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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:47 PM
Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:01 PM
Posted 23 July 2017 - 01:14 AM
I do like me some heist films....
There's a lot of moving parts in putting together any script (the 'how, why, how much' that Biz mentioned), so I'll break them down as we go along with the process.
Let's start with the initial idea, as Biz put it forth in the referenced thread.
I last lived in a city (New York) in the early 70s, well before gentrification was a thing. There's some gentrification going on in Birmingham, where I am now, but it's not so much the 'driving working class people out so yuppies and hipsters can move in' kind of thing - it's more revitalizing neighborhoods full of shuttered, empty storefronts, making them someplace worth going to.
So I had to do some research on the whole gentrification thing. That done, I had to come up with a character who would drive the plot.
Didn't like the idea of some small-time hood who'd gone straight - as Biz said in the initial thread, it was generic, cliche. Seen it all before. I wasn't looking for a lovable old-timer. I wanted a hard man in a world of hard men. No sentiment. No love interest. A professional armed robber, more akin to the crew in Heat than the old hoods in Stand Up Guys. Somebody returning to the neighborhood after being away for a good while. Like in prison.
I also didn't want him to be all outraged over the changes due to gentrification. Yeah, the neighborhood is changing. Yeah, he doesn't like those changes. But in those changes he sees opportunity. Because he's the wolf and those hipsters and rich assholes are the sheep. And let's face it, as Calvera says in the Magnificent Seven, "If God did not want them sheared, he shouldn't have made them sheep."
So there was my setup - next time, I'll go into the torture of breaking the developing story into five minute chunks and the heartbreak of writing scenes that I had to toss because they made that particular chunk run long...
Posted 26 July 2017 - 01:35 AM
Next up is Shaun Muldoon. Muldoon is a detective of flimsy moral character. He will be played by my muse and personal favorite GoofParade! GP has been the voice of many of my own favorite creations including first and foremost Caviar Alejandro Bellasante. I'm super psyched to be working with GP again on this project and I think hes going to nail this sleaze.
Now we got Little Dave and Bruno. Little Dave is a diminutive arms dealer who deals steel to the neighborhood goons while Bruno is his personal muscle. Little Dave will be played by the always enigmatic Macwemyss. Mac is a talented director, voice actor and a really swell guy who makes the community richer just by his inclusion. My favorite Mac voice role is a recent one in which he and BenTuttle did some crazy, live action, meta "The Movies", bizarness called Baggage.
Bruno will be played by the force that is Ken White. I love having Ken play the muscle and Im excited to get his throaty vibes on the role. You might remember Ken from Santa Clause is Coming..For You , from the audio play called the Linconshire Poacher which he wrote or perhaps for just being the father of TMUnderground. Either way.
And here we have our waiter/bartender extraordinaire "Harmon". Harmon may be the only character in the script without a second name (not sure if Harmon is the first or last name) but damn this guy has the facial hair and duds to sink many a hipster heart. Harmon will be played by the ever amazing BenTuttle. Ben is again a super talented director and voice actor and I'm really happy to have him on board playing this well dressed role. Ben is the master of strong female roles such as Skygirl and mysterious westerns
There are a few more small roles that need to be finalized but that will happen on down the line. Anyways, hope you enjoyed. More News as it happens....
Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:29 PM
As a rule, I don't write short movies.
That's not to say that I haven't or can't, but when I have it's usually been for a competition of some kind where they've put a time limit on the entries. And I've had fairly good success with short flicks - You've Got Spam! was one of the Warwick 50, A Split Second won the Fable competition and got me an X-Box (though not the copy of Fable signed by Peter Molyneux - bastards!) and Entry Level tied for second place in the Pinhead comp that year.
But I still don't really like 'em. I feel constricted by the length. I feel like I have to keep my eye on the page count of the script. I feel like I can't take the story where I might like to take it for no reason other than the time that would be consumed on that journey.
When I talked about my unproduced scripts on the last anniversary show, Biz wanted to know what kind of scripts. When he found out they were all long, multi-part epics of one sort or another, he instead suggested we do his Gentrified idea. As 4-5 short films, about five minutes in length.
