Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A busy month

It's been almost a month since I posted a blog entry, which is a reflection of how busy I've been.

The big news is still that Saberfrog will be showing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival on April 10 at 1 pm at Market Arcade Film & Arts Center, 639 Main St (little plug there).

But I've been having other film-related adventures as well.

On the last weekend of February, I took part in a 72-hour filmmaking contest. On Thursday, February 24, each team who signed up was assigned a short list of story elements, and given 72 hours – until Sunday, February 27 at 6 pm – to write, film and edit a short film containing those story elements. Mike Boas and Mike Russo were co-directing an entry, and Mike Boas asked me to be cinematographer. We brainstormed a story, then the Mikes wrote a script on Friday and we spent eight hours shooting the film on Saturday. Mike Boas edited the footage and delivered the finished product in time to meet the deadline.

That Sunday I watched the Oscars. Although the show was rather dull, at least the get-off-the-stage music was classier this year.

The following weekend I traveled to New York City to attend DIY Days, a conference for independent filmmakers and other self-starting media artists. It was not only a learning experience, but also reinvigorating to be able to network with filmmakers outside the Rochester/Buffalo area.

On Monday, March 7, the 72-hour films were screened to the public at the Little Theater. I was very pleased at how our film, Unmasked, turned out. The other films were quite clever and funny as well. Two days later we rewatched the film at a Rochester Film Lab meeting, where I was complimented on the cinematography. I'd never considered lighting or camerawork to be my strongest point as a filmmaker, but being a DP on a short film directed by someone else was a less daunting prospect than being DP for your own feature-length film. I was able to concentrate more on making each shot look good, instead of just rushing to get through several pages of feature material in just a few hours. People thought I must have shot Unmasked with a newer camera than the one I used for Saberfrog, which I took as a compliment.

At the same meeting, I showed a film I'd worked on for a 24-hour filmmaking contest some years earlier. (I was in NYC for my ten-year college anniversary that year, and my old college friend Greg recruited me to join him in the contest. I was the writer, co-star and editor of that film, and still managed to attend the anniversary event!) I also showed Sweaters Over Plaid and a Kitty Cat, the RIT short film that cast me in a scenery-chewing lead performance.

That weekend I hung out with some college friends I hadn't seen in a while, then went to another showing of old educational films at Visual Studies Workshop. These were rather serious films about alcoholism and drug addiction, and although interesting from a historical perspective they lacked the gonzo weirdness of some previous shows. I also saw a show of short films at the Little, including films by Rochester native Matt Ehlers. Matt was in attendance for the screening, although he had to leave before it was over and so I didn't get the chance to catch up with him.

Since then I haven't had time to do much film-related, apart from giving a friend some input on the editing of her short film. A large project at work has been keeping me busy, but once it's done I intend to devote more time and energy to promoting Saberfrog.