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Ashman Presents FXHOME FILM - Production Diary

Posted: Tue, 27th May 2008, 7:52pm

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ashman

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Hello one and all.

Well this little thread will serve as a more personal entry note on the Fxhome film and it's production. It'll be running parallel with the main series of threads running here:

http://fxhome.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=44

I'll be dripping through stills and my own thoughts on the process and choices behind the short drama.

So what happens next? The door swings open on auditions this weekend. For me that means a few air miles up to HQ to begin what I like to call, the birth of our characters.

And I'll be filtering updates on how they went, shortly.

All the Best
Ash.
Posted: Tue, 3rd Jun 2008, 12:13pm

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ashman

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UPDATE 03/06/08

As you may well have heard, we had our auditions this weekend. It's always great to make the trip to the studio and see the team in person, really get to see the developments first hand and the discuss where we can take them further.

We began our auditions with a slight bump, quite a few couldn't make the journey or cancelled last minute. This is something that is unpredictable in numbers and is quite common. You'll always get cancellations or no shows, this is film making and we have to except that it isn't always going to play perfectly as we like. I was of course delighted with the selection that auditioned for the characters. Not only did they show great enthusiasim and passion for the script, but great talent to accompany it.

To top this we have tapes and showreels to view, CV's to consider and this will continue for another five days. I'm also seeing another applicant that happens to live close to me, it only makes sense I meet him rather than have him drive seven hours up country.

Next up we'll be looking into finalising sets and designs, sorting lighting arrangements. 4 weeks! Stay on target. wink

It's all good stuff.
Ash
Posted: Wed, 11th Jun 2008, 11:41am

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ashman

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UPDATE 11/06/08

This week has I have just been confirming a few bits with the crew and set designers. I'll now amend my shot list to a more finalised state and go through the schedule with my Assistant Director, Elly Ward. I always think of new shots so I'll do this right up to the day before we shoot, sorry Elly and Chris!

A few things have changed like set materials and layout. We altered scenes to account for this, it isn't actually a bad thing as it's opened up more time on the previous day's shoot. I'm confidant we'll get some real quality here and capture the emotion and atmosphere I'm aiming for.

I also contacted Chris Jones our DoP. He's sounds like a great guy and I really can't wait to meet him face to face. I think we're on the same page in terms of what I want from the picture. I have been emailing him stills of the type of lighting I'm after as well as colour tones. He will now communicate this with the art department and Josh. I have also been ringing Lucy quite a bit, our Producer. I keep sending her design inforamtion as well as extra bits of equipment, she must be sick from the sound of my voice by now. I would be!

I'm really happy with the development of Pre-Production, feedback from the community has been great and the designs have been shaping up very nice. It's easy to fall into the trap of approving great designs that won't fit in to the overall vison for the film, just because they're great doesn't mean they'll work. Some people can't understand this but I'm all to aware of it.

Everyone will have a vision of the film, it can't be helped and it's my job to filter the ones that'll fit in the bigger picture, there has to be consistancy or it will fail. Bigger the production the harder it is to communicate this. Frank Oz once said during the filming of Stepford Wives he listened to too many different people and wasn't strong enough to challenge them, this is why he thinks the film failed. The film lost sight of where it was going. Only one person can have this vision and has to stick to it. David Mammet also said this, he is a fantastic writer and I hold him in high respect. I whole heartily recommend his book, Bambi Vs Godzilla.

I really want this short to stand out as something different, I want to break down the boundries and show that we can hit the hollywood standard in visual quality while captivating the audience with the interesting themes that run throughout the story. And do this without having to spend millions. I'll be quite demanding, I really want to push this to the highest level I can and make the cast and crew proud of what we have done. It's a team effort all the way and I can't do it without them.

Not long now until we shoot, am I nervous? Not quite yet. smile
Posted: Sat, 14th Jun 2008, 5:49am

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black ronin1228

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Quote: "Not long now until we shoot, am I nervous? Not quite yet."

