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IN PRODUCTION MODE

In Production Mode
by Marc Beurteaux

ALSO ON SITE

Marc's Production is in High Gear

Oh sweet mercy. Things have become increasingly intense. After the last grant, lo and behold, I got another one and so my production is in full swing. My desk is covered in lists and reminders and scratchy little drawings I've done to remember ideas, camera angles and sets. My head spins with all of the stuff I'm planning. I'm doing my best to keep appointments and have designs ready for production people. Never a dull moment, which, I must admit, I kind of like.

I'm writing this blog during some downtime I have while I wait for my director of photography to arrive. Tonight we're going to check out a studio I've rented where we'll be shooting the live-action puppet sequence. An animator shooting live-action you might ask? Yes, indeed this is true. I've always loved animation but have been equally infatuated with the work of Jim Henson. I've always wanted to make a film with puppets and now I am.

I have a professional puppet maker and my partner making puppets. The puppets look great and I can't wait to shoot this thing - except for the fact that I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to directing live-action. However, by the look of a lot of movies I've seen recently, I'm not the only one who doesn't know how to direct. But I digress. I'm pretty much learning as I go which is sometimes the best way to get an education.

The big learning experience has been finding out how expensive shooting live-action is. For instance, I couldn't book a studio to shoot in unless I bought liability insurance as well. I called a few insurance companies that deal in this sort of thing and received quotes ranging from $500 to $5000 - just for a one day shoot! Then there's the camera rental, lighting rental and hiring the crew. Now I remember why I opted to make little animated films in my basement - it's a lot cheaper.

Anyway, I have all of this going on and I'm shooting the animated scenes when I have time. Which is kind of crazy as it's hard to concentrate when I have so much on my mind. At least all of this mayhem keeps me from getting depressed. To be properly depressed one needs the time to mope and stare at the wall. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to be depressed once all of this is over. A film director, I think it was Truffaut, said that every production is like a living creature - it gets born, it lives and then when the production is over, it dies - then one must mourn.

At this point of the production it seems impossible that any of this will ever end and the film will get finished. Filmmaking is a bittersweet experience - you love the buzz and excitement of production but at the same time you can't wait for it to be finished. Then when it's finished you start a whole new film and do it all again. Oh sweet mercy.

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