Sunday, October 09, 2005

Surrender

It's time to give up, I think. Instead of chasing after something which means a lot of work and little credit to myself, it's time to chase after something else - something which means equal or greater amounts of work, but also some credit.

The film producers have not gotten back to us, so I basically consider this project shelved. I might give them one more phone call, but I have little hope for getting this project off the ground.

As I've been busy launching a student TV station, I now have to focus on producing content immediately. That means writing (and probably directing and editing) a student soap - 10 minutes per episode, 6 episodes over the next year. I've got a pretty good idea how it's going to start, and what'll happen at the end of the first and third episodes. Episode 2 is still a big mystery to me. At the moment, the title of the show is "Fresh Start" - and this blog is switching from the "Making Of a Making Of" to a "Making Of Fresh Start". Yes, I've got big dreams for it. I want it to be genre-bending, innovative, highly entertaining stuff. And right now I'm still at the high where I believe that's possible (all creative processes go from high to low and back - still on a high, but know I'll be at the rock bottom by the time we film).

So, what is Fresh Start? Fresh Start will be a dark comedy student crime drama soap opera fantasy series. All episodes will end on a double cliffhanger. And if you link them all together, back-to-back, you'll have an hour-long film. In my wildest dreams, I send out the tapes with the first two episodes to real TV stations and get them to fund and broadcast it. (OK, that's pretty wild dreams indeed.)

In my selfish, egocentric mind, it'll be the flagship drama production of the student TV station, and the flagship piece of work for my 3-year degree.

Well, on to pastures new it is.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Crunchtime approaching


The producers are back from their holidays. I've contacted them. And, while it seems I caught them at a slightly tired, jet-lagged time, they're still sounding optimistic enough. The filming / casting schedule is not yet set, but as soon as it is, they promised to contact me.

And the student TV station I'm trying to launch is suffering from hiccups (it's just me doing work for it at the moment, and I'm overstressed with a family visit and other issues to tackle).

A few more weeks to go, then the shit will really hit the fan. As soon as term starts, I'll be on complete overload, 24/7...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Confidence issues

Well, on the one hand, there is reason to be cheerful: This blog, at least, is deemed interesting enough to be Pick of the Blogs in the Blogadvance Directory. So at least someone, somewhere must think it interesting. (By the way, plug plug, if you want to sign up to Blogadvance, which offer you 200 visitors to your blog for signing up, click here. They're similar to blogexplosion, only still in the startup phase, so more generous with the freebie signup hits. Plus, for the financially well-off, you can buy hits for money.)

On the other hand, I've recently talked to one of the lecturers about our student TV station ambitions, and he told me, frankly, that he and his colleagues had discussed it when we first e-mailed them, and thought we were joking. They don't seem to have much confidence in us, which lowers my confidence.

The problem is, I can't do everything - we need to find at least a handful, ideally 10+ students who are willing to invest time and effort into the project. The "Making Of" I could do virtually on my own, with another student, but for everything else (and there is lots else), we need other students who produce content. So, without knowing how many students we'll sign up, it's all a bit difficult to assess just how big we can make our student TV station (current aim is 30 minutes of content produced every week).

Well, and the search for sponsorship is still semi-procrastinated. I've identified the first dozen or so phone calls to make, and am preparing information for all of them. I spend so much time on preparation, I am worried that it'll all be wasted.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It's a holi-holiday, but no hooray, yet

It seems that movie production is very much like an airport. A huge entity of hurry-up and wait.

The movie producers have gone on holiday. I am still in indecision limbo.

However, this gives me time to get working on our student TV station - namely, the long but painful search for sponsorship. Yes, we could make the documentary, and produce TV content, without any money, using just library equipment. But that would not be very convenient, and never allow for multiple cameras.

I've also just completed by summer job, which gives me extra time to dedicate to these efforts. Admittedly, so far a lot of that extra time has gone into relaxing and winding down after months and months of checking bloody A-levels exam papers (and even GCSE ones towards the end!), but next week will see me continuously on the phone. Possibly even Friday this week.

I still hate phones, so yes, I admit it, I've been procrastinating.

If I get any sponsors, I'll update. (There is no paypal link in this blog because, frankly, I'm not that optimistic about my reader numbers!)

