Posted tagged ‘film-making’

June 26 Log: A Very Weary Update at 7:43

June 26, 2008


Where…and I mean WHERE did the day go?  This is frightening. It always gets like this in pre-production.  I think I already said that yesterday but today was even worse.  Up at 5:15AM with this huge day stretching ahead and this sense that you can move mountains … and then 14 hours later you’ve gotten done about 25% of what you wanted to get done, and you’re feeling panicked.  That’s me, now.  I’m making progress on my shooting plan but not enough.  I feel like I’m stuck in a traffic jam just because I’m not zooming through it like I think I should.  It might be because I’m dealing with all the tough and complicated scenes first….but I feel like I’ve gotten about 10% of the movie done in 2-3 days and at that rate I won’t be able to get it done before we start because starting Monday people are going to be arriving and much more of my time will be spent talking, talking, talking.  

Well … for the record, let me try to remember what happened after my 10:43AM update:

  • I did get to to another hour, sort of, of shotlisting and whatever but the emails and phone calls were starting to come in, so it wasn’t that good.
  • Had lunch with Susan Johnson…went over her budget revisions, talked about schedule issues, talked about some location issues, talked about some crew issues….then it was 2PM.
  • Went to the art department meeting at 2PM.  Figured out some solutions to some issues/problems and ended up saving some money without sacrificing production value.
  • Met with the production staff after that … payroll, per diem, rental cars, cost reporting, all of that. 
  • Back to the hotel at 4:30. Maid was in my room so I set up shop in the lobby.  Got back to shotlisting….but phone kept ringing, emails kept coming (primetime in LA) and I don’t think I got much done.  Finally left there around 6.  
Since then I’ve been in the room trying to get some traction again with my shooting plan. Ordered room service….discovered they’ve got a killer broiled chicken breast/portobello mushroom sandwich.  I hadn’t ordered it before because they call it a “burger” and I imagined ground chicken…but it’snot — it’s a chicken breast and it’s really good.  
Onward….It’s 7:53 now.  Can manage another couple of hours maybe, although my brain is really seriously fried now….happens at 14 hours or so.  Same thing happens with crew when you push them too far….the concentration just starts to crumble.  We’ll see.  


10:43 AM

Just got a huge chunk of work done from 6 AM until about 10:15 without any interruptions. Advanced the shooting plan dramatically — although I wish I could have gotten more done than I did.  For me it always seems that what I can get done in x amount of time is less than I hoped to get done in that time, and that leaves me feeling a bit stressed — especially in a situation like this where the clock is ticking down.

I also just did a quick summary of the UNEXSO shooting schedule, with a diagram, for our final submission to UNEXSO.  This is extracted from the overall shooting schedule which is going to be published today.

I’m going to try to go get one more hour of solid work before LA gets up and starts calling.

Here’s the UNEXSO schedule and diagram. This may be of interest not just to UNEXSO, but to any of you who may be coming to visit during the shoot.  This is NOT fully confirmed yet — UNEXSO has to agree to the dates.  But there’s a good chance it will be okay.


Issues of the Day

June 17, 2008

So here are the eissues of the day:

  • The Production Designer is having trouble finding a way to create the house we want at the UNEXSO facility. The idea is that Hawk and family live right on the facility, and there is a spectacular beautiful location right there that is perfect. I’m willing to have the house be mostly an exterior…and the scenes to take place on the porch, in the yard. I thought we had it cracked but now I’m hearing all kinds of “it costs too much” comments. I have to look into this. It’s a shame that at this stage, when we’ve spent as much as we have getting here, that a matter of $5,000 could decide something like this. But there is also the matter of overall discipline — when you start breaking the budget, it can really crumble. Tomorrow at 9 am we’re meeting.
  • Spoke at length with David Keith about Hawk. He has many of the same concerns I do about the way the character is written. We’re really trying to figure this out. Hawk was a problem in the first movie, and he seems to be problem (and an opportunity, if we sort it out) in this movie. I took copious notes; SJ and I will go over it in the morning. No easy solutions.
  • I also took some time at the end of the day to re-do the Cast bios — pls go check them out. They’re good now….really come closer to capturing the value of what we’ve put together.

Oh, and one more thing. Wasn’t Tiger awesome … and GO LAKERS! Game 6 in 5 minutes. I’m done. More tomorrow.

Figuring Out the Boats and Other Dolphin Stuff

June 17, 2008

Yesterday some time was spent working on the “picture boat” situation (i.e. boats that will appear in the movie, as opposed to working boats that will be camera platforms, etc). The story involves depiction of elements of the US Navy’s Marine Mammal Program so we’re trying to “get it right” — correct boats, work uniforms, etc. First stop is the Navy’s official website for the program. It’s reasonably helpful and worth a visit. Have to say the logo they’ve developed is borderline silly — don’t mean that in a harsh way but what are they thinking. Here it is. But anyway, the site has some photos but it’s interesting — they don’t show much of the actual equipment that is used with the dolphins. The site identifies the areas in which the Navy uses its dolphins: Mine Hunting, Force Protection, Object Recovery, and fleet support — and has a map showing where the dolphins have been deploted around the world. Conscious that there is a good bit of criticism of the Navy for using Marine Mammals in this way, the site also includes discussion of Marine Mammal Health and Welfare, etc.

The one picture that is quite interesting is this one, which is widely available around the internet. In the movie we also intend to depict a Navy dolphin with a camera mounted …. one of the problems in doing this is that we can’t mount on on a pectoral fin, like that — the training issues are too extreme.

Instead, we will create a different mount using a vest that our dolphins at UNEXSO have already been trained to wear.  The one they’re used to wearing contains medical monitoring equipment as part of a medical sciences experiment that UNEXSO is sponsoring.  We will replace the monitoring equipment with a camera.

The Boats

We did manage to find some photos of specially rigged boats and smallcraft used by the Navy dolphin program.  Here are the three best ones. The first one shows a boat that has part of the gunwale removed so that the dolphin can be easily placed inside the boat for transport.  The second one is a modified large zodiac with a sling on board for transport.  And the third one shows another type of modification.

Based on these, we’re able to know pretty clearly what it is we’re looking for — and now we’re on the trail of finding it.  Also — you can see that these photos help with wardrobe issues as well, as they depict the Marine Mammal Program types at work.