Maxwell’s 2013 Year-In-Review

Hello everyone! I have decided to do something new and unexpected for the new year:

WRITE A BLOGPOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀

2013 was a big year for me.

^^That^^ is a huge understatement.

Things didn’t start out the best. My dad had been fighting cancer for over 5 years, but during the last few months he got steadily worse. On the morning of February 10th he passed away. I will always miss him and his great sense of humor.

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The Polings moved down to Bonney Lake in March. That provided us with the chance to make movies together and we started working on a script called Evasion. During location scouting we shot these:

We got to a point in the script where it looked like we could start shooting soon, but another project came up. The town where I live (Enumclaw) was celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary and the arts council commissioned a short film/documentary to be made about the history of Enumclaw.
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The Polings, Micah, and I joined the project very early in the process (March) and were heavily involved in the whole project. We shot the film over three days in August. Boy! That was a learning experience! When shooting started I got to be in the best place for watching a film set: the slate operator. 🙂 That meant I was around the camera almost the whole shoot. I also got to be an actor/stunt guy and drove a Model-T!

It was awesome watching how all the parts of the movie machine work.

After the Enumclaw film we dove into making our lightsaber choreography contest entry, ‘Loyalty’. It took 17 days to film, spread over about a month. During that time we got to work on another film set. For this one they were shooting a pitch trailer for a TV show called ‘Tainted’. I got to be AC (the guy that helps the cinematographer), slate operator, and PA (Production Assistant). We also went on vacation to Ft. Worden and shot several short films:

– A fight scene between Lizzy and Annie

 

 

– A dance video with our friend Abby Lama

 

 

– A monster horror test

 

 
Also a short horror film soon to be released.

When we got back we went into lightspeed and finished Loyalty just in time for the contest. After entering four years in a row and a week of nail-biting, we won!!!

We also shot Zombie Hunters 2 with our friends, the Lamas. And had a ridiculous amount of fun in the process.

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In November I was able to work on the set of a horror short film; I was a PA and played the villain, ‘Slenderman’. It was really fun, though all I had to do was stand in the shadows and look evil 3:).

After working on professional film sets and making Loyalty, we decided that what we had for Evasion wasn’t going to work; we had started it because it would push us beyond what we had ever done before and though it was good, we had already progressed to a point that Evasion wasn’t going to push us enough anymore.

So that brings us to now.

Currently we are planning out what we’ll be doing this new year. We have some new ideas for Evasion and still want to do it sometime.

We’re starting to meet more people that are in the Seattle/Tacoma film industry and that is opening up more opportunities in the business.

I’m looking forward to what the new year will bring. 😀

And that’s the way the ship is sailed.

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Zombie Hunters 2 Character Posters

Hello everyone,

Last week we released Zombie Hunters 2. It’s a wild film and kind of hard to see each character clearly so I decided to bring each of our zany styles to attention in this week’s post.

I present to you:

The Posters

(in order of appearance in the big shot)

Annie 3

peter 2

Phillip

Abby 5

Max 5

Micah

Josiah poster

Rachel

John

Lizzy

I had a lot of fun making these posters (Photoshop CS6). Some of them were a little hard at the beginning because I couldn’t get an idea for what to do, but it all worked out in the end. 🙂

And that’s the way crazy is done.

Micah


Zombie Hunters 2

So here it is everyone, the return of the Great and Awesome Zombie Hunters in:

-ZOMBIE HUNTERS 2- (echo echo echo)

I shall now be quiet and let the film speak for itself.

We had a lot of fun making this and hope we can continue doing sequels. 😀

If you haven’t seen the first one, here it is…the one that started it all.

Next week we will be showing you the posters Micah made for each of our characters.

That’s the way the “Exactly” is said.


Teaser for a little something that starts with Z…..

Hello everyone, Micah here.

I’m here to announce something very “special” we have been working on. We don’t want to give everything (or anything, really) away before the release date, so here is a little something to tease your brains. Mwahahaaa.

Introducing…….

