Music Video In Maine

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I had a blast last week filming a music video in my hometown of Long Island, Maine. The project was pro-bono for my sister and an upcoming community festival she’s involved with. In addition I got to shooting b-roll of Portland and Boston before coming back to New York, for use in an upcoming client project.  Got a lot done in two days!

It was a lot of fun and the weather was beautiful. Below are some of the screengrabs of what I shot for the music video (all with an HDSLR).  No budget, no fancy gear.  All volunteers and it came out great!

Thanks for checking out the stills!

-E

 

Working For Clients

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November 19, 2010

Working For Clients

It’s not the same as producing specs or making films independently… but it’s fun all the same!

If you’re considering producing films and video (or other media) for clientele, then certainly you can never get enough advice. Moving from the realm of producing your work independently on spec to working as a subcontractor for a studio or media company is a major step forward. In this installment I wanted to venture into how to approach client projects (verses your own personal projects) and what to expect and not expect. When I first started producing and directing commercials for client companies I was taken aback by the lack of efficiency, the inability to grasp a vision (even with storyboards) and the overall difficulty of getting my ideas across. Even with today’s tools (animatics etc.) it is still quite difficult for those not in this business to grasp a concept prior to its creation. Early on I was lucky enough to be warned of this and prior to landing my first real corporate gig, was able to formulate my ideas in a way that a business oriented executive would understand it. A large part of communicating your ideas to people not in the field of media production is to use vocabulary that they understand and utilize on a daily basis. Being able to talk the lingo of their industry is important if you’re going to be representing them in the media realm. You’re not just directing their commercial, you’re part of their marketing department and their marketing department should know everything there is to know about their product or service. Additionally, it helps to find someone within their company who understands the creative process. Film and video technology is well known enough that there’s usually somebody you can relay information to, should you be at a loss on how to articulate your vision.

On thing to keep in mind is this: while they hire you or your company for your professionalism, coordinating and creative abilities, it’s their ideas they’re going to go with, for the most part. It doesn’t matter if they like your work or your vision for their promotional media. They know their product and they know their service better than you ever will and if they think a certain approach won’t work – then it probably won’t. Sometimes you might be able to do a version of an ad to your vision, but the likelihood that they’d choose to go with it is extremely slim. The key is to not be offended. Artists are a very sensitive group of people and business execs can be very stubborn when it comes to the creation of their media, even if it doesn’t seem like they know what they’re doing. Unless their budding entrepreneurs, they’ve probably gone through the trials of production before and know exactly how things should go.

Don’t expect all out glory. I’ve never created anything for clients that I was 100% satisfied with, mainly because any aspects of a production I would consider great, the client will sometimes refuse to utilize. Some commercials I’ve created, while pristine upon assembly, once edited at the request of the client, end up being as generic and boring as anything on the market today. This isn’t anyone’s fault. Sometimes you’re vision doesn’t fit the needs of the company. Sometimes the company isn’t ready for a risky or innovative campaign. Perhaps it wouldn’t appeal to the demographic they’re trying to court. An example I have from a previous work: I had my DP shoot this beautiful Steadicam walk-through of the client’s establishment (a service industry). It was incredibly cinematic, like something out of Goodfellas. Upon delivery of the assembly, the first comment was to lose the Steadicam shot. It turns out that the client didn’t want to reveal how big the establishment really was and the Steadicam shot revealed that (you could see three walls during the entire walk through). I hadn’t considered this and even though it was on my storyboards, it didn’t occur to them that this would be an issue until after the commercial was assembled. Most production companies would start billing overages for cock-ups like this, I on the other hand rather enjoyed the surprise (after griping about it for a week). Rather than taking my distraught feelings out on their bill, I decided to make the best of it and get creative with the editing. I ended up delivering several 30 second versions with different shots in place of the walk-through, plus a 1 minute version that included the walk-through in case they wanted a video to loop on the monitors inside the place of business. It wouldn’t matter then because the patrons would already have seen what the interior looks like.

Your job isn’t to creatively direct a project as much as it is to be a reassuring presence during the period in which they are producing their media. You’re going to be more of a consultant than anything, especially during the pre-production and post-production processes.

