A blog about movies and filmmaking.

The Making of FREEBIE LIST

In filmmaking, media on February 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. As you’ve no doubt noticed I haven’t gotten to watch (or at least write about them) too many movies over this time of putting together my first short. So, in lieu of any kind of review, I decided to write up a post on what this experience has been like – so far.

Journey below to find out how a first time filmmaker has lucked out, screwed the pooch, and gotten some photos along the way. Oh, and a last chance opportunity to not only help fund the movie, but be rewarded for it, with material goods.

First of all, here’s the major lesson learned, if you want to make a movie; Don’t try to do it all yourself!! Even though, sometimes the only person who seems to be vested in your idea is you, it really helps to have some other people around to help. Namely, would be someone to take off some of the pressures around the more admin side of things. Like a PRODUCER.

At the moment, I don’t.

Robert Dunne looking sexy

And while there’s the eternal joke/question, “what does a Producer do?” I’ve quickly found out, that while it may not be a shiny or flashy job, it’s definitely necessary. So, that’s lesson number one learned. On the other hand, going through this process, has certainly allowed me to see what all needs to happen and go on before you can even actually film something. From corralling talent and crew; to acquiring permits and insurance, and renting equipment and trying to borrow equipment (or crew, or talent); communicating with everyone so they know what’s happening.

It’s A LOT!

Secondly, actually almost importantly, is finding money. Yes, there are people that save up and spend their own money. There are people that are fortunate enough to have friends that loan them money. And there might even be people that are able to find random folks on the street – or the internet – that will give lots of money to them. As you’ve probably seen, I ran a fund-raising campaign on INDIEGOGO, which managed to raise 1/5 of the projected goal. And while, I’m eternally grateful for the people that contributed; that shared the link; or even just read my script and said, “that sounds fun”; when trying to make an actual movie, where people need money to live and taking time away from potentially paying jobs – people just need to get paid. And even if you get lucky enough to have a crew/cast willing to work for free, there’s still tons of other things that you WILL have to spend money on. (Food, print material, set decoration, lights, on and on.)

MACHINE GUN MEDUSA Screening Ticket

So, along those lines; one of the rewards for my IndieGoGo campaign was a movie ticket for the film within FREEBIE LIST – called MACHINE GUN MEDUSA. It’s a screening ticket, made just like the ones actually given out at Hollywood Premieres (which I’ve collected a number of, in my time in LA), and features our “B-Movie goddess” Michelle Tomlinson (THE CELLAR DOOR, BRAIN DEAD). I think it looks pretty sweet, and will make a great keepsake.

So, that’s why I’ve decided – in the last few days leading up to the filming of FREEBIE LIST – to run one last attempt at getting a couple bucks. So linked both at the film’s site and well, right here, I’ve created a Paypal Donate button. Anything is welcome and much appreciated, but if you donate $5 or more, you too will receive one of these tickets. Pretty good price, I think, for something one of a kind – and just imagine if someday there ever is an actual movie called MACHINE GUN MEDUSA!

So check out the image, and see if you think it might be worth a few bucks to help out a group of filmmakers make something.

I bet you thought I was done talking, huh? Not so fast. I have not yet, begun to talk about how rejuvenating, exhilarating and utterly tiring, this process has been. Part of that fun is having gathered the few members of crew that I have surrounding me. As both my Art Department – and in a small role in the film – David Nicholson, has quickly become a very good friend and resource. He along with his partner, Timberly Matonic (who I worked with at Whole Foods Market in Pittsburgh, forever ago; and also modeled for my Medusa. Which I sadly had to mostly not use. Though it’s still her face under there. See the image at the end for a fuller version of her Medusa.), have been god-send’s in the support, and just being there to back me up. They also introduced me to two of the other most important people I’ve gotten involved with this project.

Candace Higgins, who was almost immortalized on the MACHINE GUN MEDUSA ticket – as twins, nonetheless – will be serving as my Cinematographer. But, honestly, she’s become much more than that. She has helped make me think about almost every facet of this story, the characters and even the themes (man, do I hate talking about themes), all in an effort to make this project as good as it can be. I’d feel lost and helpless without her.

The rest of my crew, so far, are old stand-by’s. Who I’ve worked with a number of times on other productions and a couple people that I haven’t. I appreciate them just signing on, from the Crafty person, to the makeup artist, and on down (or up) the line. And look forward to this weekend, when we actually get to shoot it.

David Nicholson & TImberly Matonic, not Medusa'ed up.

Then there’s the talent.

Robert Dunne (the other main person introduced to me, recently, by David and Timberly; though I just realized I met Michelle through them too.), as my lead, was pretty much dream casting as soon as he walked in the door. His awkward, nerdiness was perfect. (And I mean that with all the love it infers.) Plus, he’s not bad as just a human being either. Jahnna Randall, as my second lead has also perfectly blended into the role I envisioned for her. I honestly don’t know if I psychically wrote these roles specifically for these people or what, but having had a couple of rehearsals with them, I’ve been blown away by how they all just fit.

Fun with actors; Michelle Tomlinson, enjoying the Machine guns

As mentioned, in minor roles I’ll have Mr. Nicholson, but also stepping in for the only other main role is good friend, Noel Baker. All of these guys have volunteered to work on this project that I personally feel is below all of them; but I’m so grateful that they said yes when I asked.

So, we’re only 4 1/2 days until we shoot on this thing. There’s still plenty to do. There’s lots of room for more money to stream in – but the fun of this sort of DIY filmmaking is if the money doesn’t show up, then we’ll still have a movie. It might not be as smooth, or potentially flashy as I’d like. But as much as I want to make this because it’s a fun little story; I want to just go through the experience. To show I can do it, and more importantly; if I can do it under this limited of resources, just imagine what I might be able to do with an extra buck or two (million).

Okay, that’s all I have for now. Please, spread this little (?) post around. It might not be the most insightful of a journey for a first-time filmmaker, but I hope that it might be slightly helpful. At least to show to others that you can make a movie. You just have to push yourself to do it. And luck out with some amazing friends!

Full figure Medusa (aka, Timberly Matonic)

Also, please help us out with a buck or five. It’ll all be evident on the screen when this thing is completed – even if it just goes toward buying us a little better food. A fed crew is a happy crew – and as repeatedly mentioned, you even get a cool gift out of it.

I’ll probably be back within the next week for a recap of the actual shoot – hopefully there’ll be some photos for me to link to. That’s all folks.

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