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Old 07-13-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
Spatula
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New Feature Film: Officially In Preproduction

Oops, I've done it again... that's right. I wrote myself a script and now I'm a'gonna shoot it!

Well, for those who might not be familiar with me (since instead of posting here as often and blogging about wanting to write, I've been actually focused on writing for the past year!)....

Hey there. My name's Dennis Logan. I've been making pictures that movie for about 7 years or so in many forms. Really got into it in high school when Shakespeare and I co-wrote schlocky versions of his most revered plays... starting with the short "Hamlet: The Original Motion Picture" (which got into the Toronto International Teen Film Fest... despite the lightsabres)... progressing through "King Lear 2000" the longer short with more lightsabres... and trumping them with "Macbeth 3000: This Time, It's Personal" - a full fledged Shakespeare-meets-007 feature film we made in our last year of high school. Incidentally you can watch that online now for free here. It's like 2 hours... let it pre-load while you drink in preparation for it's glory...

Here's the trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r0xaPra4RA

Anyway, we finished that film in the Summer of '05 (wow, is that what they called it before WWI too?) and premiered it and festivaled it and now it's online. Woot. Now, I wrote and acted in pretty much everything prior, but it was about this time I decided I was much too fugly, too smart and too self-respecting to be an actor and too lazy to be a full-fledged spec writer, so I figured throwing Director in there would make it a nice triple-threat (and then I could use wacky industry terms like "triple threat") and that's where my focus went...

Over the next 4 years I made many a short film/sketch... many of which were made for competitions on this very website!
My first short, "The Perfect Sandwich", scared many here for the first competition, and it's a comedy. The 48-hour-made follow-up, "Orange Crush", got honorable mention in the Toronto 48 Hour Film Challenge. Then I made "Bloody Hell", again for the Indietalk challenge, and scored 2nd place (or something like that)... until in 2006 I co-wrote and co-made for Indietalk (there are two other filmed versions i know of) "French Onion", which won Best Screenplay, Grand Prize, yadda yadda yadda... see them all here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Spatula007

Since then I've been primarily working on sketch comedy... cause it's funny. There was my endeavor with Poke for "The Poke Show" which I made some videos.... and I've also shot and directed about 8 episodes with "Saveslot", a yet to be debuted video-game themed website/project which is still in development. Even just released some new ones (again, just go to my youtube page or whatever)

Between that and working on small gigs here and there, working with the Toronto Film Festival as a Theatre Rep and writing like mad, I've somehow managed to cook up a screenplay for my directorial feature debut. Well, I wrote three in that time, but the other two sucked and this one is good, so pah...

Aaaannnyyyywaaaayyyyy... enough ancient history... who made this biography time anyway? Oh wait.... I did... I thought I was gonna announce something NEW.... well, here goes...

Thus, I am proud to announce that my latest script, the horror/comedy "The Mushroom Man" has officially entered pre-production.

So let's see... what the hell have I done here?

Well, I've got all my script and treatment (essentially) done, lead roles cast, schedules are forming, I've got tentative agreements for most of the key crew... location is locked down for the shoot (shooting at the Wreck Beach Film Fest grounds, Dome County)... I've got the people, the place, some of the gear, and the will to sacrifice my non-existent social life.... We're having our FIRST production meeting this weekend after my birthday....

But why bring this all up you ask?

Well, since this site is pretty much the best pool of resources an indie filmmaker could hope for, I'd like to get your advice, feedback, involvement throughout the project and such- because the easy part- writing (lol, sigh) - is over... and now the hard part begins... aka, making the sucker... and for that, I will need all of your brains!!!!!!!

I've got a $1000 budget for production. Kudos to Clive for drilling that number in my head, LOL. Pre-pro is July-August and we start shooting lightly in Sept. I've got ONE SOLID WEEK of 9 days in October. 3 DAYS on a long weekend in Nov. Plus about 4-5 weekend shoots spread out from Sept-Nov as yet to be scheduled. Macbeth 3000 ended up costing $10,000 and was shot over 3 years... now, I've got $1000 and roughly 20 days to shoot a feature- but we've at least got most of the gear, so most of that money will go to catering and props. Our budget is tight, our time-table is impossible... this is where I've learned to live, baby. But all the same, advice is VERY welcome! Also, encouragement and or "YOU'RE NUTS!" comments are also welcome

The story, in a nutshell is this:
Spoiler: When Calvin, an environmental science student, heads north in search of a mushroom with strange growth properties he meets Becka, a local farm girl and Dexter, Jack and Charlie-some mushroom-picking pot-heads, before they are all trapped inside a crazy genetic scientistís compound by a vast underground fungal organism that tries to turn them one by one into mushroom zombies.