It took a couple of days before I agreed. With 20-25 minutes to work with, it was clear that I couldn't write it the way I normally do - let the story go where it goes. I was going to have to have the whole damn story mapped out in my mind and take the direct route, rather than the scenic route.
Heist films, for the most part, follow a three act format - act one is the setup/preparation, act two is the heist itself, act three is the aftermath. Occasionally it's modified (Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs has the setup and the aftermath, but you never actually see the jewelry store heist - the film that Tarantino borrowed much of it from, Ringo Lam's City on Fire, does include the jewelry store heist) - but for the most part, that's been the format since Rififi started it all sixty-plus years ago.
Originally my plan was five parts - parts one and two were the setup/prep, part three introduces an obstacle, part four the heist, and part five the aftermath. Each script five pages, total length approximately 25 minutes. As I continued to work the story in my mind, I realized that I didn't need part five. What aftermath? If the heist was unsuccessful, what was I going to do? Have the robbers in prison like the end of Topkapi? If it was successful, was I going to have them rolling on a bed covered with money like Martin Balsam in The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3? I don't think so.
So four parts - setup, preparation, obstacle, heist.
But I was still stuck with five minutes per part. Five pages of script. I'd know what I wanted to accomplish in each part, what I needed to accomplish, to move on to the next part, but sometimes I'd realize that a scene I really liked had to go, usually about halfway through writing it.
For example, before Jenko comes up with his plan, he's walking the streets and decides to spend the night in a neighborhood hotel he knows. But the hotel is no longer a neighborhood hotel. It's a boutique hotel now - rooftop cocktail lounge, fitness room, all fancy and trendy. A gentrified hotel for the fancy and trendy folks who are taking over the neighborhood. I liked the scene. It was amusing and the first real indication to Jenko that it wasn't the neighborhood he knew. Then I looked at where I was page-wise in the script and realized I'd never get to where I needed to get if I kept that scene. So I had to dump it.
Then later, in the restaurant where the heist will take place, Jenko is having a conversation with hipster Harmon and goes into this discussion about having lost his virginity in the bathroom of the restaurant (again, it's now a trendy, hipster kind of place rather than the neighborhood eatery it was before gentrification) - it was a fun scene, especially Harmon's reaction to the idea of losing one's virginity in a restaurant bathroom, but it was taking up too much time, so it had to go.
In the end, each part had to be lean - if I was going to get to where I needed to go, each part had to be totally plot driven, without any room for anything that did not advance the story. As Donald Trump would tweet: Sad!
In the end, I got there, and I'm mostly happy with it. There's stuff I wish I'd had time for, like the scenes I mentioned and some others, but I think it works as is.
Next time, some thoughts on keeping it economical with characters and locations.
Posted 29 July 2017 - 03:13 AM
well mac looks like mac maybe a little older ken scary thought looks a lot like Roger lol.
This looks interesting.
Yea, I had an issue modeling Little Dave till I decided it was a short Macwemyss. Ken mentioned little Daves last name in the script which I had to omit (it was italian I think) but I was super happy to model it using Mac after multiple failed attempts...As far as the Bruno character, I didnt mean to have any Roger similarities but alas, its a touch similar if Roger was perhaps an 80s action movie star. At least I hope....thanks for the comment Chris!
Posted 30 July 2017 - 03:31 AM
Loving the writing input Ken! It is super lean and I like that, particularly in the end. Out the door and cut scene. Solid!
I will say hipsters like to screw as well (at least in my experience ... um hipster roommates) so Harmon likely wouldnt blush too hard about the bathroom love in..hehe.
Once we get this out the door I will be super interested to hear how you see your vision once it actually gets committed to film. I admit Im not the best machinimatographerfilmmakingguy but I'm hoping to do it some justice. You like to talk honestly and I like to hear honesty so I'm looking forward to the end because maybe I can rile you up in another project outta the ideas forum.....howda you feel about office satanism? Or moon spiders? Hehe. Wait I'm not kidding.