In the immortal words of the great Jedi Master Yoda, "You will be...Yoouu will be...." regarding your nervousness factor, LOL!!!
Posted: Sat, 14th Jun 2008, 6:48pm

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Thrawn

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I'm loving these posts. Keep em coming!
Posted: Thu, 26th Jun 2008, 2:37am

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jgtrox2

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funny stuff. and what thrawn said
Posted: Thu, 26th Jun 2008, 4:22pm

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ashman

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UPDATE 26/06/08

So this is my last post until after the shoot. I have checked and rechecked again with all my notes. There's quite a mixture of emotions going on right now. I'm excited and a little nervous. Being nervous is always good because it keeps you alert and aware of any problems that may arise. I'm confidant of what I want from each scene and that is something that comforts me at this time.

First port of call when I land will be to inspect the set and make sure everything is in place and at a standard where it will sell the illusion of the world we're building. It'll be here that I'll then know what shots are going to work and what shots need to change. I'll also be meeting up with the talent and rehearsals begin. Something I'm also looking forward too.

Everyone is working extremely hard still and looking good for being set for Day 1 of the shoot. There's no going back so it has to be done and dusted by Sunday night. It's a peculiar feeling not having to worry about the budget, food, locations, rentals, distribution of information, the schedule. The freedom for creativity here is really quite strange but very welcomed. Well come on, I'm hardly going to complain about it am I.

So my notes are ready and my suitcase open waiting to be packed. Come Monday it'll be lights, camera and action! Let's take this to the next level.

Till next time.
Ash
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 3:09pm

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ashman

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UPDATE 06/07/08

Landed back in the shire (Devon) safe and sound yesterday morning. It's now time for me to start pulling up all my notes for the edit and effects work that needs to be done. We also need to fill the position on VFX supervisor. I have someone in mind for this role and it just needs to be confirmed. There's a lot of work to be done and this is where everyone gets a piece of the action.

Looking through the rushes I'm pleased. The cinematography is fairly strong here and the lighting worked very well. One of the best reasons to shoot on sets is the control over such things. I'm still cautious as we have to get it in the edit first and I don't want to jump the gun.

My on set experience was a good one. I felt in control and I hope the cast and crew felt at ease. I always like to try and bring everyone together so they feel like a small family. Everyone seemed to click so the team spirit was high. It's this that is key. A good crew is a happy crew, or so they say. I was actually quite comfortable and ended up in a constant state of being hyperactive, which only made me feel completely exhausted and sick when I got back to the accommodation. Well, some people would say hyperactive but I like to think I was passionate. Even when shooting finished I couldn't sleep or stop thinking about everything but I cant do anything to change that, I'm just built that way.

Even now I can't stop, I'm trying to take a break but am finding it increasingly impossible, every second not spent improving something on the film is a failing in myself as a director of the project. Maybe it's selfish or harsh but I can not and will not allow any chance of project to fail, I wont fail the people that supported me through the production. And I'll do this at any cost.

One thing that did keep me going was the copious amounts of green tea I ended up drinking. Couldn't help but think this was noticed as one of the cast kindly bought me a box of green tea as a thank you.

I'll admit I was sad at the wrap party, very odd experience that. Surely you should be happy that the film is moving forward into post, no? I guess it's the people your with that makes the experience what it is, this makes the movie more than just a short film or a project. It's a personal film because you just don't see cool sets and action. You see the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. You see the love, care and attention that went into every single aspect of bringing this together. I can not fathom what emotions and feelings must of gone through the cast and crew of the much bigger films like lord of the rings or star wars. These films were running for over 10 years with the pre production.

Maybe that is why I can't allow spare time to be wasted. After all there is only so much time and as the great Paul Daniels once said, every second counts.

It's all good.

Last edited Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 5:07pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 4:07pm

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Simon K Jones

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I'd just like to congratulate Ash on the completion of his first set-based shoot. It all went remarkably smoothly given it was not only his first time on a purpose-built set, but also FXhome's first attempt to produce a film.

That smoothness really shows as evidence that it's vital to have a great director (Ash) and a great producer (Lucy) on any project. If you've got those two things, then everything else largely falls into place.

ashman wrote:

My on set experience was a good one. I felt in control and I hope the cast and crew felt at ease. I always like to try and bring everyone together so they feel like a small family.
Absolutely! I definitely believe that the experience of those involved on a project is every bit as important as the project itself. A happy cast and crew will hopefully join you for future projects and enable you to create something even better next time. A happy crew opens up a huge number of possibilities for the future, regardless of the project's eventual quality.

