Art Isn’t Safe

Posted in Development, Filmmaking with tags , , on March 20, 2010 by Richard Diaz

I know things seem a little slow over here but mainly because I am in the very last stage of getting ‘Distortion’ done. I decided instead of trying to split up my energies into several different things at once (which is what I was doing) I should just concentrate on each one and dedicate my time solely to that one thing. In this case ‘Distortion’ has top priority. It needs to get done. Not just because it’s time that it is done and I walk away from it but because there are more festivals I am submitting it to and I am sick of saying,”Well, it’s done but I’m still making a few tweaks.” Nope. I need to say it’s done. Here it is. Just putting in the final bits this weekend and then that film should be done. Not saying I won’t tweak things down the line as I see the film play before an audience but it’ll be at the point where I will be walking away from it.

What does this have to do with ‘Killer Talk’? Well, much because that is why it is on hold for a few days. Although this week I will be getting back to it full time. I have started writing the script and do think of it a lot. While I may not be physically working on it at this moment I assure you it runs through my head a lot and I am thinking of more scenes and more character moments.

Obviously this film will also be affected by anything that may (or may not) happen with ‘Distortion’. But I don’t see why I wouldn’t have time for this. The nice thing about this film is that it is not as complicated as ‘Distortion’. It won’t require a year-plus of post production. While the shoot will be more complicated it will also be more straight forward. This film will be hard in some ways and easier in others.

Another way this film will be different is that the characters will be more drawn out. ‘Distortion’ is a much more plot driven film. ‘Killer Talk’ is a character driven film. The plot is there but it’s nothing new. It’s the characters that will make this one different. It’s also a much darker film. I wrote one of the murder scenes and while it may not read disturbing on the page it really got under my skin. I see how I want to shoot it and how I want it to feel. The murders in this film are not meant to be fun so it was strange to go to that dark a place. ‘Distortion’ is more entertainment. This one will be much more serious. I will have more humor in this film with the main characters which will be fun but the murders themselves will be handled very seriously. I need the contrast because that is also part of the point and the theme of the film. But going to these dark places can affect your mood. I got bummed out after I wrote that murder scene. I’m not saying others will find it that way or if it will turn out the way I imagine it. But in my head it was real and it was enough for me to have to get up and walk away for a little bit before getting back to the script. However, I need to go there for this story to work. It’s the whole reason why this one stuck out to me when ideas for the next film swirled in my head and why I am determined to get it made.

While I am on this mini-hiatus to get ‘Distortion’ completed I am still excited and working to get this film off the ground. Am I scared? Yes. This film is much more personal. ‘Distortion’ had personal elements to it for me. This film is more me on many levels. There are more parts of me in this one. Not in the murder sense or along those lines. It’s thoughts, feelings. It’s just more me. When you create something you are putting a part of yourself out there for others to see. That isn’t easy. I’m not doing this though because it’s easy. I’m doing it because I have to. It’s who I am.

A few more days and I’m back to work on the script. Many more dark scenes to write too. But I need to get it out. I’m not playing it safe. Afterall, art isn’t safe.

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Let The Madness Begin

Posted in Development, Filmmaking with tags , , , on March 5, 2010 by Richard Diaz

This is the first post to cover the making of the independent film ‘Killer Talk’. For someone who tends to be very private I do find these blogs from the creative end to be a bit therapeutic. I also hope that my trials and tribulations on making movies will inspire other people to go out and make their own films. I won’t lie and say it’s easy. It’s not. But it’s not hard. It requires a lot of effort, hard work, and determination. It’s important to know that while you can have support of family and friends the fact of the matter is you are on your journey yourself. At the end of the day it’s you making your movie not someone else. If you survive that part of it then you can pretty much do anything.

I made another film called ‘Distortion’ (which you can read about in its blog HERE) which was made in the same fashion. I had very little money and no crew. Just me, my equipment, and the actors. This was something of a necessity. Not an ego trip. I needed to schedule shooting a movie around the work of the actors. I couldn’t pay them so I was not about to ask them to not work. I couldn’t do that and also schedule it around a crew as well. I would have never made the film. Instead I opted to just make the film on my own. I’ve been doing it for years making corporate videos anyway. Sometimes it’s just one or two of you on those. This is the same thing only you’re making something more dramatic which is what I wanted. So many times I would start lighting for a work shoot and love a lighting set up which was very dramatic. When you’re making a video that is promoting something for a company or a university the last thing they want is something dramatic. So I would take note of what I liked and how I did it. When I made the film I was able to do what I wanted. Without a crew I knew I also didn’t have to waste time answering questions. I would just do it. The only questions I would get were the ones I felt were the most important which were from my actors. I never thought twice about this either. It’s just the way it was.

At the moment that film is basically done (with the exception of a few minor audio and visual effects tweaks) and starting to make the festival circuit. I decided to do it again. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I know I have to keep moving. If I slow down I’m afraid I won’t do anything. I have one feature film under my belt. If I can have one why not have two?

‘Killer Talk’ has had aspects that have been in my mind for a very long time. It just never had a full on output to be developed. So small ideas just stayed in the back of my mind until one day in January of 2009. Long story short, I’ve always been a fan of talk radio. Something about the medium always fascinated me. Last January I did a video for a friend as he was a guest on a local radio show. Getting to hang out at a radio studio while they were doing a show was just an incredible experience for me. Almost immediately the idea was hatched. Combining my love of horror films with my love of talk radio made for a perfect melding. A horror film radio host that gets involved in real life horror. All of the little bits that had been swimming around in my head for years without any place to go finally had a story they belonged to.

I was still unsure though. Maybe it was just a story idea that seemed like a good idea to me but who would want to see it? Then one day in June of 2009 I was on the phone with a friend and while sort of reluctant I mentioned this idea. I was nervous since I never told anyone about it before. Her reaction and excitement made me think there was more to this than I thought. Maybe I had something here. She gave me the confidence to go with it and let my mind think about it and develop it. Very quickly I had characters, scenes, images, feelings, worked out in my head. I started getting very excited about it.

While I finish my film ‘Distortion’ I am now gearing up to make ‘Killer Talk’. From the initial desire to make a feature film to the completion ‘Distortion’ took almost 8 years. I plan to make ‘Killer Talk’ in about 8 months. I decided that this film needs to show that not only am I a filmmaker but one that can work no matter what the conditions are. I am forcing myself to not over think things. Just go off of gut instinct. I will be writing the script very quickly and then turn around and cast it and shoot it and edit it in a short time period. Now, do I know how I’m going to make it? On the technical side yes. On the logistical side? Hell no. I haven’t got a clue but that’s where I just need to roll with it. I didn’t make my first film wondering how I was going to make it. I just made it. Same thing here. I can plan everything out but nothing ever goes as planned. Especially on a movie.

This film is very much an experiment but an experiment that is being done not at the expense of but in relation to a story I am so excited to tell. Will it work? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m going to give it everything I can and then some. All I can say is that out of everything I have ever done this will be the most me. Kind of scary but if I’m not scared then I’m not doing it right. In fact, I’m terrified. All the more reason to do it.

So here starts the blog of the making of this film. Whatever it’s worth you have my sincerest gratitude for reading this. Ok. Time to start the script. Let the madness begin.