Thursday, December 24, 2009

168 Project Team Rebuilding

I came back from my morning walk, with a sudden realization. I'll talk about that another time, but to wit: I have a team in place to create what I'm currently titling 168 Project Team #13 2010 edition. The members so far:

  1. Two actresses.
  2. Director of Photography
  3. Editor
  4. Assistant to the Editor
  5. Filmmaker*
  6. One Location.
  7. Prayer Support.
What I don't have is, well, the rest. The above are confirmed. I may have a makeup artist as well. Without getting into the gory details of what it takes to make a film itself, meaning, the corresponding equipment, etc. not to mention the money needed, I don't have a complete team.

You can probably guess what I need, and where this post is going. I'm asking for your help to put together the rest of the team. I've done three of these things, and for the last two I played the role of Filmmaker (see above). Iwill mostly likely be doing this again this time. However, the team is far from complete, which is why I'm asking you, if you feel you should be on this list, and you aren't, well, why not?

The production week starts Feb 12th at 2p PST, and ends the next Friday at the same time. That's where the 168 comes in, as it's the number of hours in a week. If you're available, and you're in the area, I'd love to have you on the team. If you can't make it, or have already committed to something else, that's ok. If you feel you should be on this team, and you're not listed above, let me know that as well.

Oh, if you know of someone that might like to work with me, let me know that, too.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!!

*As always, it's not about me :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

$13 from 13 people for Team #13 on December 13th

And, in keeping with the theme of 13, I may have 13 reasons for you to give. Don't know if I can come up with those, but here's the math; I'm Team #13 for this year's 168 Project competition, and coincidentally, 13x13 is 169. My entry fee is $168, therefore, if you meet my needs, I'll payoff the entry fee, and have a dollar left over, with which to make the film.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Mike, how can you make a movie for a dollar?" Well, I probably can't, however, I do receive in kind donations from friends and others that I've worked with in the past, and, you are free to give more, if you so desire. I won't stop you. Anyone that gives will of course receive an IMDb credit, as well. It may be a 'Special Thanks', and your name may appear on the big screen in front of about 1500 people that will view the finished film.

And since I'm feeling creative, here are the 13 reasons you should give $13 (or more):

  1. Your name on the big screen, as mentioned before
  2. It would be a good Christmas present
  3. Put a lot of out of work actors to work
  4. As well as a lot of crew
  5. And me, the filmmaker :)
  6. Although, it's not about me
  7. Contribute to a spiritually uplifting experience
  8. Also to something that will probably eventually appear on YouTube
  9. Or Vimeo
  10. What you help me create can't possibly be worse than this.
  11. You still have money left over in this year's budget
  12. Stimulate the economy, and finally....
  13. You're not triskaidekaphobic.
If you don't know what that last word means, look it up :) Now, if you read this, and it's not the 13th, don't let that stop you from giving, and as I've stated previously, there's nothing stopping you from giving more, I'd just like to meet this particular goal by the end of the year. Thanks!!

Oh, and as always, please retweet.

And if you don't know what that means by now, you're probably not following me on Twitter.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Making of, Party in the House!!!

In case anyone was wondering what goes into the making of a 168, I submit to you the following:

This was the behind the scenes movie for my 2008 168 Project film, Party in the House!!! I got a lot of donations, including the plane, and the pilot's time, however, there are still things that need to be paid for, mostly, food for the crew, and this year, the music. Circumstances did not permit for a making of last year's film, Three of Clubs.

Enjoy, comment, pray, and of course, donate if you feel so led. Thanks!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Scary Proposition...

As opposed to a scary preposition like, of. Because it's not something that you can do to a cloud, which is how I learned prepositions in Grammar School. Or, elementary school, depending on where you grew up. Where I grew up, we called it Colfax Elementary, which in turn should tell you where I grew up.