That's right... Spoiler: mushroom zombies. I've done my research on this, and aside from a 50's Japanese movie called "Montango" (or something) and a recent horror film called "Schrooms" (which is more like Haute Tension than Evil Dead, really) there's not a single movie out there where a Spoiler: fungus is the cause of zombies.

OK... so high concept: Spoiler: "Mushroom Zombies, 'nuff said"... does that work for you, filmy? LOL.... Any zombie genre fans out there salivating? Grimacing? Please not grunting...

So I've set up a production blog and I'll be posting everything there as well as whoring the thing here so people can follow what we're up to and potentially help out and or contribute however possible! I'm hoping at least a couple of you will get excited and be able to teach, learn and have fun all at the same time!!

Feel free to book mark the blog, but I'll likely update here when I've posted something new (probably this next weekend)... here:

http://mushroommanmovie.wordpress.com/

But first things last... 2 questions I have...

1) First Production Meeting... I've basically worked or been friends with everyone involved in some way or another. I want to show them I'm organized, prepared and mindful of the BIG picture... any advice on what kinds of things I should go over in the first meeting? Should I keep it simple? Go into detail? Ramble on like I am doing now? Any advice? General suggestions?

and

2) My lead actor is Union (ACTRA) but he's cool doing this for credit and deferred pay (if we get it, that is!)... this is a non-union, uber-low-budget shoot.... but if all goes according to plan I'm going to try and get this into festivals and I'm going for the distribution deal, cause it is going to LOOK like a $150,000 production.... I've asked him to find out what we'll need to make sure they don't sue our asses... anyone have experience with this? What kind of things do you need to get a "low-budget release from the iron grip of the evil union clause" deal going? Are they gonna need some strange form or permission? Will I need to supply ACTRA with anything as a "producing entity" or is it as simple as him going up to the union guys and being like "Yo, can I do my buddy's picture?"?

What's the scoop?

Any thoughts? Comments? Questions? Chuck Norris?

All is welcome! Thanks for reading so far.... it's gonna be a fun and yet DEADLY ride.

Last edited by Spatula; 07-13-2009 at 10:34 PM.
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Old Today   #1A
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:32 PM   #2
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Nice! I can imagine some killer taglines... like:

It's Sporific!

or

It's Fun Guy!
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:33 AM   #3
Spatula
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It's Fun Guy!
Oh.... my.... god... I wrote a movie about killer fungi and the thought never occurred to me to work that pun in there... Ok, if we get it in there you're getting TWO special thanks!
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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Idea

Quote:
1) First Production Meeting... I've basically worked or been friends with everyone involved in some way or another. I want to show them I'm organized, prepared and mindful of the BIG picture... any advice on what kinds of things I should go over in the first meeting? Should I keep it simple? Go into detail? Ramble on like I am doing now? Any advice? General suggestions?
I've just hosted my first ever production meeting, so heres a few tips I picked up:
  • Talk about dates - make sure everyone knows where they stand with reguards to when they will be required... & make sure you make a note of when they are unavailable!
  • Keep on topic - when working with mates it's easy to get distracted by social small talk, so ensure you keep that to a minimum
  • SHOW them what you mean - if, for example, you are describing how you want the finished product to look, go on youtube and show them some examples
  • Distribute contact details - if your anything like me, you'll want all decisions to come through you, but thats just totally impractical so make sure your boom operator has your DOP's mobile no. etc. so the crew can talk to each other... It's also a fantastic idea to set up an online group (I use facebook) so that you can share news about the film with everyone involved
  • Feed them - order pizza or something, all hicups are forgiven when a slice of domino's touches the lips

Hope this helps,
Smith (UK)
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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Hey. I remember you.

Good luck Denis. I've got no advice for you. Only encouragement!
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:46 PM   #6
Spatula
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[*]Distribute contact details - if your anything like me, you'll want all decisions to come through you, but thats just totally impractical so make sure your boom operator has your DOP's mobile no. etc. so the crew can talk to each other... It's also a fantastic idea to set up an online group (I use facebook) so that you can share news about the film with everyone involved
Ooh, that's a good one- I have to make a contact sheet so everyone can contact everyone... good job, thanks!

Bophe- Thanks man. Need all the encouragement I can get!

I've already run into one potential snag- our lead actor is union, ACTRA... he's cool doing for potential deferred pay- and I know the union has no-budget clauses... I just got to make sure:
a) That clause includes NO PAY up front and all on the back-end
and
b) Since the production is going to be pretty informal aside from the basic paperwork, I hope when they say they need a "approved and certified budget", me showing up with an envelope stuffed with cash will suffice....