ZH teaser

Get ready to be blown away by the reinforcements (a.k.a. awesomeness) coming to youtube next week. 😀

And that’s the way imagination goes ~ Micah


A Novel Way to Experience Loyalty

So this morning, we all woke up to find something AWESOME waiting for us. I’ve been sporadically jumping up and down and squealing all throughout the morning.

This morning, a novelization of our most recent short film, Loyalty was posted on facebook! Go here to read it, because it’s AWESOME.

The author, Antoine Bandele (or SilentBat as he’s known to the lightsaber community) was one of the official judges for the Lightsaber Choreography Competition. He’s entered LCC a couple times himself in Ricky vs. SilentBat and Nemesis: RvSB2. Ever since Loyalty came out, he has been a constant supporter and fan. We can hardly believe how much interest he’s shown Loyalty and our filmmaking in general.

*gushing alert*

Oh. My. GOSH!!!!!! Antoine, thank you so much for writing this. It is Too. Stinkin. Cool. I can’t even imagine how many times you had to watch the movie to be able to catch all the little details and facial expressions. *squeals in delight*

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 2.07.34 PMYou captured Alar’s conflict so perfectly and I was just stunned. I loved how you wrote the pivotal moment when she decides not to kill her master:

“Alar gripped her lightsaber tighter. She took a deep breath. Her arms began to shake. She could feel Andreas within her, prying the darkness away. He had to make her see reason.”

This just expresses so perfectly what we tried to get across in the movie. Back when we were building the story, we knew this moment needed to accomplish two things. The most important thing was to portray Alar’s indecision, of course, but in the background, it was also vital that we express Andreas’ selflessness. He’s not trying to convince her not to kill him cause he doesn’t want to die. He’s trying to stop her downward march towards the dark side. The way you wrote that entire section just… wow. It put into words exactly what we were thinking.

Andreas’ sorrow at seeing his apprentice fall to the dark side and his constant concern for her was also perfectly portrayed. I loved how constantly throughout the whole thing, Andreas’ is insistently, stubbornly thinking that Alar is not to blame. Though Andreas’ thought may not have been true (Alar made her own choices), it’s still very true to his character. It’s a little imperfection that makes him feel human, and I love that you put it in your novelization.

And don’t even get me started on Loban! If there is anything that I would go back and change about our film if I could, I would have delved farther into who Loban was and where he came from. Of the three characters in the film, he’s the one that’s the most flat and unmotivated. You gave him dimensionality and more purpose. My favorite moment of the entire story is after Alar makes the decision not to kill Andreas:

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“The siblings locked lightsabers, their beams crackled on one another. Loban’s shock at Alar’s betrayal was for only a moment. She had decided her fate the second she chose to defy him. Without a blink of his eye he swung towards her neck. She ducked just in time but Loban was on her fiercer than he ever was before.”

I feel like this is the moment where we really understand Loban. He did care for his sister and was hurt and betrayed by her defiance. I’m so grateful that you took the time to express Loban’s character more because I felt like it kind of got skipped over in the film.

My other favorite moment was the ending:

“He closed her dead eyes and bowed his head into her shoulder. Be at peace, Alar. I won’t fail you again.”

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You just about made me cry.

The whole thing is just amazing and I can assure you that it will be read many times, over and over again. Thanks so, so much for sharing this with us!

And that’s the way the carrot crunches,

Annie


Loyalty Q&A Video

Hiya everybody!

Here is the full video of the Q&A we did last week. Thank you everyone for submitting so many questions, we had a great time answering them.

This won’t be the last time we do this; we had a lot of fun and would like to do it again sometime in the future. 😀

And that’s the way the YouTube Fu is done.


Come One, Come All!

My Lords and Ladies of the realm,

I come before you today to announce an occasion worthy of marking on calendars.

You have asked. We have heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, please get out your pens and pencils (or smartphones) to mark the soon coming Friday, the 4th of October at high noon (according to the time of the Pacific Ocean).

You are invited to attend a live moving picture query and answer session with the “Loyalty” production team!

*thunderous applause*

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You are invited to the ‘Loyalty’ Q&A, where you can ask questions and we will answer them live! We will be talking about “Loyalty” (duh) and I’m sure, about filmmaking in general. It will be geared towards our young fans, but we welcome anyone who would like to hear more about the making of our “award-winning” 😉 film.

