June 21 Log: Cracking the Code on the Hawk Family Home and Jetski Realities (Updated 6:38 PM)

6:38 PM

Well, a long day but a productive one. Before lunch a couple of us went out on jetskis, partly just for fun (and we paid for it ourselves — NOT a production expense — but the reason for doing it was in part to simulate some of the maneuvering that will have to be done when we shoot two scenes in the movie that involve getting multiple jetskis into position together. (In one case it’s just two jet skis, and in the other it’s about 8). Well, well, well — it’s not easy. When you pull up next to a jetski and both skis try to idle next to each other, they actually creep forward slowly as long as the engine is on. And if you turn the engine off they start turning and drifting.

We learned a lot about waterwork last time, and boat to boat problems …. but I don’t think I truly appreciated how hard it will be to get the jetskis where we want/need them. I will talk to the marine coordinator next week about this — maybe there are some technical solutions.

But then it was on to the proposed Hawk family house — the new one. I took the entire team down there — Susan, Jay, Gabor (Production Designer), Alan (Art director). There are two tricky things about this location–one is the fact that it’s actually a beach club/restaurant, not a family home, and thus there are parts of it we don’t want to show and there will be a good bit of dressing to be done to “sell” it as a home. The other is that I really want to be able to convey that they live right on the facility … certainly not more than a short walk … but we also want to have them living on the ocean. Now — one thing you can obsess about is geography but the fact is that a filmgoer frequently doesn’t have a completely accurate view of geography – he sees what the film-maker shows him and it’s completely common to “cheat” a location to make it seem like two places are closer in the movie than they are in reality. Anyway — in this situation I think we have solved it.

Here is the link:


10:19 AM

Saturday. Finally got some time with the script. I got in four good hours this AM working through it, making notes for the creative team about what I’m looking for in each scene. Also made notes to myself and Susan regarding dialogue that’s still not right, plus some production notes about how things might need to be changed to accomodate production realities/location sites etc.

I need to spend some time now with finances again. The actual cost report consists of a lot of detail. I know this is probably a bit boring but I’m not viewing this blog as an attempt to entertain so much as an attempt to inform and make a record of what it is I have to deal with to get a movie done, so — here’s what the weekly cost report consists of:

  • Burn Rate Analysis: This is right of the top the thing that matters the most when I’m wearing my hat as Exec Producer and thus the one responsible for making sure the film gets the money it needs. Based on the budget, and weekly cashflow, and spending to date — the Burn Rate Analysis essentially starts out with the money in the bank, looks at the the money required weekly to keep the production afloat based on spend-to-date, budget, and cashflow, then projects what flows from corporate and other external sources are needed to keep the production solvent and able to finish. For a production like this shooting offshore in the bahamas, by the time we get to the first day of filming, we will have spent 70% of the cash needed to complete the Bahamas shoot. This is because of all the “frontload” or pre-pays that are required — full upfront escrow of all actor fees, full pre-pay of the camera, grip, lighting packages,and so on. So the actual flow ends up being 70% through opening day, then 10% a week for the three weeks of the Bahamas first unit shoot. (Second unit shoots before and after main unit but those costs are relatively small.)
  • Cost Report Topsheet: This is a one page executive summary showing budget, amount spent to date, commitments (i.e. credit cards in use that have to be paid, credit from suppliers), estimate to complete, and variance.
  • Detailed Cost Report: Same as the topsheet except that it tracks all 250 or so accounts, not just the header accounts.
  • LA Transaction Details: Captures each transaction in Los Angeles and sorts by account.
  • Bahamas Transaction Details: Captures each transaction in Bahamas and sorts by account.
  • LA Checkbook Register:
  • Bahamas Checkbook Register:
  • Schedule of Outstanding Cash Advantages

Anyway, this is not something the director would normally have anything to do with, but when you’re producing and directing you do have to deal with it and it takes time — maybe a total of 8-10 hours each week beginning on Thursday and going through the weekend. I’ve logged about 4 hours so far.

Going to dive back into it now.

logout 10:31 AM

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