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Spanish Inquisition

Well, no, they weren't nearly as evil as that. But the movie production company had lots of questions to ask us (I brought along a friend who is chairing the new TV society). And in all honesty, I am not sure they gained lots of confidence in us. Mainly because I have big problems projecting confidence in person, and because a pre-launch student TV society can easily sound slightly dodgy (especially if it's run by people less organized than us). Big on substance (in general), small on confidence. It's always been my problem. The chair is roughly the same, except even more shy. (Odd how easy it is to be bold in writing, and how hard to gleam and shine with confidence in person)

So, the latest update: No one else so far has registered interest in doing anything similar to what we plan, so they are still quite interested in our proposal. However, they need to talk to the distributer first, as that company might have some designs of their own. So they promised to let us know by the end of the week what that other, much bigger company thinks.

As interviews go, this one wasn't terrible, but it wasn't brilliant either. I got into stuttering and appeared three times more nervous than I should have been. Plus, they may feel less confident about our abilities now than before, which worries me.

I didn't get to mention the blog at all, so I'm still writing into the dark (and leaving out any identifiable names as much as possible.

Well, wish us luck. We may well need it...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Next Update.... soon

At the moment, the plan is to try and meet the movie production company on the Monday after next (i.e. not tomorrow). So, essentially, that's when more information should become available (and also when I'll be able to chat about this very blog, possibly).

So, until then, a quick recap. I'm a university student. I study creative writing, and nothing at all film-related. In fact, despite having that option, I did not even take any video production courses and modules, so I'm really an amateur at this. My university does not currently have a student TV station society, but I'm in the process of setting one up with another student (if not us, who else?). One of the items we would like to produce is a "Making Of" for a movie that has been written, and will be directed, by one of our uni's lecturers this fall. It would supply us with a regular piece of programming during the first term - we aim to broadcast 30 minutes every week, and the Making Of could fill 10 of those minutes while the film is in production. We also want to produce a finished, 45 or so minute Making Of to be included on the DVD. if the film has a successful cinematic release and gets published on DVD that is.

The lecturer in question is not opposed, and the production company is interested. That's the current status.

After next week, I should hopefully be able to find out whether I can name the film, production company, uni etc. involved, and how much information I can reveal in this blog (for instance, whether I can list the actors who are signed up). Well, there's always a tiny chance they might not be comfortable with the idea of the blog, though I find that unlikely.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here we are now, entertain us.....

And finally, after far too many attempts, I've reached the production company. And they did not even say no. In fact, they apologised profusely for neglecting to respond so far, and told me they were rather keen on the proposal. They want to meet me to discuss it further, at some point in the next two weeks.

Judging by their reaction on the phone, I am now significantly more optimistic. The shooting schedule, however, has changed, with filming now planned to start in October.

I will update this log as soon as I have more information.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Off topic: On cynicism and Hollywood

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/4669467.stm

The period between events taking place and their fictionalization / Hollywoodization is getting shorter and shorter. I know they're already making a film about the current Iraq conflict, and a biopic about the dead pope, but I had expected them to wait a while before doing a full 9/11 movie. I wonder, will they use SFX footage or will they use news footage, or none at all? This being Hollywood, my bet is on the CGI...

Who knows. Maybe next week ITV or Channel 4 will announce a dramatization of the London bomb attacks, starring Ewan McGregor and Ray Winstone. Or maybe the movie adaptation of "Incendiary" (a debut novel about a suicide bomber in London published, coincidentally, on Thursday. Movie rights already sold before publication) will use the real attacks instead of the fictional ones...

It would not surprise me one bit.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Silence is Golden...

except, of course, when it's the only sound. The production company simply do not answer their phone (which is nothing new, they never did, last time I left a message and got a text message back).

So, another e-mail.

Meanwhile, the student TV society I am co-founding is looking more and more like a reality, so whatever happens, there will hopefully be some experience being gained towards the end of the summer.

Meanwhile, my summer job is keeping me from doing all I could for my various ventures. Blasted need for cash.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Patience is a virtue

It has been indicated to me - by the writer/director of the film - that the production company is not disinterested in my proposal. Apparently, they're just too busy this week to respond, so he encouraged me to hassle them a bit more.

Well, daily phone calls haven't got me very far. (I'm too reluctant to leave messages on their answer phone, so when no one replies, I just hang up)

Time flies when you're having fun, eh?

