The Collaborative Process...

Ya know, the Collaborative Process is truly an amazing thing. For me, it’s what makes filmmaking such a thrilling (and fun!) form of expression.

During our shoot last night (or this morning, depending on how you look at it), something really pretty cool occurred. We were working on this one scene—a fantasy sequence, a brief, fun little scene. As originally written, it was roughly half a page.

About three weeks ago, the director called me and asked if I’d be willing to tweak that particular scene a bit. He told me his idea, which I loved. So yes, I was happy to rework the scene and send him the revision ASAP.

So, fast forward a few weeks (to last night, in fact) and we’re on the set and preparing to shoot the revised sequence. For reasons that aren’t at all important to this anecdote, the three actors in the scene only had a chance to read the revision mere moments prior to shooting.

OK, so this is where the cool part comes in.

Our three actors really seemed to get a kick out of the new scene (which became funnier and weirder in the rewrite). Infused by sudden inspiration, each actor made certain choices with regards to their wardrobe and the blocking of the scene. I chimed in with an idea or two. Our camera operator came up with interesting camera moves and lighting. Even our sound guy made a suggestion. Sure, I realize this is what generally happens during the course of shooting any scripted film or TV production (especially in the low budget arena), but what made this so much fun is that it all came together in such a spontaneous burst of creativity—all these creative people pitching in to make that half-page scene far more than what I initially envisioned. So, pretty cool, don't ya think?

Collaboration: it’s pretty exiting stuff...if you allow it to happen.


Well, it’s 5:30 in the morning and I’ve just come off a nearly 13-hour shooting day. We are now halfway through filming the first seven episodes of the web-series. We would’ve been a bit further along by now if it hadn’t been for a rainstorm last week. But the shoot has been going well—on schedule each day and problems and obstacles have been few.

On our first night, literally the penultimate shot, and after 10 hours of shooting, a LAPD helicopter decided to circle over our location for quite a while. So we waited...and waited...and waited. The copter eventually raced off into the night and we were able to get our final shots and wrap for the day (at 12:30 in the morning).

My primary role during production has been as on-set still photographer (which was something I did during my pre-screenwriting days). And hey, if a sandbag needs lugging, or a boom pole needs holding, or if a set needs to be dressed up a little, I’m more than happy to lend a hand. It’s all part of the fun of being involved in such a project. I’m also on-hand to assist with any dialogue tweaks that might arise. Yes, I even managed to insert myself into one brief scene—and wrote myself a bit of dialogue, too!

As for the small crew: they’re professional and hardworking. The actors, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, are enthusiastic, eager to do a good job and come well-prepared. In fact, they know the script better than I do! Most important of all: our crafts service has been quite good. OK, so I’m being a bit facetious here. But as anyone who’s been involved in a TV or film production will tell you, having sufficient food and drink available on the set can (and will) make or break a production. So a big THANKS to our producer for providing some pretty decent sustenance during our shooting days!

So...things look pretty good as of this moment. With some luck, and if the stormy skies don’t unleash another torrent upon us, we’ll wrap shooting next week. Stay tuned!