The International Writers Magazine: Film Talk - Vancouver June
CRAZY 8S DIRECTORS TALK TO KRYSHAN RANDEL ABOUT THE GOOD,
THE BAD AND THE CRAZY AS THEY RUSH TO COMPLETE THEIR FILMS
in Vancouver 2005
Crazy 8s is off
to the races again! The five short films picked to be produced this
year all look like they are going to be terrific (and completely different
from each other). I can recommend at least two of them, Unwritten
and Crazy Late, as I shot some behind the scenes for the
former, and played a bicycle cop in the latter. Both have highly entertaining
(and original!) stories, great casts and crews, and amazing sets: Unwritten
created a room from scratch with the production value of a Hollywood
feature, and Crazy Late took over a suburban neighborhood
in New Westminster that looked like it came straight out of Leave
It To Beaver or Pleasantville. If the finished films
turn out half as good as they looked watching them live on set, then
theyre definitely film festival ready.
The rules for this fast film event (but not too fast) are: 8 days to
shoot and edit the short from a pre-existing script, $800 provided to
spend on the film (and not a penny more), $40,000-$50,000 worth of favors
donated from various Vancouver film industry sponsors (cameras, editing
time, props, etc.), and the limit of 30 minutes of digital tape stock
to shoot with. More info about the event is at www.crazy8s.cc.
I asked five questions to each of the five directors, as they hurriedly
complete their production marathon before the screening, this Saturday
June 4th at The Vogue Theatre.
The Q & A is in alphabetical order.
IN ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR SHORT FILM ABOUT?
GUY JUDGE: "All In" is the story of 4 buddies, from mixed
ethnic backgrounds, at a night of poker where they discover they may
not know each other as well as they had thought...
KAARE ANDREWS: Unwritten
is about an old man desperately
trying to finish his great novel before death knocks on his door.
KELLY-RUTH MERCIER: 24/7 borrows heavily from classic and
cheesy newsmagazine structure, and highlights the un-reasoning behind
the downfall of celebrity anchor Roch Braun.
TRACY SMITH: In Sandra Gets Dumped, Sandra is making a video
letter to her boyfriend until she finds out he dumped her, forcing her
on a wild ride through the seven stages of grief until she gets over
ZACH LIPOVSKY: Crazy Late is about a groom who wakes up
five minutes before his own wedding, with four blocks between him and
the rest of his life.
HOW WAS THE CRAZY 8S PROCESS DIFFERENT THAN IF YOU WERE TO DIRECT
FILM WITHOUT THEIR INVOLVEMENT?
GUY: Crazy 8s has helped us in an amazing way. They sponsor us and provide
us with an opportunity to show what we can do. They help provide us
with all of the equipment and answers that we need to make a successful
production, and were very good about allowing us to keep our creative
freedom on the project. Though they help produce our film, they weren't
looking over our shoulders. They allowed us to do our film, how we wanted,
with complete trust that we would do our best to make a film that would
stand up to the standards Crazy8s films in the past have set.
KAARE: Crazy 8s has pushed me in every area of filmmaking. Before this
event I've never had the opportunity to work with such a large crew,
such a great team, I've never been able to build a set, use practical
special effects, rehearse with actors... If I did this film on my own
it would be at a much smaller scale. I really appreciate the opportunity,
and have tried very hard not to squander it.
KELLY-RUTH: Three things: Money, time and profile. Money - hard to find,
I would be using my own without their support. Time - we charged through
the edit yesterday like a herd of elephants. The film looks like theres
a ton of coverage, but there isnt. Profile when youre
working as an independent, generating the buzz takes as much time, money
and effort as making your film. Crazy 8s takes care of all that.
TRACY: Without Crazy 8s, the film would not have been nearly as polished
or professional. The event attracted a higher calibre of cast and crew,
and greater willingness and support from the film community.
ZACH: Everyone in the industry knows about Crazy 8s, so it makes getting
sponsorship easier. We needed a lot of additional sponsorship.
WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR SHOOT LAST WEEKEND?