Posted 01 August 2017 - 01:59 AM
I will be super interested to hear how you see your vision once it actually gets committed to film...
And I'm super interested in seeing what you come up with - when I write any script, I see it play out in my mind - where the camera would be, would it be a close-up, a long shot, a two-shot, whatever (this probably diminishes my desire to actually make a movie, since I've already seen it in my head). I'm sure your movie won't be like my movie, but why should it be...when I write a script for somebody else, it's theirs. I do my bit, the director and actors do their bits, and in the end ya got yourself a movie.
Office satanism? A successful app company called Pentagram is acquired by a big company (think Google/Facebook/whatever) for big bucks. Somebody from the new parent firm is sent to oversee the new acquisition. What he or she doesn't know is that Pentagram's success is linked to a close, personal relationship with the Big Guy in Hell. Let the sacrifice of interns begin!
Moon spiders? Inside a moon rock brought back by one of the Apollo missions, something lurks. Something alive. Something that wants to go home. Or maybe it's a musical...."I'm being followed by a moon spider, moon spider, moon spider..."
Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:49 AM
Ive been thinking about having this post for a while now but I came home late with two 7-11 dogs and a pint of vodka and Taxi Driver was just getting started on the tube. So yea, research time. Lets talk about crime films. And lets stay in the 70s (unless you can nail a reason to go elsewhere). I'm looking for a movie that mimics the look and the overall feel of the script Ken wrote. Its cold. Its hard men. With regards to color, IClone now has a tool called Look Up Tables (LUTS) that basically substitutes existing colors with different ones. It can be used to emulate particular film stocks or general looks. Its kinda the easy button for getting a certain look. I like it.
A couple of weeks ago I did some research into film color theory and came upon this rather inspiration little short
I wanted to get a rather cold look so with that in mind I went about clearing my characters clothes and sets of anything vivbid (particularly the reds and yellows). Then I was able to desaturate things with a monochome LUT mixed with a cool colors LUT. I like how its coming along. In fact the original poster way back at the beginning of this post went through some color correction to get rid of the existing warmth of the bricks and whatnot. Any who, this is all leading to a discussion of crime/heist films. Lets pull out the list of the big ones:
Dog Day Afternoon - Color wise this is cold but he criminals are too dumb. And its too much about social values and change. Not my target.
Serpico - The color scheme is largely muted but the vibe is 1960s all the way. I never liked this one truth be told.
French Connection - Outside of Santa Clause this is without color. The camera is very animated and alive. Things flow with a lot of improvisation. Yea, this is is what Im looking for
Bullit - Very stoic and grey. Meant to show the main characters lack of emotion. Yea, we can use this. Still, San Fran is a different vibe than NYC
Taxi Driver - Scorsese loves color. This film is Hell filled with burnt orange and reds from every neon surface of 1975 NYC. Very emotional, very insane. Not what I'm going for but file this one away for later.
Godfather - Thematically its all about family and color wise its all about hose deep blacks and whites... Great movie but nah
Friends of Eddie Coyle - This is not as well known as the others on this list. That said, after a recent watch, it nails both the look and theme Im gunning for. Its worth watching with a run down Robert Mitchum (my faves) and a super creepy Peter Boyle and a story that aces but incoherant in that 70s artsy meets realist vibe. The violence is realistic, the capers are well thought out. Love Love Love this. If you havent seen it its worth a 2.99 rental.
Ok so Ive had the google IMG search for friends of Eddie Coyle open for many weeks now. You can see what I mean here. The only reds that show up exist on the dvd/vhs covers...
So what films might you think I need to check out in my research? (ps I rented the Yakuza starring Robert Mitchum following frinds of Eddie Coyle cause Mitchum was a badass)
Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:05 AM
When I read the script, I imagined a bleached out environment, some green and yellow, but faded enough to not stand out too much. Sickly in tone. It's uncomfortable and uneasy.The one in the fourth row in the middle is the perfect image.
Moderator, Blender User, iClone filmmaker, and overall OCD guy at set dressing.
Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:42 AM
I'm back from Vacation and full on working! Voice overs are being reviewed and edited as needed. Honestly this is the part where I really start to get excited when the voices come alive and the characters reveal themselves through the voice actors. I love being surprised by someones performance and honestly it manages to create a real collaboration of process (at least in my mind).
I'm not a great VA but I try to support folks that I respect and I remember a certain situation. I remember long ago Garyoke decided to make a zombie series and it was plenty excellent. He asked me to be a nasty serial killer type and I was super hype for the role and decided to give him input on how I thought my character would talk and respond to the situations in the script. Gary always gave me the ok and I really enjoyed the collaboration within the project. I wish Gary had managed to push it the end but alas....still it was a lot more fun being invested in the project and being able to chat up a fellow director in the process. This is all to say that when you play a part there might (not always) be an opportunity for a real collaboration with the character. Most of us directors don't mind a bit of input from folks.
PS - totally agree with you Ben....
PPS - Ken I was looking for some 70s Crime movie recs from you....
Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:10 AM
PPS - Ken I was looking for some 70s Crime movie recs from you....
Yeah, yeah, yeah - after I saw your post, was rewatching some faves.... In no particular order....
The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three - the original, not the awful Denzel/Travolta remake...Robert Shaw vs. Walter Matthau as Shaw and company hijack a NYC subway train for a 1 million dollar payoff. Also has one of the best crime film soundtracks by David Shine.
And speaking of Matthau...
Charley Varrick - A bank robbery goes bad when they hit a bank holding a large quantity of Mafia money. Features probably my favorite Joe Don Baker performance as a hitman named Molly.
Blue Collar - Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver, directs Richard Prior, Yaphett Kotto and Harvey Keitel as three union guys who decide to rob the safe at the union office. Pretty grim film. Has an great blues soundtrack with a vocal by Captain Beefheart on the title track.
Straight Time - Unlike Jerry Jenko, Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) is a career robber who gets out of prison and tries to go straight. Things don't work out. Also has Gary (and Jake!) Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, and M. Emmett Walsh.
The Getaway - I'm a Peckinpah fan and Steve McQueen is very good in this bank robbery/aftermath story (Ali MacGraw not so much) Has some Peckinpah regulars like Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor and Bo Hopkins as well. And honestly, seeing Al Lettieri abuse Sally Struthers made me happy after one too many of her Save The Children commercials...Skip the Alex Baldwin/Kim Bassinger remake - it's not THAT terrible, but after the original, it's pretty pointless.
Thief - Okay, it's 1981, but it's worth stretching the decade....probably one of Michael Mann's best films and James Caan's best leading role as a hard professional thief who's looking for a last big score before he gets out of the business. As is so often the case, things don't quite work out. Robert Prosky, usually an avuncular presence, is damn scary in this one.
Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:24 PM
Watched Charley Varick last night. Not quite as stylish as others (at times it looked like a 70s tv show) but a great plot and Joe Don is wonderful. Pretty weird seeing Mathau and Joe Don Baker as the sexy male characters (or at least the characters having weird hookups with attractive women). And speaking of which, Cinema's sexual identity of women in 1973 was pretty odd. There were hookers and photographers and professional business women and wives and they all seemed to enjoy getting beat about before getting it on. Anywho, good recommendation Ken. Very enjoyable movie. Straight Time and Blue Collar are on my list of movies to see real soon. Also got Prime Cut and The Outfit on my list. Figure I will see all of these before episode one gets finished.
Speaking of episode 1, here's a little screeny from episode 1. Jenko and Price say hello.
This is a pretty simple scene with just two characters sitting and talking for about 30 secs. Took me about 4 days to set it up and shoot with all the models and characters already made. My next interior scene is going to be a lot more complex with a lot of things going on in the background so Im trying to plan things out a bit. The scene is another conversation between two people but it takes place in a restaurant with lots of folks moving about eating and drinking. The entire scene will likely be about a minute and a half long so my initial thought was to turn the project into three short projects which will be easier to render (The rendering of the 30 second scene from the screeny took about 45 minutes and really heated up my machine so I imagine adding more people to the scene will likely be difficult.). However with lots of moving parts this will be difficult to do. Gunna have to bettter plan my shots to decide wha and who will be necessary for each shot...
