Bought some short
ends (film left over from someone elses previous production)
and used some of the film that came with my camera and shot
some tests with Johnny. I wasn't too sure what film speed I
was going to use for this production, so I ended up buying an
assortment. (100 asa, 200 asa, 320 asa and Fuji 125 asa.) I
heard Fuji film looks different from Kodak, so I wanted to see
what's up with that. I also wanted to avoid having this project
look too grainy. I've used 100 and 200 speed 35mm still film
with John McLeod when we've taken photos in the past of stupid
crap. (Check out the Inane
Photos & Fatuous
Photos pages for examples.)
100 speed film is
generally used outdoors, and I wasn't too keen on having to
light the living hell out of a set, just to get a basic picture.
I had some 100 asa 16mm film, so I tried that out first. I put
Johnny on my couch, gave him my dog, Mei-Li,
and put 2,000 watts of light on him. The light meter said I
had to shoot wide open, and I did. Also shot the rest in film
speeds in the same location.
Got the film back
from Cinepost. (A place in Atlanta that process super 16mm film
and transfers it to video.) Shit. Most of the film had deep
scratches in it. (Very obvious onscreen.) Apparently the film
magazines that hold the film were the cause. I got 6 different
backs from the guy in New York. Two of them weren't used at
all and they cosmetically looked the best. I thought, "Well,
the look like they're newer, they must be better!" Shot most
of my tests with them. Apparently they weren't used very often
for a reason. They scratch the hell out of film! I wonder if
the guy who I bought my camera from KNEW that, but just didn't
bother to tell me about it. The scratches were different on
each roll, and the magazine back that LOOKED the worst (most
worn on the outside), didn't scratch at all.
Here's what I've
noticed about the film stocks: 100 asa and 200 asa film looks
basically the same. (Grain-wise, once it's transferred to video.)
The 320 asa might've been grainer, but it wasn't that noticeable.
(I was surprised, maybe you'd see it more if it was projected...I
dunno.) The fact that 320 asa film gives you two more f stops
on the aperture is a great thing. I had 2,000 watts of light
on my test subject and my aperture was all the way open. I couldn't
let in any more light if I wanted to. It certainly wasn't dark,
the brightness of the image on the 100 and 200 was fine. Now
the Fuji film didn't look all that much different from the Kodak.
I've sort've seen the difference between Fuji and Kodak on still
35mm film, but it wasn't something that was drastic. Barely
subtle. (I'm sure professional cinematographers will argue this
point, but who's gonna get anal about a cheapy production like
Well wadda ya know!
This ad appeared in rec.arts.movie.production on October 13,
Subject: FS: 20 Pristine 400' Rolls of 16mm Kodak 7277
Hi all, I have 20 400' rolls of 16mm 7277 film. It was acquired
a few months ago directly from Kodak in Hollywood for a project
which never materialized. It has been stored in a refrigerator
since day one and is in perfect condition. The value of the
film is approximately $2000. If interested, please e-mail
me with your best offer.
7277 film was the
same 320 asa film that I had done my tests on! According to
Kodak's website, they charge about $135 a 400' roll for this
stuff. By my calculation the value of the film is actually $2700!
I e-mailed this guy
back and offered him $1000 immediately. He wrote back that others
had offered that amount, and that the next person who raised
it to $1250 will get it. I did that night and bingo! Got it.
Now THIS is what I call a savings! I talked to the guy and he
said that he was supposed to have shot a documentary with it,
but the project fell through, and as compensation, the client
told him to keep the film. He wasn't going to use it anytime
soon, so he wanted to unload it and get something for his time.
A couple of people
said that they'd never do such a thing, the film could be fogged,
or old...or blah blah. The guy was really twitchy about sending
it next day or second day because he wants to make sure it's
FRESH as possible. He had good references on E-bay, so screw
it, I went for it. Yea...if my precious job were on the line
at some anal-retentive company I'd never do such a thing; but
since it's my project, fuck it, I can roll the dice anytime
I feel like and save some serious money.
The film came a couple
of days later and looked fine. I guess we'll see when I shoot
At this point, I've
recruited all my actor-able friends into this project. I'm still
short a couple of roles, and more importantly...I need women!
Stuck this ad onto www.newenglandfilm.com:
(Mostly) female actors and (some) help needed for a comedy
film called "alt.sex". Boy TRIES to meet girl on the internet
story, battles hackers along the way. (How'z that for a one
sentence summary?) :-) Check out http://www.biksco.com/alt.sex/
for the whole lurid story about the up coming production.
