Production Has Begun

The opening shot of “Isn’t It Romantic?”

Although our first shooting day with the full crew is not until Saturday, October 13, production on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  technically began tonight when my director of photography and I took a trip to our movie theater location, the beautiful Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut, to get the opening shots.  The head of maintenance at the theater graciously dressed the marquee for us to display the title of Danny Kresky’s latest film along with my fictional counterpart’s name.  It was a cool but clear night and it went off without a hitch.  We got terrific shots of the marquee from several angles.  It will be a nice way to start the film.

I experienced a true thrill when we pulled up in front of the theater and I got a look at the marquee.  Throughout pre-production, although the majority of my attention was focused on the film, it still felt abstract.  It was all planning and as busy as I was, I never truly registered exactly what was happening.  Tonight, as I stood behind the camera, looking at the shot on the monitor, it all sunk in.  It was actually happening.  I was there capturing the first ever images for my first ever film.

Kind of a surreal moment.  How does one describe the feeling of finally experiencing a long time dream?  I was a bit overwhelmed and I wished my still photographer had been there to record the moment, at least for me.  But, no matter.  The sight of that gorgeous marquee lit up against the night sky displaying an image that I had created and placed on paper is permanently burned into my mind’s eye.

This is not only the first film I am directing, it is also the first of my screenplays to be produced and it will be my film acting debut.  As a writer, I got a charge out of seeing a scene in front of me that previously had only existed in my imagination.  It was different.  Much better than I initially saw it.  The theater I envisioned when I wrote the script was just that: a theater.  I ended up shooting it at a movie palace.  Very nice upgrade.

Saturday will take things to the next level.  We are shooting the longest and most complex scene of the film and I will have my actors and my crew to direct as well as my role to play.  A challenge to be sure, but one I eagerly await.  No matter what I accomplish in my filmmaking career, this first one will always be special.  I want to remember this thrill, the childlike feeling of a new and exciting experience and let it carry me in all my future work.

I’m not dreaming.  I’m really making a movie.

Advertisements

Our Other Location

Warner Theater

The beautiful and historic Warner Theater in Torrington, CT, the location for the opening scene of “Isn’t It Romantic?”

 

The photo above is an approximation of the opening shot of the short film I am shooting, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  The marquee displays the title of the fictitious film written and directed by the protagonist, Danny Kresky.  (For the record, SOUL MATE is the title of a feature screenplay of mine, a romantic comedy that has been generating some interest.  It was a contest finalist and one way or the other, it will be on the screen some day.)

The opening scene of our comedy short takes place at a movie theater.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was not able to get in touch with anyone at the theater two blocks from my house, or receive any help from the local film commission.  I was very fortunate.  That theater is a nice little venue, but look at that photo.  The Warner is gorgeous!

Built in the 30’s by Warner Brothers, and restored decades later, it is seriously one of the nicest theaters in the entire Northeast.  My co-writer, my director of photography and I took a tour of the incredible facility yesterday.  The scene is very brief and takes place in the lobby.  We were very tempted to rewrite it and include the auditorium.

The Warner has a number of programs to promote and support local performing artists.  Stage shows, concerts and programs for children are regularly held.  They were very receptive to allowing us to shoot there and are letting us do it for free.  That’s the kind of support independent filmmakers need to create original and entertaining movies.  The executive director was incredibly generous.  They are going to set up the marquee for us.  (It was photoshopped in the picture above)  They are also going to provide us with some extras for the background of the scene, and a place for the actors to rest and for us to set up our craft service tables.

We were so deeply moved by this show of generosity.  I feel as though our production has been blessed.  Things are going so well.  We have two truly beautiful locations that will add greatly to the production value.  I’ve got a great cast and crew.  An entire team working hard and dedicated to making a great film.

This whole venture is succeeding beyond anything I could have imagined.  The heat is on.  All the elements are in place.  No excuses.  I’ve got to guide this team and bring it home.  Luckily for me, I thrive under pressure.

Did anyone notice my absence?

I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  That has most likely gone unnoticed, and in fact, there’s a very good chance no one is reading this now.  But, on the off chance that some poor soul who reached an extreme state of boredom was looking for a post from me, I apologize.  Directing a movie is quite a task.  Particularly on a micro budget, when you have to do multiple jobs.  I just have not had the time.

We shoot in less than six weeks.  Things have been going amazingly well.  But for every element that slides neatly into place, there seem to be three others that still need to located.  It’s like climbing a mountain and every time you get to the top, it grows another hundred feet.

I’ll catch you up quickly in this post.  I’ve got a production meeting in a few hours.  I’ll try to get a more entertaining post up later.  (I know.  The movie stuff is boring.  You want details of my issues and how I’m dealing with them.)

We’ve got our crowd funding campaign up on IndieGoGo. www.indiegogo.com/Isnt-It-Romantic?  We’ve gotten three donations so far, which is not a bad start considering we launched over Labor Day weekend.  I placed an ad on Facebook for our fan page and we’re picking up some likes.

This Saturday, we are shooting a short promotional video for IndieGoGo and we will probably put it on YouTube.  Sunday is auditions at a rented studio in the Theater District.  Pretty cool, huh?  We placed an online ad on BackStage and we have gotten submissions from some really good actors who are willing to work free.  We’re going to have a good cast.  That’s essential.

I’m working on organizing our meetings better.  We’ve got so much to do in so little time.  We actually need to be better organized and prepared than a studio production.  We don’t have the resources or manpower to do reshoots or fix problems that a big production would, so everything has to be in place.

We’ve also found a movie theater for our opening scene.  There’s a theater two blocks from my house that has a classic Art Deco movie house look.  We are not using that one.  The town I live in has a film commission, but they are only interested when Hollywood comes calling.  They are terrible about returning phone calls and emails.  I tried to contact the movie theater directly.  Same problem.  I will NEVER shoot a frame of anything in this town.  In fact, my goal is to someday shoot a feature with one scene in every town that borders on the one in which I currently live.

As I said, we do have a theater.  I sent an email to the executive director of the Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut, a beautiful and historic building.  He answered in half an hour, said it was doable, let’s talk.  Now, there’s support for local independent filmmakers!

Now, on to the other million things I need to do.  Better posts coming.  I promise.