Unfinished Business – Episode 1

Personal Involvement: Created, Co-directed, Co-Filmed, Editor, Actress

This was the first webisode I’ve ever helped create. It was a blast to make. We intend on continuing the series, delving more into the characters’ personalities and more into the idea behind this strange company that finishes deceased people’s projects.

Lessons learned: As it was our first “long” webisode, it went through many trials. We ran with an early draft and shot the whole episode, an extremely ambitious day that started at 9am and ended at 11pm. But when all was said and edited, we wanted another go. The reshoot was a product of collaboration of the entire idea, and that was extremely helpful. Reshoots are pretty daunting, but can be worthwhile in the end.

Aside from that, it’s pretty difficult to act and help film and direct all in one shooting day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m up for another round! But it takes a lot of planning in order to maximize time. All the actors you see in this were part of the production process as well, and it helps to know everyone else is doing their part to help make this thing exist. But yeah, if you plan on doing something like this in one day, be prepared to collapse once you get home. Especially if you keep your heels on when you strike the set.

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The 3rd Floor

Personal Involvement: Filmed, Edited

Featuring: Anthony Famulari, Ryan Famulari, Nicholas LaRousse, Boomer the Dog

Directed by Nicholas LaRousse

Crew: Danielle Berg

Just a funny and strange little short. It’s what happens when you have an elevator, some random living room type furniture, and a happenstance dog. And some extra time in between other shoots.

Lessons learned: Elevators are NOT easy to film in. I mean, aside from the obvious reason that it’s as cramped as a one-stall bathroom (and with similar suspicious muddy stains splashed in the corners). The lighting is not only dim, but weird…changing from blue-ish to green-ish to orange tints now and again within the same shots. And also, there are elevator sounds. Not that we were riding it up and down while filming, but there are still odd clunks and whirs even when it’s standing still. And you can hear outside sounds as well, like people echoing down the lobby.

Oh and one more thing. People need to USE elevators, for the normal, practical, everyday reason of going to a different floor. Picture the camera and crew and furniture all riding up with one reasonably confused woman on her way to class.

All in all, it was a very entertaining project to make.

Moth

Personal Involvement: Written, Directed, Filmed, Edited, Music

Featuring: Ryan Famulari and Holly Weinberg

Crew: Danielle Berg and Nicholas LaRousse

So this video came from a poem I had written a while back. I really wanted to edit a story that would require some sort of flickering technique, and the poem seemed to fit the bill.

Lessons learned: I accidentally left my scene list at home. That was my first oops. But even if I had brought it, all I would have had to refer to was a list of incoherent and ultimately unhelpful scribbles (“girl and boy are happy” “moth in jar” “flicker”). Seriously. But I wasn’t concerned when I went in, because “Oh don’t worry, it’s all in my head.” That was my second big oops. There are so many things to take care of on set, do yourself a favor and map out completely everything you can think of before the shooting day comes. Even though it only took a few hours, I was still very lucky to have had patient actors and crew (thanks again guys!). Also, in an artsy sort of concept such as this one, it’s especially important to iron out the details beforehand so that the metaphorical ideas are completely clear to the viewer when all is said and done.

Two bite-sized anecdotes: I snatched the moth from my porch the night before, but he was a little smaller than I wanted. We named him Marvin. We released him after. Also, our outside shots on the playground were almost thwarted by a couple of police officers who were concerned we were up to no good.

Don’t Light Up, Lit Up

Personal Involvement: Written, Directed, Filmed, Edited

The first video I directed on a larger scale than just me in my house. I was so nervous and excited. Thanks to all in my graduate writing program friends who participated as actors, as well as my close friends from undergrad!

Lessons learned: I wanted to have fast zooms into certain subjects, which I thought would be fine to do in post. However, zooming in the editing room is much more complicated (which point to zoom on? how fast? for how long?) and it reduces the quality of the picture. It’s much better to just zoom with the camera during the actual shoot.

Also, at the end, I broke the sacred 180 degree line.

Opening The Gates

Hello again! It’s been some time, but I’m finally back and eager to share. You’ll be seeing a flood of new posts in the next coming weeks, things I have updated that you may have seen from my original posts, along with completely new things! My goal is to make this a simple blog about making films. You will find things I have created, things I have helped create, news about movies and shows that I like, stories about my experiences, and of course…some stop motions featuring the highly talented Moose and Elephant.

Since I’ll be releasing material that I’ve stock-piled for just this blog’s purpose, I’m going to keep it as clean as possible. Short summaries about how something was filmed and edited, lessons learned, who was involved, etc. Perhaps an anecdote or two (okay, maybe THREE when I’m feeling fancy). Then when I’ve exhausted my current reservoir, maybe I’ll get a little more extensive. However, keeping it simple and short sounds pretty good.

With video editing as my specialty, I hope you will see my creations grow and become more polished as time goes on. I love editing because it’s not just tacking a story together. As an editor you are able to control what the viewers see – the angles, the faces, the colors. You can get creative and work special techniques into the story, making it a main component that drives the narrative along – stop motion, special effects, all that – an editor’s job! And of course, I’m a huge fan of all the other aspects of creating a film.

So if you’re also an aspiring filmmaker, I hope we learn things together. If you’re already established in your field and you’ve happened upon my humble blog, please give me any feedback you think may be helpful. Oh and also…I WANNA BE YOU. *ahem*

And now – Moose and Elephant, in all their glamor shot glory:

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About Moose and Elephant

There are two questions here: Who IS Moose and Elephant? and Who ARE Moose and Elephant?

Moose and Elephant, the entity, is a fledgling short film production group. Actually, it’s less of a group and more of just one person – me. And the word “production” gives it a huge and official connotation, but right here and now it’s set to its most basic meaning – the work of creating and sharing with others. Imagining stories, writing them down, filming scenes and video editing used to be hobbies for me. But now I want to take it to the next step. This blog will be a record of my experiences as I try to figure out what it means and takes to be a professional visual storyteller.

As far as who Moose and Elephant ARE…well, it’s important for you to know that Elephant has very powerful teleportation abilities. However, due to his shy personality, he hesitates to frequently use the magic skills which he developed through childhood in his native homeland of India. Moose, however, is bold and lives each day as though tomorrow will be dark. After busting out of a coin drawer in which he spent several years under a layer of dust, Moose decided that confidence is key in getting through any situation. And while it pains him to admit this, Moose is not actually a moose.