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View Full Version : Starway Pictures presents "Z U G Z W A N G"



Robert Sanders
03-05-2007, 12:51 PM
http://www.starwaypictures.com/web_pics/Zugzwang_Poster_Web.jpg

* Zugzwang ['tsu:k.tsvan"] is German for "compulsion to move". The term is frequently used in chess, to mean that one player (having the move) has no move that does not worsen their position.

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P R E - P R O D U C T I O N

[] I've always been intrigued by "no win situation" themes and conflicts. To me, the spy genre is the perfect vehicle to explore the psychological situation that occurs when someone is forced to make a move knowing that move will be catastrohpic. To the inner-geek it's the Kobayashi Maru moment. ZUGZWANG's theme will explore this paradox.

[] My challenge is that we have little to no funds for this film. This is de rigeur for most aspiring filmmakers. So I expect little to no sympathy. But after coming off two shows with decent budgets I'm excited to get to basics.

[] Just started writing the screenplay. The film has pretty much been written in my head. I know all the beats. I know the climax. I think I've got all my signature shots figured out. Now, how do I brandish fake firearms in the middle of downtown Los Angeles without permits? Hmmmm. A dilemma.

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P R O D U C T I O N - N O T E S

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B E H I N D - T H E - S C E N E S

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P O S T - P R O D U C T I O N

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Elton
03-05-2007, 01:06 PM
Schwing!! Robert Sanders throws his hat in.

This should definitely be interesting. Keep this thread stocked with cool updates!

Jazz Dog
03-05-2007, 01:06 PM
Very cool. Good to get the creativity flowing online or otherwise....

Kholi
03-05-2007, 01:06 PM
YES!!! A Starway Pictures entry. Awesome.

Robert Sanders
03-05-2007, 01:13 PM
I'm really really excited about doing this. My team, on the other hand, is looking at me like I'm NUTS! LOL!

"You wanna do whaaa...?"

"And you want to call it whaaaa...?"

Brandon Rice
03-05-2007, 01:20 PM
mm.. looking forward to this!

Edgen
03-05-2007, 03:54 PM
Ya, I'd say the name is definitely out there in left center field. But, Hopefully it'll stand out amongst the crowd of films. I love the iconolgy of what the name means and anxious to hear more. Good luck with your film!

/j

bosindy
03-05-2007, 04:14 PM
I love the name, I am really looking forward to this one. The only thing I could think of that could even remotely equal it would have been "Shadenfreuden" - taking delight in others misery. Gotta love the german language. Good luck with the film!

Robert Sanders
03-05-2007, 05:33 PM
Thank bosindy. When I first uncovered the word I thought it was Chinese. When I realized it was German it started to intrigue me. Like "Poltergeist". I'm sure back in the day they got a lot of shit for that title too. Now it's a part of the popular "zeitgeist".

Aaron Marshall
03-06-2007, 12:52 AM
Interesting title Robert. I like it. I also love your avatar. Also, great insight on your blog about HD DVD vs Blu Ray

jeremytuttle
03-06-2007, 04:18 PM
I really like the title too, very unique.

I checked out your website and downloaded Scene 10. Wow, looks great. What did you use to shoot that one if you don't mind me asking? Any adapter used?

I'm definitely looking forward to what you come up for SpyFest.

Herman Witkam
03-06-2007, 04:28 PM
Thank bosindy. When I first uncovered the word I thought it was Chinese. When I realized it was German it started to intrigue me. Like "Poltergeist". I'm sure back in the day they got a lot of shi* for that title too. Now it's a part of the popular "zeitgeist".

Ach so.

Intriguing title indeed.

Norm Sanders
03-06-2007, 05:43 PM
This is the man/team to watch, IMO.

Robert Sanders
03-07-2007, 02:14 PM
I really like the title too, very unique.

I checked out your website and downloaded Scene 10. Wow, looks great. What did you use to shoot that one if you don't mind me asking? Any adapter used?

I'm definitely looking forward to what you come up for SpyFest.

Hopefully I don't alienate myself by admitting that my camera of choice is the Canon H1 with my 20x, 3x, and 16x Manual SD lenses. No 35mm adapters. Although I'm looking for a suitable option. Until then I'll just continue keeping my focal lengths long.

