Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Gearing Up

Just sold all my old camera gear, bought new camera gear. Damn you technology! Damn You!

Bless you eBay!

Should I be excited about charging $7,000 worth of camera, matte box and P2 card? How about another $1,100 worth of lighting? Maybe I should be crying because I can't spend another $2,000 and get the firestore drive that can hold all the HD eyecandy images from the new camera. It isn't out yet!

Thanks You master, may I have another.

( If you're a tech geek then you might be interested to know I picked up a Panasonic HVX200 and some Kino Flo knock off lights to supplement the nicer rental camera and equipment. )

weird... just not too weird

Got a request from Leslie the editor of Scrapbook Answers magazine to send some pictures that were a little more straight forward. She like dthe upsidedown shots with her magazine but was afraid people wouldn't get it or they'd get swamped with editorial emails catching the "mistake."

Nate ( my little photographer brother ) came over with his juicy $2k light kit and hooked me up.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Winter of Discontent

As Robert Plant said, "Good Times, Bad Times, You know I've had my share..."

Good News: After a couple months of trying to get in to the top secret labratory of Creative Memories, being blown off and eventually being declined I recieved a call from Rhonda Anderson saying the Grand PooBah's met and approved my request. This is HUGE and a testament to Rhonda's tenacity and support of the project. I wrote it off a couple weeks ago and wanted to a month ago. :0)

I 've heard many people try to get a relationship going with Creative Memories because they're such a huge company and connection with their tens of thousands of consultants. I can see where'd they'd be leary of letting me in. Being outside of the loop in the scrapbooking word I certainly don't appreciate the full value of what just happened. I'm just jazzed because these guys put a million plus dollars into R&D and testing their projects every year and I want to show the huge geek factor in the technology. Example: Their promotional materials says they have "Accelerated aging chambers that simulate 10-20 years of aging in just six months to ensure long-term durability." They also do elevated humidity tests for product performance in tropical climates and have a high-intensity lights to test how well thier product resists fading. How cool is that? Not exactly what I expected for warm fuzzy scrapbook materials. Apparently they're even going to let me talk with the mad scientist that runs the show. I'm VERY excited to check it out and show people some of the technology behind this stuff.

Another big plus: News Radio's season three is out on DVD. One of the best shows ever made.

Bad News: I shoot in four weeks. I just got a crew together, need to sell my old camera gear and pick up some new stuff for the B camera work. The rest will be rented. I need to finish cleaning up the notes and convert them into a legible script so a stranger can read it and understand, add in the shot list and storyboards for Tag ( the DP ) get locations sorted out, find a memory specialist ( still a loose end ) scout interviews with a few key scrapbookers, come up with slick promo material, build a real website with cool graphics and content so when the magazine articles and Jason Davis interview hits I look like I know what I'm doing, secure loans for funding, finish a Q&A type interview for Stacey Mann @ Digital Scrapbook Pages, do an online chat ( 03/16/06 @ 9:00 pm eastern, go to their website for details ), do an email interview for Tattoo magazine, shoot pictures for that interview, buy and learn how to use the new camera ( a new Panasonic HVX200 which will let me shoot in HD and DVCPO50 like the SDX900 I'm going to rent for the shoot ), Train in my audio guy and second camera man on the new equipment, bring my production manager up to speed, repairing broken computers and equipment, yada, yada, yada. You get the idea. Doesn't seem like much to do over 3-4 weeks but thrown in with daily calls and interest in the project, more upcoming interviews plus juggling a couple other bread and butter projects ( gots 'ta get paid ) it equals no time to finish working on my bike! The weather is peeking up into the 40 degree mark here and the snow is subsiding so I'm dying to get out for lunch rides or something but am not making the time. Tough choices but all good options.

Who's not busy right? I'm VERY happy that winter in the frozen north is subsiding and I've got a juicy project to sink my teeth into. When Scrapped is in the can I will be able to spend some quality time riding cross country to film festivals to shake hands and kiss babies. SWEET.

Music of the day- Wilco: Monday, Tom Waits: Big in Japan.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Questions and Answers

I scored another interview in Scrapbook Answers magazine a few weeks ago and Leslie Ayers the editor is selling me 150 copies at what I can only assume is cost ( or less ) because the price is so incredibly cheap. This means Lorna ( Queen Bee of Delta Phi Scrappa ) and I can hook up the ladies going on the upcoming Delta Phi one day scrap with a free copy and have it answer a lot of thier questions about the movie. Lorna has set up a one day - twelve hour event at a Raddison hotel banquet room as a sampler of her 3 day sorority initiation events that usually happen once a year in the fall. She is setting this up especially so I can go through the class and use it in the movie. I am extremely grateful as these things are a complete riot. Check out their website for pictures of the last inititation.

Very cool magazine... each issue comes with a CD with free fonts, layouts, how to videos, demo's, etc. I'm not a scrapbooker and even I think it's cool! I can't believe they approached me for an interview. I hope I can live up to the expectation of knowing something. :0)

I'm also having a doosey of a time finding a doctor or specialist that works with Alzheimers or memory loss patients for a segment of the movie. I'll find a connection and then get steered to a PR department of the hospital and shot down because I'm not established enough, don't have a big enough name or a distribution deal. Crazy. I'm not asking for trade secrets... I'm not going to start a neurology center out of the back of my house. I can see where I look like a joker that will waste their time so I guess that's the way it goes. I've got to admit this whole concept is pretty crazy.

