October 3rd, 2006 - Budgeting
OK, I don't want to toot my horn or anything, but I have successfully managed to prep my fourth film at an absolute shoestring budget. When I say prep, I mean the production is ready to go and is air tight-- And has cost me anything, (figuratively speaking.)
After fifty phone calls, good manners and meetings I have managed to get every resource needed, (film equipment excluded,) that I needed to make my film. Granted, I have attempted to shoot this film for almost a year now, but what I said about the film when I first thought about doing it, I have managed to stick with: Don't spend any money, just get out there an make it. November 4th, the film begins principle photography at Sundown. This is my budget so far.
Xerox Copies: $20.00
Street and Parking Lot Sealed for Production-$0.00
Electricity or shared power for lighting kit-$0.00
Taxi Cab Rental or Use-$0.00
*Although I will be buying everyone dinner that is working at Yellow Cab that night. ($40.00)
Expendibles: 1.Foam Board-$6.00
2. Party Gels for lights-$30.00
4.DV Tapes-$70.00(Master Quality)
6.Floor and Masking Tape-$10.00
7.(2)Flourescent Lamps $20.00
Dinner for Five/Snacks-$70.00
FINAL BUDGET: $308.00
*Now lets not forget that I own, (from years of working in this business,)the lighting kit, cameras, bounce boards, boom mics, editing bay etc.. So I do not pay for any rentals on actual equipment. That helps a lot.
--Now if I can figure out how to shoot the inside of a car in the middle of the night, I'll be money.
September 29th, 2006 - All Hail Yellow Cab
Like the City of Hickory, Yellow Cab has been generous enough to provide an off duty cab to us for the evening. In fact, Ron, the boss down there told me to remind him a couple of days before the shoot and he'd clean it up nice for us. I mean that is great. The original deal was $200.00 for the cab all night and the cabbie would stay on the set with us the whole time which means I would probably have to be generous and tip him a $100.00 to cover his wasted night. After this letter, we reached a much better deal.
117 1st Ave. SW
Hickory , NC 28601
2017 Conover Blvd. East
Conover , NC 28601
My name is Garrick Lane . I had spoken to you guys about four months back about shooting a film in downtown Hickory that involved either recreating or renting a taxi cab. I will be shooting the film on November 4 th, 2006 . I had spoken to Marty who said that I could actually rent him and his cab for $200.00 a night. I am just first inquiring to see if this offer would still be standing to begin with. Secondly, I wanted to run another favor across to you guys to see if we could possibly be able to work something out. I am a small company. I am shooting this film out of my own pocket unfortunately and saving money for my kid's college fund is a beautiful thing. If I rented Marty and his cab all night we would be talking from around 5:00pm to 4:00am . That is many working hours for Marty and your cab in general, and even with a substantial tip for him, it almost seems that he and Yellow Cab would be losing money to offer me this service. Not to mention, poor Marty would have to sit around downtown Hickory on a cold Saturday night twiddling his thumbs while we shoot the film. I felt this to be rather redundant for everybody involved.
I have received approval from the City of Hickory to have the front parking spots in Union Square blocked off for that night and have also acquired the aid of the Hickory Police Department to assist us and 'chaperone' so to speak that evening while we shoot, so take comfort in knowing that the use of your service will be handled in a responsible and professional way. My alternate request with all this said would be to allow Marty and your working vehicle continue to make money for you, (and him,) that Saturday night, make you extra money and maybe save me a little as well. With the City of Hickory and the HPD involved, and being that we would literally be within a bird's eye view of Yellow Cab Headquarters, would it be possible to maybe use a "retired" or "out of service" cab of yours that evening instead of using a "fully functional" one. I know you have a couple of older models in the lot down there and all we would need for our production is basically the interior of the cab itself. We only have one shot where the cab pulls into the parking lot and from there the cab never moves. The only requirements we would need from this cab would be for the meter, interior and exterior lights to work. I would be happy to sign a waiver or contract stating that if any damage would come to this cab in anyway, I would be fully responsible for it. I would not ask this of you if the location were not less than a block from your headquarters and city workers would not be there to assist me in making the production a smooth and efficient one. I just felt you would make more money with a cab and driver out picking up fares, rather than stuck all night with a flat rate fare. I could possibly save a few dollars for hot chocolate that night, and it would spare less pressure on me knowing that Marty wasn't getting antsy to get somewhere or worried he is not getting what he needs or being entertained. (Not that he needs to be.)