Anyone have experience using SAG/ACTRA's ultra-low budget options?
I need to make sure my lead actor doesn't get sued by his own union if we become successful. Do they have an option for 100% deferred pay and on informal productions? What might I need to send them? (I'm gonna call them up tomorrow, just curious if the indie-brain here might know)

And I'll refrain from an expletive-filled rant on how much I hate unions and communists, since I'm going to have to play nice with them anyway...
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula View Post
Ooh, that's a good one- I have to make a contact sheet so everyone can contact everyone... good job, thanks!

Bophe- Thanks man. Need all the encouragement I can get!

I've already run into one potential snag- our lead actor is union, ACTRA... he's cool doing for potential deferred pay- and I know the union has no-budget clauses... I just got to make sure:
a) That clause includes NO PAY up front and all on the back-end
and
b) Since the production is going to be pretty informal aside from the basic paperwork, I hope when they say they need a "approved and certified budget", me showing up with an envelope stuffed with cash will suffice....

Anyone have experience using SAG/ACTRA's ultra-low budget options?
I need to make sure my lead actor doesn't get sued by his own union if we become successful. Do they have an option for 100% deferred pay and on informal productions? What might I need to send them? (I'm gonna call them up tomorrow, just curious if the indie-brain here might know)

And I'll refrain from an expletive-filled rant on how much I hate unions and communists, since I'm going to have to play nice with them anyway...
I like it... Although I just happen to have a script about that very thing... LOL. Wrote it a LONG time ago. So yeah, I think it is high concept.

GO FOR IT!

filmy
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:47 AM   #8
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Keep it up Spatula. well as you said the film will look like $ 150,000 i am desperate to see it.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:17 AM   #9
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I like it... Although I just happen to have a script about that very thing... LOL. Wrote it a LONG time ago. So yeah, I think it is high concept.
Really? LOL... I should like to read that one day! I actually did a google search the other day for "mushroom zombies" and it came up with this blog where some guy outlined a story he wanted to make into a movie that had more than a few eerie coincidences... and then some douche in the comments is all like "Oh, already done. Read Planet Monster" or something like that. But still, I haven't seen a MOVIE with mushroom zombies yet, so I hope & think I'm in pioneer territory... The only movies that made my heart jump were "Montango", a 1950's Japanese horror film about a group of Japanese people on a three hour tour who land on a radioactive island with mushrooms that turn you into "mushroom people" when consumed... which was in part inspiration for my second rewrite... and then there was "Schrooms", a more recent movie about a bunch of kids going to get high on a mushroom hunt... but I watched that one and thankfully it was more like "High Tension" than what I'm doing...

Quote:
as you said the film will look like $ 150,000 i am desperate to see it
To clarify... Evil Dead 1 was shot for a budget of $125,000 (US), so that's where I make the basis of my estimation there... I'm going to try and make an "80's horror" feel for this one... campy but fun SPFX kind of thing. But yeah, thanks for the encouragement guys
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:10 PM   #10
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No one said anything about zombies!

My ears (and other parts) just perked up a bit more!!!
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:11 PM   #11
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No one said anything about zombies!
Yeah, the very first drafts were VERY different from what I ended going with. Originally it was set after the apocalypse and a couple finds a sole old crazy farmer in a house and he feeds them all psilocybic mushrooms, but then a gang shows up and invades the house... but halfway through writing it I changed course when I started learning of these theories that consciousness evolved in man through early interactions with hallucinogenic mushrooms which activated pleasure centers in our brains and whatnot... and I thought, well what if mushrooms were conscious? Or what if a crazy genetic scientist found a way to bond human brain cells with fungal DNA? What if the mushroom went bad? muhuhuhahahehe... you'll have to find out when The Mushroom Man plays at a theatre near you!!!
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:20 AM   #12
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I thought this might help: www.mushroomexpert.com/xylaria_polymorpha.html
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:12 AM   #13
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Damn, thanks! I never came across that species and I gotta reference that! You literally just inspired a new scene, lol... you're so getting Special Thanks for that!

My friend Jenn who's doing our make-up and part of the SPFX team was just playing around with some sculpting clay and made a few rough mockups...



we're going to have to make hundreds of mushrooms in all varieties- the story takes place on the mushroom farm of a deranged genetic mycologist, so I'm going to try and get my SPFX people to use different types of mushrooms as a basis for the different types of mushrooms in the movie. I might post something later here to get SPFX ideas too!

Last edited by Spatula; 07-17-2009 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:21 AM   #14
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:26 PM   #15
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Nice! Hmmm what's that tiny one at the bottom. Penile Fungillia?
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