Friday, June 17, 2005

The eery sound of no reply

My confidence is having a rather up-and-down week. On the up, I've just watched the final year projects of my university's graduates in a cinema, which gave me lots of confidence because, mostly, they weren't that good. There were a handful of good ones, and all of them had technical expertise ranging from slightly more than me to quite a lot more than me, but if this is the competition, I need no longer be ashamed of my experience-free background. I could easily do as well as them.

On the down, I've had no reply from the movie production company. I'll try and ring them again next week and hope for the best, but right now, things look slightly bleak. I still think that a well-oiled, online promotion machine, including regular broadcasts to the local community, a blog, reporting in a student news website, regular contributions to IMDB and upcomingmovies, and some word of mouth propaganda could do wonders for an ultra-low-budget movie like this, but I'll have to let others be the judge of that...

Monday, June 13, 2005

The road to Amarillo

Tried calling the movie producers twice. Failed both times. Left a message. Was called back - at a time when I could not answer due to summer job. Got a text message telling me I have no answer phone (no wonder people never leave me messages! Bloody pay as you go mobile!)

So we're back to the realms of e-mail now, where I feel a bit more comfortable. I was asked for a CV and contact details. Supplied both, though the former is unlikely to impress. (MEng in Aeronautical Engineering?!?! What has that got to do with producing a documentary / promotional film?)

Slightly worried that other people might be happy to do the same, better, for a small fee (I'm doing it for free if I get the chance), or that other people might be happy to do the same, better, for free, but aren't aware of it. In other words - if this does go ahead, and I get a chance at it, will I be enjoying an opportunity that more deserving people should have got? Well, let's not sell the bear's hide before the bear has been shot. Let's hope it all works out...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Step by step....

My lecturer, it seems, has no objections to the plan. However, I still need to clear it with the production company that finances his film. Which should hopefully go well - except, I hate using telephones and calling people. Telephones make me nervous.

But alas, the end result will hopefully be worth it....

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Time for cautious optimism....

Met with the people who run the to-be-launched EU-sponsored community portal / online TV station today. They were very friendly, quite keen for content from the other entities / societies / news web sites I run, and also, wonderfully enough, very interested in broadcasting the "Making Of" as I suggested. In other words, now it's all in the hands of the film-makers themselves, whether they agree to let me produce the Making Of or not. I am cautiously optimistic.

As for the mode of delivery, at the moment I suspect I'll aim to film lots of material as the film itself gets produced, and sit down and edit it down to 15 minute chunks every week. Effectively, it would go online in real time, once a week, in short instalments, allowing people to follow the development of the film as it is being produced in their neighbourhood. In the end, I'd produce an edited, perhaps slightly more controlled, 45-minute or so "Making Of" in the hope of getting it onto a DVD, should one ever be released.

First things first, though. I just e-mailed the film maker in question. Let's hope he's OK with the idea...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A making of a "Making Of" in pre-pre-production

It is rather premature to even start this blog really. In fact, it is not clear whether any of it will ever be relevant or interesting. But this is what it is all about:

One of the lecturers at my University has received the go-ahead and funding to produce a 90-minute movie. He's the scriptwriter, and he will also direct himself. And maybe, just maybe, the majority of filming will take place in this small town. Filming is expected to start in early autumn.

Then, in another development, the EU has recently funded a local community project that includes an online TV station, which will launch towards the end of the summer.

And in yet another development, one of the student societies I am involved in and run has produced 2 short films this year, one of which was shortlisted in a competition and screened in a West End cinema.

Finally, a few friends and I are hoping to launch a student TV station at our university in the next academic year, after the experience we've accumulated with the other society.

Add together all these factors, and in pops the idea "Hey, couldn't I try and produce a 'Making Of' about my lecturer's film, using the online TV station's equipment and expertise, my friends as techies and presenters, and thereby produce something cool to have my name attached to?"

And, in the age of blogging, why not use the internet to record the developments as they occur. So, this is what I hope:

That a) the online TV station will let me produce the Making Of
b) my lecturer will welcome the added promotional value of such a Making Of and agree to let me do it
c) I will be able to produce something cool.

So, we're in pre-preproduction of a blog about the making of a "Making Of"

First developments are expected by the end of the week (I'll be meeting the online TV station people on Thursday and suggest the idea to them)... wish me luck, dear not-yet-existant reader!