WITH FUCKING STORIES TO TELL!!” Each kick was a rallying cry that echoed “WOMEN, LET’S STOP PUTTING UP WITH THIS BULLSHIT!!”
But the bastards ignored.
The women were frightened and complacent.
So an exhausted Lexi Alexander let her bloody hands slide down in defeat and her sticky soles took her home.
Along the way, she saw something in the distance. As she got closer, she saw a person being arrested for stealing a movie. Made by those sexist bastards who routinely spat on the faces of the workers who helped make them billions. Made by those sexist bastards who have been selling the same movie for years and strangling creativity. Made by those sexist bastards who would rather their industry burn than adapt to the changing winds.
So Lexi Alexander became piracy’s Wonder Woman and like Diana of Troy, enlightened and inspired others to address piracy in the changing world. People like me. If you go to her blog (here), you’ll read lots of explanations of what’s happening with piracy on both sides of the argument. I can only talk about my feelings of piracy. That and laugh at Disney, wondering if they don’t see the irony yet.
It’s a lot like a library. People take things for free and if they like it, they can go to a store and buy it. If they don’t like it, at least they didn’t waste any of their money. If they like it and don’t buy it, keeping it instead and feeling that artists don’t need to be paid, fuck ’em with a two-headed dildo that spews fire and glass shards and screams at them.
“Dreams and Things” will be a thick book, which means it’ll cost a few bucks. It’d be wise of me to give people a free option. Make a PDF or something with enough pages to entice people and throw it in the torrents.

Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks for reading and if you feel like doing something good today, donate to Action Against Hunger.

Sky-Shrapnel and the Big Step

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I’ve been wanting to read a book about David Bowie for a while, but it seemed like EVERYONE had an opinion about him and his life. I finally waded through the piles and found the great, revised, and updated “Strange Fascination” by David Buckley. I’m at the “Aladdin Sane” portion and it’s still a fantastic read. It not only talks about Bowie, in a non-tabloid way, it also splits off into non-tabloid tangents about those around him and influences. It’s also been helping me create song titles. Not that I’ve been cribbing from Bowie. Rather, the constant stream of music discovery has kept the brain going. I have… ten, I think, which will be expanded into songs as the year goes on.

This week has been huge for me on the crowdfunding front. I felt a STRONG feeling of dread leading up to me submitting “Quagmire” to Kickstarter. Not for any “I’M DOOMED” reasons. A quote from one of my favorite films, “Kamikaze Girls”, sums me up at that point: “Humans are afraid in the face of true happiness.” We’re weird, aren’t we? To make things further geeky, I was watching “Doctor Who” episodes that involved The Doctor regenerating. Becoming a completely new person after a major event, which is a big reason why the show’s been around for over half a century. Gee, subconscious, you know how to be obvious sometimes.

It feels strange that I’m prepared for the hate to come from “Quagmire”, not positivity. Or rather, it should feel strange.

I had to switch from Kickstarter to IndieGoGo, which was aggravating. I was having problems with setting up the payment thing and called their help center, but I was on hold for too long. If anyone expects your business in the First World, they better answer their phone within a few seconds. And don’t try to convince me the non-American operator is American by making him say his name is “Josh”. Anywho, I migrated my business to IndieGoGo and everything went swimmingly. Except one thing, but that was my fault.

Setting up a campaign, you’re encouraged to make a video. I was prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared to be in it. My original idea was to record my voice and put it in a video with my film’s logo. Brilliant! But I found that it was frowned upon and that the best way to get support was to BE in the video. I’m not the most extroverted person when it comes to being on camera, less so when I have my director hat on. If I had my actor hat on and had to make the video, great. But I’m the director of “Quagmire” and I belong behind the camera, damnit (blah, blah, First-World problem, blah). And I don’t care about supporting someone without a video as long as they otherwise presented themselves as competent. But I’m not the world, and the world wants faces. So I wrote an 90-second script, got my tablet’s camera, and recorded myself. After three hours. With an hour break somewhere in there. And chopping out 30 seconds of script. I wish I was exaggerating. I could NOT get through the first paragraph. I couldn’t think of myself as an actor while I was recording. I was the director and the director belongs behind the camera, and that’s why it was a miserable night. But I broke on through to the other side and created a decent campaign page. Right here: Quagmire: About a Woman and a School Shooting.