Sign Up Here! 

http://flamingpixelproductions.com/signup.html

(We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our email system this week.
If you are having issues with the signup process or have not gotten your confirmation email after signing up,
please email rachelannpoling@gmail.com for assistance. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

We do need you to sign up if you want to come, so we can send out an email to you with a link to the live video feed and the Facebook group where you can ask your questions. If you do not sign up, you will not receive this information and will not get the details. This will lead to sadness.

Again, the date and time is THIS FRIDAY, the 4th of October, at Noon, Pacific Time. You can send in your questions before the Q&A starts or at any time during the Q&A. You can even send in your questions even if you can’t make it, as the video will be recorded and available later.

Please share the signup link with any of your family or friends who might be interested!

We are VERY much looking forward to seeing you there!

~ The Swet/Poling team

P.S. Here’s the link to ‘Loyalty’ again, in case you want to refresh your memory.  http://youtu.be/C-oz7b385GY

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Release of our new film ‘Loyalty’

Hello everyone!

I am really excited about this post, just so you know.

THIS IS THE RELEASE OF OUR NEW FILM CALLED ‘LOYALTY’!!!!!!

This was my fourth year entering the Lightsaber Choreography Competition but the first time I did one with the Polings.  Saturday (9/21) was the judging…..and we won!!!!!

In the coming weeks we will be posting more about this, giving you a detailed Behind Our Scenes look at what went into bringing our story to life. 🙂

And that’s the way the lightsabers are rotoed.


My Experience With the Enumclaw Film- By Lizzy Poling

Hello everyone! This is my first post here, totally new for me, so here it goes! I don’t have my own WordPress account yet, so I’m using Rachel’s today.

IMG_0697 As you may have heard, us Polings and Swets had the opportunity to participate in the making of a professional film for the 100th Anniversary of Enumclaw. Rachel already wrote about what she did for the film, and since everyone else is busy doing stuff for LCC XI, I thought I would write about what I did on set. My official title in the credits will be PA (Production Assistant) and Actress.

As an actress, I got to play a minor side character: a 1940’s school girl. I had so much fun wearing a period dress, walking around in high heels, and carrying school books. Though, by the end of the day, my feet hurt terribly as I do not wear high heels on a regular basis.

As a Production Assistant, my job was basically to do whatever was needed, but mostly what I did was carry around the director’s script as she had a lot on her mind, and often left it somewhere and forgot where it was. I made sure she didn’t have to go looking for it. Even more exciting, I got to operate the clapper board on occasion!

Annie doing the clapper board for LCC. The title is still top secret.

Annie doing the clapper board for LCC. The title is still top secret.

Max was the main clapper-board-person, but he was also an actor during some scenes, so I did it when ever he was acting or otherwise unavailable. I knew the basics of clapper board, but I learned there is a little bit more to it than I thought.

For instance, on a clapper board, going from left to right, you write the

  • scene number (a scene is a section of the script that takes place in a certain location. The scene changes when you go to a different location)
  • use a letter to state the shot (a shot is where the camera is pointing, so you can change the camera view within the scene)
  • take number (the take is how many times you’ve done or re-done the shot)

The letters used to state the shot are important. The letters signify a different shot that is in the same scene. The clapperboard-person says it out loud for sound reference, but they don’t say “A”, instead they say “Alpha”, or other words starting with the letter of the shot (i.e. “Bravo” for “B”, “Charlie” for “c” etc…). There are a lot of names. You’ve got Alpa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo… and so on, or sometimes for fun, people use different words, like Apple, Baron, Crest, Divinity, Equator… it can go on and on.

A picture of Annie and me in our schoolgirl costumes. <br />So Cool!!!

A picture of Annie and me in our schoolgirl costumes.
So Cool!!!

Most of what I learned I can’t really put into words, because I kind of just absorbed it, but I feel much more equipped to make other films, which is good. This is something that I would really like to do again, only hopefully next time, I will be able to get into what I really want to learn and get better at, which is screen writing.

