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Production Meeting Jan. 10 – Epic the Sequel

When we say epic. We mean EPIC. ("Mount Everest" by Steffen Perneborg. CC license.)

This past Monday, we held our second epic production meeting.  We sat there for six hours.  Thank you again to the staff of Second Cup for  putting up with our animated story and character ramblings!

First thing on the agenda was: audition videos.

Co-director/Associate Producer, Jessica Wu, and I (Steph here!) had the difficult task of deciding which actors to callback.  So far, we’ve only auditioned actors for the Principal roles of 10-year-old Sally Khan and her Aunt Farah.  But we’re intending to roll out the rest of our casting calls as we get closer to production.  Having said that, we haven’t yet contacted actors/agents for our first callback, but we will be doing so shortly.

Second thing on the agenda: breaking down the script!

Because the script isn’t locked yet (when is it ever?), I’ve only guessed at how many days our shoot would be.  But with Jessica’s help, and production savy, we realized that, yes, I suck at guess-timating!  So, we’re now looking at a six day shoot instead of the five day one.  Considering we’re working with child actors, this is much more realistic.  Thanks, Jess!

The other good thing about breaking down a script is that you can then start to figure out shoot logistics.  You also have the chance to flag issues before they become major problems.  You’re also forced to clarify what’s on the page, and then make sure that it will translate onscreen.

Most importantly, for Jess and I, because we are co-directing, it was the first time that we really got a chance to make sure that we’re interpreting and seeing the story in the same light.  And calling out logic flaws in the script.  Which is awesome, because we all need a checks-and-balances system.  This how you get to your best work.

So, this  took the majority of the meeting, combined with a healthy dose of tangents… hehehe.  But as we walked to the subway, we tackled the last point on our agenda:

Workflow

In particular, how are we handling post-production.  Because our prize package with Charles Street Video and Reel Asian does not cover enough edit suite time, there are several options that we’re considering.  We’re talking to people to see which one is the best for us.

Why are we discussing editing when we haven’t even tackled production?  Well, you need to know how you’re going to finish, where you want your film to go, before you even start.  You take the end result, work backwards, and figure out how you’re going to get there.  But it takes a lot of back and forth, because it’s never just one answer that you need to make an informed choice.

Which leads up to:

Next steps!

Jess and I will be discussing the visual style of the film, and working together with our brilliant cinematographer, Joyce Wong, to come up with a plan.  From there, we will figure out what we’re shooting on.  And the rest in regards to workflow will follow.

Our mega meeting with Charles Street Video and Reel Asian will be happening soon!  Once we do, we’ll have a better snap shot of what resources are at our disposal, what limitations we’ll be coming up against, and then I can better figure out how to adjust the budget accordingly.

In the meantime, we’ll be figuring all things production insurance.  Location scouting.  And auditioning new roles this month, as well as conducting our callbacks.

So yeah, just another January!

Thanks everyone for your support!  We love ya!

~ Team LMJ

Inside the Audition Process

Thanks Nathalie for taking this picture! Looks like we're having way too much fun! It's really quite unnatural.

 Audition: “A trial performance to appraise an entertainer’s merits.” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In short, it’s the scariest job interview you’ve ever been on!  Fortunately, I (Steph here!) have never been on the other side of the audition table, but then again, I’m not an actor!  But I have many friends who are actors, and I have no idea how they do it.  If you can imagine, completely immersing yourself into character, a role, another person if you will.  Then having to channel that at will, and perform for a bunch of strangers.  And take direction.  Kudos, actors.  Kudos.

I certainly couldn’t do it.

If anything our audition process has taught me up to this point, is that acting is one hell of a hard job.  It’s a craft like anything else.  I don’t see it as any different than writing or painting.  You need to practice your craft to get better.  But unlike being a writer or painter, an actor can’t always choose their palette or what story they want to tell.  Many times, they’re subject to the whims of casting.  Which, to me, seems really unfair.

See, there may be merit to an actor’s talent, but how to determine whether they’re right for this role.  And just this one role.  It’s… difficult.  It’s a process.  One that we’re currently undergoing, and so there’s a need for confidentiality here.  This is why I’ll keep this post as general as possible.

What I can tell you is that we’ve held our preliminary, or first phase, of auditions in Toronto.  At the moment, we only managed to audition actors for the principal roles of Sally Khan and her aunt, Farah.  We’re taking a break for the holidays, but rest assured that we will continue the process in the New Year.

And in January and February, we will also be casting for the rest of our roles, such as for the enigmatic Agent Finch.  As you can see, this is very much a multi-step process.  If we cast too early, many things can happen between now and April, which is when we intend to shoot our film.  If we wait too late, we may not find the talent we need in time.

It’s a tricky balancing act, but with the help of my trusty Co-Director/Associate Producer, Jessica Wu, we’ll figure it out!  In the meantime, big thanks to our Casting Angels, Jennifer Liao and Sandy Kellerman, for helping us out.  And to our Casting Crew:  Nathalie Younglai, Consuelo Solar, Rain Chan, Samantha Shute, and Andrew Liao.  We love you!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more Casting and Audition updates!

 

Happy Holidays!

Team LMJ

Crew Fun Facts – Our Composer, Maria Molinari (Recap)

En garde! Those treble clefs had better watch out!!!

Last Saturday, we tried, without success, to humiliate our brilliant composer, Maria Molinari.  She’s just too classy!  Not only is she great at what she does, but she’s one of the most caring, conscientious, and giving people you’ll ever meet.   She truly is the “one and only” Maria!

“If you missed it live on Twitter! Today we tried to ridicule our beloved & brilliant composer, Maria Molinari. But she’s just too cool. Her fun facts turned out to be fascinating facts! How could you deny us like that, Maria! How?! We met Maria many moons ago at a WIFT event, and since then, we knew we had to work with her! Now the time has come… muhahaha! Not only is Maria a very accomplished composer, she’s worked on everything from film, TV to commercials– including the Bud Light “Dear Football” campaign you may have seen recently! Congrats Maria! Without further adieu, we give you Maria “Music” Molinari!!!

1.  Maria took piano lessons briefly as an 8 year old. After 2 months and still not knowing where middle C was… she switched to knitting lessons.  Ha!

2.  When computers were first introduced Maria was sure they would never catch on – Maria does not consider herself a visionary.  (You’re our visionary, Maria!!! ♥)

3.  As a teen, Maria entertained hopes of making the Olympic fencing team. The thought of blowing out her knees before the age of 25 ultimately led her to choose academics over sports.  (See, practical & brilliant!)

4.  The biggest thrill for Maria while at USC was studying with Elmer Bernstein (To Kill a Mockingbird), Leonard Rosenman (Rebel Without a Cause) and Christopher Young (Spiderman).  (How cool it that?!)

5.  Maria held out against getting a cell phone until it seemed like every high schooler in the city had one. She now refuses to get a Twitter account.  (We’ll see about that Maria! Muhahahaha!)

If you’re interested in hearing Maria’s amazing work, check out her site! Thanks, Maria, for being part of our team!” ♥ ♥ ♥