The bigger update

On August 18, 2006 we start principal photography for DJ GIRL (the trailer). Yup, it’s finally true! It was just about seven months ago that I sent out a letter requesting your help to make it happen. At that time I naively anticipated that we’d be shooting in March. Then March rolled around and I thought it’d happen in April. Then in April, well, you get the story. Needless to say these last seven months have been a massive learning experience. From realizations about the complexity of doing something that seems so simple to understanding that despite your ambition, a project that requires the teamwork of others won’t always move at the pace you hope for.

I wish I could say that all the questions are answered and every problem solved as we move forward, but we’re not quite there yet. I suppose that’s part of what makes it exciting and, from what I understand, it’s completely typical of the indie film process. We still don’t have approval to shoot in our key location-the nightclub. It’s been this single sticking point that’s kept us from shooting for the last six weeks or so when we were otherwise ready. Finally, I decided that we could wait no longer. While I’d been itching to get started for quite a while, I think the catalyst was when Sierra, the supporting actress playing Davina, checked in to see if I cared if she cut her hair short since we didn’t seem to be moving forward. It seems like a silly little point, but it exemplified a fear I always had-holding only raises the risk that you’ll lose key members of the cast and crew due to availability after you worked so hard to find them. If we have to pick up this final location in the weeks ahead, so be it. It’s easier to schedule a big group of people for one day of shooting than it is for six so with the most of the other footage completed, we’ll be in much better shape than if we hadn’t otherwise started. Waiting now could have meant waiting forever or even never doing it at all. There’s always some little reason or factor to not do it. It’s a good feeling to finally stop and declare that you’ll suck it up and move forward and just deal with the problems as they come.

I’ve also come to understand the need to be flexible when doing this kind of thing. In our case I think that’s going to work to our advantage. After we were turned down to shoot in a nice house for a party scene, we shifted the location to the pool behind our apartment. We’ll dress the grungy place up and it’ll feel like a Hollywood Fashion party (think Entourage) Plus it’ll be nice to have our first day of shooting be at a place we know and control. Over the course of the final two wkds in August we also plan to shoot at a record store, an office, the beach, the roof of the Standard Hotel in downtown LA and other random places. On the 29th of September we plan to pick up some footage of our two lead ladies at a massive outdoor rave party. Somewhere in there a club (hopefully our first choice) will fit in.

Darrin, as an editor, has been a great help suggesting what we need to do to ensure we have the best footage possible for our trailer. Little things that we may have never thought to shoot like close-ups of shifting eyes or fast, blurry camera pans to use as transitions will save us and ensure this thing is successful. (Think back to recent trailers you’ve seen and these two elements will probably seem familiar)

Over the next few weeks Marc, myself, and our DP will be mapping out the shots we need and probably arguing about what toys we can afford to get these shots. (Believe it or not, I’m the voice of reason!) We have a couple locations to still nail down and one small part yet to cast but we’re in good shape. It’s going to be an interesting month.

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