Morgan Taylor's Suicide

Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

It’s Been A While

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm

It’s been a while since we have posted and I just wanted to fill everyone in on any new revelations I have had.

First: We have completed filming 99% of the interior scenes in the film which leaves us will a little less than half the film left to shoot. So here’s hoping!

Second: I have pitched the film to a few older generation people and the overwheliming response is “CRINGE!” I think it’s the word suicide. In one pitch I told the whole plot minus the suicide bit and the person loved it. So I think it’s about time our PR started going a new direction with the film. From here on out the movie will simply be called MORGAN TAYLOR. Yes there is the potential for a suicide in the film, but it is much more about the beauty of life and our connections to others. I hope this comes across.

Third: I’m heading back to Mouthwash for a second. Many people think that we were on the front lines of the digital revolution because we came up with the idea to put short 10 minute episodes online before many of the big studios were doing this. Yes other shows came before us, but we were among some of the first to call ourselves webisodes without attaching ourselves to the old distribution model (i.e. companion webisodes for primetime shows or shows like Quaterlife that ended up on TV). However this was purely accidental. We just wanted to make a show that was easily watchable online since that is where we watch most things. So…It seems it is in our nature to create content for the next generation of media distribution. I guess that is it. Maybe you will see another web series from us someday, but while the studios learn how to appeal to the web, I’m going to work on learning how to fill a theatre.

That is all.



Tracking Shots Are Hard

In Directing, Eric on February 6, 2009 at 12:12 am


I’ve done tracking shots with Dollies and Jibs in the past but never was one as hard as this. We flew through a pillar and picked up the actors on the other side, then while they had a slight argument the boom had to flip from below them to above them, all while hiding from the camera. From here things got complicated and I’m not even going to try explaining. Next time I’m allowing 3 hours min. for any potential tracking shot. Anyway I’m tired now.




In Alorah, Directing on January 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

Let’s all stop and think how cool it would feel to ride backwards on a wheelchair through a curvaceous dorm hall and shoot a film scene with a wicked cool fig rig and the constant possbility of falling to your death or, worse yet, catching the boom in the frame.

I’m exaggerating the death fall, but the boom-frame certainly was a low point of the night that ruined a perfectly sweet single-shot scene. I feel bad, but at the same time, there’s something inspiring the way we can know that everyone is committed to getting the right shot, the best scene, the work done. We all know that many people on this project, myself included are sacrificing time and other opportunities for this film. The best we can get is the best we should get. No settling for crumbs here. No excuses. Also, I will never make the boom mistake again.

And about line memorization, since it was an issue tonight, I understand why it’s usually not a problem. usually, the takes are short and you can film them as many times as you like and nobody need frett over a botched tongue-twister. This night, if it can serve as an example, was actually a brilliant opportunity to dispel the nonsense about “getting away with it.” In a long, cumbersome, delicately-timed shot, line memorization is the last thing anyone wants to stop for. But far more importantly is the fact that lines, or lack thereof, will affect any actor’s performance in the worst and most avoidable way. An actor barely acts if he or she is thinking about words. And also, I’m sure our friend Michael Caine said something sometime about being performance ready everytime you arrive on set. Smart cookie, that Michael Caine.

Anywho, the end result still looked great. The actors definitely stepped it up, and I’m looking forward to Muffin’s side-project. I think it’ll be loads of fun for the actors and keep them engaged with the project… I wish we had more material and more time to devote to these talented people, but at least they can make jokes on the side.

K, Pau Hana.


The Stranger Test

In Directing, Eric on January 26, 2009 at 1:49 am


We have shot one scene and test shot another (best plan ever ps). As I see it, we could now schedule all the shoots and go to them with a smile and shot the rest of the film, but how do we ensure that we make a film that other people want to see? Sure we like what we are doing. We cold make a decently bad movie with some funny scenes and people would crowd an auditorium next semester and laugh at our jokes, but would they like the movie? More importantly would the film pass the “stanger test?”

