Monday, September 27, 2010

We Made a Movie Yo! (The Pick Ups Edition)

It was raining cats and dogs and there were old people playing bingo. So went Pick Ups for THE SAVING principle photopgraphy.  The theme of the day could be summed up in three words. Rain. Blood. Wootness.

Myself and a skeleton crew tramped out yesterday afternoon to a secluded park to bang out what Steph dubbed "my death awesomeness." After its all said and done, ya it was pretty awesome and really really really surreal. But I kinda getting used to that.

Lesssons Learned

1. MJ really needs to check the weather forecast more often.

2. Everyone should know someone like the Brennen family. Talented Much? Thanks again Memory!

3. 7 people standing out in the falling rain with fake blood galore and some random girl sprawled out on the sidewalk contorted into a very awkward very dead looking position will most assuredly get some eyebrow raises. Much to the amusement of a certain 17 year old Director.

4. Stephanie is quite the trooper. There are few things she won't and hasn't done for this film. Now she can check lying on the freezing cold cement, drenched in rain in 55 degree weather with nothing but a t-shirt and jeans on, covered in blood off her list. Now we just need to set her on fire. I kid Steph...sorta :D

5. Umbrella Man Number 4 needs to be tagged on Facebook ASAP.

6. Sushi. Need I say more?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indie Mathematics

Hard work + Awesome Crew/Cast = Uber cool Day 3 Principles Vlog = Even Cooler OFFICIAL TRAILER!

Now this is the type of arithmetic I can get behind :D


The Saving, Trailer 2.0 from Rebecca Davis on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We made a a Movie Yo! (Part Three)

Sunday September 13th, 2010

(all those involved in production)


Female Lead:  Stephanie Ibboston (Skye Mattheus)
Male Lead: Patrick Hussion (Paul Connel)


Director/Writer: MJ Slide
Exucutive Producer: Rebecca Davis
Director of Photography: Timi Brennen
Location Manager: Stuart Sabin
Sound Techie: Mike "Beast" Brennen  
Boom Mic Operator: Bridgett "The Maid of Awesome" Brennen 
Costume Designer: Apryl Mitchell-Snyder 
Make Up/Hair: Carice Alexander 
First Production Assistant & Script Supervisor: Katherine Payne 
Production Photographer: Anna Moseley  
Production Assistants: Sarah Belknap & Destry Edwards 

Lessons Learned

1. One can function on only 3 shots of espresso from 6:30 in the morning till 2:45 in the afternoon. Is it advised? Absolutely not.

2. Never, never, never give up.  But if all else fails, bring in a mattress.

3. Indie filmmakers have to be some of the most resourceful people out there. We gotta be, cause heck, we're all broke. :D

4. I really should either get a new pair of shoes I'm totally in love with or get used to going bare foot.  (moment of silence for my deceased Mions)

5. Its not the equipment that makes a film.  Its those "random" moments when the sun breaks out from behind the clouds, flooding a parking garage rooftop with gorgeous amounts of light and your male and female leads knock your directing socks off with how perfectly they capture their characters and all you can do is stand there with your jaw hanging opened until your DP harshly whispers "Call cut!" Ya, thats what its about. (yes i know that was totally a run-on sentence)

6. Making movies is hard work. Now...when to I get to do it again?


Told you.

"Being at work and not getting a single text or call about the set blowing up. Feeling good that the crew had it together."
- Rebecca Davis (Producer & Editor)

People thought we were tailgating in the parking garage.
I'm wearing shoes. Enjoy the sight while you can.


This alley is gonna end up in another one of my films.

Stephanie: You brought your sword?

MJ: Of course I brought my sword. I am Film Warrior! *best samurai pose* Now hold this for me, I gotta go make a movie.

She actually didn't really like that sword.


"I had a TON of favorite moments.....but I'll go with the entire last day at the parking garage. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than with like-minded, creative friends shooting a movie. THE SAVING became an action film for an afternoon as we were running, jumping and running some more....VERY exciting!! I actually didn't mind that my feet were killing me about half-way through the day in those oxford shoes! It was an all-around GREAT three days and I'll never forget it!" - Patrick Hussion (Paul Connel) 

Crew and Cast...oh ya and that really big building in the BG

"(Being on THE SAVING set was) The best experience I've ever had on a set due to the camaraderie and everyone's willingness to help out!" - Bridgett Brennen (Boom Pole Operator)

I heart Mr. Mike.

Catch Phrase of the Day: 
"One more for safety." *groan*

"I'll go for the sword, you nab the bullhorn."

Timi and Mike Brennen
"I loved getting to know everyone on set and
hanging out with the cast!" - Anna Moseley (Production Photographer)

It was nutty hot outside. "Hydrate Woman!"

Leave it to the Costume Designer


"The great cooperation of the crew and the awesome visual impact of the parking garage scenes really stand out in my mind." - Apryl Mitchell-Snyder (Costume Designer)

Uh hu, you know it.

I love this shot and I don't even like converse.

Timi & I make a GREAT team. I thought you should know.

"My favorite moment was every time the Boss (MJ) lit up like a gasoline soaked tire after seeing the footage bring her story to life" - Timi Brennen (Director of Photography)


Action Sequence FTW

"My favorite moment was when Stephanie popped up behind the wall with a big smile after jumping to her doom" - Mike Brennen (Sound Techie)

MJ: Oh look! Shoes are back on.

