Monthly Archives: February 2010

Director’s Update

2.23.10

Lindsey’s birthday!!!!  She is 14.  My wife, Shannon picked her up from school and took her to get a new phone she has been wanting for a while now.  She loves it and is very cute.  They stopped by to show me, let me give her a hug and say happy birthday!  A treat for sure.  Shannon looked cute as always!!!

Just finished a crazy meeting with Brent and Steven.  We talked a lot about locations…some that I have yet to see I might add!  You see their job is to allow me the resources to do my job and when money and creativity collide…things can get a little heated.  Nothing crazy but still.  I have been fighting for a year now to shoot the movie in sequential order for a ton of reasons…Steven sets the schedule by cost.  Period.  So we discuss, back and forth, each presenting our arguments.  Though I must say his are always the same!  Money!  Mine are too I guess…I can’t shoot the entire movie in a soundstage in Hyderabad!!!!  Okay, they are not that bad but they are asking me to compromise more than I creatively want to…so I pushed back and we settled on a happy medium…I think. I just wanted more days outside on real locations in other cities.  That costs money.  I argue that we should not be shooting film if we are going to be restricted in what we can see…I throw out names like John Ford [known for shooting huge vistas]…like that is what I “might” want.  Steven gets it…he always does.  Brent is a champion for the creative process, as well as the voice of reason.  Overall, we have a great team all working toward the same goal. I know at the end of the day, they want me to be able to make the film I wrote and the film I want to shoot. I trust them to give and they trust me to give…when I can.

The permit deal is the headache right now!!!  We have someone meeting with the permit office tomorrow.  We shall see.

Wednesday 2.24.10

Every day from this day forth shall be referred to as the day AFTER Lindsey’s 14th birthday.  Just kidding.  Anyway, bike ride this morning goes completely astray when I get a flat…realize I have no spare tubes except one that Dan gave me a while back that is twice as wide as my tire.  Dave suggests it will fit, so I give it a try and of course it does not fit.  We both realize this after wasting two CO2 canisters of air and having one blow out the back of the device that holds the tube…all over my hand.  Only then, does Dave check his pack and see that he does have a spare tube after all. So, I sort that one out and hand pump up the tube….by then, our window to ride is all but up…so we just do a few short climbs, then head home.  Not a great morning but oh well…a ride is a ride.

To work.  See Brent and find out there are still complications with the Indian government and the permit.  I am almost ready to re-write the script to shoot in Oregon or Texas at this point! 😦  I sure am glad God is driving this ship.  Since none of us seem to have any idea how to sort this India permit thing out. Good thing my confidence in God only continues to grow with each passing irritation, rejection and or lack of a response.  So to make a super long story short, we have no idea when we will be getting a permit, if we will be getting a permit or where we will be shooting at this point.  No one panic though.   We will be making a location decision very soon and then we will let you guys all know!  Deal?  So don’t freak or think we are making a decision to shoot in Oregon…which by the way would probably thrill Steven to no end!! But, the poster is coming along and the music/songs are incredible and everyone seems to still like the script.  All good things.
What else…my wife is going to a taping of the Dr. Phil show today with some of our friends who worked with him [I think?] way back when.   She is excited and looked great when she left the house this morning.  I hope they have fun.  Thanks Ron and Tina!!

I am sorting out how I want the subtitles to look.  I have an idea that, if we can pull it off, will make them very unique.  It is along the lines of the opening titles idea…only a lot more subtle.  Could be cool…if we can afford it.

Here are two articles about Kodak retiring [if that is the right word for it] their Kodachrome film stock – herehere

I love this film stock…or at least the texture, feel and look of it.  I would love to shoot this and asked Steven and Abe to check into it.  Steven emailed back saying that with only one lab doing the special processing this film stock takes…read the article it is pretty cool…apparently the film stock is black and white and the color is added in the processing!  Neat stuff.  Anyway, would be cool to shoot but with a retired film stock and a special processing that only one lab in the states does, it would not be something that we can afford.  So I asked him and Abe to find the closest relative to that film stock and that idea. The texture and feel, like I said would be amazing for this film!  It would really suit what we are doing…the story and the ideal behind the story…the way we are telling the story.

Anyway, the saga continues.  But God is still controlling the outcome so we are covered! 🙂

Be well and thanks, as always for reading and praying for the project.
J

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Director’s Update

2.17.10

Wednesday 11:13 in our morning meeting…discussing the last weekend.  All is well in the world of church services as far as our worship arts department goes. I just got back from Brent’s birthday lunch at Taco Bell!  Whoo Hoo!  Good times all around.  Our entire department piled into a few cars and made the trek to the local fast food hang out…Brent’s favorite.  Anyway, I just returned and am now back at work for the rest of the day…but before I dive into it, I wanted to take a moment to get you guys up to speed on all things Not Today.