Robert Sanders
03-07-2007, 02:16 PM
This is the man/team to watch, IMO.

Thanks Norm.

There a LOT of talented folks on this board. All of whom's work I respect and admire.

Kholi
03-07-2007, 02:19 PM
Hopefully I don't alienate myself by admitting that my camera of choice is the Canon H1 with my 20x, 3x, and 16x Manual SD lenses. No 35mm adapters. Although I'm looking for a suitable option. Until then I'll just continue keeping my focal lengths long.

H1 is awesome. I've seen great work come from it with and without adapters. SIGNAL is going to rock the theaters.

Starway needs to release their stuff, already!

Robert Sanders
03-07-2007, 02:27 PM
Dude. I just need the cash and we're off and shooting. We're close, though. So very very close. ;)

jeremytuttle
03-07-2007, 03:12 PM
Hopefully I don't alienate myself by admitting that my camera of choice is the Canon H1 with my 20x, 3x, and 16x Manual SD lenses. No 35mm adapters. Although I'm looking for a suitable option. Until then I'll just continue keeping my focal lengths long.

He he heh, yeah don't tell anyone but I'm a Canon fan too. I wanted a H1 badly but we chose the HVX for the variable frame rates, the P2 card, and well... it was cheaper:). I have the 16x manual lens and used religiously with my Xl-1s. I can't believe Canon hasn't come out with the HD version yet, but it looks like the SD version does the trick... what do you think?

I assume you will shoot this on the H1? I can't wait to see how it performs.

Elton
03-07-2007, 06:12 PM
It's amazing how well the SD lenses work with the XL-H1. They're not absolutely perfect, mind you; the 16x breathes a bit (yet holds its low Fstop through the zoom!) and the 3x is ever-so-slightly soft in the corners, but what you get overall in HD is unbelievable for the $. The 3x is nicely wide with almost no barrel distortion, which is something I've come to really dislike about add-on adapters.

But I'm just happy that the camera wars have abated now and people can actually talk about eachother's productions and get on with the actual work, and get good feedback in communities like this. :)

I find the entire affordable HD category to be an embarrassment of riches now. What I merely dreamed of less than 3 years ago is becoming a rather mundane reality.

Good luck Starway!

Robert Sanders
03-07-2007, 07:32 PM
When I first wanted to use the Canon 3x SD lens everyone said it was way too soft. But I was very surprised to see how well the 3x lens performed (at least the one I have).

I still don't have a 6x HD lens. I really really want one.

Geoff_R
03-07-2007, 09:38 PM
You've got some nice work on your site, Robert. The website is very pro as well. I enjoyed 'Day 11' and I'm looking forward to your spyfest film.

Brandon Rice
03-07-2007, 11:11 PM
Fantastic! Looking forward to this one!

Kholi
03-07-2007, 11:26 PM
mm.. looking forward to this!

Brandon's got a case of the repeats.

Brandon Rice
03-07-2007, 11:33 PM
LOL! Cause I just went on your site, and got even MORE excited!

Robert Sanders
03-08-2007, 10:35 AM
I really like the camaraderie around here. It's very encouraging and makes the process even more exciting.

Robert Sanders
03-08-2007, 10:41 AM
You've got some nice work on your site, Robert. The website is very pro as well. I enjoyed 'Day 11' and I'm looking forward to your spyfest film.

Thanks for kind words Geoff. I'm downloading the 720p version of "Heritage" right now. I'm looking forward to watching it (headphones in hand ;) ).

RebeccaD
03-08-2007, 01:55 PM
I'm looking forward to your entry, Robert. Norm speaks very highly of your work.

Ted Arabian
03-10-2007, 01:31 PM
Robert, your work looks incredible! WOW! This is going to be some fest!

Good luck to you (though I don't think that you need to rely on "luck.")

-Ted

Robert Sanders
03-10-2007, 11:21 PM
Thanks RebeccaD and Theodore.

Now I just need to write it, break it down, schedule it, shoot it without permits, concoct a visual effects strategy...and deliver it to Justin for score before the deadline.

No sweat.

Ted Arabian
03-11-2007, 06:20 AM
Sounds like the same boat I am in!

I've announced my participation but that is about as close as I am to having a film!

So much to do before the end of May.

Robert Sanders
03-12-2007, 09:59 AM
Much to do. Much to do. Love that avatar Theo.

