Long time no see!

Wow, so it’s been almost four months since I’ve last posted! I’d like to say it was a super busy, tearing-out-the-hair stress time, but honestly, I’ve just been hit with a really, really, super-bad case of un-inspiration.

Winter break was a time to recoup from the hectic shoot, but moving into February I suddenly found myself very tired of Melpomenos and ready to move onto something new. Perhaps this is just me used to working on semester-long projects, but man, it really sucked. Still does. I managed on working on the rough cut and figuring out the pacing (and again I’m thankful for such a wonderful group of teachers and peers here in the photo/digital film department–I’ve got some digital film friends who are going to save my life and sanity very soon with the special effects) and tackling the first of the experimentations on the soundtrack.

The music has been super fun to explore. I gathered up two or three glass bottles I’ve been hoarding for the occasion and tuned the bottles up along the chromatic scale, blowing across the bottles to produce different sounds for each note. Once I’d gathered my library, I went into this wonderful, wonderful program called Paul’s extreme time stretch and fiddled with the notes. The program stretches the sound without distorting it, and it’s probably the coolest thing ever–one of my teachers last semester told us about a piece he did, recording the sound of a bubble popping and stretching it to last nine years (or something ridiculously fascinating like that). It’s a bit tedious–I have to construct the music, then go in with each individual note and stretch them, then compile them and fiddle around in soundtrack pro to keep the speakers from blowing out–but fun nonetheless.

The challenge now is figuring out the line between the music soundtrack of the film and the natural sound of the monoliths in the world, and learning how to blend them and make them significant and all that fun stuff. Woo!

And so there’s the fun challenge. The less-fun challenge is ending this ridiculous fear I have of math and making a fool of myself screwing up attempting to reconstruct the interior of the shuttle. I’ve still got a few shots to shoot, and, yikes, my final show is only five weeks away! What the hell! But I’ve finally gotten up off my butt and bought the supplies, so hopefully by the time the weekend comes round, I’ll have a set to shoot on.

Last bit of news–exciting!–I’m sharing my show with a wonderful friend of mine, Jess Wayland. She’s an adventurous photographer who hand-stiches the most gorgeous panoramas I’ve laid eyes on, and our work works quite well together. :)

Um, yes. That’s what’s been up these past fourish months. Here are some update images/sounds!

Experimenting with coloring, attempting to make the Flint Hills -not- the Flint Hills:

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Two screenshots of first draft special effects:

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And part of the soundtrack:

 

 

 

Part 1 of Production: Check!

Well hi there! It’s been a while!

The past few weeks have been an awful tangle of stressing and rushing around to get everything done, and the past few days have been the crazy, exhilarating struggle of shooting. I have been so lucky have such a wonderful cast and crew (a.k.a. friends); I don’t know how I could have made it through production without their patience and support. And hot pads. So many hot pads. Goodness.

Last Sunday, day one, the six of us–Paul, Lim, Christina, Donal, Nikki, and I–set out from the KCAI dorms to Latham, KS, in our old Buick and a truck, hauling an 8 foot long escape pod and an eight foot by eight food shuttle craft. We started shooting right away that afternoon, and it became very apparent that it was going to be a long, cold week. I think I wore an average of three shirts, three socks, and three leggings underneath my jeans every day, and that still did very little. Imagine being one of the actors…those guys were troopers!

 (Paul’s role was not just Assistant Director, but also Chief Hugger!)

We became very good at loading and unloading the shuttle and escape pod from the truck and hauling them over the gate. Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave the props out overnight, so it was a daily workout for us. But they were quite glorious once out in the hills!

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So, all in all, we spent three days out shooting in the Flint Hills in two different locations just outside of Latham. I learned so much about filmmaking from our wonderful DP, Mr. Lim. (I also learned how weird everyone is…) All in all, we had some wonderful times despite the 5am mornings and freezing cold. And Paul’s mother coming out to make us dinner and breakfast on the last day was the cherry on top!

I’m still recovering from the shoot, so I apologize for such a short post. I’ll just go ahead and post some more production stills to give an idea of the shenanigans.

The cast & crew:

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Production stills:

    

…Weird people.

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Halfway Through Finals Week, 1 Week Til Production

Goodness, has this week been a whirlwind!

