pre-production

We Compose Our Stories Like How We Compose Our Lives, Part 2

Continuing with the reveal of the “development playlists” …

In addition to thinking about what songs could illustrate a certain scene or state, I also made some guidelines that would take advantage of my personal music collection and not weight it toward a certain artist or style.

One condition I had was that an artist would appear either once or in all three.  Slowdive, Tearwave and Vangelis are examples of this.  The Cure, Joy Division and Gary Numan may appear twice, but each provided the titles for each of them.  For an example, The Cure provided the title for On Nights Like This and thus Joy Division and Gary Numan appear in the playlist.  The only exception to the “all or nothing” rule was with Harold Budd and Brian Eno providing “First Light” and “Failing Light” on the On Nights Like This playlist.

There are a few songs that I always intended to be the actual cues for the scene.  There are also a few that would become a potential cue.  There are finally a few that would lead the way to a potential cue.  I’ll leave it at that for now =].

See the playlist for All That We Are (more…)

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We Compose Our Stories Like How We Compose Our Lives, Part 1

I’m someone who likes to listen to music whenever I do things.  This also applies whenever I write (like several writers and even screenwriters).  I find that having music helps inform, inspire and gauge what you are doing, especially when you have a sense of what it should be.

When I was developing each story, its characters and its script, I would listen to a playlist I designed specifically for that potential film.  It maps the general arc and each song reflects either a particular scene or a character’s state of mind.  They provided for me the means of experiencing the journey and the world of these characters, their lives and their choices over a span of time.  In turn, I hope that this transferred onto the page and potentially on film.

These next few posts will cover those playlists I made and used for the writing and development stages.  I have included, wherever possible both the iTunes and the Amazon links (both US stores) for the individual song and its corresponding source (either the exact one I used or its closest readily available one).  The links in the artist column will direct you to their official page/site (or barring that, their Wikipedia page).  I also included a brief explanation about the song’s “function” in the story as well as any other relevant information.

See the playlist for On Nights Like This (more…)

We Compose Our Stories Like How We Compose Our Lives, Part 3

Concluding the reveal of the “development playlists” …

The songs were all sourced from my own personal CD collection (yes, I still buy those) that’s in turn transferred onto my iPod (affectionately called “i-djproject”). As a musical artist myself, I appreciate any and all support so I can continue doing what I enjoy doing and, in turn, can provide the fruits of my own labour for you, the listener. I know this sentiment is shared by all artists as well. Please support them as much and as often as you can. If you do this naturally, thank you.

See the playlist for Walk in Silence (more…)

Some Days It Feels Like Screaming into the Wind

I want to apologise for the tone of the last post … and this includes an explanation.

Basically I was in a bad mood. I was in a bad mood because I was doing some self-reflection – something that happens when you are mostly alone and mostly working a day job to support yourself – and I didn’t like what I saw. I also didn’t like the gap between where I am and where I want to be. So that – and I’m sure some other trivialities – led to a sour frame of mind and thus affected its tone.

I understand that life is often plagued with disappointments and shortcomings. A good portion of it can be self-generating. This is especially the case if you have high expectations of yourself and of life and of anything else worth measuring. I know it’s “easy” to let things be and have some content with life. Not everyone can attain all their dreams or aspirations. And to believe you can is to set up yourself up for disappointment and failure.

But at the same time, I retort with the words of Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Furthermore, there is an intense desire to do this. Interestingly this fulfils something Pierre-Auguste Renoir told his youngest son Jean (yes, the same Jean =] ): “Never just make a film. Do it only because you have to do it.” And then he compared it to the strong urge to urinate. Though crude the comparison is, it’s quite apt.

The difficulty right now is: 1) I’m inexperienced and 2) I’m pushing for a set of films that are not the most commercially viable … in a very obvious way. Personally I see both of them as excuses. The first one can be addressed … and I would love to address it. But given that I’m busy and not the most easily outgoing guy, it’s always difficult to initiate something out of me. (And yes, this first point can also lead me into a bad mood).

As far as the second, I’m sick of things being made purely for money. I understand it’s structured like a business because the investments made and the return desired. But what you are ultimately investing in is art. This is not some empty idealistic talk; that’s what film ultimately is … an art medium. Art has its own rules and its own character … and it resents a needless confinement … and certainly a limited and shallow goal. Plus I feel we are over-saturated with films made for money … can’t there be a breath of fresh air?

Basically I’m proud of what I’ve done far and I want to take it further. And I’m asking for in the end is your help and support. If you believe in this as much as I do, please help.

And I’ll conclude with something that I’m going to try to do. I will do everything I can to make this happen. This also includes making this a little bit better. I can’t see right at this moment how … but that’s the goal. Just like the films.

Another Appeal for Assistance

I really don’t want this blog to be filled with nothing but appeals.  But you have to do what you have to do.  After all, the reason why this is dormant is because nothing is happening.  I can only do so much on my own at this stage of production.  Furthermore, I have to support myself in this thing called life.  As I’m not blessed with a spouse who could help me on that front … or roommates or residing with family … I’m on my own.  So all in all, I’m extremely busy – mostly with things that have nothing to do with my goals – and nothing is happening that’s worth reporting.