An unhappy crew, on the other hand, gets you absolutely nowhere. Even if the end product ends up being fantastic, there's still failure on a fundamental level. Filmmaking is all about networking, after all.

We definitely had a very, very happy cast and crew on the FXhome Film Project. All the signs are pointing towards a good film at the end of it as well, so with luck this should prove the first of many such projects.

Congratulations to the entire cast and crew - now the real work begins! wink
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 5:14pm

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Avenging Eagle

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Your emotions, Ashman, simply prove you were the right guy for the job! Fxhome's trust was definately not misplaced. While I haven't seen any footage as of yet, I know the crew will have successed and even surpassed expectations.

I have great hopes for this project, and it will be a great opportunity for so many people, especially now it's into the most community-based bit, post-production, which has so many job openings.

Speaking of job opening, who did you have in mind for the VFX supervisor role?

AE
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 8:47pm

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Jabooza

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Done filming already? That didn't take too long... then again, I guess that's because it's a short film. smile

I have a feeling the effects might take a while though....
Posted: Tue, 8th Jul 2008, 8:41am

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Redhawksrymmer

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It was an amazing week, the best film I've ever been involved in making. And it was awesome how well the entire cast and crew got on so well with eachother. Can't wait for the next project.

Jabooza - Actually we shot quite a lot of stuff for a 10-minute short: approx 5 and a half hours. Also we did work from 7am to 6pm every day so there's been some time put into it to say the least wink
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 6:38pm

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ashman

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UPDATE 06/07/08

Well this weekend I was at SketchWork Productions in Newquay. What was I doing there? Finalising the edit of course, yes that's right it's done! We have our locked cut and happy with it I am too.

We've started to send the FX shots straight through for work but it'll still be some time while we co-ordinate ourselves and get everything marked to send out to the appropriate people.

It doesn't stop there, we have sound design to get on with as well so it's all very busy indeed.

To top it all off I am in contact with our composer to start bringing together some ideas. I already know what route I want to go with it so it's a case of building on that.

Till next time!
Ash
Posted: Tue, 3rd Aug 2010, 12:40pm

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ashman

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UPDATE 03/07/10

Well It's been awhile since I posted anything in the diary and I thought now would be as good a time as any. It's only been 2 years!

At the begining of this project I didn't quite expect to still be pulling together the vfx in 2010. A lot has happened since shooting Terminal, now Fracture.

So what happend?

Well, I was made redundant from my full time job of 12 years, confronted with some serious medical issues, been involved in a car crash - this is followed by a long list which I'll spare you all from!

The good?

Well, I directed some broadcast material for the Arts Council England and the 2012 Olympics, won some awards for the collabrative work with Cottage Industry Films, did some script writing for Pathe, found a new job and was made an uncle, twice! All these events followed by the expansion of Fxhome make Fracture's shoot seem a very distant memory.

I also have been enjoying the piste, snowboarding being the only thing I can actively call my excercise with any sort of skill. Everything else is rather meh, except hiking. smile

The format we used has become obslete and it's surprising how quick technology changes. My technical skills have developed a lot since the project so it'll be strange for me to watch along with an audience. At the time of shooting I stand by my decisions and choices because at that time I felt they were the right ones to make, for better or worse.

Currently we are cutting the trailer - there will be influences on the style from my favourite director. Will anyone notice? It'll be interesting to see what kind of reaction we get, I have no idea where peoples expectations are. Time will tell.

It's drawing to a close and the many delays will finally come to an end. It's been a very long, fustrating, agonising, emotional journey, but one I wouldn't change. I've learned so much through this experience and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and alongside some amazing talent.

My only concern will be once the film is finished what I'm going to do in the evenings!

Last edited Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 2:20pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 4th Aug 2010, 9:35am

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SketchWork

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Its looking good, the first rough cut of the trailer is complete, but we have a few more changes and it then needs to go to the sound team.

All in all, we're getting pretty close smile