Film Festival Success for Jordan’s Jackhammer!

As the writer of Jordan’s Jackhammer, I’m very proud to announce the film has been accepted into three film festivals!

  1. Flager Film Festival in Flager, FL  http://flaglerfilmfestival.com/
  2. Borrego Springs Film Festival in the CA desert http://www.borregospringsfilmfestival.org/
  3. Oregon Underground Film Festival https://filmfreeway.com/festival/OregonUndergroundFilmFestival

The competition to get into film festivals is steep, so it’s great that our short has gotten in the door at these three. The film has been entered into several other festivals, so I’m hopeful the producers will have more good news to share soon.

Both the Flager and the Borrego Springs Film Festivals are planned for January 2015, so if you are in the neighborhood, please check them out. 🙂

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Jordan’s Jackhammer Website Now Up!

rhyslogan.jpeg

Earlier this year I wrote a screenplay for Jordan’s Jackhammer, a short film that was shot on location in New York City.

The producers have been hard at work in post-production, and now the film is entering its marketing phase … and the short is being entered for consideration to several film festivals around the world. (Fingers crossed that it gets accepted to a few!)

I’m very happy to share the Jordan’s Jackhammer website:

jordansjackhammer.com

And the Jordan’s Jackhammer Facebook page:

facebook.com/jordansjackhammer

Please check them out!

My Short Film Adventure – Post Production Editing

What could be better than squeezing into a tight editing room with a professional editor and the director of a short film for many hours? If you ask me, the writer of said film, nothing could be better. 🙂

Paul, our editor; Hiroshi Hara our director and me ... intently editing a scene from Jordan's Jackhammer

Paul, our editor; Hiroshi Hara our director and me … intently editing a scene from Jordan’s Jackhammer

This week, I was invited to participate in two multi-hour editing sessions and it was thrilling to watch all the footage being crafted into the final product.

What’s especially satisfying is seeing how we are able to use so much of the wonderful work our actors gave us in take after take while the film was being shot. There are some really incredible moments based on the performances.

Ramon at the editing session

Ramon at the editing session

And although I won’t give away any of the jokes in the film (because it is a comedy, after all) what I can tell you is that some of the jokes are full on belly laughs. The pacing seems to be coming together nicely too.

There were some important lessons learned for me during this process too.

For example, when the script is X number of pages, it doesn’t account for any organic creative ideas that can spontaneously arise on set and might add to the total length of the piece.

Also, it’s probably obvious but … the number of days of shooting have a huge impact on what you have to work with in the editing room. We were extremely fortunate to have had four full days of filming for this short. And you’d think four days is a lot of coverage, and it is, but when it comes to the number of takes, the angles of a shot … all of that contributes to the choices available when everything is being pieced together.

For anyone that’s never been in an editing room, the process is fascinating. You are literally going through the film second by second. I’m not exaggerating. All four of us (see photos above) had an extended discussion about a 35 second “mini-scene” in the film and debated over whether or not that segment should be shortened to 29 seconds. We were split 50/50 for a while, but eventually decided to keep the full 35 second version in the film.

Yes, it’s that specific.

And while we got very close to a final version, we’re still not 100% completed with our editing yet. We’re going to have additional viewing time to provide feedback.

Once we have a “film lock,” it means the final length of the film is locked and set. Once that happens, the footage can be handed over to our sound design guy for sound and sound effects (which are numerous throughout), and our composer for the music, and also for voice over talent too. (Yeah, we are pretty fancy shmancy!)

I was extremely encouraged by our editor’s comments that “the production values are very high” on our little film. If they are, it’s due to the wonderful backing of our executive producers Ramon and Mike, of course supported by the cast and crew. (The script may have had a little to do with it too. ;-D)

Now, if we’re very fortunate, once everything is done and ready to be shown… our executive producers will be able to get this short film into some film festivals too. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself; that would be another posting in the future!

 

My Short Film Adventure – Writing Credit on IMDB!

My first IMDB Film Credit!

My first IMDB Film Credit!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted an update on my short film adventure, and that’s because filming finished in April and now the short is in post-production.

An editor has been brought on board, and they will produce a rough cut of the film to be reviewed by the Producers, the Director and with luck, me too. 😉

In the meantime, an entry for Jordan’s Jackhammer (working title) has been put on IMDB, and yours truly is listed as the Writer.

Woo Hoo! It’s my first IMDB film credit, and if I have anything to do with it, not my last.

If you want to check it out, there are two links of interest (from my perspective):

Jordan’s Jackhammer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3703880/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Carol Deminski, Writer: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6467027/?ref_=tt_ov_wr

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The excitement continues!

More Short Film Adventures – Filming the Short!