Things that are most likely to bother you when working with clients:

1. Removing shots: as discussed above with the “steadicam” walk-through.
2. Music:
 I’ve had clients choose low quality stock music over beautifully composed original score. In this case there’s not a whole lot you can do except use the music they think will best serve the intentions of the media. After all, it’s their media not yours, all you can do is advise them on the pros and cons and let it be.

A common resolve to any of these problems: If you’re editing it yourself or have a good relationship with your editor, have two versions done. Use the version of the commercial you want for your portfolio and deliver the version the client wants for broadcast.

Don’t let any of this scare you. Working for clients can be quite rewarding and help you establish a good footing in a very saturated and difficult industry. You’re a professional now, creative control isn’t something everyone is able to hold onto (even the guys in the big leagues).

As Optimus Prime says “No Sacrifice, No Victory”. I couldn’t agree more!

-E

 

 

Don’t Wait – Just Make Your Movie!

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November 10, 2010

 

Don’t Wait To Make Your Movie: Just Make It

 

If you’re like me and want to spend as little financial resources as possible into your film project, the best investment you can make is to take the time and learn how to utilize what equipment you have to the max. Most people, regardless of their experience and knowledge, rarely maximize the equipment they have access to. For the past two years I’ve been shooting on a Canon XH-A1 for the most part, with the exception of a few medium budget client projects that required my company rent higher end cameras. Through shooting commercials, plays, music videos and my own films, I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I use this camera, I will never realize it’s true full potential. The XH-A1 is an amazing camera, and the funny part is, with the proliferation of memory cards and hard drives instead of tape, my camera is practically obsolete (which kind of creases me, seeing as how I paid $3,500 to get it going).

It’s a shame though, this baby has paid my rent since I first started shooting with it and hasn’t failed me yet. She works in low light conditions, bright conditions, and not a single weather pattern or climate has quelled it’s performance. It’s a trooper, a workhorse. If you’re like me, occasionally you probably get the idea that you should hold off on certain “special” projects until you acquire a bigger budget or a better camera. But what I’ve come to realize after being out of the indie-film game for a few years (between the ages of 24 and 26), is that once you start waiting, you’ve basically given up on the idea altogether.

Dream projects are possible, even if executing them isn’t the vision you had when you first conceived these ideas. The mindset is the first thing you need to get control of. Stop thinking about what equipment you don’t have access to and accept what equipment you do have access to. In the end all you need is a camera, a tripod, a couple of lights and a device to record separate audio (or a good shotgun mic to attach to the camera). Beyond that, everything else is fluff. You don’t need more than three lights on average, you don’t need a glidecam, a jib, dolly, slider or a second unit camera. Some folks just starting out may not realize this, but if you back yourself away from the subject your filming, and zoom in, you can easily create the out-of-focus background effect without any additional lens attachments. Check out this still from my upcoming film “Caroline of Virginia“:

No fancy attachments, just me several feet away on a zoom. It’s amazing what can be achieved with a little bit of experimentation. It’s also wonderful to be able to compete with films that have used such devices and for the filmmakers of said films to assume you utilized the same tools. Now this has happened and the look on their faces when you tell them you didn’t, well: sure it’s a look of disdain mixed with disbelief, but it’s still satisfactory on some level. If you’re interested in tips/tricks to increasing the production value of your film, without spending a dime, subscribe to this blog.

Cheers,

-Eric

Filmmaking Is Terrorism

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November 3, 2010

Filmmaking Is Terrorism

Filming a bus on a street is an act of terrorism.

So said the MTA Police on the morning of November 2, 2010. Producing independent films has gotten a lot easier in so many ways, but in other ways it increasingly becomes more difficult. Some years back a security guard at Brooklyn Borough Hall made my directing partner and I delete our footage, because, as he insisted, “filming of public buildings in the United States is illegal”. Of course this has never been true, but we could not afford the drama of getting our camera confiscated, thus the argument essentially ended with us flashing our footage at his demand. As a result, what was supposed to be Brooklyn Borough Hall in the film is actually an office building about four blocks away. More recently I grabbed a hand held camera and heading out to capture some shots of the city between the hours of 6 and 9AM. This, in my opinion, has always been the best time to photograph, videotape or professionally film the city. Have you ever walked through Times Square at 5:30 in the morning? On any morning? There are no words. The footage was titled “New York Waking Up” and was going to be included in a short “fairy tale” film I had been working on over the last couple of months. My idea was to honor the city by portraying our most common motives of transportation: how New Yorkers “get around”. Rather than indulging in our famous landmarks and neighborhoods, I wanted to show buses and trains. As I walked from 140th Street into the Manhattanville section of the city, heading south along Riverside, I stumbled across a line of buses parked along the street, waiting for a green light. I began to film them.