Another helpful thing I learned on this shoot is what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be the camera person, maybe assistant camera, I don’t want to do the lighting, I don’t want to be production manager, I don’t want to do catering, and location manager… not so much. I would like to be the director, maybe the sound person or props master, the editor, a more prominent actress, and somewhere in the costume department would be fun as well.

I pretty much had way too much fun learning, and I thoroughly exhausted myself. I would really like to do it again someday, though hopefully sooner than later.

And that’s the way the carrot crunches.

~ Lizzy


Working on a Professional Film Crew

Hey y’all,

EnumclawFilmLogo3.1-03I’ve been crazy busy, and haven’t written here in a while. I thought today I’d share a bit with you about my crazy busy-ness, as I found it very educational and interesting. Everyone else has their own stories to tell about our work these past weeks on the “Enumclaw Film”, as we call it, but mine is rather lengthy just because I was doing so many different things for both pre-production, and production.

A few months back we Polings and Swets volunteered on a local historical film project. We’ve been talking about it off and on, as you may remember. Well, we’ve finally shot the film! I’ve been doing a variety of different jobs on the project. These are my “official titles”; things I will be credited for in the credits of the film and on IMDB:

  • Hair and Makeup Lead
  • Associate Producer
  • Locations Manager

I also volunteered to handle social media and the blog for the project, which included designing a logo, and writing a lot of the information the public would see about the project, and now, posting pictures from the production on Facebook etc.

Hair and Makeup

Our makeup and hair setup for day 1.

Our makeup and hair setup for day 1.

I originally signed up to be the Hair and Makeup Lead. Whew! It sounded like such a big job! I was kinda scared, very excited, and still nervous up until the very last person was done. The director assured me that even though I didn’t feel qualified for the job, she felt I was because she knew I would focus on details, and do tests to learn the things I didn’t already know how to do (like apply crepe beards and moustaches, and do temporary hair coloring).

After my original assistant fell through at the last minute, I found an assistant on Craigslist who was much better at makeup than I was. We devised a system where I did the hairstyling and FX makeup, and she did most of the other makeup. It worked wonderfully, and I felt much more at ease having someone who has a lot more makeup experience under their belt do the majority of the looks. It also made it much easier to churn out finished actors because we could both be working on the same person at once: she on makeup, and me on hair. Or, we could work on different people, then have the actors switch chairs. It was an awesome partnership that worked really well.

This is the crepe beard I applied.

The infamous beard!

I learned a lot, not just about makeup, but preparing for something like this. I learned how to go through the script and be able to translate what the director was seeing into specific notes and looks for certain actors. I learned how to make a budget and what kind of things you need to think about buying when you have to do a lot of people’s hair and makeup in a sanitary way. I learned how to clean and pack “my kit” in a way that makes it easy to get what I need really fast, keep things clean and organized when I have to move from place to place quickly. I also learned how to estimate how long it would take for each person to go through my department, so that the Assistant Director could make sure they were there early enough for us to work our magic. 😉

I had a few heart-stopping moments, like when the main actor who I was supposed to put a beard on (I scheduled 3 hrs for him) showed up 45 minutes late and the schedule had to be completely re-arranged so that I could get it done. It was nerve wracking, and the beard kept having issue after issue, and finally, I had to take him down to set with a beard I was very unhappy with and had worked for a really long time on. It turned out okay, because the heat and a couple of costume changes calmed down a lot of the issues with the beard and it looked good for the rest of the night, but I was just sick in my stomach for a while because I thought it looked so bad.

I had some wonderful moments too, where everything turned out so perfectly, in spite of my inexperience, and I had a little internal squeal of delight that I got to work on such a cool project. 😀

Associate Producer

A few months ago, the Director noticed that I was really good at organizing and keeping track of details, so she hired me to schedule the casting. This seemed like a fairly simple job, so I said, yes, and dived right in. Right away, I found out why they hire someone specifically to do this job. As soon as the casting announcement was posted, I was sending and receiving probably almost 100 emails a day, cataloging actors, scheduling them a time slot at the audition, answering questions, sending them little bits of script to prepare… It was a monumental job! Then came the audition dates, and I needed to make sure everyone signed in correctly, got us all of their information, and got their questions answered. It was fun!…. and I was tired.

