“On The Day”

Day 14 – Recreate a single day

I knew that I needed to get back into the habit of making media on a regular basis.  The last major project broke me (more than once).  After wrestling with it for a few years during a time when the world seemed to be abandoning film for digital (but digital was not in the budget for independent producers), I knew that I needed to shelve the film and come back to it when the climate was right.  Now that I’ve spent 7 or 8 years reading , studying and reflecting on the world, I’m back in the creator/producer seat.  The environment is a little funky right now because so much is changing with markets, media technology and the public’s viewing habits, so I thought “instead of investing in old workflows like I did the first time around, I’ll get ahead of the curve.  I’ll go the digital media – self distribution route as my re-entry after banishment to filmmaker Outer Space”.  So, I spend a measly $1,500.00 on video production gear that turns out to be surprisingly good for that ridiculously low price.

JVC package and books

Then, use my experience and knowledge of what’s working out there on the web and come up with an idea for my own series.  I started with a very general idea and used the fiscally fail-safe New Wave cinema principle of “do what you can with what you got” to tell a story.  With only a concept, no treatment, no script, no earthly idea how this thing would pan out, I searched for an assistant to help shoot a local Austin event and…got one taker.

Trisha and Sun

Hi Trisha!

9:00 AM – “on the day”
I was planning to meet Trisha at the Expo Center to film the event but she sent a text saying that she had to stay late but was available later that day so, I said…”Cool. No problem, that works too”.  So, I told her to just text me when she got off work and then I headed out with my new production gear all setup to document the ride over.  I’m not very good on camera but I needed a show host and, in the N.W. tradition I’m the most available so, why not.  I’ve taken three drama classes and read two books on the theory of acting (I have the third on my book shelf but haven’t gotten around to it yet).  “Maybe I’ll even learn how to act”.

10:00 AM – “on the day”
I text my contact at the Expo Center who walks over to meet me, and then proceed to shoot b-roll material in the parking lot as I’m walking up. I meet my contact and we discuss what I need to shoot. After conferring, she sends me an assistant as an escort and we’re off in the golf cart to see the sights and shoot whatever I can get in the space of one hour (Yikes! Only one hour).

10:10 AM – “on the day”
We get to the thunder dome and unload, which is easy because with only $1,500.00 worth of gear, I’m traveling light.  As I get into the venue, I start winging it and the stuff I’m shooting to begin with is pretty terrible (particularly the shots with me in them trying to act like a host).  Then my photographer/producers mind starts kicking in and I’m all over the place shooting anything I think I can use later; how?… I’m not 100% sure.

Dirt Track

10:40 AM – “on the day”
After half an hour, my escort informs me that we’re running short on time and maybe we should move on if I wanted to see the other stuff we talked about. I said “Yes. That’s a great idea! I’d lost track of time.” So we packed up and motored on to the next several stops which were a barrage of places and people all flashing by at 8 Mph.

10:50 AM – “on the day”
We arrive at the pavilion where the vendors are setup and there’s not really much going on so I really have to use my imagination and look for something interesting (this will have to happen in the editing).  So I shoot what I can and then I’m back at the cart because my hour is up.

11:00 AM – “on the day”
After packing up the gear I thank the staff and start back for town when I get a text from Trisha saying that she can be there at noon.  I wave her off since I just finished shooting the venue and suggested that we push back to 6PM since there are more festivities going on downtown related to the event.  “Cool.  See you then”.  Just around the corner from my house, I run into some of the bikers in town for the Rally.

Bikers WAve 1Bikers Wave 2

11:15 AM – “on the day”
As I get back into town and head home for a debriefing with my camera, I reflect on having shot the event myself and it occurs to me that the more I shoot, the more ideas I get… the idea soup is thickening.

5:50 PM – “on the day”
Trisha shows up and we sit in my apartment talking about the footage from earlier and the plan moving forward.  I now have a pretty solid idea for the main series elements and ran it by Trisha (sort of) who was good with it (which is good, because she’s now my guest for the episode!).

Trisha Pointing

6:15 PM – “on the day”
Trisha and I finish rigging up the mustang for the shoot and I head back up to the apartment to get Snoop (He’s my sidekick/Navigator for the show).  We head out and recap the earlier discussion.  Pretty soon, we’ve got a good rapport going and on occasion some interesting dialogue happens.

7:00 PM – “on the day”
We’ve been driving around for a while and the material we’re getting is pretty good!  We turn back to drop Snoop back off at home (He loves riding the navigator position but animals go against one of the tenets of N.W. film production; they’re hard to work with and increase the budget.

Snoop Navigator

7:45 PM – “on the day”
Snoop is back at the house.  Trisha and I are getting close to downtown Austin where we park and unload.  After another 45 minutes of drivin’ and riffin’ we’ve got more good stuff and I’m feeling good about this indie web series show that I’m creating “on the day” (with some much needed help from my assistant).

8:30 PM – “on the day”
We arrive downtown and park.  By the time we get to Congress avenue where the parade is going on (we’re still shooting as we go), I’m starting to get a feel for my weaknesses as talent in front of the camera.  That’s a good thing because I now have stuff to work on for  future episodes.  We spend a couple hours downtown filming and then our stomachs start growling so we pack up and head out to search for a 24 hour diner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11:30 PM – “on the day”
Trish and I stop off at Magnolia Cafe on South Congress, the traditional late night food joint and get some really good enchiladas and one of the best IPA’s I’ve ever had (I wish I could remember the name….oh well, that’s a good excuse to go back for seconds!)

Magnolia at night

11:59 PM – “on the day”
We’re pretty tired; Trisha has work in the morning, and I’ve got footage to offload, so we head off, each in our own directions…mission accomplished.

 

About Blake

Blake is a Filmmaker, Writer, and Sports Media professional from Austin, TX. He studied Film Production and Advertising at UT Austin. When not supporting University TV crews and NBA Entertainment on live sports productions, he likes to excercise, travel, hang with Snoop his Jack Russell, read, write and collaborate with other writers, directors, actors, editors and producers on new ideas for storytelling in the film/TV medium.
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