Tiny Victory

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I was looking back on how prolific artists were and thought about why they were able to do so much as opposed to now. Figured that it was because they didn’t waste time with touring and interviews. I love the concept of fan interaction and don’t wanna be the asshole who rarely shows up to things, but I’ve got many things to create. I’ll find a way to perfectly manage my time. Someday. I also don’t wanna come off as a workaholic. I believe in work and rest and 12-hour workdays with six-day workweeks are fucking stupid. That’s when you get to the point of diminishing returns. I just wanna prove that the workhorse mentality in the current art industries is broken and that there are better ways to work. Time-management and proper preparation and stuff. Someday.

I finished the Doctor Who short story yesterday. Well, almost. Well, it’s more of a superfluous addition. Well, it’s what I had in mind since the beginning. Little world-building and character details need to be added… three, actually. Plus a few time-traveling tricks that made me wanna tell the story in the first place. I’ll add them before the day’s out and e-mail it to the proper folk and hope it gets selected. It was my first test of a few things. Telling a light-hearted story, telling a story with a plot, telling a story with no elaborate fights, and telling a Doctor Who story. According to a few folk who’ve read it, I did a good job. I wish I could share it but rules of the contest say that I can’t. My training helped, though. I knew that I could do a good plot back when I decided to be a storyteller, but I was worried that I couldn’t do good characters. Not to say that I thought my writing was weak, but characters are almost more important than plot so I wanted to make sure that characters flowed easily. You could watch a film with a shitty story if the characters were interesting, but the most beautiful tale ever told is worth jack and shit if no one cares about the characters (and Jack left town). But they’re fine so that’s great.

Gonna apply for Kickstarter Tuesday. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and I bought new shoes.

I thought up a fucked-up way to add zombies to “Academia”. I wasn’t thinking about adding zombies. I’m actually not a big fan of them (vampires, yo). But I was watching “Doc of the Dead” and remembered how much I missed the zombies of the Evil Dead trilogy, or Deadites. Undead creatures that exist solely to torment those around them. So I’ll be modifying the concept of Deadites so I don’t get sued and putting one in “Academia”. Hooray!

Thought Wrangler

Posted in Blog, Fiction, Making-Of, Poem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

With, hopefully, “Quagmire” being shot in January, I realized that even with casting and rehearsing, I’m gonna have a lot of time on my hands. The idea started to creep in to write a script and have that script be “Murderhounds”. Then I started thinking about the first script I wrote: “Academia”. I thought that it’d be something I’d get around to in the distant future, but I feel that it should be next. It was originally about a group of down-on-their-luck women, but the concept of “Murderhounds”, punishing those who deserve it, remarkably translates. Plus, the only thing that REALLY made “Murderhounds” for me was its title. And a scene involving one of the killers. I can put the scene away and I already found a way to use that title in “Academia”. Another reason for the migration is that I noticed I accidentally wrote one character in it and “Quagmire”. Actually, it’s more of a character type and look. Instead of trying to think up another character, I embraced the similarities and made them the same character.

Now to get a little technical. I was researching camera lenses and was deciding twixt regular ones and anamorphic ones. Movies that have flares whenever a light is shown is shot with an anamorphic lens. There’s more to it but essentially, anamorphic lenses make films look more expensive. They also are expensive. And after thinking about it intensely, getting anamorphic lenses would restrict me visually. I’ll get around to getting them someday. Maybe for “Academia”.