So, here goes:

We are still actively researching and discussing the option of shooting two perf 35 mm film for the entire shoot.  I am there in my mind.  It has to be film.  I can’t see it any other way now that the film option has been put on the table. There are many reasons film suits us and this project really well…look, texture, feel, comfort level for Abe, my sensibilities and the tone we are trying to set. Digital is great but film is…well FILM!  It is every movie I grew up watching, it is every movie that made me feel and engage at the drive in as a child with my parents!  It is film for heavens sake!!  It was FILM that gave me nightmares for three years after seeing Jaws.  So much so that I was even afraid to take a shower!!  We used to go water skiing as a family every year at Bass Lake in northern California, until I saw Jaws.  I refused to get out of the boat.  I knew fresh water, salt water etc…but did not care.  As Quint says in the FILM, “You go in the water?  Sharks in the water?  Our shark. [singing]  Farwell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies, farewell and adieu you ladies of Spain!!”  [I had to look that up actually…didn’t want to misquote Robert Shaw].  I knew if I got out of that boat I would surely be eaten by a shark…I also knew that if I didn’t wash my face super quickly while in the shower that the same fate could befall me in our bathroom!  Needless to say my parents were not thrilled with my new change of heart about going swimming.  That lasted for about three summers until one day on the lake my father took me out in the boat, threw me out of the boat and said either ski or swim back to shore.  To which I replied as loud as I could, “Give me the ski rope and get me out of the water, NOW!!!”

All of that emotion came from watching a FILM…at a drive in theater, in my Pajamas, in the back of a station wagon with mom and dad in the front seat…my sisters and bother curled up in the back as well.  To my knowledge none of my siblings felt the way I did.  None of them stopped swimming!  This movie impacted my life…to this day, I still will not swim in the ocean…that is what I am talking about.  That is the power of FILM!!  That is in my blood.  I could spend an week telling stories like that about Star Wars, Rocky, Rollerball, etc…all shot on glorious film!  So to me…this is a film shoot.  I hope Brent and Steven can make the numbers work!:)  Within that discussion I just stumbled upon an Aaton 2 perf camera called “Penelope.”  What a cool name for a camera, first off. Secondly, we should take a look at it…so I emailed Steven and Abe and got responses from both of them basically saying the same thing…cool camera, new, too expensive!  Steven and Abe both have relationships with Panavision and they have a good feeling that we can get two cameras from them.  Cool!

Also, over the last week I emailed back and forth with Jonathan Jackson a bit about more music for the film.  He continues to be a great supporter of the project and was heading home [one of those states above us here in CA] this week or last – I forget now – and that he would try to find me the songs he mentioned.  I asked him for video of him singing “The Solution” as I am interested in shooting a music video to inter-cut with he last sequence of the film where that song will be used.  Hopefully he will be able to find something for me.  Speaking of music, before I met Jonathan I actually had a different song in mind for the last sequence of the actual film – not the coda – called HOLY NOW by a super cool artist from Minnesota I think.  His name is Peter Mayer, look him up and buy some of his music…he is a cool guy with a ton of talent.  Anyway, I emailed him a while ago about the possibility of using that song in the film…either his version or having Jonathan re-record it. He just got back to me and said “yes!”  That is huge.  He apparently checked out the website and liked the project and decided it would be fine for us to use that song if we wanted to! Another gift from God!  Check him out.

Permits:

Well, what can I say about this!?  Is there anything left to say?  Well, the short of it is that we still don’t have one.  We are converging from multiple directions and are praying for a resolution soon!  God willing.  Brent and I discuss this almost daily and always come to the same conclusion.  If God wants us to shoot in India he will make it happen.  Brent feels a bit more patient that I at the moment.  I am not good at waiting around for things to come to me. I am much more adept at forcing the issue and making things happen.  I am learning.  God’s timing is perfect.  Aaron sang a song this weekend in church that spoke to this and really drove home in me the need to relax a bit and see what amazing things God will do next.  The song is called “Your Love Never Fails” and the section I really grabbed on to says this : “YOU make all things work together for my good.”  How amazing is that line?  With that running through my otherwise hard head, I have found it easier to chill and continue doing my work and continue getting ready to shoot trusting that when we go, it is because God deems it time…not me or anyone else.  It truly is a great song and Aaron slammed it home.  See, if you missed, next time come to church!  You never know what is going to come about.

