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Saturday, April 30, 2016

"That's a currrrrrrrrrrrrrt!!!" - Dotay.

That's a wrap on Sure Thing! Principal photography ended in the late afternoon of this past Tuesday. Picture wrap is always bitter sweet. You're counting down the days for it all to be over so you can rest and bask in the warm glow of progress, but you miss all the people you worked with through the struggle. And it is a struggle to get an indie feature film shot. Sometimes you lose a location, sometimes the scene gets rewritten at the last minute, sometimes communication gets dropped, and sometimes... the scene gets rewritten at the last minute... again. ;)
I can't stress enough how hard this cast and crew worked to bring this film in. For a lot of people, this was their first feature film, but after the second week, you couldn't tell. We had long hours, late nights, a few long commutes, but nobody lost their sense of humor. I had a lot of fun working with this cast and I hope to work with them again. My crew was awesome and I WILL work with them again. If any other cinematographer reading this needs an AC, I have a few referrals for you.
For sound, if you can interrupt his solo career, "E" is your man.
Now we enter the murky waters of post production. There will be pick-up shots and b-roll to shoot, colors to grade, and more ADR than you can shake a stick at. It's a long process, but soon, in a few months, we'll have a screening to share. We'll all point and laugh saying, "I remember that!", or "So that's what that looked like.", and "When can we do this again???"

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Big Wigs and Warehouses!

Today ended two of the hardest weeks of filming to date on Sure Thing. Long hours were put in by cast and crew, but we never lost our sense of humor. The yo-yo changes in temperature sent the health of some of the crew on a gnarly roller coaster ride, but those of us left standing carried the film through last weekend. A huge shout out to Aidan Feore and Paul for keeping the focus and the laughs coming through an incredibly daunting evening.
During the past week we spent our nights in a cold dark warehouse somewhere under an overpass and near some train tracks. We had some gorgeous yellow street light coming in through the busted up windows, the brick walls were covered in chipping paint, and the building structures inside were falling apart from water damage and covered in years of dirt and grime. Warehouses are fun. It was cold, but nobody complained. We had good crafty and lots of jokes.
Sadly today, my camera assistant, Jack Roebuck pulled his final focus on principal photography for "Sure Thing". I think he's going to Costa Rica, or the Panama Canal, or someplace nice with his family, I don't remember. Jack, you are a hard worker. You're a quick learner and you anticipate my needs at camera without being asked to do anything. You will be sorely missed. Trust the marks! See you in two weeks.
As hard as we work on this film,  no matter how physically and mentally exhausted I am at the end of every shoot day, I get to come home and change this baby's diapers. Carrying him around the house before bed washes the stresses of the day away. He rests my mind. I'm not running math in my head over lighting ratios and camera angles. After putting him down I sleep so soundly, until the pacifier falls out of his mouth.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

"Camera rolls!"In production on "Sure Thing"!

So we're smack dab in the middle of production on "Sure Thing" directed by Bobby Mercer. I've been trying to keep up with "work in progress" posts & photos on facebook, but the birth of my first child, little Xavier, has taken up all free time and most of my sleep. I've gone a solid week without having even turned on my computer, much less check emails and respond to text messages.
With a free moment on my baby feeding shift, I thought I'd get in a progress post. We've been in production now for 3-4 weeks and the cast and crew is a well oiled machine. That's not to say we don't have our hick-ups every now and then. We all know every production has them, but throughout all adversity, this crew has been knocking it out of the park from day 1. Well, ok, day 2. We had a 4k downconvert and wireless transmission problem, but we're good.  :)
We start day 20 of shooting tomorrow. We've finished a lot of our big locations, but the heavier scenes are now upon us. More set-ups, crane shots, dolly moves, gimbal choreography, car stunts and company moves. It's a lot of work, but this cast & crew will handle it. On some jobs, the more tired you get, the less ambitious the crew is in their shot choices. Difficulty factor doesn't matter. The audience doesn't care how long it took to do a set up, or how long the camera guy had to hang off the side of a bridge to get the shot. The shot either looks good or it doesn't. I'm very excited with how ambitious Bobby and this crew is. We aim to bring in a damn good looking film at the end of all this. I just can't wait to get to post production!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Putting Up With It" is an official selection... again!

"Putting Up With It" has been selected to compete in the Global Short Film Awards film festival!!! "Putting Up With It" was a 60 hour film festival short challenge I shot and directed in collaboration with Kahil Dotay. The film stars Kahil Dotay and Hannah Walden as a couple in trouble.

The film was written in 4 hours over the phone between Kahil and myself. Filming was made possible through the sweat and tears of our crew Freddy Ridout and Megan Vernon!
"Special Thanks" go out to Lew Fraga and Anna Quarles for coming to our aid with extra equipment and the location. We're all very excited! Wish us luck!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Killing Time in Richmond!

"Killing Time"; Richmond, VA 48hr film challenge project by Cinematic Theatrics. This is the more polished version of the film than the one submitted to the competition due to time constraints.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who was involved. Christopher was a brilliant fearless leader who kept our heads on straight even when his mind disappeared for about an hour heading into Sunday. It was a fun and grueling experience, but mostly fun. It's amazing what people can accomplish once their brain has turned to mush at the 30th hour from sleep deprivation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Prepping for "Sure Thing" Summer project.

Camera testing started this past weekend for (new title) "Sure Thing", a feature film shooting this summer directed by Bobby Mercer. My friend Christopher Brooks helped me through a series of camera tests looking at dynamic ranges and color matching for a couple of cameras we'll be using during production.
In the coming weeks we'll be looking at locations and developing a color palette for the characters and the look of the film.

It can't be stressed enough how important pre-production is for all film departments and how much time you allocate to it. For camera department, it's where we find the look of the film. In collaboration with the production designer, it's where we find the color palettes for the film's locations. In collaboration with wardrobe, it's where we find the color palettes for the actors costumes. With respect to the color grading that will be done in post, the decisions made in these 3 departments come together in a recipe that creates the over all look of the film.

Many indie filmmakers dispense with considering these things for what ever their reason. That's why it's always refreshing and exciting to be brought onto a project early enough to explore ideas in costumes, locations, and lighting. It always makes a film stronger.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Hager Short!

On a warm summer evening, all is relaxing, but something is creeping up on you in the dark. "Summer Chill" is a Black & white short, just under 3 min. This was a lark between my girlfriend and I. I've been wanting to shoot something in black & white. The shoot took about 3 hours in total, but was a lot of fun to do. It's posted on my Vimeo page:

I have 3 more shorts I'm looking to produce this summer. I'll be opening a YouTube channel hopefully by Fall.