Epic vintage car-ness. Photo credit: Micah Swet

Epic vintage car-ness. Photo credit: Micah Swet

This eventually fell under my “Associate Producer” title, because I went on to handle a lot of other details, like helping to find classic cars and trucks for the film (which Micah eventually took over, and did a SPECTACULAR job with), filtering through resources that the community was offering in terms of props and costumes, and finding and communicating with last minute extras. Basically, The Producer is the person who gets everyone what they need to do their job, and this can be as big as finding and hiring members of the crew, or as small as bringing extension cords. As the Associate Producer, I handled a lot of the details in making sure each department actually had what they needed when the 3 days of production started. And yes, I brought extension cords…. and a few power strips.

Locations Manager

Filming Miss Ostregard. Photo credit, Micah Swet

Filming Miss Ostregard. Photo credit, Micah Swet

A couple weeks before production started, the Director hired me for a second job: Locations Manager. Technically, this is a very producer-y kind of job, and on small films like this, The Producer usually handles it. My job was to contact all of the places, large and small, that we wanted to film at, about 13 in all, figure out who the owner was, make sure we could film there at the day/time we needed, and make sure they were comfortable with us being there. I was on the phone pretty much ALL day for a couple weeks, as locations we had planned on fell through, and we had to find new ones, and owners were not returning phone calls. I learned a TON about talking to people on the phone, and having a friendly business-like presence when talking to strangers.

Filming a scene in front of an old church, that is now a private residence.

Filming a scene in front of an old church that is now a private residence.

Another part of the Location Manager’s job is to make sure that each department gets their questions answered for each location. For instance, the camera and lighting crew needs to know if they can plug their equipment in, the sound crew needs to know if they can turn off any noisy things in the background (a big problem when filming in restaurants), the art department needs to know if they can take things off the walls and re-dress the room to fit our set needs… I needed to make sure we could use the bathroom at EACH LOCATION! It was my job to figure out where we could park in the downtown areas, where we could store our equipment, where we could eat, and where we could go to the bathroom (which is an issue when you are planning on filming in a field for more than half the day). The more I got into this job, the more I realized how big and important it was!

At the last minute, I also learned that it was my job to make sure that there were signs everywhere so that people didn’t get lost and that actors and extras knew were to go for wardrobe, hair and makeup. This was a big job in-and-of itself, and my brain was already overloaded with everything else, so Micah became my right hand man in this area. Together we made sure that people knew where to go, that the toilet paper never ran out, and that the buildings we used were clean and locked up before we left.

In Conclusion

Is it weird that I learned a ton about beard and moustache grooming? ;)

Is it weird that I learned a ton about beard and moustache grooming? 😉

I used up a TON of note paper and was juggling more lists than I’ve ever written in my life- the upside being I learned how to organize massive amounts of information in new ways. I feel re-affirmed in my hair and makeup abilities, especially in the hair department where I had quite a few vintage looks that consistently turned out wonderfully. My feet hurt like crazy with the 12+ hr days, I got up crazy early and went to bed crazy late, and I practically lived out of my van for 3 days. I don’t think I’ve ever exuded more brain power in my life, but I had so much fun!

I think Producing is something that I am good at, something I have been naturally (and unknowingly) preparing to do for several years now, and something I’d love to try doing again. I had fun meeting and getting to know the filmmaking professionals who worked with us, and I hope I made a really good impression on them by working hard, being prepared to solve problems that no one else had thought of, and being ready for everything that got thrown at me with a ready smile and a good attitude. I have a secret (or not so secret now) hope that the contacts we made doing this film will turn into work on other fun projects in the Seattle area. 😉

I’ve done way more with this film than I was originally planning to do, but I feel like this opportunity was something the Lord hand-crafted for this time in my life, as well as the rest of us Poling’s and Swet’s lives. I’m sure they’ll be writing more about their experience on the Enumclaw Film, and I’m VERY sure we’ll be excited to share the finished product with you when it comes out in early 2014.

Thanks for reading this monstrous-long post!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles,

Rachel

P.S. If you haven’t already, take a sec and “like” the facebook page for this project. I’ve been sharing lots of cool pictures and there’ll be news about the premiere, etc.