The delay:

Spoke to above.  Yes it is irritating for sure…every day!  I want to be shooting. The thought of losing our actors or any of our crew bums me out. Again, defer to God.  That is what I keep telling myself.  He makes all things work together for good! As a side note, I made a list of bullet points to cover in my blog…See, what happens is that Jessica sends me a very kind note that reminds me to blog.  If I don’t do it right when I get the email, I will get busy and forget. So, I jot down some bullet points of things I want to talk about. This time I just chose not to delete the bullet points.  Clearly they are in no particular order…that is how my brain works!

Sri Lanka:

This is our second choice for a location.  Neat looking place that can double as India for sure…as it is right next door and I am told that half the population is Indian.  The weather is fine and the permit process is nothing like what we are experiencing in India.  All good things….but it is not India.  It is not where the Dalit’s live and are abused and beaten down daily.  India is where we set Not Today.  That is where we, as a church, are plugged in and doing our work.  That is where we want to shoot.  I am sure Sri Lanka is a nice country and all, I just don’t want to shoot there. Not this project anyway!   Unless God closes the door to India and directs us to Sri Lanka…then we will simply regroup and head off down that road.

Weather in India:

It is only getting hotter!!  Low 90’s this week in Hyderabad.  Not crazy hot…yet! Crazy hot is coming though.  He makes all things work together for my good!  If I could draw a thought bubble [like in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon – my favorite cartoon of all time by the way] over my head right now that is what you would see most of the time!:)

Editor meeting:

Yesterday, Brent and I took a road trip to Burbank to meet a prospective editor.  I used to live right above Burbank and so it was fun to go back. We met at a sandwich place on Magnolia.  It was a good meeting.  We left both saying that we would all pray about it.  God has brought every person bar none to this film project so far.  We expressed that we felt like God would let him and us know if he was the guy.   It took forever to get home.  Too much traffic!

The poster should be finished this week or next…hopefully this week. Jamie is contacting a graphic artist to finish the credit block so we can get some printed up!!  Now, that is exciting stuff.  Anyone who reads this knows I am an avid film poster collector and would love to have a one sheet for our project hanging on my wall…plus the image is so cool.

I think that is all for now.  Hope this is not too rambling or off topic or boring.  I think the boring sentiment is my biggest concern!  I will try to make this a worthwhile read every week or so if you guys promise to keep reading!

Be well and as always thanks for reading and praying for Not Today.

J

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Director’s Update

2.9.10  Tuesday…

Just returned from a pretty cool meeting in LA with Abe, Allan and Steven. We met at Kodak to look at film tests.  2 perf versus 3 perf.  We are interested in the possibility of shooting film instead of digital.  Abe and I are film guys for sure.  The history of film…all of the directors I have studied and follow…all shot their first films on film.  I know it might be a silly thing, but that matters to me.  It is called filmmaking!  Not digital making.  So anyway, all that aside, we met with the Kodak people and

Abe, Allan and Steven will now go back to the camera people…as apparently there are only 17 2 perf camera bodies in all of LA!  That is nuts when you look at how many productions are shooting every day in town.  Anyway, what we have to do is interview with Panavision, sell them on the project and then they will tell us if they will give us the bodies we want.  So, Steven is now collecting all of our resume’s, getting storyboards and poster comps to make a nice packet for Panavision.  I have no idea all the ins and outs that go into this…that is why we have Steven, Alan and Abe all over it.

I guess we can also check to see if there are any camera bodies in Europe or India.  The reason for shooting 2 perf is that the film stock is half as much as it would cost for normal 4 perf 35mm film.  A lot of the spaghetti westerns shot on this format to save money as did American Graffiti!  Kind of cool to think that we are shooting the same format as some amazing, memorable films that I love!  Great idea Abe!

We had a pretty cool prayer meeting last night.  Aaron and Nikki sang, which was a treat.  Thanks guys!! Brent and I both shared about the permit process and how it affects everything.  Brent talked about not wanting to run ahead of or behind God…but with Him.  We are really seeking His face and growing because of that.   We can already see God in these delays.  The film over digital decision would never have been considered…in fact, my calendar alert chimed in a few minutes ago reminding me that tomorrow was originally going to be our first day of shooting here in Orange County.  I mentioned to Travis, that we might miss that….by a few months!

Brent also sent Dr. D’souza another email asking about the status of the permit. This email let him know that we are at risk of losing our actors and/or crew if we keep pushing.  We really like our cast and crew and would not be eager to loose any of them.  God willing that will not happen.

