Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post #9: Casting Continues

 The research paper is done! Just thought I'd throw that out there... :-) Although honestly, it really was a very useful and enlightening experience to have to contact all those industry professionals.
Alright, so pre-production is continuing on schedule. We had a great first casting call on Friday, and met with some wonderful actors. We have a few more appointments on Monday for people who couldn't make the Friday call, and then later this week we will be announcing the cast for "Fragments." Along with the cast announcement, we will post the working copy of the script as well, so stay tuned as we finally unveil the mysterious "plot." That's all for now!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Post #8: Getting On With The Script

Ok, so it's taking a lot longer than was planned to finish the script; a fact which is beginning to be detrimental to our progress. Casting is scheduled to take place this Friday (yikes!) and we still need to get sides out to prospective 'auditionees'. The polished version of the casting call posters should be going up tomorrow, and hopefully we will have some sort of turn out on Friday.

While progress on the script has been slow, we are finally drawing close to the final draft. (I know I said that last week, but I really mean it this time!) Most of the main segments are finished, barring some final polishing, and once they're done all we need to do is work out some of the transitions and the intro. We are planning another nice long group meeting tomorrow to bash out the script, prepare our speech for Wednesday, contact as many actors as possible, hang up flyers, scout locations, and begin storyboarding. Then we'll have to break so we can each go work on our research papers.

I'll post segments of the script sometime during the next few days...This week is going to be very, very busy.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post #7: Website and Facebook Page

Just threw together a website for the project, or as we will be calling it from now on, the short film called "Fragments." The site is up and running, and while it still needs work at least there's something out there that we can direct people to during the casting process. I've also created a Facebook page for the film that we can use to advertise the casting call. It can be found by searching for "Fragments, A Student Film" in the Facebook search bar.

Here's the URL for the website:


Monday, February 14, 2011

Post #6: Another Short Update

Today Pre-production begins! After an in-class meeting with Professor Simpson, we have begun preparations for casting. Right now we're in the process of working on a flyer to advertise auditions, as well as creating a Facebook page for the film. Adam has volunteered to field calls from actors, which I guess means he will be the casting director (at least he is in charge of taking phone calls and scheduling time slots, etc.) Auditions will be held on Friday, February 25th from 1-5pm. We should begin advertising for auditions sometime this Wednesday, once the script is finished (hopefully). In the interest of efficiency (and so that our actors will have some idea of what we're talking about) we've decided that we need to come up with a working title for the film. This is just so that we don't need to refer to it as "The Senior Seminar Project" anymore, and whatever title we give it now will probably be changed after the final cut (unless we run out of time.) So far, and in keeping with the 'time' theme, the titles I've suggested have been "Fragments" and "STOP." Perhaps a little out there, but it's a placeholder. I'll pitch them to the group tomorrow. I also spent some time this afternoon coming up with a logo for the film that we can use in the Facebook group. I've posted it below (watermarked for copyright purposes).


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Post #5: Writing, Writing, and More Writing

First of all, this weekend I  had the opportunity to take part in the 4th Annual 24 Hour Theater Project at Lynn University.  I had a great time writing a ten-minute, one act play (all in one very, very, very, very, VERY long night) and got to work with a fabulous group that really brought the script to life for the performance. Overall an incredible, extremely positive experience!

Alright, well with 24 hour theater taking place Friday-Saturday and the scheduled deadline for this script set for Sunday, it soon became quite clear that the theme for this weekend was (dramatic drum roll) WRITING. Now that the weekend is drawing to a close, I am pleased to report that the script, while not quite finished, is close enough to completion for us to begin pre-production on schedule (which means tomorrow). We had another two-hour-long group meeting tonight to assess our progress and work on the script, and we managed to arrange all of our mini-episodes in order to form a sort of skeletal structure, which I will elaborate upon in this post. However, I've just been looking through the old posts, and realized that I never updated our progress on the mini-episodes, or even really wrote about who our characters are, etc. So I'm going to rectify that oversight here:

As stated before, the film is based upon a series of mini-episodes that take place within a 24 hour period. Each of the mini-episodes revolves around a central character, and they are each linked together in a sort of fluid, arbitrary manner (similar to a network narrative) rather than through any direct relationships to one another.  For now we are looking at 5 main characters in 5 mini-episodes. Here's a brief description of each:

1. Mike the 'anxious guy': A character written by Grant, Mike is a college student who is, frankly, very anxious. Balancing work, school, friends, and a girlfriend stresses him out, and he is constantly talking on the phone and drinking down coffee like it's air (which might be contributing to his nervous, jittery personality. Didn't think about that, did you Mike?) Anyway, Mike's segment will feature Mike and his complicated, nerve shattering morning routine as he prepares for another whopping headache of a day. Mike's constant use of his cell phone will be used as a narrative device during this episode, with one-sided phone conversations linking the action together with a steady stream of frazzled whining, indignant complaints, and severe stress delivered in a type of quasi-narration through Mike's phone conversations.

2. Jessie, the 'budding writer': Next up is Jessie, a character that I developed. Jessie has just graduated from college, and is stuck in that awkward phase of being optimistic (perhaps a bit idealistic) about the future while remaining completely insecure and indecisive in the present. Having just graduated from college, Jessie is trying to establish herself as an author, but is at a complete loss as to how to begin living in the real world. To top it all off, she's been struck with a case of writers block! Jessie's episode takes place in a coffee shop as she tries to come up with ideas for her first novel, and features some exciting filmmaking techniques involving changing perspective, time lapse, and use of the steadicam!

3. Rob, aka '5:00': Rob is Adam's character, and let's just say that any possible instance of alcohol use in the film will be piled onto him. Basically, Rob is a guy in his late 20s who's stuck in a dead-end job and turns to alcohol to escape his worries. He is the embodiment of 'times in a bad economy,' having lost all hope in his dreams following his many failures in the job market. Rob's scene is still in-progress, but will involve more than a few bars and some very cheesy pick-up lines. (NOTE: at some point, Rob 'bumps into' Mike, Grant's character. As of now, they are the only characters in the film that ever meet one another.)

4. Bob, 'Radio Host': Another one of my characters, Bob is a radio host for a late-night radio program. Hmm, late night radio... Much dark humor ensues. Planning to film this episode in a sort of updated film-noir style.

5. Evan, 'Late Night Philosopher': Also mine, Evan is one of those pessimistic, absurdist, ironic, and bitingly sarcastic young adults. He has an opinion about everything and isn't afraid to share it. This is the last episode, and is still mostly a treatment. Basically revolves around a rather long monologue, probably in the form of a voice over, and perhaps with some instances of breaking the fourth wall, but that's still to be seen.

Ok, so those are the 5 episodes, and that's the order they will be in in the final script. There's also the plan for an opening/introduction to the film that is semi-experimental in nature, but that's still in the works and will probably be filmed last (or who knows, maybe it will be first if we get it done soon.) For now we need to finish up the scripts for Rob, Bob, and Evan, and then polish up the project as a whole. In the meantime, preproduction starts tomorrow, so we'll be balancing more writing with location scouting and casting for the episodes that are finished.

More updates soon!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Post #4: Short Update and Timetable

Well, this morning we had an in-class speech on our progress, so I figured the blog needed a bit of an update. We're still in the writing phase (pedal to the metal) and had to attach a long-range antenna to that police scanner as we push to finish the first draft by this Sunday before we run out of gas. (Ok, that's it for the car metaphor, it's getting old). Anyways, some of the mini-episodes are in treatment form, and the rest haven't yet fully solidified out of the brainstorming mists, but we're working on it. I promise to post a more detailed explanation of where the script stands sometime in the near future. For now, here's the updated schedule for the rest of the semester:

1) Script Outlined/Episode Treatments by Sunday, February 5th      (Completed)
2) Draft of Script Finished by Sunday, February 13th (One Week)
3) Pre-Production from Monday, February 14th through March 4th      (Three Weeks)
4) Production from Monday, March 14th through Sunday April 24th    (Six Weeks)
5) Post-Production Mid-March (?) through Sunday May 1st
6) Advertising/Poster Creation and Festival Research Monday, May    2nd through Thursday, May 5th

Well, that's the tentative schedule for now. Post-production is scheduled to overlap with production seeing as we will be editing each mini-episode as it comes off the 'production-line' while still in the midst of filming other episodes. Hopefully we can get everything done by the end of the semester (fingers crossed) and perhaps even hold some sort of screening on campus before we try for the festival circuit.

That's it for now, got to get back on the writing highway. (Oops, I lied about the metaphor thing... Sorry, couldn't resist.)

- Stephanie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Post #3: A Day in Projectville

We had two more productive group meetings today. It seems like every meeting we manage to solidify the project further, and we are leaping forward in the initial plans far faster than I had ever anticipated. By this afternoon, the project had moved forward from a simple concept to a more structured framework that we all seem to be happy with. Of course, there still remains not so much a mountain as a mountain range of work left to do, and as we get farther into the writing the project is becoming increasingly more complicated. I think I'm beginning to realize that this final semester (which at first seemed to be quite a comfortable time interval for a short film) is going to be turning into more of a hectic scramble to the finish line. However, I think we've agreed that in order to make this a true 'final project' it really needs to be this ambitious. We'd only be doing ourselves a disservice by holding back in the conception stage, so we're going to gather all of the proverbial caution out of the wind and drown it in the nearest large body of water. It's past time to jump in head first and get messy.

That said, we did decide that in order to pull off such a complicated production (don't worry, the new details are coming right up) we will need to expedite our writing process and get to production much sooner. One of the keys to this project will definitely be to have a very strong script, so we aren't planning on rushing its development. Let's just say that if, for instance, we had been traveling comfortably through sunny script-land in fourth gear up until this point, we're now going to have to rocket into fifth gear and start barreling down the writing highway with the police scanner on.

Alright, time for the idea update. First of all, shout-out to Zac Weaver for his help brainstorming in class today. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us Zac, they were really helpful! Ok, so we're keeping the episodic structure idea that we had originally decided upon, but we have added some extra parameters to help focus the overall structure of the piece. Here's the thrilling tale:

Not so long ago, in a classroom not too far away, Grant, Adam, Zac, and Stephanie were discussing ideas for their senior seminar projects. After a somewhat abstract discussion of film-related topics, plot and segment pitches, etc. INSPIRATION stuck it's head into the middle of our group, reached forward with several elusive, invisible hands, and tweaked us all on the nose. "Ouch!" After the initial nose-tweaking shock, we were struck with the idea of structuring our project around the somewhat loose-concept of 'time.' We had already been playing with this concept in the two short episodes that we had been thinking of earlier (and, frankly, it's a concept that has always quite fascinated me, what with it's infinite potential in the film medium.) The idea was to limit the film's structure to a 24 hour time frame, a single day. Each segment will follow the next sequentially through a 24 hour period (although whether each segment comes from the SAME 24 hour period remains to be seen). In other words, the first short would be set in the morning, the next at noon, then afternoon, evening, night, etc. until we come full circle and end the film at dawn. Each segment of the day will be devoted to a single mini-episode with it's own protagonist in a type of 'network-narrative' with inventive transitions and unlikely coincidences. We have now begun outlines for two segments (morning and late afternoon) and will attempt to fill in the remaining time slots with plausible ideas by Friday. Then, once we've slain the structure dragon, we can finally begin seriously fleshing-out each mini-episode with dialogue, etc., in proper script formatting and get on with the quest, er, I mean the project. So, that's the progress in a nutshell. And it remains to be seen if they all lived happily ever after. (not) THE END.

Yes, we did have quite an adventure today. Now it's back to the racetrack for a mad-dash writing session before next class. Hopefully we won't hit any speed-bumps.