Tuesday, November 16, 2010

KOB Shot of the Day #87: ...It Time To Dim The Lights...

Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

It's Friday on the Henson lot (home of IndieVest), which is teeming with crew running about preparing for a weekend shoot on THE MUPPETS (which I didn't feel right about shooting some of the spoilery things I saw, but it was pretty exciting to see the "Band back together", wocka wocka! But here are some from /Film) and we're about to watch the current cut of KNIGHTS (the same one from last week) on "the big screen" for the first time in the Henson screening room. This to me is insanely exciting, thinking about all the films that have played in here in the past and now our crazy flick is gracing it's silver screen. Posters from the films of MUPPETS past hang on the wall, the smell of history (and moldering felt) hang in the air. Very exciting. After Howard and Alex worked on the calibration of the digital projector and the sound system, they pressed play...

One word: WOW.

Having been a 2:35:1 convert since my Criterion laserdisc of HALLOWEEN, I've always seen the world in "scope" and while I lost the battle to shoot WRONG TURN 2 in that aspect ratio (the thought was "noone who buys DTV movies wants to see them shot like this" even though it automatically makes your film look "bigger" when you use this look, oh well...pick your battles) I've used it before in my music videos and commercials and just love that look (even if its faked by just putting a "matte" over the image. Try it sometime, it works!). So when we did KNIGHTS, from Day 1 I said 'We gotta shoot 2:35" and the producers were completely in agreement, which was nice. But editing it on a plasma monitor for months, or even looking back at when we shot, seeing the images on a smaller screen while we rolled, you never truly get a sense of how wide the mise en scene is till its actually on a big screen, unfolding before your eyes. So this screening was even more important to me since it was both a good way to watch the film the whole way through after getting the producer's very thoughtful notes earlier this week to see it from their perspective (which were not NEARLY as long as I thought; you always expect the worst when you submit for notes and I think we got lucky!) but also....watch it like an audience member, not someone extremely close to the film without an objective opinion. You notice things on the big screen too that you dont at home too, little nuances and pacing. What a difference a larger view makes! It was so killer to see it like this, even in an unfinished form, and I think only got everyone involved MORE excited to whip this beast into shape and get it out to the masses. We then reconvened to the IndieVest office, went through the notes and here we are now, a few days later, fine-tuning and preparing another screening for before the holiday weekend to keep the momentum going and then continue forth.

But it's all going well, thanks for all the well wishes online inquiring about the progress and there's more coming soon enough....stay tuned!


Saturday, November 06, 2010

KOB Shot of the Day #86: The Screening Brews

Shot with iPhone, Click to enlarge.

Greetings Knights!

Hell of a day. Hell of a day, indeed.

So since we last spoke, the edit team's been putting the final touches on the first official pass (a.k.a. "The DGA cut") that I submit to the folks at IndieVest for their viewing pleasure and of course, their objective thoughts. We'd be presenting it in the edit room, not the most ideal place to watch film of this proposed "scope" but it would do (the blu-ray copies they got to take home would be nice "Departing Gifts" like they were contestants on a game show). Even better, Kevin (the co-writer and producer) surprised us by coming in from New York to watch! It was a joyous occasion to say the least, everyone excited to see the film for the first time...even though I was nervous as hell. Then Howard pressed the space bar...

...and lo & behold, the screening went AWESOME. The film was still in rough form, and I knew full well the problems that still needed to be solved (not bad problem, more like math problems) but these guys were seasoned enough to look past that and watching the smiles on their faces was both exciting and a relief. I was onto something. Now, either they got poker faces like Gaga or they were just genuinely thrilled about what they saw, even though we all knew it needs a lot of love still (especially in the sound & FX dept). Plus, for Howard, Alex and I, it was a nice way to see the film objectively through someone else's eyes as well. Ever do that? Watch one of your favorite films with someone who is uninitiated and you almost get a fresh, new perspective? Or, see how maybe your love for INVASION U.S.A. or HOWARD THE DUCK is a little skewed by kid-like nostalgia? That's what it was like watching KOB's cut with the guys here, but on the positive side. Stuff we thought might or might not work got confirmed with their viewing, and after the screening we all shared some beer and talked through some initial thoughts, all around great observations. I don't know of ANY filmmmaker who has had a perfect 1st cut, and I really enjoy getting notes so we can see what's been working and what needs more work. Overall, ale was consumed (Bohemia, a brand I was unfamiliar with as it was Howard's choice but at that moment was perfection) and everyone seemed very happy. GREAT way to start a weekend no? But the night wasn't over yet...

I finished off the night first with 127 HOURS with Bri (fantastic filmmaking on display & that rock gives a COMMANDING performance) and then right after a Midnight screening of one of my favorite slashers as a kid, Lustig's MANIAC, at the Nuart. I was so drunk on Cinema and couldn't stop I guess, but watching this movie reminded me, even in a sick little way, of how you can leave a legacy with every edit. Choices Lustig made back in 79-80 in New York when editing this film still resonated tonight in this theater in Los Angeles, so it was a palpable reminder that hard work not only pays off, it kinda makes history (even in a small way). Someday, if the world isn't destroyed by either a virus or Cthulhu or by our own devices, KNIGHTS might play in an old theater too, just like MANIAC and the choices we make now will travel through time and hopefully get a smile, a wince, a chuckle...any kind of reaction. Powerful stuff, that.

Onward we march, polishing our swords to sharpness! Huzzah!