The 28th is getting closer which means I have to write that “Doctor Who” short story soon. It’s plotted now, and I made it a four-part story instead of a five-part story. Divides nicely into a 40-minute format, which happens to be the average length of an episode…

When it comes time for auditions, I’m gonna write specific scripts. Usually, performers are given scenes from the film to act out. Many, many people audition. The scenes are stale by the time the film’s cast. Then there are rehearsals. By the time the scene’s shot, everyone’s so bored by it. So, remembering that I’m a writer, I thought that I could/should write scripts specifically for the actresses. Auditions are meant to find the right performers, anyway, not show parts of the script.

An article that explains how I wanna handle fame better than I can right now.

I’m thinking about opening a Tumblr account when rehearsals start. Gotta keep tearing down the wall that says only certain people can make films, right? Unobtrusive pics of the preparing process would help. Would help me learn photography, too.

I thought up a simple, effective trailer and poster idea. Studio marketing departments will either love or hate me and my hands-on nature, but I’ll have to live with my films longer than anyone else. So I have to make sure they’re presented well.

I’ve been thinking of backer incentives for my eventual Kickstarter campaign and one was a DVD with special features only the backers would get. Then I fell in love with the idea.

Wrote a song while brainstorming that short story that has nothing to do with that short story: “A Whore Named Irene”

Walking down the street
In her bookmarked feather boa
Not a care in the world
Except for where she parked her car
The street’s a dangerous place
And a streetwalker should drive to work
At least this one does
A whore named Irene

Her hair in a bun
Of cinnamon
Of flair
She fixes her bra
Smells like licorice
Tastes like sweat
Hasn’t washed it in days
Enough money for either a sandwich
Or soap
Johns don’t care about that
She’s gotta last to her next job
And she can’t eat her bun
Don’t worry, you can hide that rash
A whore named Irene

Made twenty pucks in the last hour
Goes to her light bill
She’s gotta watch her stories
The latest razzle-dazzle reel
An escape from her pain
Her pain from her need
Her need to escape
A guy pays extra for anal
She can get some ice cream
A whore named Irene

Her night’s almost over
She’s tired so she goes home early
A tally from the ticket man
Sways on the windshield
Tire on the curb
She didn’t plan for that
The bar crowds are let out
A drunk girl stumbles to a fence
It’s not rape if she pays
A deep breath and she’s off
A whore named Irene

The Story So Far

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

The top of the week, I put my producer hat on for the first time. Looks suspiciously like a black fedora. The rest of the month will be dedicated to forming a budget so I can properly apply for a Kickstarter on the 30th. Also gives me a chunk of time to figure out incentives.

This week was about finding the location for my film. It takes place onstage in a theater (clever, clever me). I was looking for an all-encompassing one, a place that’d allow me to shoot as well as rehearse and audition. I could only get one of those, but it’s the most important so, yay. My plan was to shoot at Summer’s end, but the location won’t be available until January. In the bigger picture, that’s great because it’ll give me more time to find actresses and rehearse and junk.

Until I found out about January, I was thinking about which film festival to go to. Sundance is the more prestigious, but Slamdance gave Christopher Nolan his start. When I saw that I’d be too late for Sundance, I didn’t feel bad. Then I saw that because of January, I wouldn’t be able to go to Slamdance, either. Sucks but saves me the train ride and snowy mountains (the two festivals take place near the same time in Colorado). I’m not gonna wait for the next year to go so I might try distributing it myself online. With the eventual goal to get it on DVD. I have a few ideas for DVD special features, too, and another one has come to me as I type this.

I’m still looking for a rehearsal space. I’ve decided to have auditions online. Not quite sure how I’m gonna go about it but I have time.

My “Doctor Who” short story is almost finished, in terms of world-building. Knowing the (made-up) history and landscape of a place helps me write. I’m amazed at the sort of details I focused on. Next week, I’ll start breaking down the plot.

That’s all for now. Off to watch “Enter the Dragon”.