Please consider this alternative and know that I will advertise you guys on my websites, cars, everywhere I go if we could meet in the middle on this. Heck, I'll come and clean cars for free for a month if that's what it takes. I will be back in town on Tuesday and would love to meet with you guys further regardless of whichdecision is made. My phone number is: (828)261-5606. Feel free to call me at anytime and I look forward to meeting again with you guys. Thank you for your patience and time on this.
September 20th, 2006 - I Love This Town
You know I love Hickory, NC. It's my hometown for one, (obviously,) and yes, I've had my times of doubt and hated it, (and still believe that with the profession I've chosen have no business living here.) But one of the reasons I love Hickory is the people are genuinely nice and good people. In this instance, I submitted a Special Events Application to assure myself the approval of blocking of three parking spots and acquiring necessary electricity to run my lights from their power for my shoot. I was skeptical at first, that the City of Hickory would reject my application being that I needed the resources on a Saturday night. If you've ever been downtown Hickory on Saturday night, there this place called 'Olde Hickory Tap Room' and this is where sixty-five percent of the people go to get salsed after a long week of work. It may very well be THEE most populated bar in Hickory on that particular night. Maybe the City of Hickory thought that my proposal was a positive thing given again, that my production would be blocking four parking spots hence keeping four less cars full of drunks into the heart of our town. Then again maybe they are just that nice, because not three days after my submittal, I was given a green light and carte blanche for my small production. AND—Would not even be charged for power? Hunh? That's it? Really? Just like that?
Yes, just like that. These are the perks of small towns. This why so many people migrate here. The important people of our town are open to any idea and do spend the time to make sure their townsmen are given what they need to succeed. That is a valuable commodity and I will never speak badly about this town again. In fact when it's time for the feature, "Debauchery," to go into production, you can best believe it will shot in and around Hickory and will be promoted there within.
Thank you to Teresa Hamby and the many others that assisted me in this approval. Your kindness will not go unnoticed.
With this goal easily accomplished it is on to the Hickory Police Department's approval on the PROP GUN. This one may not as easy---
Here is the email I received from Teresa not a week after I submitted my application:
Good Afternoon Mr. Lane
Good news! Your Special Event application has been approved by all departments. I will be mailing you a letter from the city manager's office that officially gives your company permission to film in our downtown area. There will not be any charge for power used with your temporary lights. Please call Phillip Rocket or Alex Brittain (who are with our Public Utilities Department) @ 828-323-7500 as soon as possible to arrange a meeting so that they can discuss the area where filming will occur and power connections that you may use. If you have any further questions or problems, do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks and good luck on your movie!!
City of Hickory
Development Assistance Center
Here is a schmetic of downtown Hickory and a birds eye view of where we'll be that fateful night if you would like to stop by and check out principle photography:
September 12th, 2006 - Storyboards
Like all my films I've done before, I shoot my own camera. I'm a lot of productions, (big or small,) the director focuses on directing the actors and reasoning behind the camera frame, while the Director of Photography focuses on painting the Director's canvas. My theory is yes, "The Michael Mann Theory," which I've come to call it. I am not so much a control freak but more an observer and who knows best of what action is and will be taking place in front of the camera. When I am shooting camera I have my real time playback. It makes it faster and more efficient. But I don't just pick up the camera and wing it. There is a method to my madness and those are my storyboards. I am a visual freak of nature. Everything I do from writing, shooting, editing and well everything is drawn first. I've over the years gotten real good at sketching things out in detail without losing a lot of productivity time so it makes it easy to convey my vision. I've always written better that I speak. Something happened a couple years back and I lost my ability to explain… I don't know exactly what happened, but it got lost and I can't do anything about it. So I have sketched out my scheduled shots on a couple pieces of neon paper for my cast and crew to understand. (The neon paper stands out so that they are easily found during the shoot.) I will probably add shots as I go, but the ones below are my main objective shots for the INTERIOR of the cab. I have yet to storyboard the finale.