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!

UPDATE April 2020:  The Covid-19 pandemic put a kink in our plans; the remaining shoots and release date have all been postponed until the air clears.

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. (UPDATE April 2020:  The Covid-19 pandemic put a kink in our plans; the remaining shoots and release date have all been postponed until the air clears.)

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


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.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

"Social Media Breakfast" Documentary Completed!

For nearly two months, Robert has been working on a gig with Jeff Modjeska, a short film celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the non-profit group, Social Media Breakfast Madison. The project required two big event shoots, 12 individual interviews, numerous b-roll pickup shots, and lots of digging through historical photos and videos.

After many hours at the computer, Robert finally finished the edit today! Jeff will deliver the final video file to the client and--knock on wood--we'll be done with this one.

UPDATE: The video is now up on the SMBmad facebook page:

And you can view it here below.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Governor's Mansion Remodel Series Finished!

Over the last 11 months, Robert has been working (on and off) filming and editing the restoration and remodel of the old Governor's Mansion in Madison. The last of the three This-Old-House-style episodes was shot in July. And Robert finally finished the edit this past week.

Today, owners Bob Klebba and David Waugh are holding an open house to show off their newly-completed hotel.  Because of the historic nature of this property, they will be furnishing the videos to the Wisconsin Historical Society to be added to their archives.

Episodes 1-3...

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Contract Signature Pick-up Shot

It may be slow, it may be behind schedule, but progress on No Sleep for Ronni continues. Here's a quick pick-up shot of our fictional character Ronni Dempster signing her life away.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Social Media Breakfast Shoot

Videographer Jeff Modjeska invited Robert to take part in his shoot this morning of the Social Media Breakfast in Madison. The SMB non-profit group has hired us to put together a 10th anniversary video celebrating the growth and success of their organization.

Both of Jeff's Sony cameras were smokin' today (in a good way)!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Malevolent Corporate Logo for "Ronni"

In our film, No Sleep for Ronni, we have two antagonists, Dr. Bly (played by Tim Towne) and Ms. Slovak (Portia Adney). Both work for a dark and sinister company, the fictional Přízrak Technologies Corporation.

The headquarters is based in Prague. Přízrak is a Czech (and Russian) word for ghost, phantom, or apparition.

Early in the movie, a corporate promo is aired which explains the science behind what is about to happen to Ronni. In creating a fictional company, we needed to make it seem real, right down to the logo. Here's what we came up with...

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Shrunken Head prop for "Ronni"

Tashai made this "shrunken head" prop to be used in one of the nightmare sequences in our film, No Sleep for Ronni.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Filming the Remodel of the Governor's Mansion

In late 2018, B&B owners Bob Klebba and David Waugh brought Tarazod onboard to document the remodel of their new property purchase--the former Wisconsin Governor's Mansion in Madison. The plan for the 1854 sandstone building was to turn it into a hotel, but this feat would require many months of work and major renovations throughout the house.


The initial video production took place in November of 2018. We then returned in January 2019 for more updates. Finally today on July 10th, eight months after that first shoot, we finished filming the remodel.



Robert did the first two shoots by himself, but this time he brought along skilled videographer, Jeff Modjeska, to help capture the final footage with his Sony camera and Ronin gimbal.





When the edit is completed, the video project will consist of three distinct episodes showing the various stages of the remodel. David and Bob plan to donate the series to the Wisconsin Historical Society for archival purposes.

UPDATE: See the series here: https://www.tarazod.com/2019/09/governors-mansion-remodel-series.html

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Beast Bike Beauty" Screening Tonight

Our short, Beast Bike Beauty, screened tonight at the Madison Independent Filmmakers Meetup. Received some good feedback from the group with insights into a couple things we hadn't considered before. It's always nice to see how a room reacts to a project and to hear afterwards how certain scenes worked (or didn't work ) for individuals.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Flag, Clamps & Baby Pins

We recently added a few items to our grip gear including a 24" x 36" Matthews flag, a couple Matthellini clamps (6" end jaw, 3" center jaw), and two Impact 5/8" baby pins for our c-stands.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Music Video Weekend

Had a fantastic time on set this weekend! Fellow filmmaker and director Aly Seeger invited Robert to be a part of the crew for a music video featuring the rap artist Reconsiderate.

Our DP was Jeff Modjeska. Robert was gaffer and ran second camera when needed.

Brian Patterson was a very busy grip as well as the script supervisor. Evan Weisrock also contributed to the grip duties and lighting setup.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Ronni" Online Press Kit

We've launched a No Sleep for Ronni online press kit page. More info will be added as we ramp up the promotion side of things, but for now, at least it's a start in the right direction.

View the press kit at: https://presskit-no-sleep-for-ronni.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 4, 2019

"Ronni" is now listed on IMDb

The post-production edit continues to be our focus for No Sleep for Ronni, even as we enter into the next phase of the project which is promotion. Bryan Royston (who plays the computer tech Douglas in the movie) is a long-time producer for Living Storm Productions. He agreed to help us out by uploading all of the "Ronni" credit info to IMDb. Not an easy task when dealing with a cast and crew of well over 50 people, many of which needed to be matched with their existing details on the site. A big shoutout to Bryan for all his hard work.

Check out the listing on IMDb.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Fun with Foley

We've been recording sound effects to be used in No Sleep for Ronni. Tashai is working with something called an Indonesian thunder tube. Interesting results.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"No Sleep for Ronni" 2019 Post Production

We still have a ways to go, but the edit is progressing on No Sleep for Ronni. Feels good to be plugging away and seeing things come together.

A clip of the narrator during the "classified" corporate promotional intro...

The first time we see Ms. Slovak in Prague...

Ronni's having second thoughts during her initial interview with Dr. Cillion...

Dr. Bly questions Ronni in the interrogation room (filmed in Madison 2014) while Nurse Nia looks on (filmed in Phoenix 2018)...