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Aftermath: Organizing and scheduling

Well, we’re cast and a proposed schedule has been run by the cast and crew. Making schedules can be a pretty daunting task, but I have to hand it to a peer of mine, a guy named Mike Amato, for teaching me how to successfully produce a schedule. When I worked as director of photography on his picture “After Midnight,” Mike made out a very organized plan for each and every shoot, laying out all the details in an Excel spreadsheet. During my time in the corporate world over the past two years, I finally learned how to use Excel, and it’s a formidable tool when it comes to organizing a big project like a movie shoot.

Of course, on “Shady Business” I did an Excel spreadsheet schedule and no one knew what the heck to do with it. So this time I just took all of the principles learned and created a word document detailing the shoot. Why am I droning on about organizing and scheduling and Excel? Because it really is important, and it’s part of the unglamorous side of moviemaking (which is the predominant side of the craft when you’re working with no money.) Part of why I keep this journal is to let people outside the world of moviemaking take a look at what it’s like to set-to-task and realize a vision from an idea, to a screenplay, to a finished movie. There are a lot of steps, and I hope these entries will be able to rob the process of its mystery in some way.

So… who’s in the cast? As mentioned before, Justin Grace has agreed to play John, the lead, indecisive character. Returning to a MINDSCAPE PICTURES’ set will be Nikki Sella and Zach Lawrence, as Britney and Al. They were a couple in “Shady Business,” but in this one they’re polar opposites, Al being a cynic and Britney seemingly being all surface. It’ll be a neat change. Rounding out the cast is newcomer Michael Stephens as the hotheaded George, Sarah Ashton as the overly-pc Penelope, another newcomer named Erik Allgren as Nick, one of the victims of the shooting, and Gail Simeone as Britney’s Mother, Debbie Marshall. Oh yes… and doing some voice-work will be the usual shady MINDSCAPE PICTURES characters, me, Roman Berman, Sheri Carter and relative newbie Barbara Boudreau.

It’s a good team in front of the camera to be sure, and behind it I think we’re stocked nicely. Pat Hines and I will be co-directing, with me working the camera. Ad Pat helping with lighting. Additionally, we’ll have Matt Tucker, a Florida film grad and Sheri Carter trading off the boom mic and scrip supervisor positions. It’s possible we could call in some others, but as usual I’m keeping crew to a bare minimum. There’s no need to have extra hands just standing around doing nothing.

So, the cast read-through is Friday, December 13. Hopefully I’ll know by then where we’re shooting two scenes that are still in need of locations…

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