GUY: Watching the dailies with the other members of the writing team
(D.J. Parmar, Ian Ronningen who also acted in the film) was an awesome
feeling. They weren't sure what to expect, and to see that they were
happy with what had been done made me feel great. KAARE: David Barkes,
special effects co-ordinator, gave us all the highlight of our shoot
late Saturday night at Terminal City. Come to the screening and you'll
know which shot I'm talking about!
KELLY-RUTH: The moment when my mind was swinging like a pendulum - I
was walking around and thinking what if the film doesnt
cut together?, then I thought, what if this doesnt
suck?, and even, what if it goes to Cannes? It epitomizes
the directors state of mind between whether it wont work
at all with an audience, or whether it will be a big hit.
TRACY: When wrap was called. The 1st AD and the producer made sure thatthe
entire crew was in video village for the last scene. When I heard the
eruption of cheers at the end of the shoot, I burst into tears, along
with many other members of our mostly female crew.
ZACH: The feeling of having over one hundred cast and crew members come
out and support you for the excitement of the project. Its hard
to describe the gratitude I feel right now.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SETBACK TO HAD TO OVERCOME DURING YOUR SHOOT?
GUY: The heat. Because the story takes place in the evening, we had
to tent off parts of the house we shot in. We set up the night before,
so it was very stuffy, and it was also two of the hottest days I've
seen all year, not to mention the heat of the lights and camera. Another
problem we had was the fear of running out of tape. Crazy8s only allows
you to have 30 minutes of digital tape, and that was quite a restriction.
Halfway through the shoot, we stopped slating because we wanted to save
every extra second we could.
KAARE: Some of the camera choices I made delayed us from getting any
kind of shot off until 5 p.m. on our first day of shooting. We were
originally scheduled to start at 12 noon! But the results from those
choices have really paid off in the long run. I was also incredibly
sick the whole shoot and probably infected the entire crew with sickness.
Sorry guys, hope everyone's better by Saturday night!
KELLY-RUTH: I felt like Rob and Amber on The Amazing Race we
kept being in luck. We had some crew bail, but it was workable. We didnt
have a script for three weeks, and finally I wrote it myself, but even
that was workable. So far, so good
The biggest thing (and its
so not) was the neighbor who wouldnt stop doing laundry next to
TRACY: Nothing went wrong, because all of our producers have obsessive
compulsive disorder. We were so organized and ahead of schedule that
we had naptimes and massages on set. The shoot was like taking a warm
bath, and our motto was come on in, the waters fine.
ZACH: The changing sun every take the sun would change, so the
shadows would change each time you cant rehearse for that.
Our film was one uninterrupted 10-minute Steadicam shot that took place
in two houses and over four city blocks, and which ended in a crane
shot of a wedding that had over fifty extras. For the entire take, we
had to keep the camera, sound and AD departments out of sight
including their shadows. We adapted a live theatre mentality; the
show must go on, no matter what happens.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BEHIND THE SCENES STORY TO DATE?
GUY: At the end of the shoot there was a little wrap party here. It
was good to see the cast and crew kick back and relax for a couple of
hours after a long day of mayhem. They earned it. It's nice to see people
in high spirits after such a long day of hard work.
KAARE: I'm gonna be honest... it's all a big blur right now. Personally
the most memorable moment is hooking up with my Producer, Mel Weisbaum.
I told him in the beginning to feel free to push me to higher levels
and let me tell you...he not only pushed, he picked me up and threw
me over the mountain.
KELLY-RUTH: I got a job in February as an in-house visual effects producer
at Artifex. I told them my idea, and they loved it and went for it.
Right now is the most memorable experience - weve closed shop
for five business days, and they are working around the clock on this,
doing Dateline style full motion graphics, 3D tracking,
and all kinds of other stuff. I treated them as part of the production,
I kept saying you tell me when they asked me what to do,
and now I cant make them go home. These guys are artists, and
they are exploding in scope and possibility. We all plugged our noses,
jumped over the cliff, and decided to see how deep the water is.
TRACY: Our crew is 85% women, and the 15% men on set all had to dress
in drag to be on the crew wigs, aprons, etc. It was quite the
ZACH: The shot that we used has the sound of a train throughout it -
over nearly half the footage. That was because one of our one-ton trucks
was parked on the train tracks, and the train kept honking until a crew
member moved it. We still used the shot because it was the funniest
© K Randell June 2005
all rights reserved