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Production Journal

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SXSW Official Selection

© Joe Swanberg 2004-2005
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I looked through one tape worth of footage tonight and took notes. I was acting in the scene, so I couldn't operate the camera. I get paranoid when I can't operate the camera. Needless to say, I was worried when I popped the tape in. Thankfully, Kevin Pittman did a great job, and now I have no reason to be worried when he shoots scenes in the future. I had already seen some of his work, and I knew he'd do a good job, but I couldn't help being a little worried.

We shot the scene about 7 times all the way through, and watching the footage was a good lesson in conservation. There was no reason we needed to shoot it so many times. I'm happy to have the options when I edit, but I think we could have shot it once all the way through, then simply focused on particular lines and expressions. I'm noticing that with the improv there is really no way to get around wasting a lot of tape. I'm really glad it's not film.

I'm trying to play my performance down as much as possible. I'm trying to think about the way I usually talk, and talk like that. My inspirations are Mark Ruffalo in "You Can Count On Me" and Danny Huston in "Ivan's xtc." In both cases I felt like I was watching someone who didn't know they were in a movie. That's the best, and if I can do that, and get that out of the other actors, I will be extremely happy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

We planned on shooting one scene tonight, and ended up getting two done. This is good, as we have a lot to shoot and not a lot of time to do it if we plan on entering some summer/fall festivals. I am determined to have the film finished by June 1. Since I am editing as we go, we can keep shooting all the way up until near that date, so it give us a good two months.

My character is getting a haircut in the film, and we have to shoot that scene by April 9 because I am visiting relatives for Easter, and my mom insists my hair be cut by then (yes, I still let my mom boss me around). So now we are scrambling to get everything pre-haircut done. Luckily, the haircut is near the beginning of the film. We joked about how rediculous it is that my mom and Easter are dictating the shooting schedule, but it has actually given us a nice deadline and forced us to get moving on production.

Here are some photos from tonight's shoot.

Kristin Williams (left) and Kate Winterich.

Kevin Pittman

Joe Swanberg

Kevin Pittman lines up a shot.

I really hoped to avoid the video curse of shooting WAY too much footage, but I found myself doing it agian tonight. It's a bad habit that's only made worse with improvised scenes. I'm afraid to turn the camera off, because at any moment there could be something amazing and I don't want to miss it. Of course this rarely happens, and I just end up with a ton of useless footage. Conservation will be the key word from here on out.

To anyone reading this journal, thank you for your interest in independent cinema. As filmmakers, we now have the tools to produce and distribute films cheaply, but there is a very small audience for these films. This is OK.

Our film will present images and ideas that are not common in motion pictures in 2004. We do not understand why these images and ideas, which are prevalent in life, are not equally prevalent in the films we watch. We join a growing movement of filmmakers (directors/writers/actors) interested in a more honest portrayal of sex in the cinema. But not just sex. Everything. We will employ documentary and improvisation techniques in an effort to create a film that can't be called "fiction" or "non-fiction."

In this journal, you will find updates about the production process, as well as ideas that develop as we go. We do not know what we are making, but we are excited about making it, and hope that you will be excited to see it.

Archives 03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004   04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004   05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004   06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004   07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004   08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004   10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004   11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004   01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005   02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005   03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005  

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