June 12, 2008

Member Introductions

Production is at a complete stand still during the summer (because this is a student gig), and I thought it might be a sweet time for an introduction. I realized I hadn't done it in the beginning the moment I got tired of writing "we" instead of "I" in all the blog posts.

Lives Agape is sort of an amorphous group. Crew members aren't tied to the group, and every time a new production comes around, I'll have to reconfirm crew members. I'm Amy, the founder of the company. Lives Agape currently serves solely as a vehicle for "Join This Group?" which I wrote, directed, and co-produced. While we have great classes at out Uni, I think that student filmmakers here need more opportunities for practice and experimentation outside of the classroom. I sometimes daydream about filmmaking troupes like the theatre troupes of old, everyone in it for the long haul, everyone knowing a little bit of everything, swapping jobs, creating cooperatively. I'm studying to be a screenwriter, experimenting with directing, and now am exploring producing. I hope that Lives Agape can become a vehicle for many other projects by many other student filmmakers.

May 21, 2008

Good News!

It looks like our website will be up and running soon. At the very least, it will be able to host "Join This Group?" Website development will probably continue for a while, but at least the video will be up. Stay tuned!

April 26, 2008

"Join This Group?" Post-production

It's over. We finished it. Editing went down in about ten hours over two days, and the result - a fine looking short.

We did the rough cut early in the week. It took about four hours to capture and log the footage and assemble the cut. The focus is a little out in some spots, but the audio sounded better than I thought it would. And we noticed we inadvertently had a lot of product placement - specifically for Apple Macs and Coca Cola. Our editor is pretty well versed in Final Cut Pro, so she knew all the little tricks to cover for mistakes.

The fine cut happened last night, over about six hours. We had to use different facilities, which meant sharing a room with fourteen other computers and a large group that took over half that space. Tried editing sharing a pair of earbuds recently? It's difficult. That's another reason why it's especially important, when you can't judge on your own perceptions alone, to watch the volume levels when editing. We also had to add in the voice over narration, which meant using the sound room. Unfortunately, it didn't want to work initially. We played with all the preferences, checked the connections, and even asked the student technician for help. When nothing worked and we were about to give up in desperation, we decided to restart the computer entirely.

Apparently that is key, people.

It's great to work on a project that you enjoy while you edit. We were giggling at jokes we'd heard over and over and over again. Maybe that had something to do with the hour of the night. We burned to CD at around 1:00 AM, and almost immediately I was able to screen it to a couple of friends.

You, too, will be able to screen it soon. Just watch for our main website to be up and running!

April 14, 2008

"Join This Group?" Production

Principle photography ended Sunday April 6th. We encountered some difficulties with equipment and extras. Student productions should run on as few characters as possible. One of our principle actors we had to shoot without the boom mike, again, and without any lighting equipment. We also had very little time with him, so we may have to do reshoots. We didn't manage to get some shots, so we might have to rearrange the script a little in post.

We'll fix it in post.

A week after principle photography and we haven't been able to watch the footage. The biggest concern is most definitely the sound. Half the main actors were filmed without the boom mike. The other thing to look forward to is seeing how some of the more... creatively filmed shots came out. We needed some shots that scanned headlines, so we tacked the papers up to the refrigerator and put the camera on a chair and slid it across the floor. It'll be interesting to see how those shots turn out.

Editing should start on Monday, April 21. Hopefully we'll be able to screen the footage before that.

April 5, 2008

"Join This Group?" Production

Our first day of shooting was today. After our production meeting yesterday, things needed to be shifted some. The storyboards were changing up to shooting and are still changing, actually.

Shooting itself went pretty well. The equipment office forgot to give us the XR cable, so our first segment we shot with just the camera's mike. We went back before our next shot and got the cable. Now every segment we shoot we have we're shooting it both with the boom mike and without so we have good audio coverage. The talent worked pretty well, and it's really sorta sad that we can't review the footage daily. Because of the XR cable incident, we were running behind schedule. We were going to shoot the Facebook "screenshots" today, but since we're going to be in a computer lab tomorrow we thought we'd just do it then.

We're moving around a lot tomorrow and working with quite a few extras (comparatively). Each day presents its own challenges.

March 26, 2008

"Join This Group?" Preproduction

We are one week away from shooting. A lot of preproduction work has been done, equipment reserved, storyboards, master shot list, shooting schedule, shooting script. However, all the little details suddenly come swarming up, locations, props, costuming - and we're still waiting to hear back from one actor about whether or not he's available. A lot of emails needs to be sent out to cast and crew still. The biggest concern right now is probably the shots of Facebook. A good chunk of preproduction time is needed to create the fake Facebook groups and profiles. Our camera op has some pretty good ideas about how to actually shoot the screenshots.

One film professor had a good suggestion about storyboarding. The storyboards for "Join This Group?" were hand drawn, resulting in several oddly shaped people. The professor suggested instead taking pictures with a digital camera. While this is a great idea, being student filmmakers, time is crunched, especially at the end of the semester. The crew may be stuck with the storyboards about aliens commenting on Facebook.

Shooting starts Friday and goes for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday as well. The crew will be meeting for the first time on Thursday, the day before. Hopefully no huge concerns will be raised. Editing and post production work, including a narrator's voice over and maybe the screen shots of Facebook, is not projected to start until after April 18th.

March 9, 2008

"Join This Group?" Preproduction

Lives Agape's first production is a short mockumentary entitled "Join This Group?" detailing the (over) importance of Facebook within the collegiate setting. The first draft was written in December 2007, and the last draft was just finalized last week. The project was greenlit when camera operator/coproducer A. F. signed on board. Currently all crew and half the cast has been confirmed.

The biggest concerns we have right now are getting the last half of the cast confirmed and getting the production schedule finalized. Already we've run up against scheduling problems. We think that the interview-like style that dominates most of the project will help minimize needed shooting time. Once the rest of the cast is confirmed, we'll finalize the shooting schedule for sure and start constructing the few props needed as well a confirming locations.

We're going to rely on a three person crew, writer/director/coproducer, camera operator/coproducer, cinematographer/audio recording. As we start detailing shot lists, location surveys, and lightning set ups, we might need to call in some favors.

However, at this point in the production schedule, everything seems to be fairly on track.

Introduction - Lives Agape

Welcome to the Lives Agape Production Blog! Lives Agape is a production company started to support all sorts of video and film projects endeavored by students at the University of Michigan. This blog will host regular posts on the progress of the various projects. We hope you enjoy reading about the experiences we have during production and that you'll check out the finished projects on our website!