Thursday, July 31, 2014

Video Job with the Tenant Resource Center

Shot footage yesterday to be used in several promotional videos for the Tenant Resource Center in Madison. We actually landed this job well over a year ago, but because of changes in the housing laws (and other circumstances, some beyond our control), we're only now getting started on it. The final pieces will incorporate animation, bullet points, and other graphics to fill out the visuals.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Pickup Shots Completed for "The Weather Report"

On Monday, in what would be our very last shoot with Veronica Narang before she moves out west, we completed some much needed pickup shots for The Weather Report, the joint short film project between C Side Films and Tarazod Films.

Veronica plays Trudy Webster, an investigative news reporter. The pickup scenes revolved around her having to report the progress of her current news piece to an unreceptive boss--a network executive played by Colin Cameron.

The shoot took place at the Madison downtown library; we ended up staying almost until they closed at 9:00 pm. Got some terrific performances out of both actors.

UPDATE: This scene was never used in the final cut of Don Circles the Drain (aka The Weather Report). However, it did not go to waste. We were able to utilize sections of it for our next movie, No Sleep for Ronni. Since both actors, Veronica and Colin are in both films, we adjusted the script of the latter to make these shots work within the frame of the story. Cool, huh?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Public Screening of "Beast Bike Beauty"

The High Noon Saloon film screenings tonight in Madison were well received. Five films played in all including our short Beast Bike Beauty. Filmmakers on stage for the Q&A after the screening. L-R: Robert Lughai, Bryan Royston, Jeff Blankenship, Joey Broyles, and Ben Wydeven.

Photo by Karla Siemering Bryant.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Principal Cinematography Completed on "No Sleep for Ronni"

The last full day of shooting on No Sleep for Ronni was concluded outdoors yesterday during the blistering 92 degree swelter. Yet, the summer heat happily wasn't much of an issue for our star, Veronica Narang, or for our crew. Why? Because we shot in and around an abandoned 19th century railroad tunnel with natural spring-cooled "air-conditioning".

The location for this sequence was originally referred to in the script as a long hallway. The plan was to secure a school for the shoot, but after failing on several attempts to do so, the "school" idea began to loose its appeal--not the least of reasons being that we wouldn't be able to run a commercial fog machine inside the building (fire codes).

The school was replaced with the intention of using a bicycle underpass. Yet, issues of lighting, fogging, and biker traffic were all real obstacles to the successful completion of the shoot. Up until this point, all of the previous filming locations for the movie had surpassed our expectations in both functionally and artistic mood. Now with one major sequence to go, it felt as though we were "settling" for less than what the story needed.

At the 11th hour, our cinematographer suggested a little known abandoned railroad tunnel he'd visited once. It would require a drive to get there and then a hike in, but after one look at photos online, we knew we'd found the right place.

As we parked the cars and loaded up the gear, the heat of the day was on the rise. But to our pleasant surprise, the closer we got to the tunnel, the cooler and moister the air became. Natural springs and extremes in temperatures were creating a billowing fog that pretty much poured out of the arched entrance for most of the day. Not only did we find the right look for our shoot, but we also got the fog we wanted! Everything just seemed to go right on this production, and the fog effect was simply another example of how the filmmaking gods were smiling down upon us.

A small, mobile cast and crew (after a long, hard day of work on set), L to R: Robin Witt (assistant to Veronica Narang), Veronica Narang, Colin Cameron (producer/script supervisor/grip), Simon Witt (production assistant), Erik Witt (cinematographer/Steadicam), Robert Lughai (director/sound).

Photos by Colin Cameron, Robin Witt, and Veronica Narang.

A small set of supporting character pickup shots remains before filming is finished on this project.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Beast Bike Beauty" part of July 27th Film Screening

Beast Bike Beauty, our collaborative short with Exchange Productions, will be part of a film screening at the High Noon Saloon in Madison on Sunday, July 27th, 7:00 pm. Our showing is just a small part of the event which is being organized by Ben Wydeven of Makeshift Media Group.

The other movies include:
  • Makeshift Media Group's A Hot Summer Chill
  • JC Films' Hostile Possession
  • Living Storm's Killboy and Krash
  • Project Famous' Burn the Money

More details at the facebook event page:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"No Sleep for Ronni" Secret Agent Alien Scene #2

Earlier this evening, actor Veronica Narang uses a chair to "cheat" the shot from below as we finished shooting the rest of the "secret agent alien invasion" scene for No Sleep for Ronni. High atop the Madison Senior Center, Ivy Suryana was script supervisor and clapper while producer Colin Cameron ran sound and snapped still images.

Our cinematographer, Erik Witt, shot some fantastic footage with his Steadicam set-up, and Robert directed.

Photos courtesy of Colin Cameron, Ivy Suryana, and Veronica Narang.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"No Sleep for Ronni" Secret Agent Alien Scene #1

Yesterday evening, our small crew gathered atop the roof of the Madison Senior Center to film the "spy" scene for our short, No Sleep for Ronni. Because we need evening light, it was the first of two shoots we'll be doing on the rooftop. Although we arrived on set at 4:00 pm and didn't leave until 9:00, we really only had about an hour and half of true filming time.

Veronica Narang in her "secret agent wear"...

Alter ego sprite...

Pre-shoot meeting...

Erik Witt was our cinematographer. Robert directed (and sometimes ran 2nd camera).

In addition to being the script supervisor and grip, Ivy Suryana also played Veronica's body double. Producer Colin Cameron multitasked too by running sound and clapper.

Images courtesy of Ivy Suryana and Veronica Narang.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Test Screening of "Just God"

Against Robert's better judgement, we had the first test screening of Just God yesterday afternoon at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. In recent weeks, we've made some major editorial decisions and have trimmed a number of minutes off the total running time. Tighter is better and the film benefits from it. Yet, the movie is still a work-in-progress and not ready to be shown to the public. The rewards of having a test audience are somewhat wasted on the fact that the film is not in a finished form. Writer, Director, and Executive Producer Nicholas Wootton feels differently, though, and it's his decision to make.

Nicholas and Robert on stage during the Q&A along with host Francisco Torres. The humorous choke hold is done in fun but does represent some of the on-going creative differences we've had on this project.

Photos by Kelly Lajter & Zaher Karp.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"No Sleep" Tea Scene Completed

Production on No Sleep for Ronni continues as we knocked off another day of shooting. This one involved the "Tea Scene" where Veronica Narang's character comes face-to-face with her tea-sipping alter-ego self.

We worked in a small upstairs Madison apartment owned by friends Tom and Doreen Giles. As such, we needed to keep the crew small too. Ivy Suryana was once again clapper/script supervisor, Jeff Blankenship was on sound and lights, Robert ran camera and directed.

Additional images courtesy of Ivy Suryana.