Friday, August 1, 2008

More Witch

Yesterday I blogged about the Experimental Witch project and today I am giving this space over to Lori Bohner the Flashpoint student who directed the film. That's her in the center between the two leads and amongst the rest of the Flashpoint crew. I'm going to let Lori tell the story of how the film came to life.

As a reminder the film was made by students who had been in the program less than six months before production began. I am proud of their effort and how they collaborated and worked as a team.


The moment you informed us of the Experimental Witch Project I fell in love with the idea. So did many other students. About 35 students began brainstorming ideas for our adaptation of the character Heron. My intentions were to be one of the writers and possibly co-write a script. The group began monthly meetings in January. By March our numbers had dwindled as students were be called toward various other projects.
In April we began weekly meetings with about 7 students to discuss a shooting script. I had read The Witch of Portobello cover to cover by this time and my script was the most finished and was chosen by the group to produce. By consensus of the students I was elected by the group to become the director. I felt honored.

I was drawn to the project because I feel a connection with this story. Immediately I thought of two actor friends of mine I felt would be perfect for this role. I had also had been a volunteer for the Romanian Film Festival in the fall and loved the old building the Festival took place in and thought it would be perfect for this script.

Things started coming together.

I asked Adam Darin only two weeks before shooting to be my producer. Without him I would have been lost. He was the ambitious leader I needed to assemble the rest of the missing crew and help organize my thoughts. I held two rehearsals with the lead characters and had no time to hold a casting session for the extras. I decided to create several Craig's list ads searching for different profiles. I had about 15 responses from various actors and had detailed phone conversations and 'hired' them from the conversations and head shots they had emailed me. I even met one actor on the train. I was creating a 'to do' list that he read over my shoulder and he happened to have a head shot on him. He was perfect!

My only complaint was tardiness. The day of the shoot not one single person (except myself :o ) was on time. Even with the chaos in the beginning we quickly pulled the ship up-right and got our first shot off. Adam had made a wonderful shot list and floor plan for us to follow which gave us the perfect check list to accomplish our 117 shots in one-days-time! The atmosphere was very professional and the crew and cast rolled up their sleeves and worked their tails off.

I was recommended a composer and met with him to give him my thoughts on what type of score I was looking for. We had many other meetings following that initial. He was absolutely great. Meanwhile two students, Kyle Krause and Vlad Sava, created two unique cuts. Kyle's on Final Cut and Vlad's on Avid. We ended up with Kyle's as his was more complete.

We got a late start on the editing process and I felt rushed at the end but was happy with the final result.
Our sound designer, Ian had two days to finish the final sound mix ...and voila...Love and Lovelorn. We had a great team and great crew. I am pleased.



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Witch of Portobello redux

In January I blogged about how Paulo Coelho was allowing his book The Witch of Portobello to be adapted by filmmakers and allowing them to compete for a $3,000 Euro prize. Each filmmaker had to apply and if selected, had to create a short film about one character. I applied and was given the character of documentary filmmaker on the search for Athena.

So instead of making the film myself, I opened it up to my students and supervised their production. They did the heavy lifting, I sat back and ate craft services. Click on the link to see the Team Flashpoint submission. On my next blog I will share comments from my students about the process.