Thread: On The Edge

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    #11
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Thanks OldCorpse!


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    #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Director View Post
    In an attempt to get this section back on track to production diaries and not just "here's my short, watch and let me know what you think", I'm starting a thread for a new feature that I hope to be able to do either this summer or next.

    Yes, I'm still trying to get the funding for the third part of my Leap series, but the budget is out of reach for what I want to do. Same goes for my supernatural thriller, Derek. I've been working on a lot of shorts lately but really miss doing features. I enjoy the writing, the planning, shooting and post being spread out over a year or more for one film, so I decided to do something about it.




    This is me. I am what many would consider to be an adrenaline junkie. Snowboarding, parkour, even aggressive in-line skating back in the day. Ever since seeing the original "Point Break" as a kid, I've been fascinated with skydiving, but I always thought you needed a lot of money to do it and I didn't think there was anywhere near me that offered it. About a year ago, I finally decided to look into the feasibility of jumping from a plane and was surprised by how affordable it is and that there was a drop zone just three hours from me. I brought it up to my friends and we agreed to go for my birthday in May.

    Eventually the big day came and everyone suddenly was sick or busy. Go figure. I drove to the DZ alone and just took it all in. While waiting for my turn to go up, I began to get a sense of the culture and realized that "these are my people". When I finally got to up up and make the tandem jump, it was the best experience of my life. Freefall was the most amazing thing in the world and for the next few weeks, it was all I could talk about to anyone who would listen. In those 35 seconds, I was truly free and nothing else mattered.

    A month later, I was back at the drop zone taking my "first jump course" and began the journey to getting my A license. I jumped all summer and when winter arrived, it was the most depressed I've been since losing my dog in the fire. It was then that I realized there's a story here. It's a bit autobiographical, but I thought what if there was a guy who was into all this extreme stuff, not for the rush, but because it helps him cope with some personal issues. He discovers skydiving is the ultimate way to keep things in check and commits to the sport. Winter hits, depression ensues, his issues come to light and his girl breaks up with him. Now he has to learn to cope on his own until jump season begins again. When he does get to go back, he meets a girl who used to be an addict and jumps for basically the same reason he does.

    If you talk to any jumper, we'll tell you that there's never been a movie that accurately portrays skydiving. It's always sensationalized or used by thieves. I figure this might be the chance to actually make a film that represents the sport realistically. If I treat it as a drama with some skydiving rather than an extreme sports film, I think the story will have a chance to shine and I can probably shoot it for very little money once I have enough jumps to fly with a camera.

    So that's my big plan right now. I've written the treatment and I'm happy with it. The overall feedback I've gotten when pitching the film has been positive and I have about six pages written so far, including an opening scene that could be done as a short to help get people on board with it. My biggest problem at the moment is figuring out what the main character's "issue" is that living on the edge helps him cope with.
    Do you remember a film by David Cronenberg called Crash? It was about people having sex while having car accidents (quite extreme even for a Cronenberg film). Not sure if it's on your alley but maybe your main character forms a club of people that want to do some pretty extreme stuff while jumping... almost as if jumping was not extreme enough.

    Cheers


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    #13
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Evans View Post
    Do you remember a film by David Cronenberg called Crash? It was about people having sex while having car accidents (quite extreme even for a Cronenberg film). Not sure if it's on your alley but maybe your main character forms a club of people that want to do some pretty extreme stuff while jumping... almost as if jumping was not extreme enough.

    Cheers
    Yeah, I remember Crash. Cool idea, but I really want to keep the jumping authentic ;) . About as crazy as most will get is riding a wing suit flyer like a horse.

    The script is coming along nicely and I'm pretty happy with how things are shaping up. Also got my first two jumps of the season in this weekend. It felt amazing to be back at it


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    #14
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Had to put this movie on hold temporarily and started writing something even easier to make - and also hits close to home for me. It's about my time being homeless in the mountains of Montana. The really cool part is that I can literally shoot this on nights and weekends for just a few thousand dollars. It also buys me the time I need to get my 200 jumps in (a requirement for jumping with a camera) so that I can film the skydiving myself for On The Edge.