MJ:  Wait, I hear a train. Where's the train?

Timi: Its a Ghost train, see, more symbolism.

IN CONCLUSION:  We went Guerilla. We ran around like crazy people. We ate subs. We killed Stephanie 23 times. All and all...WE MADE A MOVIE YO!

Nuff said.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Made A Movie Yo! (Part Two)


Saturday September 11th, 2010

Lessons Learned

1. THE SAVING runs on Dunkin...ok more like Krispy Kreme but you get the idea.

2. Always slate every take (shot). Even if you have to dig through the back of a Hummer to find the dang clapperboard, DO SO! Your editor will love you forever. Unlike mine heehee 

3.  Situations are only as awkward as you allow them to be. After that, it just gets funny.

4.  I finally understand what the phrase "punch drunk" means (slaphappy with exhaustion)

5. To me, when it comes to filmmaking its very hard to over-communicate. If it feels like overkill then you're probably doing your job well. 

Cool fruit place...yep yep.

I came, I saw, I jibbed.
Don't ask.
If this isn't DIY I don't know what is.

Catch Phrase of the day: "We went to to the moon. Can't we just CGI a scarf on?" - Stephanie

We ate donuts. We shot Interiors. We learned a lot. We had wacky fun. Again, Mission Accomplished.
Day 3 here we come!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We made a Movie Yo (Part One)


Friday September 10th, 2010

Lessons Learned

1. Early call times are a divine gift from heaven. So is Coffee.

2. A faithful creative gutsy crew is the back bone of any successful film. Nail them, love em, and treat em right and you've got yourself a prime situation for STELLAR filmmaking. I am one blessed Director.

3. Stephanie knows WAY too much 80's music and I think its safe to say, she's rubbed off on me. Now only if we could remedy my slight lack of respect for established institutions :)

4. I hate trains. I hate miniature trains even more. I hate old train conductors named Murphy. Forget "Pardon me Mr. Train Man."

5. The prize for raddest most hard working PA has to go to my BFF Katie Payne. She worked her rear-end off and I believe my producer Rebecca is pretty much in love with her OCD note taking and faithful slating at the beginning of every take.

6. There are few things more exhilarating then beating the obstacles, accomplishing all your set out to do in 12 hours, and still have your cast and crew grinning like morons. Tired, warm fuzzy feelings most wholeheartedly ensue.

We pretty much lived on that blasted creek bank for 5 hours.
"All the moments where you could see how well we all worked together and how dedicated each of us was, stepping in to fill spots without questioning or needing attention or thanks for it, being willing to try again and again until we had it right, and laughing all the way through."
- Katie Payne (PA & Script Supervisor) 
We are making a movie, I promise.

Catch Phrase of the Day: 
"We got this."

"While the camera was rolling, I WAS Skye. That was an incredible feeling."
- Stephanie Ibbotson (Skye Mattheus)

IN CONCLUSION:  We rocked. We shot. We didn't kill each other. Mission Accomplished. Now onto Day 2.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How it went down (The Making of THE SAVING)

Broadcasting from MJ's nerd abode (aka the corner office in the garage) an intro vid just to whet your guys' appetites. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Drualt & Filmmaking: A SAVING UPDATE


In a land way way down south more 8 months ago a young woman came up with idea that would change the course of her life forever. 9 more days and that idea will exist in more then the realm of her mind. The groundwork has been laid. 

Step follows step. 
Hope follows courage. 
Set your face toward danger. 
Set your heart on victory

So begins the stanza of a epic poem written by Gail Carson Levine for her lovely children's book "The Two Princesses of Bamarre".  I highly doubt Mrs. Levine would have guessed that some random 17 year old filmmaker in SC would adopt that as her working creedo, but it perfectly summarizes my approach and attitude to the crazy journey I'm on known as THE MAKING OF THE SAVING.

Step Follows Step.

That's how its gotta work. You have to take one day at a time. Be prepared for the next but never overwhelmed. Pull up the bootstraps, lean on those around who care about you no matter what and go for it. Never look back.

Hope follows courage.

I consider independent filmmakers pretty courageous individuals. We don't have money coming out our ears, and the odds are largely stacked against us but yet we're still hopeful...and maybe a bit crazy but you know, in a good way. We hope in the fact that we know we have stories worth telling and that there are people who are out there who want to hear/watch them. 

Set your Face toward Danger.

I've realized that very few things in life that are worth having come without some form of suffering. There's nothing safe about making an indie film. Its a risky business, full of long nights, heartache, rejection, and sometimes even failure.  You need a tough skin and a strong support system. Face the danger of failure, misunderstanding and hardship straight on. 

Set your heart on Victory.

Never let the goal out of sight. Sometimes when the going gets tough I forget why I'm striving so hard in the first place. It seems totally absurd but any artist whose ever worked and worked and worked at something has fallen into this trap. As much as its about the journey, there wouldn't be one if one didn't have a destination. Sitting in that theater, surrounded by those who have labored with me in the good times and bad and watched the titles FADE IN: That is my victory. My heart, my mind, my very being is ready for that moment.


Like so many of my friends have said, I should have been born in a epic movie. :)