Day Two – It’s All in the Details

I had a fitful night of sleep last night; my brain was consumed with images of Los Angeles, and wondering how on earth I would be able to pull off my urban gothic vision for $5k? Am I delusional? Do I have a fever?

And then, I realized… it’s all in the details.

Episode One is two exteriors; however, they are in the day. There is some VFX involved, but I believe that under-cranking can readily take care of that.

Episode Three is three-four interiors and one exterior. The exterior is in the day.

It was Episode Two that had me stymied. It’s the most ambitious of the three – and most of it takes place at night. There lies the rub. Night shoots are not cheap, even with digital. I also had this vision of these sweeping shots of L.A. at night, from above and below, a Gotham  like look at Hollywood. Most of it occurring in alleys and streets; definitely not a running and gunning type of setup.

I was worried, truly worried. I am striving for high quality at low-cost. Like everyone else, I want for my work to excel.

Then, I realized that I could move most of Episode Two indoors. Two – three brief night exteriors. Perhaps fill in with great stock footage of L.A. at night… and keep the majority of the story inside. By doing so, I can lower the cost of the episode. I then realized that this choice also opened up a door within the story that was a little stuck. It solved a problem. It’s making the story better. More layered. More conflicted… and more tragic.

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I’ve added the option for digital downloads of “They Live Among Us” for my Kickstarter supporters; green is always better. I’ve also had a request for a one-page of the series from one of my contributors. How silly of me to not have created that. So, I’ll tweak Episode 2 to move it inside, and get to work on my one-sheet.

In the meantime, I’m meeting with some D.P.’s and looking for a designer for the logo/title. I know what I want… I’m just not as crafty with Photoshop as I am with Final Draft.

To all of you following this adventure, thank you for your support. If you wish, please contribute to my Kickstarter Campaign. Twenty-eight days to secure funding! I’m certain that they will go by in a flash.

My next few posts will be about the creation of the script. We’ll start with Episode One – “Beth.”

The Journey Begins

“It’s a place where they’ve taken the desert and turned it into their dreams. I’ve seen a lot of L.A. and I think it’s also a place of secrets: secret houses, secret lives, secret pleasures…”  L.A. Story

And, I might add, secret fears.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a a firm seeking short animated scripts. They wanted to know if I had anything available. I dusted off a little piece that was lying around and, on inspection, thought that it might serve their needs.

Of course, it did not – their projects are more politically-driven, and my short revolved around a young man who encounters a crazed beauty in a park.

At the same time, I was in the middle of production training, surrounded by an amazing group of women. We supported each other, we cheered one another on. It was most delicious. Writing is a very solitary craft; I was feeling very isolated.

You don’t get into the creative arts with a brain that is perfectly wired; we’re all a little out there… and with the outsider mentality can come abject loneliness. Add in a spoonful of insecurity, for they say you are only as good as your last project, and we find ourselves running marathons through this town, our hearts laden with the fear that someone will find us out.

What we don’t always realize, is that we all feel this way.

At the same time, I was struggling with my creative identity. I felt castrated as an artist. And then, I had a dream… I saw a fallen angel, and I realized he was in love with a prostitute.

I sought out my angel… and ended up in DTLA, walking through Skid Row.

I came home. I mulled this over. On my left, was Shakespeare. On my right were two scripts of mine, a short titled BOY MEETS GIRL, and a feature, titled LET’S DO LUNCH.

I thought. A lot. I wanted to tell snapshot stories of the lives of outsiders… and realized that the ultimate outsider is a supernatural being. And so, I typed FADE IN. Three days later, I had episodes 1-3 of THEY LIVE AMONG US.

This morning, I began my Kickstarter campaign, in order to raise funds for my project, which I hope to have completed by the end of the year. I’ll blog about the campaign, about the individual episodes (there are three this far, with a couple hanging out there if the first three go well), and, of course, about the micro-budget production process from concept to completion.

It’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker; we’re so much more empowered than in years past. I’m looking forward to sharing my adventure with you!