I am grateful that the Executive Producers Ramon Torres and Mike Karp have given me the go ahead to share top-secret backstage candid shots with you all on the making of our film project. 🙂

First, the cast is amazing! We have a talented set of actors playing the five roles in the movie. We had a table reading of the script on April 23rd. Here is the complete cast:

L - R: Ramon Olmos Torres, Jessica Zinder, Lou Martini, Barbara Ann Davison, and Kristoffer Infante

L – R: Ramon Olmos Torres, Jessica Zinder, Lou Martini, Barbara Ann Davison, and Kristoffer Infante

 

And then, this past weekend I was on the set to watch and participate in the filming. It was SO exciting!! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a film being made, nevermind a film that I wrote being made.

 

It was surreal to see actors speaking my lines, and then when the take was over, having the crew cracking up (the film is a comedy). I was humbled to have several of the actors tell me they loved the script and thought it was funny. I can tell you the actors brought so much to the interpretation, they made whatever I wrote funnier.
Also our director, Hiroshi Hara, is doing an fantastic job!
Here are some candid behind the scenes shots:
Me in the middle being flanked by Kristoffer Infante (Doorman Ralph) and our wonderful Director, Hiroshi Hara!

Me in the middle being flanked by Kristoffer Infante (Doorman Ralph) and our wonderful Director, Hiroshi Hara!

 

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Lou Martini as Allen, the boss!

Lou Martini as Allen, the boss!

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Close up of Lou's lips on the monitor for a very funny moment in the movie

Close up of Lou’s lips on the monitor for a very funny moment in the movie

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It takes a LOT of equipment to make a film, and our crew has been really great including Andy Zou, our Assistant Director in the background

It takes a LOT of equipment to make a film, and our crew has been really great

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Ramon getting a make up touch up and his mic attached. (His character isn't sleeping which is why he looks like that!)

Ramon getting a make up touch up and his mic attached. (His character isn’t sleeping which is why he looks like that!)

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This coming weekend we will shoot the rest of the scenes and complete all of the filming. Everything has been shot on location in New York City, which is such a great backdrop for this story.

Then it’s off to editing for the final “making of the movie” along with the addition of the soundtrack and score and all the other bits needed for final polish.

More on this amazing, wonderful and exciting adventure soon!

My short film adventure, continued

About a month ago I posted My Short Film Adventure, So Far and this is a follow up post to that.

Lesson number one – just when you think the script is finished, it’s not.

It’s been really interesting to see the process unfold on this project, which I have to imagine is very similar to many film projects.

I was brought on board by the two producers of the film to write the script, but none of the rest of the crew had been hired yet. Including the director. Since I’m a newbie in this space, I figured once I delivered a script the producers liked, that’s what would be used. Not quite.

What I came to understand very quickly, is the relationship between the Director and the writer is extremely important. In fact, for future projects I’d want to know who the Director would be and meet that person before undertaking the writing of a script because the Director has to be comfortable with me as a writer and what I’m bringing to the table, and I have to be comfortable with that person as the Director and incorporating elements that person wants to ensure there is a meshing of the vision for the film.

Thankfully, the Director on this film project has been easy to work with and made some good suggestions about script changes and changing the order of scenes I wrote to enhance the overall flow of the film.

Then, the Director of Photography (DP) also made some modifications to the script based on the fact that the way I wrote certain descriptions would have been very expensive to shoot. (Oops, I didn’t realize that one description would have required a fancy crane shot!)

Then, the producers asked me would I mind terribly changing the ending because the location I’d written for the end scene was expensive and was proving difficult to secure. And if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, could I change the nature of the pet of one of the characters because of other complications. Sure, I said. No problem. 🙂

And so it is that I’ve now delivered version 15 of the rewritten script, which might just be final. Maybe. Probably.

Except that…

I’m going to go out on a limb here (it’s not much of a limb) and guess that no final script, no matter how perfectly written, is exactly what’s delivered on screen. That’s probably a good thing in many cases.

The director and actors will do their job during the shooting of the film which will enhance and modify whatever is in the script, and then there will be an editing process which I’m sure will shape whatever comes out in the end as the final product for the entire crew’s efforts.

But while I’ve been pondering the script and laboring over whatever changes were needed, the producers have been really hard at work doing everything else. That included hiring a casting agent and casting the five roles in the film. I’m SO EXCITED by the amazing cast they’ve hired. These people are incredible actors with impressive credits to their names, I’m sure they will bring the characters I wrote fully to life!

The locations have mostly been nailed down, the director, DP and sound guy are onboard, and the producers keep going. I can’t even imagine how they are getting all this done so quickly.

But for me, the writer, my big event which is scheduled for next week, is a table reading of the script by the actors. It will be the first time the cast has been fully assembled and hearing the actors reading my dialogue will be thrilling.

Just a few days after that, filming will begin! If I’m given permission, I will bring a camera to the shoot and take photos of “the making of” this film.

So, up next, the actors reading my script together as a group for the first time. How exciting is that?!