So I got the first draft of the script done...in my head. I haven't actually sent those brain signals down to my keyboard and into Final Draft. But the script kicks ass. Trust me. ;)

Robert Sanders
03-12-2007, 11:12 AM
http://www.starwaypictures.com/web_pics/Zugzwang_Poster_Web.jpg

Here's the "coming soon" poster. As soon as I've rounded up the cast and I actually have some production photos I'll create an actual "release" poster.

The concept is coalescing.

Norm Sanders
03-12-2007, 11:14 AM
Sweet poster, Robert!

Dahopafilms
03-12-2007, 11:23 AM
Now THAT'S a poster!

Absolutely awesome. Beautiful, in fact.

Robert Sanders
03-12-2007, 11:24 AM
Thanks bro. It was one of those early morning brain farts. Hopefully my boss doesn't figure out I've been doing SpyFest stuff while on the clock. LOL!

Edgen
03-12-2007, 11:29 AM
Heck yess! Beautiful poster Robert! Sets the mood and tone to a T!

/j

Jay Rodriguez
03-12-2007, 11:29 AM
Thanks bro. It was one of those early morning brain farts. Hopefully my boss doesn't figure out I've been doing SpyFest stuff while on the clock. LOL!


I know that feeling all too well! lol

Can't wait to see what you bring into the fest brother! :smile:

Robert Sanders
03-12-2007, 03:18 PM
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

"A" Camera: Canon XLH1
Firestore FS-C
HDV Tape Backup
P+S Technik Mini35mm 400 Series
Zeiss Super Speeds
20x HD Zoom Lens
3x SD WA Lens
16x SD Manual Lens

"B" Camera: Canon XH-A1
HDV to Tape


POST PRODUCTION:

Transcoded to DVCProHD
1080P
23.976 FPS

Some material will be shot 60i and converted to 60p with a 24fps playback for slow motion (with a little help from Nattress' plugins).

Edit Platform: Apple Final Cut Pro
Compositing & Titles: Adobe After Effects
Sound Design: Soundtrack Pro and ProTools
Color Correction: FCP 3-Way and Color Finesse

Ki-Ki
03-12-2007, 03:33 PM
Holy shit man, awesome poster. Cant bloody wait for your film. Looks A.

Robert Sanders
03-12-2007, 05:06 PM
Because I new to the DVXUser 'Fest experience I didn't reserve an appropriate amount of post spaces for future updates. So I've reconfigured my first post to make room ('til I run out).

jeremytuttle
03-12-2007, 05:32 PM
Did any body mention you have an amazing poster? If so, well... darn it... I agree. (I really like the grain/noise... will the movie look like this?)

PS Technik! Nice! Zeiss Primes! Really Nice! Are you going to be doing a combo of adapter and non-adapter shots?

Geoff_R
03-12-2007, 05:38 PM
Did any body mention you have an amazing poster?
I second that...very intriguing poster. I like! :thumbup: :thumbup:

Elton
03-12-2007, 05:38 PM
Game over, man! Game over!http://images.art.com/images/-/Bill-Paxton---Aliens--C10103879.jpeg ;)

ripupthehwy
03-12-2007, 06:40 PM
nice poster, makes me very curious.

http://www.dvxuser6.com/uploaded/9387/1173650125.jpg

Robert Sanders
03-13-2007, 08:57 AM
Did any body mention you have an amazing poster? If so, well... darn it... I agree. (I really like the grain/noise... will the movie look like this?)

PS Technik! Nice! Zeiss Primes! Really Nice! Are you going to be doing a combo of adapter and non-adapter shots?

Never used the P+S before. I'm looking forward to it. Going to rent it from IndieRentals. I would probably estimate that half my shots will be straight non-adapter and all of my CU and Slo-Mo shots will use the adapter (you'll understand why when you see it).

The film's aesthetic will by very contrasty. But I won't necessarily be adding any grain (other than the grain inherent within my camera).

Ted Arabian
03-13-2007, 09:07 AM
Yowza! That is nice poster. I love the graphic and the the tag lines.

Going to be a fun fest!

You've got your game face on here, Robert. Good luck!