Having digressed from the original point of this post, I submit to you the following: If I show my previous two 168 Project films here, and by extension elsewhere, free, will you in turn support my efforts to make what I'm currently calling 168 Project 2010 Edition??? You know where the donation button is, and furthermore, you should at this point, know who I am. If you don't, then  you're probably here for the first time. Which is ok, however, I need an indication that posting two short films based on Bible verses is:
  1. A good idea.
  2. Something you would pray about, and finally
  3. Something you would support.
I could easily put these up on iTunes, and charge 69 cents each, however, most probably wouldn't bother to even seek them out. Did I mention that this year's theme is, ”Hearing God?“ Probably not. What is God telling me to do? If you've read the previous entry, you know that I wasn't going to make a 168 film this year, however, that plan changed pretty quickly....

So, leave a comment, and let me know what you'd like to do. And yes, I'm talking to you, my almost 3300 followers on Twitter :)

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please Retweet.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Yet Another 168 Project Post....

I've done these here, and elsewhere, to the point of if you're reading this, and you don't know about either The 168 Project, the Blatant Self Promotion Tour or both, you haven't been paying attention. Or you've been ignoring me, and I'm typing to myself, which of course, gets lonely. But as a Web Log got it's start as a Journal, and was brought to prominence by no less than Doogie Howser MD, I feel that it doesn't matter whether or not you read this. Well, it does, to me, actually.

It's that time again, and I have a decision to make.

Several, actually.

One's apparently been made for me, while I was composing this piece. I will be participating in The 168 Project again this year. I just found out that I'm wanted. Ok, so, in what capacity?

Althought you may not know this, I'm not an actor. I just play one on TV. No lie. A public access cable show that no one's ever heard of gives me this distinction. It's so obscure that it's not even listed in the IMDb. But trust me, I was actually, the male lead of a large ensemble cast.... I have the unedited tapes in storage to prove it, if they haven't decayed beyond repair....

To continue, the last two years I've written, directed, and produced a 168 Project film, as you may or may not already know. I haven't taken the additional step of acting as well in the previous two, as I deemed it next to impossible to be juggling four things at once, as I've only ever been able to keep three balls in the air at any one time, although, my record for plate spinning is seven (!) However, I don't perform that act anymore, as I've run out of plates....

This year, I've been approached to produce and direct something that will be written and acted by someone else. Which may give me the opportunity to act as well, as I'll be freed of the actual creation of the short film script to be named later, as is the nature of the contest. And of course, the extra added attraction that I haven't mentioned yet, is that I'll be responsible for finding the funding for this movie that I will be producing. This is of course, the part of the post where I ask you to donate what you can, when you can, however, I'm putting a time limit on it this time of October 31st, as that's when the cheapest entry fee expires. It takes about $5K to successfully compete for the top awards, and as you've seen by now, the donation button is on the upper left hand side.

I can only thank you in advance, and remind you that this isn't about me.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Horse Designed by a Committee

Cover of "The Big Picture"Cover of The Big Picture

You'll look for that quote somewhere, and it's either a camel or a giraffe, depending on where you find it. The theory being that if several people got together in an attempt to design one thing, by the time you're finished, you'll have an entirely different thing.

It's very much the same with a movie. Writing a film starts out as a one man operation for the most part, unless you have a writing partner. Some writing partnerships work, and work really well. Some don't, but that's not what this is about.

After the script, or screenplay, is finished, that's when the fun or the madness begins, because it's never really finished, is it? :) Unless you're going to direct, produce, and exec produce as well, you're going to have to show your “completed” work to others for their approval, or more likely, disapproval. Anyone who's seen The Big Picture knows what I'm talking about, however, as that movie only really appealed to people within the Entertainment Industry, you probably haven't, so, I'll elaborate, reminding you that whenever I speak of the industry, I refer to, the business.

So, we'll bypass the part of the process involving your agent telling you that your script sucks, and go directly to the part where you've convinced him otherwise, and he's shopped it around, and actually done his job, and made a sale. Usually to a producer, hopefully that has a contract with a major studio to either make or distribute (preferably both) your movie.