Once they had gone, I continued walking towards Broadway and found another line of buses, filmed them too. Clearly they were just starting their routes and the footage clearly depicted that. It was after filming the second round of buses that a white SUV with the MTA logo on the side pulled up, yellow lights flashing, garbled chatter coming over the radio and a sense of urgency in the air. A uniformed MTA Police Officer stepped out. Three plain clothes officers quickly appeared from all remaining directions, in effect “surrounding me”. The uniformed officer proceeded to inform me that by filming the buses on the street that I was committing a “terrorist act” and that the filming of buses, subways and anything that belongs to the MTA is an act that would get me arrested and on a terrorist watch list. He suggested I erase the footage. I was very polite, thinking at first that he was joking, but quickly realized he wasn’t. He gave me the usual “since 9/11” hubbub. Any photographer or filmmaker operating in a major city probably knows what I’m talking about. I offered them my business card and ID, which they didn’t accept. They didn’t seem to care who I was, what my background was, only to keep insisting that I was a terrorist. I assured him I would stop filming buses and quickly packed up my equipment, insisting on my ignorance and continued to head south.

The incident took about three minutes.

I can’t get my mind wrapped around the absurdity. Why would a bus driver call in a security threat for something so trivial? Perhaps I was too close to the bus depot? Even so, I was not on their property, so I don’t see how it would have mattered. The MTA is not the military and their buildings are not military bases. The military has class, sophistication and well… the MTA doesn’t. The filming of buses cannot be illegal, it just can’t be. Neither can the filming of trains, buildings or bridges. Especially filming from public property that isn’t owned by the agency. Don’t get me wrong, I understand there is an on and off threat of terrorism. I understand that it’s getting tougher for law enforcement these days to do their jobs and I sympathize, I really do. But what kind of a city has New York become where being an independent filmmaker is blacklisted as being on par with professional terrorism? Where making films is the same thing as committing mass-murder? What kind of a country is this where the target of law enforcement agencies has become your local population of struggling artists rather than actual terrorists?

In response to this incident, I called the MTA Media/Press Office to try and go through proper channels with getting permission to film “their” buses. The woman I talked to was incredibly unhelpful and suggested that permission would be granted to film for a fee. A fee. That’s what this is about… not security, not terrorism but monetary compensation to the MTA. I felt stupid. I thought this was about the terrorist threat. I’ve officially dubbed this the “pay us or risk arrest” policy. The MTA of New York is the first to be branded as practicing such a policy.

In retrospect I can see why they would pick on us… we have vision, drive and dedication to something that they cannot fathom. They are vision-less people. Perhaps not all of them, but most of them. The MTA has nothing to do with New York City except that they service our transportation needs, and do a pretty bad job at it. You see, the MTA is a poorly state run agency that will never be good enough to service the greatest city in the world and therefore when four or five bullies wearing MTA Police badges decide to bust your balls for doing your job, do what I did: pretend to erase your footage, act sincere and apologetic, get out… come back tomorrow.

- – Editor’s Note – -

Sometimes it’s tough to be on your toes in this situation, but it’s important that you have a mechanism to record the badge number of the officer/security guard and department that the officer/security guard works with.

Metro New York published a heavily edited version of this entry:

Juror 3 | A Short Film

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This past week I produced my first high definition shot film. Juror 3, was shot as an exercise to help me familiarize myself with the Canon XH-A1. While a lot remains to be worked out on a technical level, I’ve gotten the hang of it and am looking forward to using this camera with some of our upcoming client projects.

All of the film was shot in a single day in three different areas of the city. We started out in the morning, filming in the federal district. Using the city’s new “optional permits” we filmed a scene in the park just in front of 60 Centre Street (the courthouse where I reported to jury duty a little while back). We then proceeded to take a trip on the free, Staten Island Ferry, so I could get establishing shots of the Manhattan Skyline. We proceeded uptown to West End Avenue and 81st Street where we filmed in Ariel’s apartment. Jan’s lifelong friend Ariel and her family were very helpful in letting us have access to their home, the building, rooftop etc. A very cool production!

