Posted tagged ‘bahamas’

Sunday: A Day Off (Sort of)…and Some Quiet Time With the Script

June 22, 2008

7:00 PM

I got in a good 5 hours this AM with no phone calls, no emails, no interruptions — and was able to put it toward developing the shooting plan for some of the key scenes. I started with the open water scenes and did a narrative shooting plan and some sketches. These will be examined by the others in the production, and with their help troubleshooting we will refine them into a final plan. Here is a sample from one scene: I got about 10 scenes done today:

SC 3
SYNOPSIS: Craig and Gwynn arrive, talk, watch Delphinus leave.

We start with A CAM on the Diving Platform (where it was at conclusion of scene 2 previous)
We start with Dolphins on hand, continuing from scene 2, so we have to shoot out the dolphin portions first
Later, after the dolphins leave, A CAM moves to Delphinus for additional coverage w/o dolphins.

Note: To avoid wasting time with the dolphins in the water (and they will be here in continuation from scene 2), our initial coverage of this scene will pickup from the point where Gwen and Craig are already stationary on their jet skis, and will end before Daniel fires up the engine and the Delphinus begins to move. So we will skip the arrivals and departures and do them separately, at the end, after the dolphins are gone. Also, for the same reason we will start this scene with both cameras in same position they were at the end of Scene 2 — i.e. CAM A is on the diving platform, and CAM B is in the water.


1A) A CAM: Wide Classic Master on Craig/Gwen from high enough angle that it could be POV from deck of Delphinus — wide enough to show Craig/Gwynn and Rasca in the same shot.
1B) B CAM: Grab dolphin pieces as possible, taking care to stay out of A CAM’s shot, which is pretty wide. Might get some underwater shots wide enough to show the two jetskis from below, and Rasca in the water around them.

2A) A CAM: (LENS CHANGE; SAME POSITION AS 1A) Lively master, tighter, panning from Craig to Alyssa
2B) B CAM: In water, can be closer, trying to get Rasca and Craig/Gwen in same shot. We’ll take whatever pieces we can get that tie them together.

SHOOTING END OF SCENE ONLY (from point where Daniel fires up the engine

5A: A CAM: From Delphinus, closer shots of Rasca

1A) A CAM: From Platform: Clean classic master on Craig/Gwynn from Delphinus, mainly for the beginning and end of the scene. We need to get the jets skis approaching, stopping, and beginning of dialogue; then we need the end, a two shot of Craig and Gwenn watching the Delphinus and Rasca disappear. If we can get all the dialogue too, that’s great – but not essential and becaue of jet-ski maneuverability issues, it will be necessary to shoot the “dialogue master” separately, without showing the arrival, so we can implement procedures to keep the jet skis stable during the dialogue.

1B) B CAM: From water, catching 2 shot master of same action. This would be Rasca’s POV of the arrival; at the end it would just be another angle of Craig/Gwynn watching, since Rasca is no longer there. During this take, B CAM can also free lance some underwater shots of the jet skis arriving and, while talking is going on, maneuverng in the water as seen from below – presumably as seen by Rasca from Rasca POV.


Note: This setup starts with Craig and Gwynn on their jetskis after having arived. This is so that we can implement procedures to keep the jet skis as stable as posslbe during the dialogue, with the engines off for sound purposes. There may be some special rigging to keep them close together and pointed in the right direction.

2A) A CAM: From Delphinus, 2 Shot of Craig/Gwynn
2B) B CAM: From water, lively master panning from Gwynn to Craig and back, simulating Rasca’s POV


3A) A CAM: Lively MCU master, panning from Alyssa to Kita to Daniel — try several takes, various combinations.

3B) B CAM: Simulate Rasca POV, swimming around actively while watching Craig/Gwynn from above and below surface, freelance closer shots on each.


19 June Log: (Updated at 5:49 PM)

June 19, 2008

5:49 PM

Back at the hotel now after a longish meeting at the production office. Covered a lot of issues — also took a call from Craig Woods, the film commissioner for the Bahamas, who has been very supportive of our efforts here.  I am about to dive into the weekly cost report — and am in the midst of sending out check requests to the LA office for some major payments that have to be made in Los Angeles.  

As half expected, I never got the chance today to deal with the script and it’s too late now — that part of my brain doesn’t work this late in the day.  Fortunately the number crunching side does, so I’ll be able to do the necessary with the cost report.  (For some reason — math and spreadsheets are fine for me to do at night, but not writing — or rather not creative writing, screenplays and such.  Those cylinders seem to only fire early in the morning up until about noon.  Tomorrow morning I will definitely do that work first thing…..



2:30 PM

Back from a long meeting with Susan Johnson. We covered a lot of territory:

  • Wardrobe issues. No major problems but we’re not happy yet with where we are with Ivana Milicevic. We looked at everything on the costume designers online gallery, then selected the few that are working — then provided guidance via iChat with the designer. We ended up feeling like we’ve got it going in a good direction.
  • I’m also a little concerned that the proposals for what we see the Navy Marine Mammal trainers wearing does not match exactly what they really wear. So I did some online hunting and have been forwarding around photos. I’ll post a couple of them here:
  • We also went over the schedule, got ourselves on the same page on that one. No major dramas… pretty much solidified through the first week. (I will post the sked on a page on the site … probably tonight when I have more time

Got back over to the hotel and logged in to discover a little banking drama. I mentioned that I sent out the first wire transfer to the Bahamas (i.e. the first one I’ve had to do since I was here — which requires different procedures, actually some hi-tech stuff that the bank kitted me out with.) Well, there was a glitch…turns out the account that the bank set me up for the whizbang hi-tech thingy is not the right account. So the wire I thought I sent didn’t get out. Sorted it out after about an hour of phone and email wrangling. The bank, by the way, has been very good generally.