Anyway, I think that is about it for now.  Thanks again for reading…feel free to ask questions if you have any.  It is great to know you guys are out there, reading and praying.  It is a great comfort to Brent and I.  Also, we have paired up every crew member with a prayer partner.  How cool is that!?  It is so great to know that someone is petitioning God on my behalf for this project…that someone is praying for my family while I will be away.  The power of prayer cannot be underestimated for sure.   God has guided this project from day one and our intention is to continue staying out of His way!

Be well

J

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Director’s Update

Wednesday…good old Wednesday. The middle of the week. Hummm…got my weekly reminder from Jessica about writing this blog. By the way did everyone know she is going to India with us? I for one, am super excited about that. She will be incredibly valuable when it comes to social media [is that with this stuff is called?] She makes things happen and I love that. She has a great energy that I like and it is contagious. When on set, I try to surround myself with creative, exciting, dynamic and interesting people that help to feed my actors. It really matters. I want to set up an environment on set that is safe for the actors to explore and experiment and it definitely helps if the crew understands this as they can help to facilitate that end game.

Okay, so on with the blog. We are still in a holding pattern as far as the permit to shoot in India goes. We seem to be getting closer to having a resolution one-way or the other. For a while, we were thinking we might not be able to shoot in India. Big problem! We briefly considered Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Clearly, each place presented it’s own issues…mainly, they are NOT INDIA!! The script was written for India and our passion, as a church is India.

Side note: At this point, I can now clearly imagine that God was sitting back watching us scramble around frantically trying to make something happen and smiling.

Anyway, we all realize that India is the preferred location…so, we mobilized Dr. D’souza and now his people are walking through the permit issues with us. We shall see. It all comes back to knowing that this is God’s project and God is driving. He will make a way in his time and as he alone sees fit. A good lesson to learn…not always an easy lesson, but one I am getting comfortable with. How silly is that. I am finally getting comfortable with stepping back and letting the creator of the universe drive. Silly me…

I get super excited when I think about shooting this film. The actors are all very excited and eager to get dates so they can focus completely on the film. We have a super nice pastor friend of Bali’s that is translating the script for our Bhupinder character. Talk about a God thing!! He is fluent in Telegu, the language we chose to have Kavya and her father Bhupinder speaking the film. What are the chances of our prayer coordinator having a friend who speaks that language? Not big for sure…anyway, he sent me a sample, which I included here for you guys to see. He will continue through the entire script and also do an audio recording, so our actor can hear the words.

SAMPLE:

IRATE MAN
(in Telegu)
Rat Eater! Gotcha! I knew it was you!
Elakalu thine dana, dorikave, naaku telusu nuvvu ikkada unnavany

—-

Kavya yells.

KAVYA
(in Telegu)
Daddy!! Daddy, help!
Naana, naana, kaapadu

IRATE MAN
(in Telegu)
You and your “rat eater” father need to…
Nuvvu, nee elakalu thine naana…

KAVYA
(in Telegu)
Daddy! Help me, daddy!!
Naana, kaapadu, naana

—-

IRATE MAN
(in Telegu)
This is where your kind belong!
Mee lanti vaalu ikkade padi vundali

So our actor, Walid will need to memorize this and then work with a translator who will be on set everyday. I can’t wait to see Walid bring Bhupinder to life! I also emailed Shari, the wonderful actress playing the mother – “Sarah” – in the story and she is excited to dive in as well. But, until God clears the permit pathway, we will continue to pray for each other and petition God collectively and individually on behalf of the film.

I met with Don Harper on Monday with Brent and Stephen Martin to discuss Jonathan’s songs. I was thrilled to hear he loves them as much as I do!!! The music for this film is going to be smoking for sure! We discussed placement of the songs in the film, how I see them fitting in with the narrative as well as how the transitions should work. Don brings many years of experience and a wealth of talent to the table. We are seriously lucky to have him shepherding our music. He sent me an email the other day saying that he had spoken with Jonathan and they are moving down the road! I can’t tell you how excited that makes me. That and the poster Jamie finished are so incredible…I can’t wait for you guys to see the poster and hear some of the songs. Maybe we will have a film music preview night after we shoot. That could be cool.

I am almost finished with my shot list. The only thing left to work on now is song placement. Better get back to work on that. Thanks again for all who take the time to read this and especially to all who take a moment to lift us up in your prayers. God is listening and has already spilled out His blessing on this project. I can’t wait to see how he uses the cast and crew to execute his vision for this project!!! Very exciting indeed.

God Bless
J

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