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Texas Lullaby -- Prep


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I just got hired to shoot a movie in Baton Rouge, Louisiana called "Texas Lullaby" (the second film in a row for me set in Texas -- but shot in a bordering state, probably because of the tax breaks in those states...)

 

The prep will be rather short and accellerated, so I may be too busy to post much soon -- I think I leave in the middle of next week. It will be a challenge to put together a Louisiana crew, camera package, scout, etc. so quickly.

 

This story is a darkly comedic version of "Hamlet" set in a modern small Texas town. It has a ton of night scenes, both interior and exterior, in a mainly wooded location. Initial discussions have been about shooting the movie in 2.35. Since the movie has so much night exterior work, I've been suggesting we explore 3-perf Super-35 instead of anamorphic since I hate shooting anamorphic at a T/2.8, which is probably all I'll get at night, not after some of the focus-pulling issues I had on the last anamorphic show. We also have a lot of small interior spaces, so I may be better off with smaller spherical lenses.

 

So this may be my first Super-35 movie, who knows.

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Hey congratulations and good luck on that new project! I'll be intersted to see how big your night scenes are and how you light it. Im sure we'll hear posts from you later on. Ive never worked on anamorphic and Super-35 but your right, T/2.8 is pretty scary to work on for a bunch of night exteriors. Hope you can share your insights on shooting Super-35 later on too. Good luck again!!!

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Good luck, I look forward to hearing more about it. I remember talking to you about it a few weeks ago, it sounds like a real interesting project; keep us posted.

 

I imagine you are pushing for the 3-perf S35 with a DI, as opposed to optical printing. Sounds like a good plan. If you are assembling everything out of state, would this also be a non Panavision show for you? If so, the limited anamorphic lens selection may be a good additional reason for S35.

 

Kevin Zanit

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I just got hired to shoot a movie in Baton Rouge, Louisiana called "Texas Lullaby" (the second film in a row for me set in Texas -- but shot in a bordering state, probably because of the tax breaks in those states...)

 

The prep will be rather short and accellerated, so I may be too busy to post much soon -- I think I leave in the middle of next week. It will be a challenge to put together a Louisiana crew, camera package, scout, etc. so quickly.

 

David,

 

Most of the crew that I use on larger budget commercial shoots are from Louisiana (New Orleans and Baton Rouge). I would be happy to pass along the names of my Gaffer, Key Grip, etc. They all have extensive feature experience and really good resumes. Contact me off list and I'll be happy to help with your crew/equipment search.

 

Regards,

 

Jeff Tanner

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I just got hired to shoot a movie in Baton Rouge, Louisiana called "Texas Lullaby" (the second film in a row for me set in Texas -- but shot in a bordering state, probably because of the tax breaks in those states...)

 

 

Yup, that's why. Says me from the unemployment line. <_< Anyway, maybe you'll get a chance to push one of the newer 500 speed stocks to see how well they do.

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It sounds like you'll be using a lot of crew you haven't worked with before. Someone asked how you get hired, what do you look for when bringing on a Gaffer, ACs, etc or are there certain positions or people that you bring in on every project no matter what. Resumes and interviews tell you so much but what are the determining factors you use to figure out how fast or efficient your potential crewmembers might be. Just curious about that process. Thanks

 

Luke Kalteux

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I haven't started the hiring process, but so far, I can't even get them to let me bring two of the people I normally like to use, so I may be working with a completely unknown crew.

 

I also had all my ideas for shooting in 2.39 rejected, no Super-35, no anamorphic, just standard 1.85, maybe a D.I. at the end of post but that can wait, obviously. Just too much general resistance to doing anything other than the most straightforward, most safe, least expensive way of shooting in 35mm, despite the fact that the budget is higher than many of my scope movies. I've sort of consigned myself to keeping my ideas very simple and doing the best I can with whatever they give me to work with.

 

Well, maybe rejected is the wrong word (though how I feel). More like, an idea (scope) that was embraced originally and then questioned ad nauseum by more and more people until I realized it was a losing battle and not worth pushing anymore. Time to move on...

 

There will be a lot of challenges with the degree of night work, plus some long scenes outdoors that transition into night, etc.

 

Probably will be shooting standard Kodak, like 250D and 500T.

 

Part of the process of working on a movie is getting a sense of the type of movie everyone wants to make, from the director through the line producer to the AD, etc. Because unless everyone agrees upfront on the approach, it can be very hard to get an idea through if it is not supported. So as you start to make suggestions, see the locations, get a sense of how they are spending the money, you start to get a clearer picture of the situation and what's expected of you.

 

Though I'm disappointed to not be doing this in 2.39, the locations in the woods might lend themselves to 1.85 better.

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Wow, the guy has done two shorts:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0893473/

 

Those must've been SOME shorts.