    The new movie is currently untitled, but I'm 60 pages into the script, so it's coming along nice. I recently read "Save The Cat" and have been working to apply the beats. I recently went back to the spot where I lived out there to help get back into the headspace as I finish the script. I brought my Ursa Mini and shot some sample footage out there, and was able to turn one of the frames into a nice piece of concept art.

    37421718_10215556194992441_8766758979691872256_n.jpg


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    #15
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Hooray! I've finsihed the first and second drafts of "Trust" as I'm calling it. I'm taking my producing partner back out to where I lived next weekend so we can start planning things out. While much of the movie will be shot closer to home, doubling my current town for Montana, the second act will be shot on location where this all actually took place. Personally, I'd love to shoot every scene where they took place in real life, but it's just too cost prohibitive if I expect to finance this myself. Another fun fact that some DVX users may be shocked to hear: I'll be shooting RAW and with dual system sound! Since I have a Zoom H4n and a camera that can shoot 4K RAW, I started experimenting with the workflows a few months ago and I'm now at a point where I'd be comfortable doing this. Those that have followed my previous features know that I've built my soundtrack from scratch on every feature. We did ADR for every line as well as created or found every sound you heard in post. This will be my first feature film where I don't ADR every line, so I'm pretty excited about that.

    Shooting RAW, I will need more hard drive space than I've ever needed before, but I've ran the numbers and figure I can make this work with 8TB, which is actually pretty affordable. I recently bought a refurbished HP Z800 and while it is an older computer, I dropped in a GTX 1060 6GB GPU and it handles my footage like a champ. The workflow I've established is to ingest and apply a LUT in Resolve. Export as DNxHD36 for an offline edit in Avid. Sync the picture to sound from the Zoom in Avid and do the edit. Once picture is locked, send the edit to both Pro Tools and Resolve. In Resolve, conform the online (usually done when bringing in each reel, happens instantly). Prep for VFX. Any VFX will be done with Nuke and Blender. Color grade. Export a low rez file for use in Pro Tools. Do all the sound work in Pro Tools. Export stems and bring those into Resolve. Make final prints/DCP in Resolve.

    While that workflow sounds complicated on paper, it's actually very easy to do, and very solid. I've been refining this over the past three years and once I locked it in, none of my programs have crashed once and I can work faster than I ever have before by using the best tool for the job (Avid MC=Editing, Avid PT=Sound, Resolve=Online/Grade, Nuke=VFX) While the computer may be older, it does handle what I throw at it flawlessly (I can playback a reel in realtime, even when every RAW shot has 10 nodes for the grade). That's an important note I think many new filmmakers don't realize- when you're doing everything yourself, you don't need the latest and greatest of everything. Just build an ecosystem that works. My computer can handle the best quality my camera can output. And my workflow is based around the best tool for each job. I may not be running the latest version of all the software (Avid MC 8.4 and PT 12), but I don't need to as long as everything works and works well. Like the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The only thing I haven't decided yet is whether I'll attempt to do the score myself. On Leap, I did all but one track on my own. It was okay, but I used a lot more loops than actual score. On Leap 2, I would create a little motif or melody and then had a composer expand that for me. I really liked working that way, but the guy I worked with has taken a step back from music for a bit.

    One last note, I did consider starting a new thread for "Trust", but since the films are going to be related, I'll just continue keeping both here.
    Last edited by El Director; 08-03-2018 at 01:02 PM.


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    #16
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    Finished the third draft and changed the name to "Surviving the Wild" after my YouTube show. I'm hoping that by pitching this as my story, I can get my subscribers to support the project.
    For the past few weeks, I've been trying to figure out how I wanted to handle scheduling and budgeting. Since my producer lives two hours away, my customary film spreadsheet is on Google Sheets now instead of a local file. I had an idea to find some good templates for budgeting and scheduling and just do it all that way, since this is so low budget. While I found a really great budgeting template, I haven't been so fortunate with scheduling. I did find a great stripboard template, but it's clunky to use at best, plus I like to drag and drop my scenes onto a calendar, rather than a stripboard. I also looked into Studio Binder, but it's basically the same thing I'm already doing with my spreadsheet. The only solution that made sense to me was to use Movie Magic Scheduling, so that's what I'm going with. Once I have the schedule done, I can transfer the info to a Google Calendar to share with cast and crew.