Aside from being my first HD movie, the unique thing about Juror 3 is it’s remarkable large cast for such a short story.  Branden came down to Maine to work on this (and our upcoming Luzzo’s commercial) and the cast of Spuyten Duyvil, some of our friends and new actors who I hadn’t worked with before. We’re still editing it and it’s turning  out to be quite the little pain in the ass. Overlapping conversations between 7 or more people for one, isn’t an easy task. Will update more later.

-E

The Chronicles of The Long Island Project – Chapter 3

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PART V: Editing & Post-Production

To edit the film I re-formatted my entire computer system from Windows 2000 Professional to Windows XP Home so that I could run a simplified version of Avid Xpress DV. I used this to quickly cut the film together and submit it to a few festivals, which I had been weary of as a result of my experience back in Portland (see earlier blog). At the time I had the intention of re-editing it before any mass-distribution takes place-the cut I made on this system is the cut that exists as of 2006.

Between October and December I finally received our effect shots-Frank and I had hired a professional f/x artist to add some signage to several of our city shots. We had him
replace the MetLife sign on the MetLife Building with the name MOYNIHAN. As well we had him replace the Roslyn Bank sign at the Roslyn Bank in Syosset to the TRAMAIN CREDIT UNION. There were other smaller fixes, like adding digital golf balls in the scene where Moynihan is smacking golf balls off his Manhattan rooftop. So with complete on-location filming, Hollywood level effects, I have, up to this point, achieved the most so far in a movie, on a technical and aesthetic level.


PART VI: The Fallen Premiere

On July 11th, 2006 we were set up to premiere the film at a lower east side establishment called “The ——-.” This was done through a connection with Shareef, our beloved
Brooklyn Borough President. Now, by this time, Frank and Ana have quite literally dropped out of the film, as well as a few others involved. Mostly because of Frank’s college programs and work etc.  But in general, people lost interest in it, very quickly. As well many festivals had been rejecting the film. So I was ecstatic when I learned that The ——- wanted to premiere “The Long Island Project.” Well, the night it was slated to happen I showed up with my DVD of the film and a MiniDV tape. So not only did I have a perfectly written DVD, but I had a wonderful backup.

Well, I arrived several hours early to see if they needed help setting up the showing. Dana (the marketing person for the establishment) proceeded to tell me that there were no
technical people working on the night – and I had to set it up myself. I said that would be fine. So I went upstairs to the projection room – and found the worst system I’ve ever seen.
It was a make-shift projection system, they had strange adapters linking guitar cables to the DVD Player, and there was no power going to the projector. Well, after screwing
around with it for about an hour I decided to take the DVD Player down and see if I could get it working with another outlet. Well, their DVD player is a portable DVD player from a company called INITIAL, a company which I’ve never heard of before.

It failed to play my DVD. So I looked to see if there was a way I could link a camera to the system… there appeared to be a way, except those funny little adapters that were linking
the guitar cables with the DVD player were going to pose a problem. So I ran all the way up to 13th Street between Avenues A and B to ring JT, see if he could help me out with this problem. But I forgot which apartment he lived in! I ended up asking around until I got escorted out of the building. So I ran back down to Delancey Street to find my friend Manuel waiting. I told him the bad news, but said that I had to wait around to tell other
people as well. Within the next fifteen minutes (fifteen minutes from Showtime) only three of my actors showed up, and two of my friends from work. Five people showed up. Most of the cast was missing, my co-director was missing, and my producer was missing.

This was without question the ultimate failure of an independent film. It was humiliating and unnecessary. A film that is original by someone who is passionate, to bomb because it never got seen. From here on in I was far too exhausted to continue pursuing it, as well, I had been completely drained of funds. I blew a lot of my own finances on this, and starved myself for weeks while paying for the post-production and the festival
submissions. So the way my mind was set, no one will see “The Long Island Project.” At least not outside of the circle that made the film.