-Ted

Ralph Oshiro
03-15-2007, 03:25 AM
Now, how do I brandish fake firearms in the middle of downtown Los Angeles without permits? Hmmmm. A dilemma."Very carefully!" I know your pain, man! Your poster's awesome!

Robert Sanders
03-15-2007, 09:47 AM
I honestly think the best solution for the "firearms without permits" problem is to composite the gun into the actor's hand in post.

I think I can fake it in my closeups where the actor pretends to hold a gun but it's just barely out of frame. In my longer shots I can have the actor pretend to hold the gun and fire it. As long as the movement and action isn't too insane for any particular shot then I think we have a shot at adding the firearm in post.

I'm already used to adding muzzle flames and casing discharges in post. This will just be another level of complication. It's risky, though. So I think I'm going to shoot a test this weekend to make sure I'm not biting off more than I can chew (which is often ;) ).

Elton
03-15-2007, 03:46 PM
If anyone can pull this off, it would be you. :) Very curious to see how this plays out.

jeremytuttle
03-15-2007, 05:10 PM
I think I can fake it in my closeups where the actor pretends to hold a gun but it's just barely out of frame.

That would probably work for the closeups. What about have them hold a gun that is painted bright orange on everything but the back end. Then you could have the hammer and handle in your shot.

Adding in the gun in the wide shots would be a challenge to get it to match up right. But like Elton said, if any one could do it you probably can.

Robert Sanders
03-15-2007, 05:26 PM
I'm trying to avoid looking suspicious as a lot of my plans are guerilla style filmmaking. So I don't want to alarm any of the surrounding merchants or pedestrians.

However, Jeremy, you bring up an interesting idea. I could take one of my plastic faux Glocks and cut off the handle and trigger. No hammer or barrell. Then I won't have to worry about compositing/rotoscoping the fingers.

I'm also contemplating shooting some of these shots against a greenscreen and comp'ing in the background. Since many of these shots will use dramatically reduced DOF I think I can pull this off. The challenge is matching the natural exterior light with studio lighting. I was thinking about shooting a reference plate of my actor holding up their hands (no gun) so I can see the lighting, etc. Then use that reference on the greenscreen stage to match lighting, etc.

RebeccaD
03-15-2007, 05:46 PM
Adding in the gun in the wide shots would be a challenge to get it to match up right. But like Elton said, if any one could do it you probably can.

Concurred. Robert, I have seen some of your other work....very impressive. I am thoroughly looking forward to your entry.

Norm Sanders
03-15-2007, 05:50 PM
I was thinking about shooting a reference plate of my actor holding up their hands (no gun) so I can see the lighting, etc. Then use that reference on the greenscreen stage to match lighting, etc.

Don't they also still use mirrored balls/orbs (you could get away with the kind you'll find in the garden section at most stores - those 'gazing orbs'). I would imagine that if you simply took a still photo or some footage of one of those in place, as well as an orb with a matte surface, you could get all the lighting information you needed for reference, as well as showing how it should look on anything relfective, with curved surfaces, etc.

Charli
03-15-2007, 06:06 PM
Rob - get a t-shirt from your local community television station and everyone will think you are doing something for them. Well, it's a thought, community tv gets away with filming everywhere. Love the poster, want to do ours? Dang. Good luck on using the mini35. I placed a bid on one on ebay and lost, sucked.

Good luck on your entry.

Keystoned
04-01-2007, 11:35 PM
Wow. I just saw the trailer for "The Dead" on your website. Wow.

Looking forward to your entry. :beer:

Robert Sanders
04-02-2007, 10:42 AM
Thanks Keystoned,

"The Dead" was shot nearly ten years ago (man, time flies). Unfortunately it was almost instantly killed when The Matrix opened a few months after we wrapped. I had been banking on that Goth-Noir look being unique to our film, but The Matrix instantly co-opted that look and it became very iconic. Suddenly our film no longer look and felt unique and fresh, but was instant "derivative". Ouch.

So we've decided to go ahead and start releasing it incrimentally on our website. If you get a chance check out CHAPTER ONE: MANNY GALLARDO. It's pretty cool.

All shot on a VX1000 and cut on Premiere 4.2 on a 300MHz Blue and White PowerMac. Those were the days!

Ralph Oshiro
04-07-2007, 04:46 AM
Time for an update/bump to your thread, Robert! When do you plan to start shooting?