Another Hard to Shoot Scene

We filmed a scene about the main characters hanging out in one's basement, and at the beginning of the scene Zac is trying to throw chips into Keith's mouth. On paper it wasn't really meant to be all that funny and I thought it'd go quick.

But, when we actually tried to film it, it was impossible not to laugh. When Zac would throw the chips, they would either go flying across the room, or they would smash against the wall right behind Keith's head. After about ten takes and littering the room with Doritos, we finally got a shot where someone wasn't laughing.

Also while filming the scene, our boom man accidentally dropped the boom pole on not one, but two of the actors' heads - but the audio all sounded great.

Attempting the "One Shot"

Today we filmed one of the major turning points in the film, and I decided it would look terrific if we got it all in one shot, instead of a bunch of close-ups and wideshots. Simply figuring out a way for the camera to move and still keep the boom out of shot was difficult, not to mention the main actor having to remember his big monologue.

By take 10 we though we almost had it. By take 20 we laughed at how ridiculously long this was taking. On take 25 we decided we wouldn't make any more mistakes. By take 30 we considered giving up. On take 37 everything was going perfect until some church's bell rang. And finally on take 41 we sort of got the shot. But we decided to shoot close-ups of the monologue to make sure we had enough coverage.

A Hot Day

On Friday, we filmed in the bedroom of one of the actors. The lightning was difficult, but we got some really funny footage. However, the room we were filming in had no air conditioning, plus the lights got incredibly hot and we had to shut the fan off during takes. At one point we had to have one person running the fan, turning it on as soon as we finished a shot. We were also missing our cinematographer, so I took over, and one of the actors' girlfriend held the boom pole.

Rain Almost Ruins Day

Again rain threatened to ruin the day, it seems it never rains except on the days I try to shoot. We were able to film one scene outdoors, before the rain forced us to to move our production indoors. There we filmed the first extended scene that I had to light, and the footage turned out pretty good.

Lessons Learned

On the second day of shooting, a day that went great and I got as much done as I wanted to get done, I came home and found all my audio was recorded at too high a level, and is all distorted. So what was a good day, became a wasted day, but I learned an important lesson.

First Day of Shooting

The first day of shooting taught me much more than any book, website or person ever could. It also made me appreciate the incredibly difficult task this movie will be. The shoot was hard, lengthy and hot, the sun was acting unruly and rain threatened to ruin the day. But, when I saw the footage at the end of the day, and began syncing audio, and saw what the movie would look like - it was worth all the trouble. Here's to hoping future days go easier, and the footage comes out even better.

My Own Movie

I will be taking an approximately month long break from writing reviews as I begin production of my first feature film, currently titled You Should Always Run Away from Your Problems. I may be able to write a review here and there, but for the next month the site will become a production blog, following the progress of the film. Thanks to all the people who have read the blog, and I hope I didn't tell you to see any bad movies.

And, in case you're dying for some suggestions, you can view my 250 favorite films of all time here.

The True Story Behind In Cold Blood

Capote (2005)
Directed by Bennett Miller, rated R, 114 minutes

Capote is an excellent film that immerses you in the life of Truman Capote as he goes to Kansas to do research for his book "In Cold Blood," a story about the murder of a family. Philip Seymour Hoffman adds another truly impressive role to his career, delivering an immensely realistic, complex and likable character. The bizarre and complex relationships developed between the murderers, Capote and others, are fascinating to watch, and the story is unsettling and engrossing. Capote tells a shocking and captivating true story built on the foundation of Hoffman's amazing performance. You'll like it if: You like crime dramas, true stories, Philip Seymour Hoffman, In Cold Blood or The Green Mile.

"One man will challenge an empire"

Hero (2002)
Directed by Yimou Zhang, rated PG-13, 99 minutes

Hero has some of the best cinematography ever committed to film, as well as some of the most beautiful fight scenes. The film is about one man's journey of killing three incredible assassins on his way to murder the most powerful warlord in China, told through through a series of different flashbacks and accounts. The film is just incredibly beautiful, with perfect use of colors. Jet Li displays his fantastic martial arts skills and each fight is carefully crafted and wonderfully done. Hero is an amazing film, it's more than just a martial arts flick, it's a gorgeous and meaningful film. You'll like it if: You like martial arts movies, Chinese movies, Jet Li, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Kill Bill.

5 Excellent Comedies about Growing Up

5. Rushmore (1998) Directed by Wes Anderson, rated R, 93 minutes
Rushmore is a quirky and wonderfully odd film about a precocious teen who is a failure in academics, but is involved in innumerable extra-curricular activities at the school, and his odd love triangle with one of his teachers. Director Wes Anderson never fails to provide a unique vision and enticing story, and Jason Shwartzman offers a complex and lovable character. Rushmore is enjoyable and entertaining film that mixes many hilarious scenes with real and unusual characters. You'll like it if: You like quirky comedies, Wes Anderon's films or Big Fish.