When it was posted,
they "corrected" some of my grammar. Brother. (Did i.e. Cummings
have to deal with this sort of thing?) Notice: I'm quite aware
of my writing "style," if you're offended by it, THEN STOP READING
FACHRISSAKES! It's almost like there's a politically correct
spelling and grammar patrol out there. How DARE you be different
from the rest of us. There's RULES to grammar! Now STAY IN LINE!
Started getting swamped
with e-mails every night for the first few weeks. I think this
ad generated about 100 responses. I was surprised that I could
generate so much interest in a no-budget production! I had put
a detailed outline of the story online, a scene-by-scene breakdown
of what is going to happen within this film. You can see the
original web page here.
I knew that I would
be dealing with the people I chose primarily through e-mail.
Second, I was looking for someone who appeared to "get it."
Also...I was looking for someone who sounded intelligent and
interesting. Someone who would be cool to hang out with on the
set while this thing drags on. I figured that this would be
obvious through a few exchanges via e-mail. I was right. After
someone had done the initial contact ("Where do I sign
up for an audition?", etc.), I'd send them this reply:
START Form letter 1 =============
Thanks for checkin'
out my web site and getting back to me. I apologize for the
form letter, but I'm getting swamped with requests for the
few remaining parts. Let me reiterate the parts that I need
filled: (Go to http://www.biksco.com/alt.sex/ for detailed
Darleen and Debby. I'm really focusing on finding my Irene
at this moment. The person who will play Irene really needs
to have the desire to play a villainess. I'm hoping to use
my runner-up Irene candidate to play Darleen. (Sorta the over-the-top
version of Irene.)
MALE: Rob and
Tariq. Rob needs to be a tall, good looking guy. Tariq needs
to be either Black or Indian descent who can do an over-the-top
accent. THE DIRECTIONS ON WHAT TO DO. (Note: you'd be amazed
at how many people couldn't seem to follow these.)
1. Pick a character
you think you'd like to play.
2. Send a head
shot or a photo to: Eric Bickernicks, ** ADDRESS REMOVED **
OR...just send a .JPG, .BMP or .GIF file of yourself to this
e-mail address. WHY? Even though this isn't a "real" paying
acting gig, and I'm not looking for professional SAG actors,
I'm looking for someone who at least has a real desire to
get into acting, and took the first step by getting a head
shot done. I've had the desire to become a writer/director,
thus, as I've put my money where my (brain?) is, I'm hoping
you've done the same.
3. Read the story
4. Tell me what
you think of the story and concept. (Likes? Dislikes? Suggestions?)
I hate to make this sound like a 5th grade writing assignment,
but I'm looking for the kid in the back of the classroom who
always leapt up, waved his/her arms and shouted "PICK ME!
5. Tell me something
The final director
rant: I really could care less on what experience you have.
Please do not send resumes...they're boring, I personally
hate them. I also want to avoid doing many auditions. There
is no way I'm going to parade a bunch of people through my
office just to inflate my ego. I'm looking for people who
WANT to do this project and have a sense of dedication to
something they believe in. Also...I betchya don't know what
the most important set of directions are up above. ;-)
END Form letter 1 ==============
You wouldn't believe
what sort of responses I got. A couple of "I know this person,
you should contact them." to "Never acted before, don't
have a head shot, where can I audition?" I also was soliciting
feedback from the people who read the over-view. One guy in
particular thought that the story WASN'T funny, but that I should
use him anyways because he'll do whatever I tell him to do.
Another woman (a very pretty model), sent her head shot but
never told me anything about herself, the story, nor did she
even ATTEMPT at coming up with something inane. When I didn't
respond, she eventually sent another e-mail asking why I never
got back to her, then she pointed out that she was a model and
had VERY NICE CLOTHES. [Sound of me slapping my forehead here.]
And guess what the
most important question WAS in the questionnaire? NUMBER 4.
It's amazing what you can learn just from asking someone to
say something stupid. Some people just can't do it! It seems
that anyone with intelligence and a sense of humor can pull
a dry comment out of their ass on command. How is one supposed
to participate in a COMEDY when they can't even think of something....inane!
Let alone having all night to think of one, THEN e-mailing it
to me the next day? This was just amazing to me.
I guess I'm stealing
this from the Monkees audition. The producers of that show (when
they were auditioning) basically asked people to come in, then
played with their heads until they got a reaction. ANY reaction
that wasn't the same ol' response got noticed. A few people
immediately stuck out from all the others. (Most people just
went, "But WHERE is the audition?") Only a few of them figured
out that the e-mailing back and forth WAS the audition!