After last week’s debacle, we picked ourselves up and got an actor/comedian I’ve worked with a lot to fill in. The new shoot’s on Sunday, we’re rehearsing this evening and I’m pretty psyched. He always delivers plus is ultra reliable and a nice guy. That always wins the the race. So, although I’ll be missing part of the red carpet of the Oscars, it’s cool to be actually working towards making my dreams come true then vs. sitting around and watching other people live their’s out (though it is fun to either drool over or mock the outfits; yes, I’m DVR’ing it).
Meanwhile, this week I’ve been in mini-film school. Been doing the camera workshop and it’s been great! Classes on camera technique, lighting, audio, composition, production. And tomorrow we do an all day shoot. We paired up (there are 8 people in the class) and last night, each team put together a script. I was partnered with Tara, who seems really cool and we seem to have the same sensibility (she works for Complex Mag). She & I put together an Oscar’s red carpet parody. We’re shooting in Union Square Park and already, mostly, have picked the locations. We have our shot list and I’m bringing some props.
Early tomorrow morning, we arrive at DCTV (where the classes are held), pick up our kits (we’re each getting a camera, tripod and wireless laveliers), jump on the subway and have about 4 hours to shoot. As part of our parody, we’re getting people on the street interviews so I hope we can some to be on camera. Luckily, the temperature’s supposed to be warmer (40 degrees) than it has been the past few days (it’s in the teens today!) and there’s no snow expected.
I’m enjoying this class so much, I suggested a part two to the teacher, Patrick Reis, also mentioned it to a friend who’s a fellow NYWIFT member and we’re all going to try to put something together with, possibly, NYWIFT stepping in as producer.
Intense week! In a good way. Been on a roll writing Season Two of the Lele Show. Tweaking, making changes and I hope people like it. Not putting deadlines in the mix–I have too much on my plate. But, hopefully, will be done writing all the episodes in about a month or month and a half (there are 36 new eps and an ADDITIONAL 36 pieces of supplemental stuff that have to be written/shaped.)
Also working on a two brand new shows I’m really excited about. And one is live action. They’re still in the development stages so it’s quite a juggling act: finding the time each day to work on The Lele Show, each of the two new shows, production on the TOP SECRET PROJECT and the few freelance gigs I have (just got a call for a very very cool one but it’s too soon to talk fully about it.)
Speaking of production on the TOP SECRET PROJECT: gearing up for two shoots. And one is this Sunday. So busy tweaking the script, speaking with my producing partner and finalizing tech stuff and speaking with the guy who’s doing Camera 2.
In the midst of everything, I realized we needed a slate. The last shoot we did, we just used paper to differentiate takes (yes, this is straight-up guerilla filmmaking). And party cause it was late at night and party cause I was in a rush, I found one online for only $8 so bought it instantly. It arrived yesterday. In a moment straight out of This is Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge scene, I opened the package and…it’s only 3 by 5 inches (hence the $8 pricetag). It’s perfectly sized if you’re working on a shoot featuring cockroaches. We’re just gonna roll with it but there’s definitely gonna be a lot of squinting going on in post. As my extremely accommodating producing partner said, “That’s why they make zoom.”
During a morning producers panel at TCA that focused on the brave new world of web television, a handful of pros held court to talk about all of the ways the Internet is changing the content game and taking the programming monopoly away from the living room. The five included Jane Espenson and Jeff Greenstein, producers of the Internet sensation Husbands(along with many network series); Mike Rosenstein and Stuart Cornfeld, exec producers of the web reality dating spoofBurning Love; and Ryan Lewis, exec producer of the web series Chosen.
The beauty of fledgling form, all agreed, was how freeing the medium is in releasing writers and producers from the tyranny of their network overlords. “We are answerable only to ourselves,” boasted Greenstein, whose credits include Desperate Housewives, Friends andWill & Grace. “Yet we hold ourselves to the same standard as we’re held to when we’re doing network shows. We work really hard on the jokes and research and the look of the show. We try to make it as polished as possible. It’s completely on us if it’s good or bad, and that’s exhilarating after 20 years of receiving network notes.”
Espenson agrees that the lack of notes is revelatory in itself. And yet she insists that the work involved, the writing, the production values, all are the same as if she were producing for regular TV. “We want it to have precisely the look and style of a traditional sitcom,” Espenson said. “More and more, television is not a word for a box that sits in your living room but simply a word for filmed entertainment that you enjoy.”
Indeed, Greenstein repeatedly emphasized that doing programming for the web isn’t about producing it on the cheap but in some ways the opposite, particularly when possible crowdfunding Kickstarter money is at stake (as it was forHusbands)…