    The one downside to going with Movie Magic is that I only had one Windows laptop and the screen is really messed up so it stays next to my workstation. My other laptop was Linux and won't run the software. Sooo.... I decided to bite the bullet and wipe Fedora, replacing it with Windows 7 (it's an older computer). I backed up all my docs, pics and videos and then did the deed. The installation of Windows went off without a hitch, but the hard drive I backed everything up on to decided to die sometime when I was between operating systems. Fortunately I had backed up all my movie stuff to my Google Drive yesterday before all this happened. I swear this isn't a Google advert, but using their only services has been a welcome change on this film as opposed to the ways I had done things on my last three features.

    I'm shooting a fundraising video soon with my producer and I just finished prepping my sheets for the schedule in Movie Magic today. Now I'm taking the rest of the night off and will start the labor intensive act of scheduling tomorrow.


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    #17
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Now that the producer and I are pretty happy with the script, I went and scheduled the movie last week in Movie Magic. I also put the script into revision mode in Final Draft and locked the pages and scene numbers so the schedule doesn't get jacked up as we make changes. Shooting will take 12 days over the course of two weeks, and is pretty aggressive, but I think it all should work out fine. Now that some of the initial paperwork is complete, I can focus on the Kickstarter campaign video and once we come out of that, casting the lead. I really need a good actor to carry the film, as he will be on set every single day we're shooting.

    I filed my taxes today and will be getting around $2000 back, so that will allow me to get a drone and some battery powered LED panels for the night shoots.

    EDIT-
    Got to thinking, it might be good to hang onto my return until after the fundraising campaign. That way I can kick in any extra we need at the end to make sure the campaign is successful. #protip
    Last edited by El Director; 01-28-2019 at 07:40 AM.


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    #18
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    I put in a couple extra days the past few weeks at work that gave me a nice $500 bonus this paycheck, so I took that money and purchased a 3 pack of LED light panels and a 27 inch curved display for editing. The lights can be powered by Sony batteries and will allow us to film at night in the mountains without needing to deal with a generator. They'll be arriving tomorrow so I can't wait to test them out. Also, here's a VLOG I shot back in July but just now got around to uploading-
    Last edited by El Director; 03-31-2019 at 07:33 AM.


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    Wulf - 2008 | Leap - 2010 | Leap: Rise of the Beast - 2011 | Surviving The Wild - 2020


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    #19
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    My new monitor and lights arrived today! I haven't played too much with the lights yet, but this monitor... "I'm lovin' it"! The curved display is amazing and it's great to finally have a two monitor setup again. Light tests coming tomorrow.

    07 - HP Corner02.jpg


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    #20
    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    Got my lighting test uploaded to Vimeo. I did 4 shots, changing the lighting each time. Shots one and three are my favorites. The best thing is that there's no FPN if you let your blacks go black.


    I got the batteries for my lights yesterday. I charged them last night, but one of them doesn't seem to be charging all the way so I may have to return it. I'm running a test right now to see how long the batteries do last on the lights by turning up both the white and orange bulbs full blast and set the stopwatch on my phone. Whenever it does turn off, that'll be my minimum guarantee. Realistically, I'll only be using one color temp at a time per panel, so half has many bulbs and therefore double whatever this test comes out to be. It's also unlikely I'll be running the lights at full blast all the time. I'll report back later with my findings.

    **UPDATE**
    Looks like that with both colors going, I get three hours out of the batteries. So I can probably plan on around 6 hours if I'm only using one color temp. Not bad! Those batteries take forever to charge though, so I should probably buy another full set (six batteries) so I can swap them out day by day and have extras.
    Last edited by El Director; 02-09-2019 at 08:56 AM.


    Independent Filmmaker
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