PART VII: Distribution

There were several cool things that happened during production and post-production. The first was that we put out a trailer for the movie on YouTube, before it was bought by Google. We were one of the most popular videos on YouTube that week and even made the week’s top video list and was featured on the front page. Now that YT is owned by Google, that would never happen. Secondly, the programming director of the Swansea Bay Film Festival reached out to us and said he wanted to program our film, just based on the trailer. I wanted to take him up on it but could not afford to make a PAL encoded DVD at the time.

POST-DIARY UPDATE:

In 2009 I stumbled across Amazon’s indie-film distribution site called CreateSpace. They publish self-produced works, whether it be a film, a book or music – and provides you with
an opportunity to not only publish it, but distribute it on Amazon.com. This ended up being the final delivery method of getting The Long Island Project to the public. A two disc
special edition was created using a professional grade DVD authoring program I had purchased for my relatively new production company (at the time). The DVD was available
May 2009 and copies sent to actors who had managed to keep in touch.

Someone later on asked me why I fought so hard to find a mechanism for getting this out into the world, since few from the cast and crew seemed to not care much about it. I told
them that I still remembered where the project originated from – that little alcove in Virgin’s Customer Service. And there’s a story to that alcove, to that store – a story too big even for these chronicles.

Long Island, New York from the movie “The Long Island Project”.

The Chronicles of The Long Island Project – Chapter Two

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PART IV: Principle Photography


Day One

The first day of Principle Photography was July 13th, 2005. Our first day was scheduled to be one of the busiest and toughest days of the entire shoot. We had three primary
locations we needed to shoot in: Central Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and Battery Park.

Frank and I arrived to Central Park at 9:00AM. The meeting spot was the 79th Street entrance at Fifth Avenue. Chris Diaz first showed up followed by Jack Moran. We immediately made our way into the park to film at the Bethesda Fountain. This was the only location we could get in the New York Metropolitan area WITH permission, the Central Park Conservancy even went as far as to shut off the fountain for us so that audio would not be an issue.

I filmed the scene with Jack and Chris discussing the political dangers of a “secession project”-it was very much like the scene in JFK when Costner is walking along the National Mall with Sutherland. That was the tone I wanted and got from the first take to the last. After the shooting of each scene I had the actors record the dialog straight into the microphone (in a quiet area.) This way I would also have a clean ADR track to work with. I did this for all of the exterior scenes in the film. Reggie Hines (our PA for the day) also hooked us up with some great ADR for a scene that I would be shooting in August.

LIP filming in Flushing Meadows Corona Park 2005 We proceeded to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens–one of the last stops on the 7 Line. This is the location of the 1964 World’s Fair as well as many other mainstream film locations. It’s a beautiful park and although we had to wait about twenty minutes for it to stop raining, we proceeded towards the interior of the park to shoot a scene between
Jack Moran and Chris Diaz smacking golf balls. This was also Greg Vorob’s first day—his character of “Agent” was to deliver a subpoena to Chris’s character to appear before a
Senate Committee Hearing over the legitimacy of their secession movement. The only
thing about that particular shoot was the airplanes coming and going from nearby LaGuardia Airport! Aside from that we got what we needed and pretty much what
we wanted.

Chris Diaz, Jack Moran, Eric Norcross & Frank Pina Because we were so tired by mid-afternoon we decided to move the Battery Park scene over to Carl-Shurz Park (because it was closer to my house.) We went to my “then” apartment on the Upper East Side and had lunch (Taco Bell), and then proceeded to do a scene with one of my “cameo appearances.” The scene was supposed to be me antagonizing Chris’s character for starting such an absurd secession movement, and it ended with him knocking me to the ground and walking away. It was funny and we filmed it pretty good. Only to find out later that the microphone had been disabled (because the headphones were plugged into the mic-jack and the operator wasn’t monitoring the audio.) So the footage was useless except for one last take of me yelling “The Long Island
Secession Council, what a bunch of fucking morons!” NOTE: This outtake/cut scene appears after the closing credits of the film.

When Frank and I returned to the apartment to set up the next day’s shoot, we received a message that our primary actress had dropped out… immediately I began deleting her
character from the story and re-arranging it so that they wouldn’t need her. The only remaining piece of evidence to clue anyone in on a missing character is the Flushing Meadows scene when Chris Diaz mentions a woman named “Lilly.” Aside from that, we managed to successfully delete “Lilly” from existence.

