Thursday, October 30, 2008


It feels like an eternity since I first stepped through the doors of Fantasy Flight Games, a Production Assistant, wet behind the ears, taking a stab at being an Assistant Director. The project was ambitious: two forty-five minute episodes of a fantasy television show, with wholly constructed sets, costumes, props and weapons, amazing make-up effects, green screen shots, a slew of local talent from the Guthrie and other reputable theaters, and about ten crew members. Total. Many of whom had never been on a film set before. Ah, the memories.

It was trial by fire, a marathon of filmmaking like none other. For two months, the production team (consisting of my good friend Keith and myself) secured actors, created a schedule, planned a week's worth of shooting in Pepin, WI (an hour jaunt from the Cities) and waded through four inch thick binders of storyboards to create shot lists. We were the first people in the door in the morning, and we shut off the lights at night.

Over the course of the next four months, we shot furiously, building a set, pre-lighting the set (many days on the same morning as the shoot), spending seventeen hours in a sweatbox warehouse while the neighboring warehouse, the cookie magnate Pepperidge Farms, was banging around and rocking out to loud music, only to tear the set down the next day and begin the process anew. Many of our interior sets were built to be mirrored, a tactic where we would shoot everything from one side, and instead of flipping the camera around, we would flip the light source and change the walls to re-create the other half of the room. There were 'exterior' sets, large buildings built on wheels to rotate at our every whim. And through it all, there was the heat. And the crew of twelve.

Halfway through the production, many of our crew went back to their original duties, at the neighboring building, where they worked as Fantasy Flight employees. So our crew was down to six. Keith, our illustrious producer, would pick up the bagels in the morning, and I, the assistant director, would take the trash out at night. And on we went, shooting an epic film in a small warehouse, with a tiny crew.

So that's a longwinded way for me to introduce the revamped Midnight Chronicles website, which you can view HERE. This link is of course accessible on my sidebar, under the 'Features I've Worked On' list. The film is finally complete, after an additional two months of shooting, many months of editing, and again, a handful of people taking on the task of creating amazing special effects shots. Keith and our sound designer and good friend Jason Beaudoin, have toiled in the trenches for what must feel like ages, to see that Midnight Chronicles makes it to screens everywhere. And I have no doubt it will.

It was my first time as Assistant Director, and despite the constant everyday battle of making a film on a small budget, I value the experience. Hey, I got to work side by side with one of my best friends, and met many others over the course of filming. Now is that really work?

All the best,

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