Category Archives: Production

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.


LCC XI

Wow. I just realized that it has been almost an entire month since we wrote anything on here. Oops. There’s been too much exciting stuff going on. Filming for the Enumclaw movie is TOMORROW (YAY!)and the deadline for LCC is rapidly descending on us. There’s too much to write about! Aahhhhhh!

I’ll just skip to the most exciting thing happening right now.

Those of you who are Facebook friends with Rachel, Max, or Micah probably already are aware of what has been happening, but for those of you who don’t know, we are very happy to announce that filming for LCC XI has begun!

31089_115919201774186_8117639_nLCC stands for Lightsaber Choreography Contest. It’s a yearly, international contest for major Star Wars geeks who like making movies or swinging swords around. Or both. *glances in Max’s direction* Seriously though, there are some really awesome films made every year for for this contest and it’s a great place for any Star Wars fan or someone who wants to study fight choreography. While many of the entries are set up as Star Wars fanfilms, the purpose of the contest is to judge the choreography. The movies don’t have to take place in the Star Wars universe, be especially high quality, or even have to have saber effects. It all comes down to the choreography.

Max (with Micah) has entered LCC for three years in a row now. He won second place with his film The Fight Inside two years ago (LCC IX), and third place last year (LCC X) with Prevail. Also last year, Phillip and Josiah made Round 1 Infinity and got an honorable mention from the judges.

VIOLENCE WARNING: These are fight videos with mortal injuries. There is no blood but they could be slightly disturbing.

This year is LCC XI and we are all super duper stoked to be collaborating on one entry.

1081025_400923580012832_1109474091_n

Trying on their costumes all together. Phillip and Lizzy weren’t finished with their’s yet.

After several weeks of choreography, screen-writing, costume designing,  prop making, and location scouting, we finally all tromped down to the location and started filming. It’s been going kind of slow. This year, there’s dialogue involved which is something that none of us have really done before. We’re still figuring out everything and learning a whole bunch in the process.

We had all decided that it would be better to work in the morning because in the afternoon, the sun would be shinning directly down on us (making the heat unbearable for our actors in their heavy costumes) and the lighting wouldn’t be as good. During this time of year in Washington, the sun rises at about 4:30 AM. That means that if we want to be out there and filming before it gets too hot, we have to get up real early. Don’t know about all you folks, but I like sleep. I generally get up at about 8:00. Getting up at 5:00 for three days in a row was a totally new experience. We usually actually started filming at about 7:30.

Tuesday:

It was pretty slow. We were still trying to figure out exactly what we were doing, this being the first time that we’ve actually all done production together (unless you count the short test videos for Evasion). We made some good progress though and started to get more  of a feel of what the final film should look like. We wrapped up at about 11:00 cause the sun started coming out above the trees, ruining the lighting.

Josiah, the sound guy. Micah, the camera guy. And Annie, the do-whatever-needed-to-be-done-gal

Josiah, the sound guy. Micah, the camera guy. And Annie, the Assistant Director

The cast with finished costumes carrying stuff down to the location.

The cast with finished costumes carrying stuff down to the location.

Wednesday:

– wake up at 5:00 AM.

– Eat breakfast

– Lizzy and Phillip get their hair done by Rachel

– load the car

– get everyone in the car

– drive and meet Swets at trailhead

– Walk down trailhead to location

– Set up shop, getting camera and mic ready

– start filming

– keep filming

– take a quick snack break

– more filming

– filming

– Have your actors act while you capture their performance with a camera and microphone.

– filming

– hurriedly filming the last shots because the sun is steadily encroaching on your location space.

– wrap up

– walk back to the car

– yack with friends about all things you were trying really hard not to waste time on set with

– say good bye

– go home

Thursday:

      See Wednesday 🙂

As droll as I make it sound, I had tons and tons of fun. Being with my siblings and friends as we work hard to create something cool together is probably my favorite part of making movies. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without all of us together, giving ideas, being silly, being willing to do it over and over and over and over again until we get it right, and just being ourselves.

Phillip and Max getting into 'character'.

Phillip and Max getting into ‘character’.

