Schedules have been worked out, so we can finally announce our cast for “The Catch” — our November short.
Kimberley Gates as Jamie — “The Catch”
Danielle Evon Ploeger as Jessica — “The Captain”
Anna Schatte as Kellee — “The Cook”
Mallory Larson as Fanny, “The Tackle”
We start filming tomorrow and will finish up on Sunday. We had a meeting with Ty about lighting yesterday as well. Duncan has a couple of minor tweaks to the script to do, and I’m sending out call sheets today. Things are falling into place! We already can’t wait to share this one with you guys.
Our script for November is finished — after much huffing and puffing from Duncan who had trouble being creative this month. Spoiler: 4 girls + poker = recipe for hilarity/badassery.
We’ve begun collaborations on our December short. As it’s the final short of this year-long project we’re bringin’ it! That’s right, it will be brought.
We’re working with a couple in France to write a script which we will film independently in the two locations, but edit together for an awesome, multi-location piece. Hopefully this will be a nice trial for maybe filming some more in Europe. We have a friend of the family who lives in Majorca. Who knows? We can romanticize about it, right?
You can check out their work here: https://vimeo.com/sowilopictures
This has nothing to do with out collabo with them, but it will show you their style:
They specialize in visual effects and the mystical so it will be a cool, fantasy-filled short that we’re pretty fuckin’ stoked to start working on.
4 days later and BAM — brilliant idea. #itoldyouso
Ha, but really, we finally came up with a concept for our November film. Like I mentioned in our last post, I thought we were having trouble coming up with a concept because we hadn’t nailed down exactly what we were looking to “work on” this month.
We were REALLY pissed at how terribly our sound quality turned out last month. We spent a good deal of time blaming it on the equipment and whining that “once we have the money to get better equipment, we will be able to record more professional quality of sound.” Turns out, I think we were just.. doing it wrong. Partly our fault for not really explaining to our “sound guys” (Duncan’s brothers that have no professional experience in the sound field) exactly how they needed to handle our equipment. That resulted in us having to do a lot of audio gain in audacity and even more noise removal, so it basically just sounded shitty. I spent some time last night fiddling with our equipment and realized its not crapping out on us, and either I need to do the field recording, or I need to properly explain it to the people I entrust it to. I also spent a good deal of time on the internet this morning trying to figure out what the *best* sound recorder was for low-budget filmmaking.. turns out, the Zoom h4n (what we have) is still a crowd favorite.
BUT! BACK TO MY POINT. We needed to nail down exactly what we want to work on this month. We are not professionals (yet). We do not know everything (yet). What can we work on without equipment upgrades? This is what we came up with:
-Writing Challenge for Duncan: Full Female Cast. Duncan knows he’s not great at writing females. He claims it comes from the old “write what you know” adage, and he’s not a woman. I call bullshit, and think he just needs practice. So he doesn’t get to hide behind any male characters this month.
-Cinematography Challenge: Learning about/utilizing camera angles to enhance the emotional response to a story
-Cinematography Challenge #2: Film on a tripod. So, Duncan has fallen madly in love with the shoulder rig, and the idea that images that aren’t completely still evoke a more intimate feel for the audience. While I completely agree, I also brought up the fact that we’ve NEVER shot on tripod. Ever. We’ve made 10 films and they were all from our shoulders. So we’re gonna ground ourselves this month and find a different way to bring the intimacy.
-Editing Challenge: Using these amazing angles/cutaways/etc to make precise decisions in the editing room — another way we think we can enhance the emotional response to our storytelling
-Lighting Challenge: This isn’t so much a challenge for us, because we are going to ask Duncan’s brother, Ty, (the go-to lighting guy for Possumbox Productions, another local film company) to come in and do some dynamic lighting for us that will - again - enhance our story and feel. Hopefully we can learn a thing or two from him along the way, but that might be a separate conversation in which he teaches us about lighting equipment and technique, which, as of right now, we have just about zero experience in.
So. Once we came up with these challenges, an idea sprang pretty quickly. We want to write a story about 4 girls in an intense game of Poker. Maybe they’re in an underground poker league. Maybe one of them is a newbie to the group and schools everyone. Maybe there’s a table flip. Maybe there’s a cat fight. Maybe it’s just a girl’s night and they aren’t doing anything illegal. Maybe they are. Basically, the script isn’t written yet, so the possibilities are endless, but we think this idea gives us room to achieve all of our goals.