My short film adventure, so far

A few weeks ago I got a call from a guy I used to work with to catch up and say hi. He’d just returned from a year rotation overseas so it was good to hear from him.

To my surprise, instead of discussing “work and career stuff” he asked me if I’d like to work on a creative project. Since he knew about my short story publications, he asked if I’d be interested in writing a script for a New York City based short film project he’s putting together.

Yes! I said. Count me in.

I got together with him and the lead actor and discussed the idea for the film with them. I got excited and began brainstorming where the story could go. We decided I’d write a draft within three weeks, and reconnect once the first draft was ready.

Well, I was SO excited about the project, I wrote a 3000 word script (about 12 pages) within less than a week of our first meeting!

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve never written 3000 words of anything in a week. I have no idea what happened. Maybe it was pent up writing lurking inside me, but the script spilled out.

I iterated through several versions and then we set a follow up meeting to read through the draft. The follow up meeting went as I expected. I needed to shorten the script, eliminate one of the characters and drop the songs I’d selected (it’s expensive to have music in movies). I got good feedback on the dialogue too, and we agreed the main bones of the script were solid.

And so it is that – as of last night – the revised draft is in their hands, and will be used to “sell” the idea to the actors they want to be involved, the director and others needed to make the film.

In all the years I’ve been writing, I’ve never seen any of my characters come to life and speak their lines. The idea of seeing a script I wrote become an actual film with real actors is unbelievably exciting to me.

More to come on this short film project as it develops!

Meet Short Film Maker Derin Kivaner

Derin Kivaner is very talented.

I don’t mean that casually as in, oh, she directs short films and she’s talented. I mean Derin is Turkish and speaks several foreign languages including English, writes English fluently, sings like a songbird, has her own band, and THEN she directs short films, and produces them, writes the scripts, does the lighting, puts together the soundtrack, and gathers all the actors for her works and does the casting.

Yeah. Talented like that.

Did I mention she’s 23?

Oh, I’ll throw that out here as if all of us could do half the things she does passionately at 23.

If you want to get a tiny glimpse of how talented she is, you will immediately CLICK HERE www.vimeo.com/derininvimeosu and watch some of her Vimeo clips of her short films. Some are charming and funny like I Love Me, and others are more serious and lovesick like Lighter. Her “show reel” is a great montage of many of her works in one sitting.

Derin and I have begun our adventure together by chatting yesterday via the internet. We worked over script concepts and how to adapt the settings in my short story to settings she has available in Istanbul. Of course it is fascinating to see pictures of neighborhoods in Istanbul that can “stand in” for the types of locations I was talking about in my story, set in NYC. Of course it won’t be a direct translation, but you know, I love the idea that my little story can be stretched and made universal to adapt to a different cultural context.

We discussed actors and who might be best for the parts. Of course, she knows oodles of talented actors, and has an impressively keen eye to know who will do well in particular roles.

It’s hard to describe how exciting it is to be working on this right now, but trust me, it is extremely satisfying.

More to come…

A funny thing happened on the way to Istanbul

Sometimes you have to love life’s serendipity. In this age of the internet, in the 21st Century, people from all over the world are being brought together in ways we never could have imagined perhaps even a decade ago.

So when a Turkish short film maker from Istanbul contacted me via my blog contact page a few days ago to ask me if it would be okay for her to potentially use one of my short stories as the basis for one of her short films, well…

I read her email. Then I read it again, to make sure I was really understanding it. Then I read it a third time, thinking I probably still wasn’t following what she meant. But yes, there it was – would I let her use my story as the basis for a short film?

The funny thing is … the story she is interested is about characters and settings in New York City, but it was published in a journal in Europe, and then she read the story in Turkey. How is that for a modern-day connection? Kind of funny, right? I thought so, anyway.

And my answer was, this is such an interesting idea, I want to see where it goes. So she and I have agreed to discuss this more (via the internet, of course – or maybe we’ll Skype some day when I figure out how to do that) and see how we can make it all work.

So I’ll keep you all posted on the progress that we make in our new international artistic collaboration. Maybe it won’t go anywhere, or maybe we’ll collaborate on a really fun short film that will amuse audiences all over the world. Maybe I’ll be writing my first story-adapted-as-a-screenplay for this endeavor, or maybe I’ll watch from the sidelines as this thing evolves and be available to provide artistic input. Who knows?

What I do know is I’m excited about the possibilities. I love the idea that my little story, a vignette snapshot of an interaction between two people, may come to life with a director and actors who may not even be speaking English when the story is filmed, but there it’ll be. Something that came to life off the page and onto a screen. Or screens.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that I’ve seen short film programs at the Tribeca Film Festival for the past five years running. Maybe it’s also not a coincidence that friends have said some of my stories are very visual for them and they can see the story from a camera’s eye view.

And maybe it’s no coincidence that artists from all over the globe can come together and choose to collaborate and see where it takes them. I know I’m looking forward to where the journey leads.