We won’t be filming for LCC again for at least another week. We’re all gonna be super busy on set of the Enumclaw movie, and then we’re all gonna be exhausted for a few days after that. Won’t have too much time to recover though. The deadline for LCC is Sept. 8th. We really need to get a move on.

A couple last things:

Firstly, I’m gonna ask everybody in our group to write a blogpost about LCC, so be on the look out for cool posts about costumes, props, production, post-production and anything else that we might feel the need to write about.

Secondly, since we have been quite bad about keeping this blog updated recently, I’m gonna hopefully make up for it by allowing you guys to see these two stills from the film. I hope they make you as excited to see the final thing as I am.

Max_LCC-XI

 

Lizzy_LCC-XI

And that’s the way the camera rolls,

Annie


ZOMBIEEEEEES!!!

Howdydody y’all?!

We’ve been crazy busy around here, but we managed to squeak in some fun when our good friends, the Lamas, were here for the extended 4th of July weekend. Needless to say, silliness ensued.

Without further ado, I can announce the filming of…

*ahem*

The Great and Awesome Zombie Hunters

II

If you haven’t seen the first one, go check it out here. You probably shouldn’t watch it at night. You might wake up the neighbors with your uproarious laughter. *Content Warning: One character has a cigar (made from paper, not real), and guns are shot (no blood or wounds)*

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics from our day of shooting. (If you click on a picture a bigger slideshow will show up… just FYI.) 😉

Anyway, be on the lookout for awesomeness and zombiehunterness coming to your computer screens sometime in the near future.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.


Location Update and a New Test Film

Hello everybody!

So last week Rachel, Phillip, Annie, Micah, and I took another trip to our location (Josiah and Lizzy were down in Oregon and couldn’t join us, we missed them 😦 ). Our purpose was to figure out exactly where the events in the script should play out. We needed a fork in the road, a covered area in the woods, and an open area without  a lot of underbrush; we found everything we needed! *happy dance* I’m really liking the look of the place, the view is great and you can see the mountains.

Pic

Another reason we went there was to film a sniper test; one of the characters in the script carries a sniper rifle and I wanted to see if I could pull off a good sniper effect.

This was the result:

Warning: this video contains some violence and blood.

I learn quite a bit doing this; next time I think the kickback from the gun should be bigger, and the reaction from the person getting shot should be more of a snap-and-drop rather than a snap…pause…fall.

That’s all for today folks, hope you enjoyed this look into what is happening.

And that’s the way the butter is spread.

~Maxwell~


Some Good News and Some Bad News

Hey! Sorry for going all AWOL on you guys these past few weeks. We’ve all been super, super busy and Monday just kept showing up and leaving again without us having anything to write about. Unfortunately, this is gonna be one of those general-update-thingys we keep doing.

Okay. Good news first.

We’ve pretty much decided that we’re going to switch locations. We all really liked where we made that test film and I think it’s going to be awesome. Max is planning to write more about the location sometime soon so y’all get more details about where it is and what it is and all that jazz.

Since we’re switching locations, the script has to modified somewhat. Micah and I have made some good progress on that the past few days. Once again, the story is morphing into something different as we try to fit it all in. We’re planning to head back to the location sometime soon to actually figure out exactly where we’re gonna be filming specific things. (Lots of pictures will be taken. 🙂 )

Okay. Now for the bad news. 😦

When we first started the Evasion project, we were planning on filming sometime in July-August. As we get closer and closer to those months, our schedules are getting fuller and fuller. This summer, we are also working on two other film projects (LCC XI, and Enumclaw 10 Decades) not to mention Rachel has a job now, so can’t work as much. There is soooooo much packed into this summer!

Bottom line:

We’ve decided to put Evasion on the back burner for a while.

I know. It’s sad.

It’s very, very, very, very, very sad.

We will still be working on it somewhat, but our other projects have deadlines so they’re our first priority. Filming for Evasion has now been set back to October. Maybe we’ll have it done by Christmas.

There is a cloud in this silver lining….. wait……

*clears throat*

There is a silver lining in this cloud. 😉

This blog will NOT be put on hold. We are now going to be writing about our other projects as well! Anything and everything we learn about filmmaking will find it’s way here. *suppresses shriek of excitment* This is gonna be GREAT!!!!! 

And that’s the way the banana peels.

Annie