4. Superbad (2007) Directed by Greg Mottola, rated R, 114 minutes
Superbad is a realistic, laugh out loud funny and raunchy teen comedy about two co-dependent seniors who plan to go to a party for a shot at their dream girls. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill have unbelievable chemistry as the leads, delivering likable characters and memorable lines, and the story is unendingly entertaining. Superbad is a truly brilliant teen comedy that offers a glimpse into the awkward and funny world of teens. You'll like it if: You like Judd Apatow's films, Michael Cera or Knocked up.

3. Kicking and Screaming (1995) Directed by Noah Baumbach, rated R, 96 minutes
Kicking and Screaming is an unflinchingly honest and subtly hilarious film about a group of friends who, after graduating from college, are unable to make any big decisions that would move their lives forward. The cast is perfect, filled with a lot of faces you'd recognize, and the writing is even better, filled with hilarious moments and utterly relatable characters. Kicking and Screaming is an absorbing film, filled with ridiculously funny dialogue and an honest story. You'll like it if: You like movies about college, 90's cinema or The Squid and the Whale.

2. The Graduate (1967) Directed by Mike Nichols, rated R, 105 minutes
The Graduate is an influential, hysterical and beautiful film about a recent college graduate who is trapped in an affair with Mrs. Robinson, while attempting to woo her daughter. Dustin Hoffman is the personification of loneliness and isolation, and the rest of the cast is spot on as well. Simon and Garfunkel provide some truly beautiful music to go along with the amazing writing and directing. The Graduate is unique and inspiring film that has one of the all time great endings. You'll like it if: You like romantic comedies, 60's cinema or Harold and Maude.

1. Breaking Away (1979) Directed Peter Yates, rated PG, 100 minutes
Breaking Away is an overwhelming film, that sucks you into the world of its characters and makes care for each one. The film is about four townies in a college town, who deal with their mundane and unamazing lives. Each character is carefully crafted, presenting realistic, enigmatic and amusing characters. The story is positively captivating, you can't help but be enthralled in their lives. Breaking Away is a absolutely beautiful and emotionally powerful film that is beautiful in its simplicity - you can't help but be moved by the end. You'll like it if: You like independent comedy, 70's cinema or Harold and Maude.

An Endearing and Enjoyable Romantic Comedy

Garden State (2004)
Directed by Zach Braff, rated R, 102 minutes

Garden State
is a charming and beautifully made romantic comedy about a quiet and lonesome young man who returns home because his mother dies, after he's been estranged from his family for many years. Zach Braff is terrific as the lead, delivering a sad but likable performance, and his chemistry with Natalie Portman is fantastic. The story is a little slow moving, but the characters are relatable, the music is perfect and there are plenty of hilarious parts. Garden State is an emotionally powerful independent film, filled with unforgettably moving scenes. You'll like it if: You like independent comedy, romantic comedies, Zach Braff, Little Miss Sunshine, Kicking and Screaming or The Graduate.

"Everyone Wants The Truth... Until They Find It."

Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Directed by Ben Affleck, rated R, 114 minutes

Gone Baby Gone is an intelligent, gritty and complex thriller about two private detectives who take the case of a missing four year old girl after the mother pleads with them. Casey Affleck is absolutely stunning in the film, delivering an involving and believable performance, and the rest of the cast, including Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan and Ed Harris, is spot on too. The story is constantly twisting and the film builds to a suspenseful, surprising and haunting ending. Gone Baby Gone does what every good crime drama strives to do, involves you with the characters and makes you care about the outcome. You'll like it if: You like crime dramas, movies about private detectives, Narc, Mystic River or The Departed.

A Fantastic Film about the O.K. Corral

Tombstone (1993)
Directed by George P. Cosmatos, rated R, 130 minutes

Tombstone is an incredibly captivating film that tells the immensely entertaining true story of the O.K. Corral, when Wyatt Earp came to Tombstone to put his days as a law man behind him, but finds himself pulled back in. The whole cast is dead on, but Val Kilmer stands out in his endlessly lovable and sly performance as Doc Holliday. The story is never slows and builds towards an exciting and gloomy ending. Tombstone is a gripping and thoughtful western filled with colorful characters and powerful images. You'll like it if: You like westerns, 90's cinema, Val Kilmer, 3:10 to Yuma, Rio Bravo or My Darling Clementine.