IN OTHER NEWS: I woke up at 3am this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I did a bunch of research on stuff (hence the sound rant earlier) that was either refresher from stuff I learned earlier this year but didn’t stick, or new information that was really helpful. I started compiling a list of stuff I’d like to put on our wishlist for our fundraiser that will happen sometime in early 2014. This is a very idealistic wishlist, so I put the *best of the best* stuff on there, and realistically, some of this stuff will probably get cut, or we will go for buying something similar but less expensive, but right now my list is at $13,000. Oops. Yeah, that’s probably unrealistic for an initial fundraiser, and I’m aware. But shopping online without a true budget in mind, just to get a feel for a ballpark figure was really fun. Also a really great way to not be super annoyed that I was awake at 3am with no signs of falling back asleep.
And, just cuz I made you read a bunch of words, I’ll reward you with a hilarious picture. Here’s a dude having breakfast at Kerbey Lane yesterday who has a Lone Star Rocketship tattoo. #TexasForever
So, November has begun. Our 11th short has.. almost begun. More on that in a minute. But first: Exciting news!
Spirit is going to be playing at the Drive-in and that’s pretty cool. To make it more official we made a poster!
Elena did this the first time ever using photoshop. No tutorials. Nothin’. Not too shabby for a photoshop virgin.
Details on the screening: https://www.facebook.com/events/541326945956010/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar
Spirit will screen right before Twitchy Dolphin’s Turkey Day — both hilarious films that deal with weird family situations. We are really proud that Spirit’s theatrical premiere is in such good company. Plus, the drive-in is really fucking cool. Like. Huge-Screen-Outdoors-With-The-Austin-Skyline-In-The-Background cool. We would really love it if any of you Austinites that read our blog could come out. Let’s support micro-budget Indie film, y’all! BAM! Tickets! https://bluestarlitedrivein.vbotickets.com/events
Onto the less exciting stuff. We’re kind of.. stuck. Elena had this robot idea, but Duncan tried to write it and scrapped it after a page cuz it sucked so bad. Cuz that’s the thing about producing so much content in such a short amount of time — you run out of juice. We’re nearing the home stretch of this 12 Month Project, and rest assured, we’ve come this far, we’re not quitting now. We’re just.. gonna have to pull something out of our asses on this one.
And here’s the problem. So far, this year, we’ve set our sights on learning a particular aspect of filmmaking each month this year, and our ideas have kind of come out of that. Right now, we’re pretty confident in our mediocre filmmaking skills.. a lot of our progress is going to depend on upgrading equipment. Like, we really wanna get a grip on correctly lighting scenes, but we won’t have the funds for that until after our fundraiser next year. Or, like, theoretically, we would love to work on refining our sound mixing, but a lot of the shittiness of our sound quality comes from our dying h4n that we can’t upgrade yet.
I know, I know, these are big baby excuses, but hey. We said we weren’t gonna lie to you, right? So, no lies: we feel stuck and are being big babies, but we won’t let our audience down. We will hone in on that particular aspect we need and want to work, and we will do that. Expect an update in a few days when we somehow come up with the most brilliant plan ever.
Yesterday we published our October film, Spirit. This was our 10th short film of the year and our first comedic (so we hope) film. Comedy is a special sort of beast.
All this while taking what was essentially an 8-day break to participate in the Austin Film Festival. We saw some great and inspiring films that only made us eager to up our production value and bang out some awesome films. Shout out to Twitchy Dolphin for being an official selection this year with their film 3 References. (Elena had a small role in it, along with a song on the soundtrack, so, that was cool.)
Elena took the DP wheel this month. She enjoyed it and found it really scary at first since she hadn’t done it (and she was directing on top of it). But it went really smoothly. Maybe the shots weren’t framed to perfection, but much fun was had. Hopefully soon we can find someone to be our permanent DP and she can stick to the directing side of things. Duncan has been doing it, but he wants to focus on other areas and find someone that really knows their shit — or is at least willing to learn quickly and will be dedicated to doing so.
Duncan took a position in front of the camera this month (as well as the writer credit). This will likely be the last time this year that either of us act in the films. Unless we have an actor drop or something and we have to. But please. Actors. Don’t.
We kept with the tradition was started last month and took plenty of production stills (found here) — there are some pretty good gems in there and we’re happy we’re doing them. It will be nice to look back one day and say, “Oh, remember that 12-month project we did that was totally bonkers and a waste of time” or “remember that thing we did that got us to where we are today…”
Here are some of the ones that didn’t make the album:
That would be Duncan’s brother, Will, modeling the gloves for one of the clowns. He’s also the one who designed our logo!
