Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Magic is in the Details

As the edit of No Sleep for Ronni progresses, we're adding small b-roll details here and there. The result, we hope, will be a robust visual imagery that will move the story along in even more interesting ways.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL HOLLY


In one scene, we learn there are 12 test subjects who have been brought in to be experimented on. Our lead character, Ronni, resists the procedure, but the other 11 have succumbed to it. While these other subjects are not really a part of the story, we still want to briefly flash their photos on screen.

This means, of course, that we need to actually go out and shoot photos of 11 additional people in hospital gowns. And they need to look like they've come under the control of the research doctors' methods. Fun stuff!


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Revamping the Strindberg Script(s)

When our friend, Colin Cameron, first came to us in early 2011 with a story idea involving August Strindberg--Sweden's most prolific playwright--we weren't too excited. Apparently, the 100th anniversary of his death was fast approaching. To celebrate his life and achievements, a Stockholm-based group was sponsoring a short film contest where they were accepting outside submissions.


At the time, Robert had never seen or read a Strindberg play, so the excitement Colin was feeling wasn't reciprocated. Yet, as Colin continued to present his idea, a few things stood out. The story would take place in 1910. A period piece! That would be cool. Colin would play Strindberg and we'd give it the feel of an old-time silent film. Groovy.

Colin's concept was to recreate a one to two minute scene from Strindberg's later life, couched in the format of a documentary. Robert agreed to help make the film. However, the more they talked about Strindberg, the greater the allure was to do something bigger.

The thing that sent Robert off and running on his own tangent was the fact that Strindberg had read spiritualist writings and dabbled in alchemy. Now we're talking! The possibilities for a narrative film just got interesting! Colin thought Robert was kind of a weirdo sometimes, but the feeling was mutual. So they decided to produce both projects, making use of the same footage for the pair.

Unfortunately, we never pulled the pieces together to submit to the Stockholm festival. However, by August 2011, we were shooting scenes for Robert's story called Strindberg's Assistant.

So why are we still talking about this in late 2019? Long story; short version: life happened. We got busy with other things. Then death happened. Colin passed away unexpectedly in November of 2016. To honor his memory, we want to finish this project.

In 2017, Robert invited fellow filmmaker Michael Holly (a John Truby disciple) to join the writing team. The two collaborated to clean up the Strindberg's Assistant script.



But the big news is this: Just about a month ago (November 2019), we realized we were trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Strindberg's Assistant is not a movie; it's a series. Michael and Robert are currently dividing up the script into multiple episodes. Additional scenes and characters have been added. Shooting will occur in the new year and the series will be released online in October 2020. Booyah!

Friday, November 15, 2019

More "Ronni" Pick-up Shots

It's been well over a month now since we finished up several commercial projects that had been on our plate. As a result, we've taken advantage of this window of opportunity to ramp up the edit of No Sleep for Ronni. In addition, we've been checking off the remaining pick-up shots that are still needed.

Earlier this evening, we filmed in the basement of camera operator Jeff Modjeska, knocking off two different pick-up segments. The first was a scene featuring Jeff Blankenship as a research surgeon conducting an experiment on his test subject, DW Wanberg. Actor Chris Weis played a security guard while Jeff Modjeska doubled as another research doctor.

Additional scenes were filmed on green screen and involved Chris doing security guard things. Fun stuff!




While the edit of the movie has come a long way, it's a complicated project, the most intricate one we've ever worked on. Loads of keying, compositing, masking, and more. So unfortunately, we still have quite a ways to go before it's finished.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"Strindberg's Assistant" Retooled and Reloaded!

It was in the summer of 2011 that production first began on our long-suffering project, Strindberg's Assistant. Over the eight years that followed, the story grew and changed. More scenes were shot, additional actors recruited, and new locations secured.

And yet, we still didn't have a finished film. It just never felt right... until now. Revelations (that came to us last night!) have breathed new life into this supernatural period piece, helping us to finally discover what the hold-up really was. The format was wrong.

Strindberg's Assistant is not a movie. It's a series.

We're going to divide up the script into multiple episodes (possibly five to seven in all). A few additional actors, scenes, and pickup shots will be needed. Filming will occur sometime in the coming year.

Although things have rarely gone according to plan with this project, our goal is to release as a web series in 2020. Fingers crossed.


The late Colin Cameron as August Strindberg in the summer of 2011, filming a scene in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

PHOTO COURTESY OF IVY SURYANA



Original trailer released  October 14, 2013. (An updated version will be issued sometime in 2020.)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fun Continuity Surprises

In the "kitchen" scene from No Sleep for Ronni, our two antagonists, Ms. Slovak (Portia Adney) and Dr. Bly (Tim Towne), converse via a video chat. During the editing process, we discovered a minor continuity error; it will hardy be noticed. So for the fun of it, we thought we'd point it out for those who read this post.

Throughout the scene, a cutting board can be seen in the background on the countertop. However, nothing else is supposed to be on top of the cutting board.




Yet in one shot, we can see a book that a crew member forgot to remove from the hot set. Oops.