But suddenly, it's not “your” movie anymore. It's theirs. They bought it, and for whatever reason, they want to make changes. Now of course, my thinking here is, if they wanted to make changes, why'd they buy it in the first place? Well, the quick answer is, they liked the concept, but not your execution. Translated: They haven't seen a movie like it in the last six months, so, they think it's original. The bonus here is, they even pay you to do it, since they are contractually obligated to do so, if and only if your agent has done his job properly.

Unbeknownst to you, or perhaps, knownst to you depending again on your contract, said producer has started the process of attaching talent. And quite possibly a director as well, and it's at this point, that your movie is truly no longer your movie, as it's now, the director's. And he may want to make even more changes. To which you'll acede, simply because well, you want to get your written by credit. Notice how we haven't even shot the thing yet. It's been said somewhere else that there are three different versions of a film, the one you write, the one you shoot, and the one you edit. There's also the one the audience sees, which makes four, actually. As the writer, I really only have a modicum of control over the first one. Others that are making quite possibly more money than myself, have control over the rest.

It is why in my necessary finite thinking of, write the movie, find the money, make the movie, that I sometimes don't get this part of the business. Yes, I do understand that the bottom line is and always will be what's important, however, as William Goldman once wrote, Nobody Knows Anything.

What does all this have to do with Watchmaker? We have an A list producer, and A list director, however, no A list talent currently attached. And, we wish to make this on for what is a low budget to the Hollywood types, $5 Million US. Oh, and as previously mentioned, we have Universal interested, as well as another production company willing to put up their pension fund, if we can get the loan guaranteed. We're dangerously close, people.

When I started this blog post oh, what, an hour ago, I was going to go in an entirely different direction, and yet, I still ended up at my basic conclusion, which is simply this: This movie will be made, despite its “controversial” topic. It's only a matter of when. My only fear is that we may end up with an entirely different film than what we started with.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach. Please Retweet.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Yet Another Watchmaker Update...

Ok, I can't mention the company, however, we have someone willing to invest the entire amount, however, they want the fund backed up by an identical amount. So, I guess what we need now, is someone willing to put up $5M that they don't need to use for awhile, as it would seem we'd be greenlit if this were to take place.

It's confusing, having to raise $10M for a $5M picture, but there it is....

Maybe one of you has a lead, or an idea of why this is, and they can explain it to me. The comments as always, are open :)

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Watchmaker Update

The current Universal Studios logoImage via Wikipedia

It's been awhile since I've written anything about the main reason this blog came to be, so, here's an update, on the movie. We've got an A list producer, and director, attached. Some sort of Letter of Intent from no less than Universal, which basically states they want rights of first refusal to put it on 2000 screens domestically.

That's pretty cool, but it's not an actual commitment yet. So, we're still looking for in the neighborhood of $6M to make the thing. Continue to pray. And to keep me alive in the meantime, the donation button is on the upper left :) Thanks!!!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

He is Risen...

Indy helps out with the egg hunt... [p52 w8]Image by Don Solo via Flickr

To which you should reply, “He is risen indeed!” Or so my former church would have you say. I'm at a smaller church now, so, we aren't so micromanaged, although, sometimes, I get that feeling when asked to stand and greet those around me. “Take 37 seconds to say good morning to those around you...” Was a recent call to “Share the joy” as again, my old church called it.

You might not know this, but I'm actually a very shy person. Don't know why that is, but I'd feel more comfortable if I woke up with a script next to me on my nightstand every morning. Of course, life would be a bit more boring, if that were in deed the case.

This may be why I became a filmmaker in the first place. I started as an actor, and through the grace of God, have been given all these incredible opportunities to create as well. So, I guess that's what this post is ultimately about, as I need to payoff a few people from this last 168 Project film I did, as well as continue to make more 168 films in the coming years. So, I've put this new thing here, and you may use the current donation button, or this new one.