Day Two

Day two was a bit more stressful at first because we were trying to re-fit the script that day to read well without the lead female character. We were shooting all of the interior scenes of Rasputin’s Apartment that day (location was Frank’s apartment in Woodside, Queens.) Kevin Gall and Chris Diaz who were playing the two male leads were given the extra duty to take what would normally be dialog between three characters and convert the scenes into two character dialog.

Kevin Gall & Chris Diaz This would be done through-out the entire shoot with all characters that ran into the lead female at any point in the script. Our idea was that if we could blow through the material that day without any qualms, then we’d be set for the shoot. It would be a cinch. No problem. The character of Lilly would be nothing but history. At first it wasn’t easy, but as
the day progressed it did get easier… and then easier. By the end of the day we realized that we didn’t need this character to begin with, so it was at this point that we
began to foresee how the film would come out. NOTE: In retrospect I was wrong, this film would have been much stronger with a female character working the story.

July

We filmed “The Long Island Project from July 2005 through September 2005. We filmed it on Tuesdays and Weds every week. The most important days were scheduled around my bi-weekly pay periods at my day job, which was still the Virgin Megastore in Times Square.

Many locations we intended to get, we ended up not getting and had to replace them with more accessible locals.  That has proven to be the true nature of filming in New York City (or any city).  Sacrifice.  The rooftop scene we ended up shooting on a beautiful balcony at
Hunter College West–on the Upper East Side. This was for the scene where “Conrad Moynihan” (played by Jack Moran) is hitting golf balls off the roof of his skyscraper. The
scene was shot using him and Kevin Gall (who plays Johnnie Tramain), because actor Chris Diaz was late for the shoot that day.

Jack Moran preparing to film at Hunter College for The Long Island Project  A major argument between the two actors ensued and Kevin cursed Chris out pretty bad. I understood where Kevin was coming from–I was just as angry, but because I needed
both actors I decided to just try and calm them both down (instead of joining in, which is what I wanted to do.) That same day we also shot the cameo with Ollie (from the DVD
Department at Virgin) and some additional scenes with Dawn Simmonds in the lobby.

Our first shoot day with John Tully (plays Senator Deakins) was at Hunter College West as well. We couldn’t get permission to film inside one of the classrooms, so we snuck into one and set it up as fast as we could. This was the scene for the Senate Caucus Hearing, towards the latter half of the picture. By the time we got to filming, security peeked in and
thought that there was a class going on. It went rather smoothly, considering how nervous I was of getting caught!

August

August was a long month–especially for the production. Endless summer days and nights with nothing but scorching city heat. The sticky kind that made you want to vomit. If any of the readers of this blog has never experienced the amount of heat one is subjected to by spending a summer in New York–well let’s just say, it’s like walking around in the center of the sun but a million times worse.  There is no escape from the heat–at least no immidiate escape that doesn’t require a bucket load of cash.

The day we ventured out to Long Island for our “Long Island shoot day”, it was in the high eighties and low nineties. From what I remember. There was a long moment I was waiting to roll camera at the Stony Brook LIRR platform that I couldn’t even take a breath because the air was so thick. I felt sick–so we filmed the scene as fast as possible and got back into the air-conditioned car and sped back east to film in Syosset and Plainview (near Ana’s residence at the time–a place where we could cool down for a while.)

Addtionally we filmed with Robert Youngren for the first time. He played a character named Monticello Palermo, a gangster that the secession movement needed to secure
“blue collar votes” – more of a joke than a plot point. For this, Robert, John Tully, Greg Vorob and I walked across the George Washington Bridge to Fort Lee, New Jersey – on
the hottest day of the summer and filmed all of Robert’s scenes in a little park that overlooked the Hudson. We even managed to capture some blooper reel gags.


Wrapping Up

Our last official day of filming was in Washington, DC. Frank, JT (Senator Deakins) and I all ventured down to Washington, DC for a day of nothing but improvisational filming. We
took establishing shots of the city, the nation’s monuments, our actor walking around the most famous parts of town and entering and exiting government buildings. As well we
landed ourselves an improvisational cameo from Illinois Congressman Henry J. Hyde. Mr. Hyde was kind enough to run a little “secession” related sketch between himself and JT. It was the highlight of our day-and probably the most memorable aspect of our shoot since Hyde is most famous for going after Clinton for the Lewinsky thing. It’s cool to have your arch enemy on the political front, interacting with the villain in your film. I will never forget this day. Not to mention filming on the Exorcist Steps, in George Town, for a scene that was destined for the blooper reel!