I’m proud to say that we reached our goal through the Melpomenos Indiegogo campaign–we even went almost $300 over! Which is awesome, because already the budget is getting tighter. Thank you everyone for your support, shares, and contributions. We would never have reached our goal without you!

Last night was KCAI’s end-of-semester show. And what a show it was! I was only able to view the photo, digital film, and foundation shows, but goodness, it was a lot of beautiful and interesting work! Since I have been in pre-production this entire semester, I had nothing up in the photo show; but the wonderful Ben Davis and Hennessey Luther finished the exteriors of the escape pod and the shuttle craft out on display for their show, and they did an AMAZING job.

I managed to get some short videos of the pieces the night before the show, when they were still working on them (hence the cramped framing–they’ve got a lot of equipment over in sculpture, it was tough moving around without accidentally bumping into something, eep!) Painting was still underway, and the acrylic sheets had yet to be put in, but you get the idea of how wonderfully the pieces turned out (and you can hear the school’s improv group rehearsing in the not-so-far-away background):

Shuttle

Escape Pod

Our biggest hurdles left, besides the actual shooting, is obtaining permission to shoot out in the Flint Hills and transport for the shuttle and the escape pod. Plans on procuring these are underway, so now it is only a matter of time. Hopefully all will go well and we will be able to start shooting ASAP December 9th as planned.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped us out throughout the past few weeks. I will be so glad to have things shot and to hunker down over winter break to just edit, edit, edit. Whew!

~Mintra

UPDATE: Shots from the show!

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Ben Davis & Hennessey Luther

Progress as of 11/14/12

Hello again!

Things seem to be rolling smoothly so far. I am so lucky to have such wonderful artists for friends: Ben and Hennessey have been working hard on the shuttle and escape pod, and Brock is whipping up a lovely couple of uniforms for the characters. Paul made a beautiful concept piece from one of my storyboards, and I have been working on an animatic (through which I realize my respect for animators, already very high, has grown tenfold). We’ve already gotten an apartment reserved out in the Flint Hills to shoot for a week after the semester ends, and I’m starting to pull together a production crew.

Progress has been great for my Indiegogo campaign! It’s been 9 days, and already we are 52% funded! Please check out my campaign if you haven’t already, and please, if you are interested or so inclined, donate! If you can’t donate, please at least consider sharing the link through your various interwebs accounts. Thank you!

Credit: Paul Kisling

Getting this ball ROLLING~

Made it through midterms! I got a lot of good suggestions (having very little to show for feedback at this point) and have finally watched the film Moon, which has been suggested to me numerous times (I cried. Like a baby. Yeesh.) My main hurdle right now is getting props made for my film–and Paul Kisling was kind enough to help turn my childish scribbles into beautiful sketches of an escape pod and a shuttle craft. I’ve begun talking with some students in sculpture, and hopefully we’ll get that ball rolling in the next few days. Woo-hoo!

Plus a small concept sketch:

Eureka!

Last night I finally found my ending for my narrative! It’s bittersweet, which is what I was hoping for. Journey’s soundtrack came through for me as a great source of inspiration in getting that last bit churned out. With that completed, I’ve finally begun storyboarding! Woo-hoo!

(Paul’s been a great help starting me off ^, and now I’ve started making my own sketches):

a sunday afternoon update

Just talked with another collaborator! Brock is a junior in Fiber at KCAI, and will be doing the costuming for my film. Check out his stuff!: Designs by Brock

I’m currently looking for possible venues in KCMO for my film in April or May. I went to First Fridays last week (first time in months! yeesh) and scoped out several galleries. It was very interesting looking at the spaces more than the artwork, and it was pretty fun. I found a couple places that look very nice, so I’m working on getting into contact with them.

Still working on finishing the narrative on my film, but I’ve been looking at boatloads of inspiration. My favorite as of now: Happy Birthday, David–a “trailer,” if you will, from the film Prometheus.

I’m also super pumped about some new music software I just bought–Symphonic Orchestra gold. It’s still got some kinks in it I’m trying to figure out (they didn’t include any installation instructions, buhh), but I’ve heard some of the instruments and I’m very excited to start working on the music for my film. I feel like if I can get a theme and a short piece to explore it, I’ll feel a nice sense of accomplishment that will help push me forward. Woo-hoo!