Saturday, July 30, 2005


The short film I've been working on as Pretty is now known as Polar.
I'm nearly finished, the deadline for NWFVF is Monday.

There are some shots of the actors swinging at a playground. The angle I chose to shoot them and the speed that they're swinging presents some problems visually. I tried to chop it down to minimize the swing shots, but the story was weakened. I almost fell prey to putting the visual look first. Maybe it will make this short more polished looking, but I'm not going for polished in the long run. Especially at the expense of the story. I did a little digital blur effect to simulate more natural movement and had I not mentioned it, I'm not sure there would be any notice taken.
Takes courage to let things be and to trust that my best, provided it is my best, at any given time is good enough.

There's a little sidebar interview with Lalo Shifrin in The Oregonian A&E section's Film Freak.
He says he always tells himself whatever project he's working on is the best film in the world.
That seems wise. And nothing like an easy thing to do for someone like me.

Too often I'm lamenting what I didn't acheive as I'm cutting a film. As if it's the last film I'll ever make.

neal a. corl

La Gioia

Just returned from a film shoot. I had a small part as a detective. Really basic lines of dialogue and only half a page total for the one scene. I looked it over a couple of times and did not have much inspiration. It wasn't bad at all, just very plain jane. What I did have was a certain degree of confidence in my ability to be in the moment and have fun with it. The director and DP set up a cool shot and let us work. He told us what he liked and stayed pretty clear. Indeed my instincts kicked in -- we did a couple of takes, I found some good stuff, everybody laughed and said great job, I signed a release and said my goodbyes.
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I need to remind myself prior to such engagements that I have been asked to come down and contribute as an actor and nothing more. I am not a producer nor director nor any other of the myriad hats I wear at any given time on other projects.
To suit up, show up and shut up is a true joy.
I have nobody to resent, no remorse to suffer, no inventory to take. I can simply look forward to the news that the film is screening at some point in the near future.
This is the first time in a long time that it's been this clean.
I think I'm finally ready for a fresh start to clear the way for more inspired work on all fronts.
Thank goodness.

signore direttore

Sunday, July 24, 2005

200 or so hours later …

The 72-Hour Film shoot went reasonably well. We drew classic film as our genre and we decided that meant Film Noir. There is a poll on the Filmerica Challenge website listing Classic as the genre least hoped for by far.
I was unable to stay clear of writing duties. The writing corps failed to produce anything coherent by hour seven, so the director asked me to take charge. Half an hour later we had a rough draft. And home I went to a puking child that kept me up for the few precious hours remaining of the night.
Our rehearsal process was nil and the head writer that had been shoved aside was now the AD. We clashed. It was ugly. Then we moved on. I liked the improvisational nature of the acting as I used takes to discover the writing and the character and story. Aislinn, my co-lead was great. I was supposed to seduce her, but her actual boyfreind had been cast in a supporting role, so I found myself tentative with that objective at times. I didn't feel much light in my eyes and the camera always seemed very distant. When I saw the film later on, it was as I feared. Wide. Way too wide.
They used two cameras. My theory on two camera shoots is it makes filmmakers lazy. As an actor I don't know which camera to play to. Likely why TV acting is so broad and general. Two cameras might be cool for closeups, but the lighting takes so long, might as well just turn around. As a director I like one camera closeups so I can give actors that need more time off-camera duty. As an actor I like to work in an up tempo rhythm, so I love to go first on the closeups.
There were some folks I really enjoyed working on the project. Some grew on me, some wore on me. One woman in particular still occupies a bit of space in my brain. Overall, it was a good experience. It could have gone a lot worse.
It's screening next Sunday at the Hollywood Theater at 6:30pm. I have a deadline Monday for something else I'm working on, but if I'm not pressed I'll probably go see my mug on the big screen.