Have finally gotten back to “work” (what feels like work to me and what I get forced to spend my time doing are two different things. I supposed they’re all work of one sort or another.)

Anyway, I’m now working on my director boards starting with locaction and set photos and sketches. I’ve made a page here to post them — LOCATIONS –. Meanwhile here’s two just so you can see what they’re like. There will end up being one of these for each location and/or set. Click on the images to see a larger version.

(Logoff 2:36PM)

10:40 AM

Four hours hunched over my laptop … feeling a bit of cabin fever at this point.

Things I’ve been dealing with:

  • Reviewing/commenting on the shooting schedule sent to me by the first AD. Gradually getting us both on the same page …. had discussions with Susan Johnson about this as well.
  • Set up all the check requests for today/tomorrow…..waiting for the return inputs from the production office.
  • Spent an hour on the phone wth banks in the US sorting out some issues regarding wire transfers from US to here, which are now about to begin in earnest.
  • Answered a ton of emails.

I have to say — doesn’t sound (or feel) all that productive to me. Fact is, one of the biggest stress inducers for me is when I have things that I want to do and feel are important – but I can’t get to them because I’m being swarmed with “must do” stuff. It’s been that kind of morning. I’ve got cost report stuff to do later today so I’m not home free yet from the admin stuff……

6:48 AM

I’m in the lobby of the Sheraton again … logged in with a cup of coffee. Weather’s good after some storms last night. (I’m going to start noting the weather each morning because this is important to us.) Today’s Thursday which means I’ll be heavily involved in accounting and finance stuff for at least half the day. This is the day we handle all the weekly check requests and then create a weekly cost report….Also I’m also going to try and get a google documents setup going for the crew so that we can use shared documents rather than constantly emailing updated documents around. I’m also going to be going over the schedule revisions which have just been submitted by the first AD, then spending some time with UNEXSO to make sure all is well with them. (We had a hiccup yesterday when a marketing rep for the film made contact with the Alliance of Marine Mammals Parks and Acquariums and inadvertently triggered “dolphin politics”. I’ll write separately about that sometime (dolphin politics) …. there’s a bit about it now on the “dolphin issues” page. Somewhere in all of this I’m hoping to get two hours with the script for some dialogue revisions. Anyway – that’s the plan, we’ll see how it goes.

How to Make a Conch Salad

June 19, 2008

If you ever come out this way, you’ll learn that conch is what has to be regarded as the national food. Over at West End, which seems to be conch central, there are mountains of conch shells along the seafront. Here’s a picture I took over there.

They prepare conch enough ways to make Bubba Gump happy (remember he knew 87 ways to cook shrimp) — grilled conch, cracked conch, conch fritters, conch chowder to name a few (I’m forgetting some) — but the most beloved way to eat it is “conch salad”, which is kind of a cousin of ceviche. “Conch Salad Stands” are in most of the tourist areas and I have to tell you — tourists an Bahamians love it.

Here is a pic of the conch salad stand we’re going to use in the movie … it’s in the heart of Port Lucaya Marketplace…..

And here’s a little clip I shot with a digital still camera (using the movie function, but it’s not the greatest quality) of the guy who owns this stand making up a batch of conch salads for some hungry tourists.


Welcome to an Experiment That May Become Mission Impossible

June 16, 2008

Welcome to my experiment at trying to “liveblog” my way through the making of “Way of the Dolphin” — a film I’m directing and exec producing this summer in the Bahamas. If Anderson Cooper can do it during the commercials on AC 360, I guess I can do it while we’re making the film. The idea of doing this came about with some encouragement from those of you who regularly read my private blog for our investors, and some other friends who are blog savvy and thought it might be interesting if I try to chronicle this adventure as we go along. I’m calling it “live blogging” rather than something else (journal, diary, whatever) because I want to ask you all in advance to cut me some slack — this has to be done on the fly, rule number one — no rewriting or editing — because of the time pressures during production. I’m going to just hit this hard on the fly and make sure that I put something in here at least daily — whether it’s a written blog update, posting some pictures, posting video — or even doing audio updates (thanks to the technology I can basically just turn on my computer and start talking, then save it, and post it here). So … not quite sure how this will turn out but here we go.

As I write this post we are exactly four weeks out from the first day of filming on July 13. I’m sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island, where we have a great rate of $109 net per night and where they have free wi-fi in the lobby. It’s 7:10 AM and I’ve been here for about an hour or so. I’ve been here 10 days and after I get this “starter” post in I’m going to go back and post some other material and videos that I’ve made over the last ten days–sort of an effort to get you caught up.

Here on the ground now in the Bahamas from our team we have:

  • Yours truly – Michael D. Sellers, Executive Producer and Director.
  • Susan Johnson, Producer.
  • Jay Smith, Co-Producer
  • Angela Carrol, Production Coordinator
  • Cornelius McKinney, Unit Production Manager
  • Gabor Nelson, Production Designer
  • Alan Howatt, Art Director
  • Paul Mockler, Underwater Cinematographer

Over the next two weeks it will be mostly just this batch … then everyone else will start coming in about two weeks out.

Okay, I’m out of time. Got to go. Will add to this later.