Like my short film "Celeste"

Monday, July 31, 2006

Box Office Thought

A lot of people question why so many sequels are made every year. Some even complain over the lack of creativity in movies and the narrow-minded studio execs.

Well, I'm sorry to tell you, but movies are a business. And a major one! So who can really blame studios if when faced with these numbers, they choose to go for the sequel?

Something else you might consider is the actual audience. Aren't they as narrow-minded as the dreadful studio execs? The only non-sequel in the list, Spider-Man, is based on existing comic book novel and whole franchise of its own.

Why aren't people more brave and whilling to take chances on different things? A possible answer to this would be that we're only looking at openers and not overall box-office. So as far as taking chances, people wait for somebody else to go see the movie for them and make up their mind days later. Or they bet on previously known franchises.

Will the day for a hundred-million dollar opening of a movie like "Pulp Fiction" ever arrive? Damn you Bruckheimer!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Toyota Shoot

This past week was time for a Toyota shoot. Madhouse, a Manchester based agency hired portuguese Republica das Bananas for this production.

It all started Monday and not according to plan, we immediately started shooting.
The week went on and stuff got funky Wednesday morning when a RAV4 got stuck in the sand, followed by a 4x4 tow truck and then even a bulldozer almost got stuck. Word of advise: avoid the tricky sands of Adraga beach!

Even though Adraga was a nightmare, we got some great shots with the same concept somewhere else later that day. In Sao Pedro do Estoril we got the perfect sunset by the beach where model Kelly Brearley did her yoga poses.

After Adraga and with the exception of a midtown shot in old Lisbon, everything went really smooth. The only thing that's not as clear as when you're shooting film is when they're actually shooting stills. There is no calling for action or cut, so you have to really pay attention to what's happening.

Photographer David Seed did a great job on the shoot; he even put himself in a somewhat risky situation (see photo below), hanging on a ladder over a cliff. The art director, Phil Rogerson was in charge of the shoot.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


If you're considering shooting underwater... think again!
Or plan ahead (usually the better option...).

While shooting a commercial for a portuguese credit card, it became pretty clear that shooting underwater takes twice as much time. Just loading the camera and changing lens requires removing the camera from the water, taking it out of the waterproof bag and then the opposite when putting it back in. It took us close to 15 minutes to load the camera everytime. And we were losing time fast!

Luckily the crew was great and even though everybody was working overtime, we still kept our spirits high.

Meanwhile, I've learned that I'm going to have to stay in Portugal longer than expected. My thesis got delayed (or derailed) and my new deadline is September. I'm hoping I can get back to New York by early September, though. I just completed the first draft of a new short film. It's about a guy who has to cover up for a crime he committed during his own surprise party. I'm just waiting for my producer's feedback on the draft so I can get moving on making it better.

There's just one thing I'm worried about: how do I top "Paranoia"? ( This script is a lot less complex than Paranoia's and it leaves less leverage to show off sophisticated editing and camera moves. Since it's all set in one uhm... set, my inspiration is obviously Hitchcock's "The Rope" except here will be cuts in between scenes or it would be crazy! I've found the house already, or better yet, I wrote the script thinking about a house in particular (which is great, 'cause you already have the set on your mind to work with). And hopefully I'm going to be able to shoot in that house; it would mean greater production value since it's an awesome house.

Gotta go sleep because apart from celebrating Portugal's victory against England yesterday I went sailing for 7 hours with a huge hangover...