Certainty

posted Aug 8, 2011, 12:20 PM by Steve N Bradford
So I was bad.  I posted up only one of the two things I wanted to in the last week.  And the reason is related to the post I never got around to.  July 30th, Saturday, marked the start of Project Twenty1.  For those of you who don't know what that means, it is a film competition based out of Philadelphia and is a part of the Philadelphia Film and Animation Festival.  62 teams this year gathered to compete to make a film in 21 days.  So everyone embracing the theme 'It Starts with a Crash' has gone out and started to make their films.  Most of the teams are in the Pennsylvania area, but there are a few of us off in weird places (like Washington DC, or Hong Kong).

So since then I have been busy writing the film instead of writing blog posts.  Shame on me indeed!  So I am going to give a little tiny bit on the Launch event (instead of the full post detailing my adventures and parking ticket that I had intended), and then a whole bunch on what you are really here for.  Stuff about the film and the trials, tribulations and terrific things related to it.

The Launch event was great, it was in a place right in the middle of Philly called Lucky Strike.  It was a bowling alley bar sort of place and packed with film makers.  This is the first time I have run out of business cards at an event.  And never have I been so behind on going through the cards I have gotten before.  Everyone was massively friendly and one of the things that has made me respect this competition even more... it seems a lot of teams are helping each other.  As one of my friends likes to tell me 'A rising tide lifts all ships' and it seems the people here (the festival organizers and the film makers) realize that.  It was wonderful that even as an outsider to their community I was welcomed in and I feel like I am the DC branch of that group now.  Thanks to all of the people I met for selling me on the notion that this is NOT going to be my last Project Twenty1 film... not by a long shot.

Now, onto the film itself.  My last post detailed the fun of hanging out with people who are letting their passions out, so I tried to do the same.  My Project Twenty1 film, entitled 'The Schlonburger Certainty Postulator' has been an amazing experience so far.  Being used to the 2 day time frame of the 48HFP, having a whole week to work on my script, and edit it, and let other people check it for errors, see if jokes worked, etc was FANTASTIC.  Turns out that editing means I get to put in MORE jokes and enjoy playing with science fiction for longer.  I will admit that there are a number of post its around my computer where I have detailed 'speculative science' that makes the science fiction of the film work.

Now, done with the script lets talk about what my team consists of.  My usual sound and video guys, Pete and Boz, are back in action.  Besides that, everyone is new.  Monika, a student at GW and Collin who attends UMD wrap up the rest of my crew.  The cast at current includes Grant and Justin, both professional actors and performers in the DC area (I am so glad they didn't have shows they had to be at during my shoot dates.)  We have a couple more people who will be involved come next weekend.  But at our core we have three of us who have worked together on a handful of projects in our assumed roles (myself as Director and general lord of bossiness) and then a bunch of people new to the fold.  We learned a few important lessons during the shoot.  One, I was wrong about how long the shoots would take.  Its all twice as long.  But well worth it.  Second, when its hot and you are using lights that make it hotter and keeping people in lots of costume.... provide freezy pops.

We also got the chance to try out some things we had not done before.  Usually because we decided they were too complex or too difficult and we did not want to get bogged down on them in a short period of time if we only had a day to shoot.  But having 2 full weekends to shoot our film (and 5 days between in order to plan our effectively) meant there was nothing wrong with trying some really exciting shots.  For example, shooting from moving vehicles while running down the road, or doing a scene that hinged entirely on a green screen shot working right.

That is not to say everything worked out perfectly.  In setting up the MANY lights needed for the green screen shot one of my lighting fixtures was knocked over by getting caught on an errant leg and shattered.  Unfortunately I had no replacement, so we rigged together some work lights and made things work anyhow.  Then during one of our outdoor running scenes the goggles that the main character wears (as seen in the photo above) were partially run over by a car.  But... we think we mostly fixed them.  (And I am waiting with bated breath to hear back from the company that made them to see if I can drive to their factory to get more instead of waiting for the shipping).  We obviously liked to cut things close, such as when we only brought enough eggs to break them once for a shot.  But in the end, we all had a really good time.

The footage is still being gone through from that weekend.  Because we are shooting in HD I still need to make proxy versions and full res versions of every shot, and of course with a secondary sound system everything needs to be synced manually.  With somewhere in the vicinity of 150 different takes that is going to be a long process, and I won't bore you dear blog reader with updates on that.  But rest assured, there are at least two more weeks of hearing back from me on whats going on with THIS project.  Let me close with a few other fun pictures....

Look, I am a director!  And he is a scientist!

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