Elena’s director face (or her DP face, not sure which).
This is Lynda Coe, our delightfully hilarious clown-mom (Duncan’s sister-in-law).
Looking forward we have quite a lot on our plates:
Duncan is writing November and December scripts.
Elena is in rehearsals (and has been for some time) for a play. — it opens Nov. 9, go see it! “Nursery Crimes” at the DAC, Thurs-Sun for 4 weeks.
Duncan is in rehearsals for a sketch comedy show. Fuck, its funny. More on that later.
Elena is taking on more responsibility with the B. Iden Payne awards committee.
Duncan is writing a script for a film competition for the beginning of 2014.
Elena is working a second job.
We both are in class for Improv — graduated into 401, whatup?!
We’re starting work on an official TurtleDove website that will launch when we are officially a “real” company — according to the IRS.
And it’s about the time of the year where we start reflecting on this crazy, 12-month process — as well as start planning for the future. Do we want to continue? (yes!) And what will it look like? Obviously we’re going to slow down (likely 3 solid shorts next year while Duncan writes a pilot or feature for 2015). How do we raise funds? Where do we get equipment?etc. etc.
Lots of uncertainty. But then again, lots of positive affirmation from our friends and fans. :)
Jane takes her boyfriend, Dave, home for dinner so he can meet her parents for the first time.
We’re over 1/2 way through October and wouldn’t you believe it? We’re busy as fuck-all.
For one, July’s short, The Reunion, is playing at the Austin Indie Flix Showcase TODAY! at 5PM (http://scarletwatersshowcase.wordpress.com/) — which kicked off with a drive-in movie screening on Thursday, a costume party music event extravaganza at Stompin’ Grounds last night, then of course a day of screenings today. That’s us with the arrow.
We’ve got the October script written and cast. We’re going in a bit of a different route with it this month… we’re doing a funny script! Duncan will be acting in it for a change to showcase his talents in front of the camera.
Spoiler Alert: It involves CLOWNS! :D
We did some heavy duty costume shopping for the clowns. Luckily, it’s Halloween time and the costumes were easy to come by. Here’s a little preview:
Other going-ons. Elena is in rehearsals. Duncan starts rehearsals soon (for a sketch comedy show). We’ve made yet ANOTHER trip to Dallas. We start filming for October on the 20th. We start improv classes on Monday… it’s like it never ends. And Elena has an audition on Monday for Robert Rodriguez’s new TV show!
Lots of exciting things happening…
Bonus photo: we went as Parks and Rec for Halloween:
We finished filming “A Mess That We Made” — we’re very proud of the final product.
The only thing we wish went smoother was sound. Our borrowed digital recorder isn’t going to last much longer so it’s probably time to invest in sound equipment. We were slightly rushed on the final shoot date (our actor had a callback for a Disney gig). The guys who were running sound didn’t have much sound experience, so while we were fulfilling our original goal of providing people an opportunity to work on an area of production they aren’t proficient in. And we’re happy to be able to facilitate that — it just doesn’t jive well when there’s a strict schedule to adhere to.
We played around with taking “production photos” on one of the days!!! This was fun and probably something we’ll adopt a lot more in the future.
This was our first film on our borrowed 7D — the improvement in the picture quality made a hell of a difference.
We rushed to get it edited so we could publish it before we drove to Dallas for an acting expo where we got a chance to meet some casting directors and managers out of LA. Probably the coolest part was that we got to hand out our new turtledove business cards to the casting director for Parks & Recreation (and the casting director responsible for casting 3 new CW shows).
Shit’s gettin’ official!
We have three shorts left — the plot for the October film has been picked and we have an idea for December (a potential collaboration with a french film maker). Looking ahead to the future we’re starting to think about 2014, what we want to do once this 12-month project is over, fundraising for proper equipment, application for an LLC, etc. Prospects are high!
We got new headshots! Props to David Heisler (Duncan’s) and Will Hollis Snider (Elena’s)
We think they’re really good. We hope you do too!
Young and regretful, Emmy confronts her derelict husband for the first time after separation.
We’re two days into shooting “A Mess That We Made” which is our September short. After preliminary editing we’re really excited about it… but we don’t have anything to show so we made a blooper reel! Let me preface this by saying all of the outdoor shooting was done on the sweatiest, swampiest, grossest, humidity-ist day of the year. It was a bonding moment… like Italian mob bosses in a steam room. Enjoy.