The stranger test, in my book, is when someone comepletely unrealted to anything with the movie watches the film. If the stranger likes the movie then you made a decent flick. If they didn’t then you made something not so decent. Simple enough. Everytime we go to movies we perform the stranger test…unless you’re connected to the industry somehow. Point is a decent movie has to be captivating when you don’t know the inside jokes and you don’t know how long it took to get the perfect jib shot. Right now I fear our film would not pass the stranger test…

Then again. Who cares if we pass the stranger test. I’m just doing this project to learn how to do it. Most people have similar reasons. If we complete the film and my friends like it then what more is there to ask for? We don’t have any money to spend on the project so we don’t have to worry about paying people back. In fact this is probably one of the only times in my life when I could safely make a flop and not have to worry about paying the heating bill. I anything I should embrace making a flop. There’s just one problem.

If anyone knows me, they know. I don’t do flops. I don’t plan of failing, and if I do then i wil figure out a way to make it a success. Sure we’re just students with no money to make this film, but we have a terrific and talented cast, a great and willing crew, a strong and creative executive team, and a very witty writer. We have all the components to make a success, but like they say in LA LA Land, “Nobody sets out to make a bad movie.”

Our film will pass the stranger test. Like the men’s warehous guy says, “I garuntee it.”


Couples Therapy

In Alorah, Directing on January 25, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Project #1 of last week: brain-picking.

Over the break I read a piece of casting wisdom that described the concept of an actor “having what it takes to play the character.” This, as the book says, is not a physical trait or measure of skill or experience but an organic sympathy for the character. However, I had little or no concept of who the characters were at the time of casting nor any clue about how to sniff out sympathy in a ten-minute time slot, so I appreciated these meetings very much.

For the most part, the actors seemed to engage well and energetically with the exercise in which I would interview them in character. Who doesn’t love to have someone listen to their problems? People pay for such services. The most profound insights are already planted anyway, just a little sunshine and… anyway, back to acting.

What I wanted out of these meetings was a chance to align my view of the characters with the views of the actors. And then to encourage the actors to try and fill in the blanks themselves. Not all of the blanks of course, but at least they would put something out there and I could respond to their self-generated material rather than trying to inject them with my own perfect (not) vision.

All in all, I felt it was a very productive week in terms of highlighting areas that need work and areas of strength. There is much to work on from my side- I need to be more mindful of how I communicate ideas to the actors with an eye on the process, not the result. I also need to condense just about everything I say. Smaller, more potent chili peppers if you will. But one other thing of large importance was the fact that I establish a relationship with these people, some of whom I had never really met until this week.

Yes, good meetings. Good therapy. Same time next week. Pau.

Draft Three

In Muffin, Screenwriting on January 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm

It is better than previous drafts, still imperfect. Here it is:

Day One!

In Eric on January 24, 2009 at 1:30 am

Day One: Shooting was a great success! It gave us an opportunity to work in a controlled environment, and figure out what it is we are actually doing on this movie. Spirits were high (contrary to the image above) and everyone was ready to begin. Unfortunately we spent an hour and a half setting up, an hour shooting, and thirty minutes cleaning up for a scene that will only be on film for a minute tops. Well here’s hoping the next shoots run quicker!


Draft Three

In Muffin, Screenwriting on January 22, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I’m working on it now, based on a buttload of edits and what have you, including rearranging scenes. It’s actually really good, as it gives me the opportunity to basically reword a lot of scenes. Maybe I am improving on them? We’ll see. Anyway, it may also be shorter than the second draft, which was something of an abomination.

How did the reading go today?

In Muffin, Screenwriting on January 17, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I am definitely the wrong person to ask. If you ever want to make a writer feel terrible about him/herself, read his/her work out loud. It doesn’t matter how great the actors are (we have some really good actors), everything just always sounds wrong. Yikes. Ask Alorah and Eric.

This is what I was referring to in that one scene

In Muffin, Saved by the Bell, Screenwriting on January 16, 2009 at 9:54 pm