Much thanks to those that have already contributed, and the list is too long, or else I'd name you individually. Your hard work is what got me here, and I hope we can continue to work together to create amazing films.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

168 -> The Doorpost

Well, it would seem that although I screen on Saturday, April 4th, @ the Alex Theatre in Glendale, I did not make the finals, and am now only eligible for an audience award. Thanks to those that supported me, and if you can make it to the festival, I hope to see you there!!!

A funny thing happened on the way to the 168 Project this year. The fine folks @ allowed 168 entries from this year's competition to compete, if we could one, hold off on allowing votes 'til April 5th (168 liking to premiere its films @ its own festival, seems reasonable to me) and two, cutting my film down to seven minutes. The second part was a little harder, as we needed to get the complete credits in as well. With a little tweaking to the original film which came in @ 9:20, I was able to do exactly that.

However, at this point, I do have some additional expenses that were incurred as a result. Between $500 and $1000 depending on who you ask :) And I would appreciate a donation in any amount @ the usual button in the upper right, if you feel so led. Also, tell all your friends, as competition is 30% decided by online voting!!! So, pray for Three of Clubs, as start voting for it on the 5th!!!

So, to review, festival, online voting, need more donations. That about covers it. Thanks again!!!
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Friday, February 27, 2009

168 Clarity

They should rename it, The 147 1/2 Project. Well, at least in my case. I'll get a little publicity bump as I was the first team to turn in this year, however, it was very much a team effort. Still, over 20 hours ahead of the deadline, may be impressive. So, to review, or, in 21st century blogspeak, my takeaways:

  • 24 hours in a day, times 7, equals 168. Just don't try to stay up for all of them.
  • Delegate. As I've previously discussed elsewhere, you can't possibly know everything, AND
  • Some may know more than you. Embrace it.
  • Make sure your camera works with your editing bay. Did I say that one already?
  • As the director, it's your film. Well, ok, I'm writing this, so, it's my film :)
  • Actually, it's God's film, that he made through me.
  • It's not about me.
There's so much more that I learned, upto and including, what my children may or may not look like seven years from now....

So, the madness is over.And now, I can move on to stressing over more important things, like is it any good? :D God blessed this production throughout, bringing me several miracles when I was about to chuck it all through the closest window. I could name names here, but it's my hope that they'll get to give their own acceptance speech April 4th.

In conclusion, throughout this experience, I was granted a revelation, which is why the #168Madness is over, and now I'm experiencing, #168Clarity. Please RT :)

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

168 Madness

Post Production, Day One...

Took delivery of media. Delivered media to editor. Editor attempted to download. Twitter has corrupted my writing ability.

Ok, let's do a second take. Something you don't always have the luxury of during a 168. And when I say 168, it's short for well, a short. Many of you by now have already figured out that I'm fully immersed in the 168 Project, however, for those that don't, I am.

What does this mean? I'm making a ten minute short film, in a week, based on the Bible verse, Proverbs 17:6. The good news is, the poster to the right is almost a dead on version of the script I wrote. It's almost even the one that I shot.

Someone once told me that there are four versions of a film; The one you write, the one you shoot, the one you edit, and the one you see. At this point, which is roughly halfway, I've already made two films. The third will be done and turned in by 2p Friday, PST. You can see the fourth, well, the information's on the poster.

And, it's not too late to help out financially. The button on the right :)

Things learned so far this year....

  • No matter how good the actor is, if he can't stay on his mark, the take's ruined.
  • When shooting exteriors, it is necessary to shutdown the entire city, in order to avoid extraneous noises.
  • Make sure you get all your shots before you wrap production.
  • Corollary: Make sure the shots you do get are usable.
  • Not everyone participating in the making of a Christian film, is necessarily, a Christian.
  • When finding a camera, make sure it's compatible with your editing bay.
  • And finally, It's a sandbox, not a litterbox.
Still working on that second to last one. More as I know it.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Three of Clubs

Draft five acquired this title, and a couple of polishes later, we'll be shooting this thing starting today. By this time next week, depending on when you read this, we'll have a completed ten minute short film.