Tomorrow is the final day of shooting which will involve shooting a fight scene which will be exciting. We’re super stoked that Aaron could fit us into his schedule and is coming to choreograph a little fight for us, and is gonna keep our actors safe. That’s always nice. It’s gonna be pretty interesting staging a fight in our front yard.. while it may or may not be raining.. yeah.. we didn’t think this through very well. But the two of us are so busy the rest of the month that we literally have no other day that us and our actors are available at the same time.. so.. here we go..
Stay tuned for blooper reel #2! Or maybe a finished product! Cross your fingers..
Here’s what we’ve been up to since August 25th when we last updated.
News: Our July short “The Reunion” has been nominated for a number of awards at the Austin Indie Flix Showcase. Including: Best Short, Best Texas Film, Best Actress (Kimberly Barrow), Best Director (Elena Weinberg). It’s playing on October 19th and we’ll know after that if we won!
August 26th-29th: We were in Dallas of all places because Elena was cast in and was filming a television show! She’s under an NDA, but as soon as the network lets her talk about it we’ll post more. Here’s a teaser selfie she took after getting off set one day in her 70’s, Farrah Fawcett inspired look:
August 29th: We drove straight back from Dallas to attend a Heyman Talent Mixer in Austin. Elena sang Don’t Stop Believin’ and Meredith Brooks… KARAOKE STYLE! Also, we talked with a lot of talent about TurtleDove. People seem to really like our ideas and style. It’s unusual having so much positive feedback. Theatre has ruined us in that. Or maybe we’re just better at film than theatre. Time will tell, I suppose. Until then, here’s a teaser of some of that karaoke we mentioned:
August 31st: Speaking of theatre, Elena had a read through of Nursery Crimes — the film noire-style original show she’s acting in that goes up in November. She plays “Jill” of Jack and Jill and Mary Contrary. Check it out, we’re green!
We posted “Sigh” to great reception. People like the claymation butt-cleavage at the end. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s your chance:
We’re really proud of it, but we felt a little bit like Ben Wyatt in Parks & Rec when it was all over. A lot of work for a very short amount of film. Like this:
We also made it out to the San Antonio Horrific Film Festival to represent Twitchy Dolphin Flix. Elena was in two shorts that screened there, and Duncan was in one. Twitchy took home several awards and we had such a good time supporting them, representing them and partying with them! We were bad people and took pictures in the theater. Check us out on the big screen in “Werebitches 3”
September 3rd: We went to the second anniversary party for LATCO (Last Act Theater Company) — the company Elena is working with on Nursery Crimes. We talked about “Sigh” with people there since the party was 1920s themed and “Sigh” had influence from 1920s impressionists films. They were even projecting Buster Keaton films onto a wall of the bar. We felt very satisfied.
September 5th-9th: We went of a family beach trip to Port A. All-in-all this was an uneventful time for TurtleDove. Elena had a 10-hour meeting for the B. Iden Payne Awards Committee. But mostly we relaxed. And drank Gin and Tonics like Nagel bosses. We were recommended to a friend of a friend to produce a weekly video blog for their company. Maybe we’ll start doing contracted work? And get paid!?!? Stay tuned for news on that! Sorry we don’t have a fancy picture to represent that.
September 9th: We hit the ground running after our vacay and started doing Improv twice a week. At the moment, Improv is our outlet for growth as actors while we focus on becoming great film producers. Acting, after all, was and still is, our first passion. We talked to our Improv teacher about producing a short promo piece for one of the company’s improv shows. Yay, Institution Theatre!
September 13th: The script for September is finished (and cast). Albeit, later than we would have liked. It is titled “A Mess That We Made”
September 12th-14th: Being sociable, we saw two plays and an improv show this weekend. Gotta keep up appearances. The improv show was about Austin, TX. so we had great fun! An added surprise was that Duncan’s little brother’s film company (Possumbox Productions) got some love when their video (Shit Austinites Say) was played during the pre-show. We were excited for them. And Duncan bragged about his little brother to everyone around him. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here:
September 15th: We jumped on the opportunity that some free time presented us to finally go see a long-overdue movie: Drinking Buddies. Duncan and Elena both have a crush on Olivia Wilde… so it was appropriate. It was entirely improvised indie film. It was right up our alley and highly inspirational. We could do something like that one day. Elena got excited when Magnolia Pictures tweeted her back after she tweeted about the movie. She’s practically famous.
