Posted tagged ‘cetaceans’

18 June Log (Updated at 5:40PM)

June 18, 2008

Updated 5:40 PM

Spent the last two hours on the phone with the 1st AD going over the detailed production schedule. For anyone not familiar — this is a very intricate process in which every scene is broken down into a “strip” and then all the strips are assembled into a “board” (kind of a linear jigsaw puzzle) which eventually depicts what you’re shooting, in what order, day by day. The trick to scheduling is that you have to consider a lot of variables–which actors are available which days; how to minimize unnecessary moving around, which locations are available which days, day/night and “turnaround” issues (you can’t shoot until 3 am one day and start at 6 am the next … need 12 hours “turnaround”….and on and on. Here’s what day one looks like on the strip board I created before sending it off to the 1st AD for him to do his thing. (And any indie film-makers out there, this looks slightly different than what you’re used to because I did it in Excel, not Movie Magic Scheduling. I actually prefer Excel for first pass scheduling because it allows me more flexibility in the design of the strips and the elements you can sort for — also, for example, I can color code the strips which also helps. In this case, blue means open water … it makes it easier to go through the whole board and capture all the open water days when they’re color coded like this.)

Anyway … the good news is, it’s now 5:51 and the fish fry at Smith’s Point is about to start. We’re all going down.   I’ll have some pix to post when I come back.

Updated 3:40 PM

Had a working lunch with Susan Johnson, Jay Smith (co-producer), and Angela Carroll (production coordinator) where we went over some of the drudgery of production — shipping arrangements, vendor payables, plus some discussion of location site rentals and catering.

Afterwards Susan and I had what was supposed to be a fairly major script conference to talk mostly about the character of Hawk. I had spoken yesterday at length to David Keith, who will play Hawk, and had gotten his notes on the character and the role. Had processed these and sent them to Susan — thinking that maybe we were going to have a bit of a struggle to get everyone (producer, director, actor) synchronized. Turns out, no big dramas — the Susan Johnson-Michael Sellers mind meld seems to be working okay.

So … finishing early meant we spent more time on other production details — housing for actress Christine Adams who wants a condo rather than hotel because she’s bringing family; the deal for the local casting director which is just now being finalized; discussion of a looming communications problem (Sheraton seems to be about to change their internet system and may go down for up to a week); discussion of on-set cooling arrangements (it’s going to be quite hot in July and actors need to be able to really cool off between shots without having to go back to their dressing rooms. (End entry 3:46)

Updated 12:06 PM

Okay, finished with the meetings — all went well. Took some video of the art meeting which I’ll post later. Major debate at the art meeting was whether we’re going to build a house at the research facility or have them living on the beach in another location. The art dept and Susan are kind of pushing to use a beach house that they like. I’m pushing to have them at the facility on the corner point, looking out through the inlet to the ocean. I just feel that it ties together everything they’re doing with the dolphins to see them living there with the dolphins with that inlet to the sea. The cost differential is about $5,000 to do it the way I want to….although I think that analysis may be off because they haven’t done “deep analysis” of all the cost factors such as the cost of moving the entire shooting unit to the house on the beach (10 miles away from everything else that we’re shooting), and things like that. Anyway — we set a deadline of the weekend to get this decided. We also decided to set up an online google document for tracking location locks.

Second area of major discussion was where we’re going to do the hospital room. Turns out shooting it in a real hospital here doesn’t work to well for a number of reasons. Trying to come up with viable alternatives.

And the big “get” of the meeting was that they (Production Designer/Art Director) came up with a GREAT lab — I mean really great. Don’t have time to explain why, but it was awesome. Love it love it.

Casting meeting with Pepper Johnson, our lovely Bahamian casting director, was productive. Main point was to make sure she’s on board and understanding that I want to use real residents of Smith’s Point for the scenes depicting Smith’s Point. Got that idea across. Also sorted out some issues about our US Navy extras and bit parts.

Phone meeting with Jack Scanlon re product placement and promotional tie-ins also was productive. Working on dolphin tie-ins and jet skis, a few others. (Actually he had a long list of others but we ran out of time…I have 30 minutes to grab a sandwich and do this blog post, then I’m on to location scouts and stuff this afternoon.)


I’m down in the lobby of the Sheraton, cup of coffee and a banana, reading about as much of the news coverage of the Celtics blowout of the Lakers as I can stand (about half a dozen articles and I was done, what a disappointment but kudos to the Celtics). I’ve got about ten minutes before Susan and I are off to a morning of meetings.

First up is an art meeting with production designer Gabor Norman and his team. He’ll be showing us some sketches and budgets and photos of some alternative locations. The big issue on the table is the Hawk family house and whether we can create something on the site and UNEXSO or not. I’m very partial to making it work at UNEXSO. We’ll see how it goes on that one.

Second is local casting … we’re doing pretty well in that regard. We have most of the more significant local roles cast, but it’s important to get every one of them right. One lousy actor generating one lousy moment can really wreck a movie. And there’s really no excuse for it — even when you’re out ‘in the field’ like this. There are people who can do the small rloles and give them authenticity and life.

Third is a promotional meeting by phone with Jack Scanlan in LA who’s been doing a great job pursuing product placement and promotional opportunities. On the table at the moment is a situation with the Whales and Dolphins Conservation Society. Jack has been pursuing a rather large sponsorship deal with them, and felt that he had been getting some traction. It now looks, however, like they are going to pass. We shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed in this. As enlightened as we believe our story to be — the waters of dolphin conservation are very turbulent and groups like WDCS are inevitably going to be conflicted by any film that has any hint of captivity in it, and even interactivity is questionable. We have a chance on the issue of captivity because of the Third Phase program we depict in the movie in which the dolphins are not held in pens, but are free to come and go. But we can’t get around the “no interaction” position that WDCS and many conservationists have — a position that basically says not only should dolphins not be held captive, but any interaction with them is inherently detrimental to the dolphin’s welfare. The movie takes the position that scientifically managed interaction can bring benefits to both humans and dolphins…..and there’s no way to sugarcoat that. So I dont’ think anything wll come of it but we’ll see. Meanwhile there are many other things to talk about — jetski deals, boat deals, etc. (Finished 12:14 PM)