So, to review: Phil. 4:13. Not my verse for the film, but a good one nonetheless. Oh, donate if you feel so led, it's not too late. Or, buy something through the Amazon link. Both on the right....

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Screenplay Locked, and Cast Set

Comedy-Art WalkImage by robjtak via Flickr

Yes, of course I'm referring to my 168 Project film, which doesn't have a title yet. I suggested to my son, Untitled 2009 168 Project Team #32 Film, but my son vetoed that one. My verse is Proverbs 17:6; Children's children are a crown for the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

So, of course, I've written a comedy. I couldn't cast my kids though, as they're too young. I did cast my wife, however. It took me two days to connect with the verse, as it did last year. I like what I've written, as does the cast, but I guess they have no choice. I'll find out what all this means, on either April the 3rd or the 4th, when the movies shows on the big screen at the 168 Film Festival. Oh, the theme this year is Family Business, if I haven't told you that already.

So, continue to pray, and donate if you feel led. It's not too late. I still need supplies to provide copies for cast and crew, as well as the ability to feed them. Shooting starts Friday, and I'll have the film completed by the next Friday at the latest, however, I believe I can get this one done by Wednesday....
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Home Stretch

A film being made in Warsaw, Bracka streetImage via Wikipedia

Verse selection is Tuesday night, and I can't really start writing until then. However, as happened at this time last year, I'm chomping at the bit to write. Something. Anything. A grocery list. It doesn't matter, as long as it's the written word.

I don't know why this is, but it may have to do with the following: This whole 168 Project process is backwards, in my way of thinking. Normally, you write the script, find the money, find the crew that you can afford, and then shoot the movie, and complete post production, hopefully under budget. Oh, part of shooting the movie is finding the proper locations to represent what has been written.

Of course, for this festival, you effectively do everything in almost reverse: Raise the money, find the locations and crew, and the actual writing happens almost at the end. Almost as an afterthought, you shoot and perform post, in a week. 168 hours.

Clearly, I need prayer support, as well as financial. Thanks to all of you, we will be successful in glorifying God. Here's a verse for you: Phil.4:13.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

The 168 Project... Version 2.0.1

The Fox Plaza, in Century City a major financi...Image via Wikipedia59 directors + 168 hours of no sleep + 1 bible verse + a crew and cast = A film ready for the 168 Film Festival in Los Angeles.

I am a filmmaker. Or at least, that's what I put on my resume. And I am at it again with 168.

But I can’t do it without you.

So, what do I need?

  • $5000.00 – in any way that I can get it, pennies, $2 bills or $100 bills

  • An HD Camera – because a movie isn’t a movie without a way to film it

  • Prayer – especially since the deadline is February 20th

  • You - I need your commitment to participate on my team. For most of you, that will mean being available during the production week, which starts @ 2pm on February 20th

  • For those of you who don’t know what Project168 is, please check out The 168 Project Site.

    I humbly beg your assistance through modest donations to help me reach my monetary goal. With enough support of $5.00, $10.00 or $25.00 here and there, I feel I can make a truly Christian short film that will inspire and entertain, as well as be funny. All I am asking is for you to trade that Starbuck Latte for a regular cup of coffee, and send me the difference. Or keep your Latte and just send me money anyway! In return you will receive a credit in a finished Hollywood film and, if you don't have one already, then that's something to tell all your friends about.

    Thank you in advance for any help that you can give.

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    Monday, January 19, 2009

    The 168 Project... Version 2.0

    That's right, I'm doing it again. Taking the lessons I learned from the last time, and hopefully applying and improving on them this time. I'm Team #32 this year, which should net me a shot at a verse that I'll wholly comprehend out of the box.

    I am adding an additional level of make believe stress, as I've decided to do the Hitchcock thing, and put myself in my film. Pray for me :)

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