 

 

He's done way more than those shorts. His CV includes commercial spots and music videos. Anonymous Content

 

This is from a 2001 SHOOT magazine article"

 

"[Malcolm] Venville was primarily a still photographer--something he still does. And though he says it became clear to the agency that he had "no experience whatsoever" in directing commercials, "they were kind enough to let me try, and the film did well for me."

 

Indeed, he formed his own London-based production company, Therapy Films--which represents him for spotwork in the U.K. and Europe--and in 1997 signed with bicoastal/international Propaganda Films. There he continued to direct European spots, while at the same time venturing into the American market with campaigns for, among others, Volkswagen, out of Arnold Worldwide, Boston.

 

But by 2000, Venville says, Propaganda had become "unwieldy." With "ten too many directors," Venville recalls, he wasn't getting the attention he wanted. "They were really good to me and helped me," he stresses, but when Steve Golin, founder/chairman at Propaganda, who is now CEO/chairman at Anonymous, left to start his new firm, Venville followed.

 

"Steve Golin is the guy to be in business with," states Venville. "I love Golin because of his ideas. He's got a lot of great new media initiatives. He does great movies, obviously. [He produced] Being John Malkovich and Wild at Heart. ... I just like his attitude."

 

Though the London-based Venville sees more chance to do "heavy, stronger, more emotional work" in Europe, he finds that market slowly becoming like the American one.

 

"You do a cut for London and you have to show it to the Greeks," he says. "If the Greeks don't like it...It's the same sort of thing in America: It's all reaching the lowest common denominator."

 

Still, he continues, in Europe the business is "a little less paranoid," and agencies rely a little more on the director in postproduction. "If the director isn't around for the very final sound mix, agencies are usually, you know, crying. Over there in America, [it's] like being at a party you re not invited to," he points out.

 

Sound is especially important to Venville's work, which takes minor, everyday knocks and crunches and amps them up into surreal effects that reverberate in your brain afterwards. Music, too, tells the story in ads such as "Nose," for Samuel Adams out of McCann-Erickson, New York, in which the needle-scratch of a bumped record telegraphs the irritation of a beer drinker whose blissful indulgence has been interrupted by a clumsy patron.

 

Venville attributes this aural fixation to his parents, both of whom were born deaf. "Since I grew up in this kind of silent world, I've been really sensitive to sound," he explains. "That's why I like editing and postproduction."

 

In addition to giving his spots an enveloping audiovisual atmosphere, his quiet childhood has inspired a short movie, the '97 Silent Film, and the story for a feature film, temporarily titled The Deaf Road Movie.

 

Based on the story of Venville's uncle and three friends-all of them profoundly deaf-who took a road trip from London to Tangiers, the film is "completely in sign language," with English subtitles. "It's a pretty amazing story," attests Venville. He hopes to shoot it later this year. "It'll be my Apocalypse Now," he states. "I just know it."

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I'm somewhat amazed he wanted to hire me, considering he's worked with Emmanuel Lubezki, Bruno Dubonnel, Peter Suschitsky, Stephen Goldblatt... everyday I hear about another commercial he did with some major DP and I'm thinking, hmmm, why did he hire me? He says it's because he liked my reel.

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So today I had to deal with an annoyance that usually only happens on lower-budgeted films -- in order to be "helpful", the Kodak rep sent a list of cheaper stocks that production should consider instead of the ones I ordered.

 

Now I'm having to give up the opportunity to shoot the new 5201 (which I was looking forward to trying out) and use 5245 instead as a sop to production to be helpful in saving them money, but I'm refusing to consider using 5279 instead of 5218.

 

I'm not going to really lose quality by using 5245 instead since it is so close to 5201, but it's just the principle of the thing. Why doesn't kodak realize that they undercut the authority of the DP when then offer alternative stocks to producers at cheaper prices, thus forcing a DP into unnecessary conflict with the production as they have to defend their choices? I already gave up on the shooting format I wanted to use on this one.

 

I never have this problem with Fuji because, simply, they tend to get rid of their older emulsions when a new one comes out. I don't mind having the choice to use older Vision or EXR stocks -- I'm all for choices -- but I'd like it to be MY choice, not a choice offered to the producers over my head.

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Well, it's all moot now...

 

One of our lead actors kept delaying signing their deal because they wanted more and more script revisions, even though our other lead has a firm date restriction that required we start shooting in one week.

 

The investor got fed up and shut down the production. So I will get paid my 3-week minimum guarantee of work (hopefully) of which I had actually been on this production seven days total so far...

 

I fly home tomorrow.

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If it's any consolation (and it won't be), this happened to me six or seven times in the two years I was seriously pursuing that sort of work. Obviously at a much lower level than you, but the only psychological consequence of that is that I didn't get paid anything!

 

Phil

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