Doritos

So Saturday.  The big cheese/boss man/director of our production company decided we were filming a Doritos commercial.  This was a wonderful thing, because one of our producers had a fantastic idea for it.  But his idea didn’t involve showing up at 8am on a very cold Saturday.

Thanks director man.

Aside from freezing for three hours or so, I was roped into part of the crowd of extras.  I was the only female and I happened to be wearing a white coat, while all the guys wore black.  I kept trying to hide behind the other extras–I don’t like being on camera–but director man wouldn’t let that go.  He wanted me in the shot.

Fine.

Maybe I should just take it as a compliment.  Or just trust director man.  It would be awfully unreal to have a whole crowd of people with no females.

Let’s back up.  Why were we filming a Doritos commercial?  Because we want to play at the Superbowl.  Why would we play at the Superbowl?  If we win the contest, of course.

Oh, and we’d get a million dollars.

Oh, and work with Michael Bay.

Guess it’s a good thing that we had an excellent idea.  And an excellent director man to push us to actually get it done.  Our super short film showing at the Superbowl would make 3 cold hours totally worth it.

Oooo…Millions of people watching me shiver in my white coat…

But thanks director man.  You’re gonna get us in the same room as Michael Bay.  Maybe we’ll even get to blow something up.

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Webseries…Yes

Yup.  Picture of nerds fighting.  Why?

Because who wouldn’t want to watch nerds fight?

I shot listed the first episode of my webseries, Things We Do in Public.  The episode is called The Beard, and revolves around a group of friends–who happen to be nerds–finding out what each of them wouldn’t do in public.  It’s a turning point, really, because they decide that no one does anything cool in public anymore.

I really enjoy doing shot lists.  Last weekend I was script supervising, you know this, and I had a chance to survey someone else’s shot list.  Intimately.  He did an excellent job.

Just different.

I noticed that I am still very affected by M. Night Shyamalan in my shots.  Even after my love affair with Seamus McGarvey, I consider Shyamalan my cinematography inspiration.  I can’t stand static filming.  Movies like Sense and Sensibility drive me crazy, because the shots are set up like this;

WIDE SHOT, MID SHOT, CLOSE UP.

Repeat.

No change, no movement, no creativity or artistry.  This movie is like someone churned it out of a factory.  It’s worse filmmaking than most beginning filmmakers I know.

I refuse to film like that.  If my shot list starts looking like that…

iPad, Not Monitor

I told the DP from the shoot this past weekend that I thought there was an adapter that would turn the iPad into a monitor for camcorders.  I remembered seeing something in B&H along those lines, but I had no interest in a monitor at the time.  My iPad was bought for a completely different reason, and I’ve posted a little about it previously.

The DP was excited and asked me to send him the link.  Okay.  I spent about half an hour trying to find that cable.  I read through forums and specs and even the physical B&H catalog.

                

Guess what?

Doesn’t exist.

The iPad is not designed to take in video, only output.  Even if a cable existed, it wouldn’t matter.  The only viable solutions I read about involved thousands of dollars, which would make the convenience of an iPad-turned-monitor moot.

I guess he’ll have to invest in a monitor after all.

(These people talk about it too.)

But, I’ve come up with a solution.  You’ll love it.  Just mount the iPad so that its camera eye is facing your camcorder LCD or viewfinder.  Turn the camera app on.

Enjoy.

Sound and Other Mysteries

During filming this past weekend I was script supervisor, boom operator and sound person.  This isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I like to keep busy.  I have run sound once before, but I don’t really count it.  That movie was never finished and I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time.

Not that I did this time.

For the past 9 weeks I’ve been teaching a children’s class on radio drama.  I used Soundtrack Pro to record and edit my class’ radio episodes.  This editing program is maddening, but I think I’ve finally mastered the art of keeping up with the madness.

I have never been awesome with sound.  I have some sort of hearing loss that keeps me from understanding some tones easily.  My siblings listened to books on tape and all that when we were growing up.  That wasn’t my thing.

I watched movies.  And read books.

I try to tell people I’m visual.  With teachers it was the hardest.  I had a teacher once who played Psycho without sound on a giant screen, then stood in front of it and lectured.  I have no idea what she said that day.  I was too busy trying to figure out why the blonde lady was running off with all that money.

When I taught this class, I was learning alongside my students.  I love the idea of sound.  And recently I’ve been paying more attention to the sounds in movies.  It’s pretty cool.

I read in a great book, The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide, that sound is the most important part of filmmaking.  If you mess it up, no one will take you seriously.

Okay.  Later tonight I will post my class’ radio drama on Youtube.  Check and see if I messed it up.

Weekend Filming

After filming all yesterday and today:

Actually going to sleep is impossible right now.

Yesterday call time was 8:30am.  We ended at 8pm.  Today call time was 10am.  We ended at 6pm ish.  Then we hung out and…filmed interviews of each other.

And ya know what?  That’s pretty typical for movie-making.

Compare and Contrast

Recently there has been a spike in interest in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes is one of the most filmed and movie-fied literary characters of all time.  In the past 5 years, 3 (technically 4) notable Holmes screen adaptions have been released.  (Of course, there were other adaptions released, but I haven’t seen them.)

First, the Robert Downey Jr. movie, Sherlock Holmes, which stunned and intoxicated movie lovers with its impressive editing techniques.  Of course this was followed by Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which lived up to the fascinating editing of its predecessor.

Second, the BBC miniseries Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, both actors also appearing in the new Hobbit franchise.  Sherlock updated the Holmes stories for modern London, with smart phones, stark, almost noir lighting, and the world’s first consulting detective.

Thirdly, CBS just released the TV show Elementary, a modern version set in New York, but maintaining a British Sherlock Holmes.  This last adaptation is odd for its female portrayal of Watson, witty banter, and Holmes’ banishment from the London in which he has always been known.

A comparison of the trailers reveals…Well, what does it reveal?

Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock.

Elementary.