The thing I keep running into with this and the last project was that many industry people didn't get it at all. They were locked in to their perspective and interpreted anything outside of it as infiesable. The crazy thing is that the average Jane and Joe in the street love this stuff so if I can fight through the process of getting it done then I'm golden.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Heist

I had to take some photos to send in for an upcoming interview in Memory Makers magazine. I was crammed for time last week so I called up my little brother and found a time when we could both pull it off. Grandiose plans fell by the wayside as I rushed to get something taken and we decided to go with the contrast angle that people seem to be picking up on by just shooting some pics in a scrapbook store. The first store I called had a big name coming in for a weekend crop and were unavailable for a peon like me to snap a few shots, the second choice, a place down the street from where I live was no longer in business so I ended up calling a place called "Artsy Tartsy" a few miles away.

I called around 6:30 pm and briefly explained who I was, was making a documentary about scrapbooking and had an interview I needed pictures for... could I come and spend a few minutes in the store snapping shots before they close. What time did they close? 8:00pm . ok. I'll be right in.

I arrive maybe 15 minutes before they close and talked to Julia, the owner and manager. She was a real sport and ended up joining in on the pictures. She seemed a little apprehensive so I explained more about the project and the story angle I was coming from inbetween flashes. I was doing my best to juggle trying to make an interesting picture, feeling a little uncomfortable in the environment, feeling intrusive to this woman who is letting me in her shop and trying to pitch her the idea that it's a good program and worth her letting me into her store on a moments notice.

I started dropping names of some people who were already on board and she would resond with things like, "you know too much about so and so to not be legit." So I started feeling a bit more at ease knowing that she could be starting to respect me as a film maker.

The next day I was looking over the pictures and it was dawning on me that her version of legit wasn't my artistic integrity, plot structure or character arc... it was whether I was going to rob her blind or not. It never dawned on me that someone she's never heard of ( in particular a male ) calling up to shoot pictures for a magazine at the last minute on a weeknight might sound fishy, then to have a hooligan looking bozo like me show up fifteen minutes before closing and say he was doing a documentary.. well. Anyone in the scrapbook world would be understandably squeemish.

So hat's off to Julia at Artsy Tartsy! She's one of the gutsiest chicks I know!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fully Funded!

Upon inception I had about 25 - 30 percent of the funding I needed to make Scrapped from people that saw the last project I did of this kind and wanted to help make it happen. All of them were amazing people that pretty much wrote checks for as much as they could and expected nothing in return. They were happy to give me a hand, believed in me and the project and knew how tough it is to get things rolling.

I was initially hunting down another $40k in funding from a corporate sponsor which seemed like a good fit because I also wanted to feature some big scrapbooking industry juggernaught to go behind the scenes with and blow peoples minds while we roll through mountains of boxed product heading all over the world. I wanted to fnd out how companies get their ideas for form and function, etc. It seemed like corporate sponsorship was a great fit.

Within three days of sending out an email with the script concept I recieved a call from one of the rock stars of the scrapbooking world. She was on board and was planning on helping get the company she help build on board. She wanted to help personally pick up the remaining $40k and we moved forward with the company. Initially the head of the PR department said no. I said pretty please and sent more info, then the PR woman said maybe... well, no.

We were holding out hope until yesterday as my friend moved her way up the ranks, pitching the Scrapped concept to the top brass she reached the pinnacle person who had the deciding vote who was apparently very enthusiastic but had to say no because there wasn't time to really evaluate. DOH! I guess they are going through some big decisions and transitions in their company and can't throw any time at it. That meant it would be uncomfortable for my friend to fund a movie her company passed on being in so I was 5 weeks out with no funding and no behind the scenes segment!

During this time I was contacted by other companies which expressed interest in the project so Connie and I thought it would be a safe bet to just take out a home equity loan and fund it ourselves not making it brand specific in hopes that being generally about scrapbooking it will have a wider appeal and bring different factions of the scrapbooking world together. Ooo, sounds beautiful. ;0)

Anyone suggesting I'm "cashing in " on scrapbooking with this movie should feel what it's like to take out a loan for $40 - $50,000 with nothing but your house as collateral. It leaves a big lump in your throat.

Man I hope somebody likes this pig.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Opening Day

I was told by my friend Todd today that I needed to have a blog to document this process. I always thought blogs were a little narcissistic so I'll make sure I focus on this crazy Scrapped project and anything that may be of interest regarding it. If it's gets read - great. If not I'll just delete it and you can go check out Mike Doughty's cooler and hangs out with people like Crispin Glover.

I told Todd I had a system down with my last project ( ) where I would just put new info on the home page and rotate it out to a page called "news" with an order of events for people to follow up on and since I just build the sites on laptop it's just as fast as a blog. His logic that won me over was that I could post things in a blog casually that I couldn't post officially on a website. Stuff like me getting rejected from the Mayo clinic for interviews because I don't have a distribution deal locked up and Creative Memories wanting to get me in behind the scenes for a segment I wanted to do on the technology behind scrapbooking but them being too busy and me being to freaky for a full fledged yes vote. Well, that and probably because I don't have a distribution deal yet. :0)

Apparently I can leverage human nature and figure people see a personal wes blog as something more casual than an official press release. Just frame it in the form of an opinion or "commentary" instead of fact and my liability is greatly reduced.

I think I will post chronologically AND topically for an easier sorting process. You can also search the blog through the google powered text box above.