We finished Pretty this week as well. Joey and Shari did a great job. I'm logging and capturing the footage right now. A lot of good stuff. There's a few things I'm not crazy about, but overall it's going to be a fine little film.
My children were in it. They were great. Henry had a couple of lines. He hit his mark and delivered his lines very consistently. I was quite proud and amazed. I allotted a lot of time for them, but they were in and out. Good thing too, because we had another unexpected problem that cost a fair bit of time.
Sometime in the first part of the day, Jack hurt his back and left me to finish the film by myself with the actors and the sound guy. It was very exhausting, but I set out to work with a small crew. A very small crew.
As we wrapped that schoolyard location, the police arrived. There had been a complaint that it seemed as if I was shooting scantily clad women in front of the school for the opening of a porn film. Shari was hardly scantily clad. I laughed it off with the cop and went on my way.

I have a small part in David Walker's feature, Uncle Tom's Apartment, this weekend. A racist cop.
Hey did I ever tell you the one about the …

A river dertch.
Signore Direttore

Friday, July 15, 2005

72 hours from now …

I will have another completed film credit to my name. We recieve our instructions from on high as to what genre and other specifics we are to include in our project that must be postmarked by Monday.
I think I'm opposed to this manner of working, but I've decided to check it out to speak from experience rather than conjecture. I've signed on as the leading man, so the impact should be lessened. Truthfully, I see it mainly as an exercise in patience. That strikes me as quite ironic, since the time frame is so precisely limited. The team/crew is very inexperienced, though in my experience filmmaking, especially digital filmmaking, doesn't attract the humble. There's usually a great deal of posturing and self-assurance. I have to admit I've swaggered unjustifiably myself. Ho-hum.
I really like the director, Jack Dahl. He is actually quite humble and level-headed. I wouldn't have agreed to this were it not for Jack. I want him to have a good experience. Therefore I want to behave myself. I wish it weren't a concern. Though I suppose I'm grateful that I know it's a concern and that I won't be at the complete mercy of my character deficiencies.
I have but one job to do -- act.
My goal is to do that job without informing the director and writers of their ignorance at every juncture. What a pompous ass I can be!
I really, truly hope that I can refrain from contributing unless directly asked for my input. It's such a chore to chime in and judge and silently scorn.

I'm also in the midst of making a short film of my own called Pretty. I hope to complete by the August 1 deadline for the Northwest Film and Video Festival. It's going okay. I've chosen to work with a minimal crew. I think we're one person short for it to work effectively. We had some sound issues the other night that completely overwhelmed me. Delegating that next time around. I'm finding it conflicting to work efficiently, cinematically and to offer the actors freedom. I've been guilty of moving the actors around quite a bit as I'm trying to tell the story visually/in the cuts. It's a more commercial style, but the goal is to balance that with some masters and 2 shots where the actors have a lot of freedom. I love Cassavetes, but it's quite dull cinematically for the most part.

Got to go,

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fodder and Folly

I have been remiss in relating the fodder and folly of a filmmaker's quest for mastery. My apologies. Truthfully I have not experienced much in the way of folly. Though I am off to a rehearsal for a new short short that I've written and am directing. Pretty Trendy Boy meets Hard Core Girl -- The tender beginnings of an unlikely relationship. And I agreed to act in a 72-Hour film project as well as a small role in David Walker's latest digital feature. Oh, I'm meeting with a photographer for headshots later today. Acting is weird, actually I'm cool with acting, it's the being an actor that weirds me out. It continues to feel alien to me in spite of so many years with it. I do enjoy it. I did a scene from Annie Hall with an actor-student last night that was a lot of fun.
In terms of fodder, I saw Miranda July's film and was very impressed and moved. There's a girl that has a hope chest which reminded me of my hours with the Montgomery Ward catalog at the age of five, planning and preparing every detail of my someday family. I went to Pendleton and saw my paternal grandmother and my father. Yeah. Boy. That's quite a journey, well beyond the 200 road miles. Sure to be some fodder in there. I did have my father killed by my best friend in Original Glory.
I read somewhere that true art is never auto-biographical. Though Fellini was absolutely exploring himself in his films.
Back in the day cinephiles and moviegoers divided between Fellini and Antonioni. I see the differences clearly, but love them both. My clear choices have yet to emerge. Favorite is an impossible prospect for me to consider. I might venture to say red is my favorite color, but I'd hate to commit to that. There's a lot of great colors out there.
You know Jung was in his seventies before he was able to extend the hand of friendship to himself.
Hopefully I'll live that long.

signore direttore