Posted 17 September 2017 - 11:50 PM
Here's a little shot I spent the weekend working on. Just a tiny clip of dinner at Eddies. Got a rib-eye on the bone, some bronzini some bourbon glazed salmon and a soup and salad combo. All the food and drink props are from the 3d warehouse. Bon Appetite!
Posted 04 October 2017 - 03:09 AM
I watched The Outfit a week ago. Pretty awesome 70s crime movie starring Robert Duval and Joe Don Baker. Its inspired by a Richard Stark book of the same name but having read the book (and the wonderful Darwyn Cooke graphic novel - Super!) this is a pretty loose adaptation. Still Duval and Joe Don kick ass and take names with a fury. This one ranks high in my 70s crime movie cannon. Check it out if you find it playing or can afford the amazon rental. Good stuff.
In other news this project is taking a good bit more time than anticipated. Its still moving forward and Im about 90% done with episode 1 but Im not so sure I want to wait to finish all 3 or 4 episodes before I release any of the parts as that may be a while. Also deep in the music hunt at the moment. In the past I've used Incomptech for just about every feature and project I've worked on. However, I couldn't find anything that got me going this time. I was originally looking for some Jazz but Ive found some jazzy trip hop kind of stuff that I like over at Jamendo. Unfortunately it costs dough for a personal license but seeing as its a non commercial project its pretty affordable at less than ten buck a song. The Free Music Archive also has a boatload of material but Ive spent a lot of time there in the last 24 hours and nothing has really jumped out at me. More news as it happens?
Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:52 AM
I do believe I pretty much finished Part 1 last weekend. When to release it? Not sure yet. Still thinking about but I got time so Ill sit on it for now.
And speaking of now I'm busy blocking the scenes for part 2. Got another conversation in Prices apartment but I wanted to mix it up so I moved the boys to the other end of the room. Heres a quick screenie for you...
Posted 27 October 2017 - 01:50 AM
Some days you sit down and load up a set and some characters and block out the movements and add in the voice overs and feel really good about your progress. Other days you load up a project and fiddle around and fiddle around and then reload the project because nothing you did was any good and you fiddle around some more and then reload the project yet again and then in the end you finally find a camera angle that works for you and you realize you spent 60 minutes just getting a 1 camera movement change that you like. Tonight was the second one of those. Sigh. Im going to go play some farcry primal. Ever forward.
Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:17 AM
Haven't posted here in a bit but things are inching forward. I used the Thanksgiving break to animate and render a 1:40 segment of dialog shown above in the bedroom. Really getting down to the brass tacks of animating a scene takes some inspiration but I'm kinda hoping to have episode 2 wrapped up in the next month or two.
In case anyone was curious, my current process of getting a scene complete looks like this:
So ya, steps one and two largely happened many moons ago. Steps 3-8 are the grind I'm stuck in right now. I look forward to steps 9-10. More news as it happens.
Posted 25 March 2018 - 04:25 AM
I know its been ages but alas, I'm still moving forward with this project. In fact, the last month or so has been some of the most productive in quite a while. I started working on a rather long scene, 4+ minutes of dialog in a coffee house.. Spent quite a bit of time animating it and getting the cameras (and the camera switcher or the basic edit) in the bag. Once that was complete I spent a day rendering the scene in four parts over about 6 hours. The machine was running hot that day! Then I found myself completing and rendering many other scenes that were mostly done but not quite and had been sitting around for a while. As a result I likely rendered out about 7 minutes of material over the last week (a march snow day helped quite a bit). So now I figure I will be able to complete part 2 of this project some time in April perhaps? And since part 2 is likely to combine parts 2 and 3 of the written script, that will only leave part 4. Unfortunately part 4 is probably the most difficult. To this point most of the scenes have been dialog. Part 4 is where the action is.
Little Dave (Macwyms)
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