Bottom line: I need help.

The biggest help I need is an additional producer.  I definitely need someone who has had some experience and/or understanding on how actually to make a film as this is something I haven’t done.  For myself, I’ve been thinking about and writing notes and ideas on what the production can be like.  But I really need someone who can bring everything together and present it to others as a complete package including a better front page.  This additional producer should also be just as enthusiastic and supportive of the project as I am.  Everything else should stem from that need.  Though that said, I’m also looking for the lead actors and actresses (or a casting director who can help me find those leads) as well as the key department heads such as the cinematographer, production designer and editor.  I’m looking for production essentials first before I start thinking about additional crew members.

Some of you may be thinking: “Derek, you’ve never made a film before.  Why are you wasting a professional’s time with this pursuit?”  My response is you have to start somewhere.  Also I’m tired of having inexperience be an excuse not to help someone.  This is especially the case when experience is used to create a Catch-22 situation for those who want to break into the field.  If you want to help me get experience in some small way, please let me know.  Otherwise, I really don’t want to hear the experience sermon again.

Please submit resumes/letters to djproject @djproject.cc with an appropriate subject line.

Thank you in advance.

General Crew Call

This is the same idea as the previous post except this is for key personnel for the film.

Here are the essential department heads and key figures I need:

  • Co-Producer(s)
  • Casting Director
  • Line Producer/Production Manager
  • Assistant Director
  • Cinematographer/Director of Photography
  • Production Designer
  • Editor

I’m trying to get the bare essentials first and then we work on filling other positions if and when necessary. This may be a situation where one role has to take on several for the sake of efficiency and expediency. I am not interested in having more personnel than we absolutely need.

If there’s a key position or role that I have forgotten to list here, forgive my ignorance and let me know if you are interested in it. But keep in mind, I didn’t want to list every role here since a great many of them stem from what I think are the foundational people listed here. Nevertheless, if you are interested in helping out in any way, please let me know.

Ideally I would like some consistency and thus I would like one to remain for each of the three films. However since working on three films at once can be a burden, I can see an assistant to each of the key positions for each film. That assistant will be responsible for whatever grunt/screwdriver work is needed for that particular film and then can bring all of that information to the senior and thus to me.

What I would like also is someone who knows how to do the job – either through experience or demonstration of knowledge – and more importantly who are interested in helping me to realize these films.

And like I said before, I can’t make any promises or offers because I have nothing thus far. What I’m really interested in and what I want at this point is an idea of who would be interested in helping me with this particular endeavor. I will try to get some kind of compensation for services rendered especially for the key department heads and production figures.

Lastly, this production should be kept in Massachusetts and particularly those are either local to or can easily reach the greater Boston area.

If you are interested, please contact me at djproject @djproject.cc with the desired position in the subject line as a resume and an explanation of why you see yourself in that role.

Thank you … DJP

P.S. I’m still interested in people who want to play one of the six leads

General Casting Call

Call this my Christmas gift to one and all.

While I need anybody and everybody who can make these films a reality, the key ingredient for all of them are … the talent and particularly the lead roles.

When I was writing them, I had some idea of who they would look like. However I tried very hard not to put so much stock in figments of my imagination. And I certainly don’t have any illusions I can get any known actor/actress I would want. Plus I have no idea who would be good for it. Nevertheless, the point is I wrote it with an open mind as far as appearance and focused much more on the character itself and their respective course, both in the film and beyond it.

At any rate, here are my general expectations as far as each of the lead roles, alphabetized by character’s last name:

  • Sophia Avery (All That We Are): female, 24-28
  • Joachim Bainbridge (Walk in Silence): male, 25-30
  • Ana Dukich (Walk in Silence): female, 33-38 … Serbian is a definite plus but she should pull off the look
  • Elena O’Keeffe (On Nights Like This): female, 23-29 … since she will also play Nicole Bryne, she should pull off someone younger (23-25) but definitely should pull off the more older side (26-29)
  • Thomas Ritchard (All That We Are): male, 35-40
  • Christopher Waterson (On Nights Like This): male, 25-30

I could be more specific and add some key character traits, traits associated with occupation (i.e. Thomas Ritchard is a professor and should pull that off) and traits associated with the story (there is a lovemaking scene written in On Nights Like This) but I want to cast my net as wide as possible first.

Also I can say this with all honesty. Right now, I have and know nothing: no budget, no schedule, no backers, no crew, no equipment … nothing. Therefore I can’t make any promises about anything. I say this because I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations or give false impressions. All I’m really doing at this moment is asking if there is anyone out there who would like to do this.

If you are interested, please contact me at djproject @djproject.cc with the character’s name as the subject line as well as a headshot, resume (if applicable) and an explanation of why you see yourself in that particular role.

Thank you … DJP