5, 2000 - SAGging spirits
a guy who I really liked for the role of Rob. His name was
Todd Brendan Poudrier. He's the rub: he JUST became a SAG
actor. (A union actor.) He had done a bunch of independent
films and he was very enthuisatic about this project. I told
him I wasn't sure I could use a SAG actor. Called the local
SAG office and explained what I wanted to do. They asked what
my budget was and when I'd be shooting. I told them my budget
is basically ten grand and I wouldn't be paying ANYONE, just
that I would be giving a percentage back to the people who
participated IF I did managed to sell it. I was told I fit
under the "experimental" category. (Anything under $70,000)
Here's what I've learned and would need as an experimental
Script has got to be copywritten and proof in their hands
that it is at least in the process of being copywritten.
(costs like $90 for someone in Washington to personally
deliver the script and get a receipt
I need to have workers comp for the SAG actors in the production.
They gave me a number of an insurance company that has dealt
with this in the past. Not sure what this would cost...I'm
pretty sure I wouldn't have a problem with that.
One stipulation was that I HAD to feed my actors, pay for
travel expenses and if I went over 12 hours in one day,
I HAD to pay them something.
They also needed $1000 (from me) put into an escrow account
until the end of shooting to basically assure that I will
complete all paperwork that is required by SAG.
explained that even though my budget was $10,000, I had already
spent most of it on the necessary equipment and film. The
remaining money I had at the time (about $2,000) WAS for food
and travel expenses. I then pointed out that it was very ironic
that if I gave SAG their money (a TENTH of my budget), I'd
had LESS cash to FEED MY ACTORS and pay TRAVEL EXPENSES! They
didn't want to hear that. I HAD to come up with their money
or no dice.
inquired, what if I were shooting something on video in my
backyard with a SAG actor on an experimental basis, and my
entire budget was $1,000? (basically food and video costs
for a weekend.) Would I have to give my entire budget to SAG,
then find SOME MORE MONEY? Yes. Of course they'd give it back
(unless I violated some SAG terms), but what good is food
money AFTER you've finished shooting?
a guess what my view is of SAG at this point.
SAG actors. (Unless they WANT to violate their terms with
the union.) I felt bad telling Todd Brendan Poudrier that
I couldn't use him. The guy even offered to come up with $500
of his OWN CASH to be put into the escrow account to be held
by SAG. I even mentioned this to SAG. So what. I had to come
up with the money.
have to agree with SAG that there ARE asshole producers out
there and would use their actors and never send the checks.
I suppose it had to lead up to this. When I mentioned that
I was going to give points back to my actors (i.e. investors),
SAG didn't care about that. I was told that a SAG actor should
be considered an employee, and they should be paid BEFORE
thank God I'm not dealing with the Teamsters and who knows
what other palms that extend to you (looking for money) when
you announce you're making a "real" movie. You wonder how
come movies are so expensive to make, but after dealing with
this one aspect of production, I can see why.
January 20, 2000 - Version 4.0 (final version) of script
the name "Chip" for his character. I really liked who I found
for Amanda (Juliet Bowler)
and Irene (Lauren Verge.)
I thought these two characters would play off of each other
really well, and felt that I could see more of them onscreen.
Added a whole sequence where Irene pushes a bunch of demands
on Amanda, while she shows her disdain for Irene. Later, Irene
critizes the gift Amanda bought for the big final meeting
with Mr. Williamson. This leads up to the big switch.)
2, 2000 - Bought Sennheiser MKH-50 mic
was a splurge. (Sort of.) I have a bunch of shot gun microphones
at my disposal for video work and I could've used them on
this project. I had previously owned one good studio mic,
and AKG C414 which I had used to voice over work, but I had
sold it to Productive Media for $500.
the film world, there is basically ONE microphone you use
on location if you want the best audio. It's called a Schoeps
microphone and it costs about two grand. Since I wanted to
own only one good mic, I was hoping I could find a deal on
the Schoeps. (Boy, my film buddies would be impressed if I
only had one of THESE microphones.)
done some research through Dejanews.com on the rec.movies.sound.production
newsgroup. This is a place where a lot of film industry pros
chat amoungst themselves and ask questions to one another.
The OTHER super-duper mic in the audio film world is the Sennheiser
MKH-50. B&H Photo and Video in New York sells these for about
a grand. Well, I scrapped up another $500, added it to my
$500 I got for my old mic and went nuts! Got it, plugged it
into my DAT, tried it out. Damn does it sound really clear
and nice! Everyone says that low budget movies usually suffer
from poor sound. Not if I can help it! Since I can use it
for my video biz, it's another tax write-off.
I should put a rant here about starting your own biz just
to have the advantage of writing all of your equipment off.
If you suffer from technolust like I do, it's a must.)
6, 2000 - Full cast rehearsal.
most of the cast together today for a full-blown read through
of the script. This was the first day I got everyone together,
and they seemed to hit it off really well! Took a round of
pictures with the new digital Nikon Coolpix camera. I'm hoping
this puppy comes in handy for production and continuity stills.
(Technically I'm saving money over the long haul by taking
quick, digital stills vs. Polaroids. What's more, I can post
everything on the website the next day.)
got Dan Bridges to participate
in the production. I met him back in my Norwood
cable days. (Circa 1984.) Dan is the perfect producer
for a project like this. He is outgoing to the point of annoyance,
fanatical about details and scheduling, and basically won't
take no for an answer if he's trying to "sell" something to
you. It's taken me about a year to get a fire under his ass,
but once he saw who I have participating in this project,
he got completely worked up. I'm hoping after we finish post-production
and are in pursuit of distribution, I can insert him into
that network of buyers like a virus and have him do his magic.
got a bunch of laughs in some spots where I wasn't expecting
such a strong reaction. Some of the subtle things the performers
were adding were just great. I was genuinely blown away by
the enthusiasm that everyone had for the project. Dick Dahl,
a freelance writer for the Boston Globe was there also. He
was trying to pitch a story idea to the Globe Magazine on
the ins and outs of an indie production. He mentioned that
he liked the film "Living in Oblivion," an indie film about
the film-making process where EVERYTHING goes wrong. Funny
as hell movie...God I hope he's not waiting for an catastrophe.
such a good idea to do this reading, because once we start
shooting, most scenes will be done out of sequence, and it
will be harder for anyone to get a sense of what this thing
is about. It felt good seeing everyone's reaction. Maybe I
have something here. Then again...maybe not.
images from the full cast rehearsal. Click to see larger image.