After resting up at Tully Compound we hit the road again, this time I crashed in the
backseat –  and when I woke up the Midtown Skyline was sprawling in front of me-we were on the Jersey Turnpike and just about to head into the Lincoln Tunnel. This is how the shoot of “The Long Island Project” ended. With smiles and the glorious feeling of success.  The skyline of New York City laid out before me and all and all good feelings.

Hero For A Day – Production Diary Entry #2

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Written as part of a production diary in January 2002.

Last month I wrote a short script called Hero For A Day, with many locations in mind. The island is a good place to shoot a movie, at least in the winter. It is my opinion that there are only two good things about living on a secluded island: first and foremost, no one likes to be here when it’s cold so you have the ability to shoot anywhere you want, on any land you want and no one would know the better or be the wiser because… they’re not here.

Julie Geistert in Hero For A Day (2002)

Some of the places we’ve started shooting at are places like South Beach, where Julie videotapes a murder. Branden is helping me shoot it on his Sony TRV-900, a wonderful little camera that’s far better than anything the film school had. I am playing the bad guy – not that I feel I have any acting chops but I honestly can’t find anyone old enough that doesn’t look and talk like a damned fisherman. Everyone else is a year or two behind me, still in high school for the most part. Some of the peers from my own class are away at school or took jobs in town.

Sean Callen & Julie Geister in Hero For A Day (2002)

We also got a scene in the can where Julie hands the tape over to Sean. Sean has a good screen presence and I would hope that he’d pursue some sort of acting in the future, although that’s incredibly doubtful. He’s pretty set on going into the Marines, after all – it was for this very reason that he was the primary person I wrote the script for.

Last but not least we shot a scene in the old generator building. The great cinematic location on the island. It’s big, empty, dark, damp… dangerous. Everything you want in an action/thriller.
-Publisher’s Note-

Hero For A Day is now available on DVD via Amazon.com, and includes two versions of the film, the original 2002 cut that premiered at the now defunct Spar Restaurant and the 2009 re-edit with a new score and sound design.

Hero For A Day (2002)

Hero For A Day (2002)

Pick it up at: http://www.amazon.com/Geistert-Norcross-Doughty-Lauren-MacVane/dp/B0029XFOKM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340629434&sr=8-1&keywords=hero+for+a+day+eric+norcross

Hero For A Day – Production Diary Entry #1

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Written as part of a production diary that began in December 2001.

Hero For A Day is my first production since being back in Maine from my short stint in Vancouver. Vancouver is a nice town and I enjoyed my time living there, but my experience at (school name removed) wasn’t all it was supposed to be. In fact, I found the school itself to have been a gigantic waste of money. They should have come out and said: Go to school here and be taught by a bunch of disgruntled filmmakers who can’t get real directing work so they have to resort to teaching at this forth rate school. In addition, the entire program was a popularity contest, so your success isn’t “what you make of it” as they often say, but what your peers dictate. The instructors don’t want you to succeed (otherwise jealousy runs rampant). So now I’m back in Maine and bored out of my fricken mind.

I spent the summer mowing lawns for (name removed), who may have been ripping me off. I’m not sure. Something’s fishy about his payment policies and I may reconsider working for him next year (if I’m doomed to still be here). In addition, fucking 9/11 has everything all screwed up and so what better way to exhibit my feelings than by developing a government conspiracy flick? I finally got a script, about 15 odd pages with storyboards added into the scenes on the page. I’m flying high on cloud nine. I presented the script to Branden and the plan is to start shooting after the New Year. Hopefully it’ll take off.

-Publisher’s Note-

Hero For A Day is now available on DVD via Amazon.com, and includes two versions of the film, the original 2002 cut that premiered at the now defunct Spar Restaurant and the 2009 re-edit with a new score and sound design.

Hero For A Day (2002)

Hero For A Day (2002)

Pick it up at: http://www.amazon.com/Geistert-Norcross-Doughty-Lauren-MacVane/dp/B0029XFOKM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340629434&sr=8-1&keywords=hero+for+a+day+eric+norcross