Monday, January 31, 2011

Festival Submissions

I spent about $350 on festival submission fees, that's the quickest $350 I've spent online shopping. I used for six of the seven submissions. Some festivals were more expensive than others. There were two festivals that I applied close to the final deadline and those fees were $50 & $75. It's almost like playing the lottery in the sense that you are spending money without the guarantee that you'll win anything. At least the lottery costs $1!

I chose festivals that I hope will embrace the diversity of The Big Deal. I think the story is universal and most people will find it easy to relate someone in their family to someone in the film. The cast is Latino but that story would have worked with any ethnic group. I think every family has a Tia Alma.

Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picture Lock

I will pick up the hard drive from the editor this weekend. We used two drives, one for the master footage and one for back up. You should always have at least one extra drive to back up your media.

Brian Sorbo (my gaffer) will do the color correction and the sound mix. Yes, the man has many talents.  I am hoping to have it all done in two weeks or less, depending on Brian's schedule.

In the meantime, I am planning my next film, see previous post for more info. I have the two main parts cast and I know who I want for the other roles.

I am very excited about the speed with which things are progressing. I want to shoot my feature film in 2012. I have an idea of what I want to do so I need to start outlining the new script.

Thank You all so  much for reading the blog and following the progress of the film.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Almost Time for Picture Lock

I gave my final notes to the editor today. We will lock picture sometime this week (when all changes to the film cut have been done and approved). Next step is sound mixing and color correction.

I am happy with the cut and I hope you all enjoy the fruits of our labor. I'm in a bit of shock, it's hard to believe this moment is finally here. This process has been so much easier in comparison to the hurdles we went through and are currently going through for Love 10 to 1 (the feature film I co-directed with two other female directors in 2008). As I said before, I went to film school making Love 10 to 1 and the experience has paid off.

I am planning pre-production on my next film, my last short before I jump on my feature film. I will begin preproduction on Alone at the end of January. I can't believe it's two weeks away. The film is named after an Edgar Allan Poe poem that inspired me to write the script.

Alone is about a twelve year old Latina who is bullied in school and abused at home. She is plagued by thoughts of suicide and seeks refuge in an unlikely place. I wrote the script in 2009. I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits and Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies. I was in a dark place emotionally, what came out was a very personal script, some based on me (the bullying), the rest, based on statistics about the rate of Latina girls and suicide. I equate the writing of Alone with walking naked in Times Square. It was a challenging script to write.

The film takes place in New York. I will shoot the interiors in Los Angeles and the exteriors in NYC. I wish I could afford to shoot in NY but crew costs more there and I can't afford to pay for travel and lodging for the entire cast and crew.

I am putting some thought into my crowd funding campaign...



Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Cut

Yesterday, I was able to watch my editor's assembly cut of The Big Deal. It's hard to describe my feelings and emotions as I watched the first cut of the film.  Something I've been working on for the last two years has finally come to fruition. I need to give some minor notes to the editor, I am happy that she was able to find the story and shape my vision.

I'm glad my husband was able to share the experience with me. He watched it as an audience member and laughed a lot. I watched it looking for ways to make it better. I've watched it over twenty times by now, composing my notes.

Today, I threw my back out and I've been on the floor or couch, munching on vicodin and ibuprofen. Matt and I were supposed to go shopping and run errands but I've been home all day. At least The Big Deal has been a good companion.

I am very proud of the film I see taking shape before me. I hope the cast, crew, Michele and fans of the book share my pride and enthusiasm.

Throughout this whole process I've never stopped saying Thank You and letting the universe know how grateful I am for this opportunity.

I can't wait to share this film with the world.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Workshopping The Big Deal

Back in 2007 I won a fellowship to Film Independent’s Project:Involve. PI (as it’s often referred to) is Film Independent's signature diversity program, dedicated to increasing diversity in the film industry by cultivating the careers of under-represented filmmakers.

The program offers its fellows the opportunity to attend panels/seminars hosted by industry professionals. One of the people who spoke to us was director Billy Ray. He was kind, generous and a really nice guy. He told us of his path as a director and shared his experiences directing his first film, Shattered Glass. One of the most important resources Billy shared with us was his secret weapon to being a good director; her name is Judith Weston.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Adapting "The Big Deal"

I have a deep admiration and appreciation for a great book.  When Michele Serros gave me the OK to adapt “The Big Deal”, one of the chapters from her LA Times Best Seller book, How To Be A Chicana Role Model, I was flattered, grateful and scared. I wanted to make an adaptation that was true to the story Michele wrote.

I’ve reluctantly come to understand the need for a screenwriter to change things to make a book more cinematic, visually stimulating and/or to tell the story better. As a filmmaker, I had a responsibility to tell the story in the best way possible and as a fan of the book (one of my favorite books of all time) I wanted to see a film that was true to the story in the book. 

I wrote about 10 drafts of the screenplay. The first few drafts had Michele’s voiceovers (as they appear in the book) and in the last 5 drafts I did away with them. Everyone who gave notes on the script told me to get rid of the voiceovers and figure out another way to convey that information. It was hard to get all the juicy tidbits in the script without those voiceovers.  So I made the first change.