SEPTEMBER 16TH: That’s today.
Finally, our September film details: It’s another relationship piece, a little dark, nice and short. Our agent challenged us to produce something that we also acted in. He says when he’s submitting to casting directors and they ask “What else does this person have?” he likes to be able to present them with something unique. What better than self-produced shorts? In September Elena is going to step in front of the camera and exercise her acting muscles. Duncan will take the reigns in October. This is also giving us the opportunity to direct and DP at the same time. A test in and of itself.
We don’t want this company to be a way for us to get ourselves on screen. That’s not the point of this. We agreed to this challenge because it fulfills several goals. 1. for the person behind the camera to take on multiple roles and see how that works out. 2. to understand what it is to act in an original piece written by yourself, and what challenges that presents 3. to make our agent happy, and to give us that edge in the outside acting world. We just think its important to give full disclosure on this. Sometimes, you see people casting themselves in stuff, and it leads to thoughts like “well, how is anyone else ever gonna get cast in their stuff if they just keep casting themselves?” or “did they start this company cuz they couldn’t get cast in anything else? Why does that make me want to watch their self-produced work? It seems entirely masturbatory.” — both of which are not where we are. We are still here to provide opportunity to anyone who wants to learn with us, and we certainly work a lot outside our own company. This is a challenge we are working through, and can’t wait to see how it turns out. Maybe it will suck acting in our own stuff. Maybe it will be amazing. Maybe no one will want to watch our “all inclusive” work. Maybe people will be impressed we are putting even more on our own shoulders. Who knows? We’ll see, I guess.
As far as this month’s film goes, Justin Davidson and Jacob Trussell will be joining Elena in front of the camera. Justin plays Elena’s ex-husband and Jacob plays her supportive new boyfriend. We are even trying to work it out schedule-wise to get Aaron Alexander on board the project as our fight director. Although this is another relationship piece, it will be very different and much darker than the last couple we have produced. Elena is gonna have to really step it up acting-wise for this one. Fortunately, both of her male opposites are great and are the perfect support for this project. We plan to meet with Justin today for a read through/loose rehearsal today. Hopefully we will nail some scheduling stuff down too, and we will quickly have more news on this project.
When it seems like everyone and everything is in love but him, a man finds love in the most likely of places.
We’ve been hard at work on our stop-motion piece for August. Lemme tell you something. It is SO MUCH FUN!
We’ve spent a lot of time between Austin and Dallas this month so in the in-between time we’ve been trying to uphold our promise to ourselves to produce one film per month. Stop-motion provides us the freedom to work in our own time, but still exercise our creative muscles. Plus, there’s a lot you can do with stop-motion that you can’t do with live-action.
We’re using a number of sources as an influence for this film. We’re hoping that the sweet amalgamation of 1920s French Surrealism, Claymation, and Brechtian theatre will combine sweetly enough to create something both intriguing and entertaining — which we believe go hand-in-hand.
Here, have some pictures!!!
So that photo-montage pretty much sums it up.
We’ll be done by the end of the week (after we come back from another trip to Dallas) and we’ll have a finished product to show — which we’ll also be entering into a competition. Fingers crossed!!!
We’re 12 days into August. We’ve got an idea: stop motion. We’ve got a story: French love connection. We’ve got a script: “Sigh…” — we’re about to get rolling on our first non-live-person short.
We’re converting a window nook in our second bedroom into a lightbox to create the Paris of our short. We’ll be making all the characters from Plasticine and the sets from… we don’t know yet. Maybe more Plasticine combined with construction paper… and lots of tape. You can do stop motion with basically anything (both Duncan and his brother suggested Legos); however, Elena has had a fascination with clay stop motion since she was a kid and watched Wallace and Gromit with her dad.
Yes, we’re getting our inspiration from a variety of sources:
We’re going to do it silent film style so we won’t have to record any sound. We’ll likely lift the soundtrack from an old surrealist film like this:
Also: We’ll be submitting this to our first competition ever!!! "Pretty Darn Quick Films" Competition
The only requirement really is that it needs to be less than three minutes which we think we’ll pull off. Considering stop-motion is between 10-15 fps we’re looking at over 2000 photos… this seems intimidating at first, but we think that the restrictions of the time limit will really work to our creative advantage on this one.
Now it’s time to SHOP!!! Elena is excited about this…