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Well, Dear Reader, the production has now been effectively ‘soft-launched’ by being mentioned in a story about Accelerator POD and it’s relationship with Odin’s Eye, which is great!
At about the same time, our Production Team (Andy, Shannon, Ryan and myself) did something quite dry, and then something quite juicy – all in the same day.
First, the dry:
You’ll note in the article I linked to above, that Contained is scheduled “… to go into production in early 2017.” We are absolutely working towards that, but in order for it to happen with the huge amount of work that is still waiting to be done, we need to be able to prioritise, communicate and manage the tasks that will get us there. To help us, I presented my thoughts on a project management method I think would help in Pre Pre, along with some online applications to use to keep us all connected and to also assist with forecasting when we will actually start shooting.
Whenever you put forward an idea to people to make their work easier – and they’re already doing a fantastic job – it’s understandable when they aren’t receptive. The team was the opposite, though; asking thoughtful questions, immediately embracing the idea and putting it straight into practice. While I didn’t doubt they would, credit should be given where credit is due. I friggin’ love working with pros like these guys.
Now, the juicy:
Directly after that meeting, we had a video conference with a First Assistant Director, or 1st AD, with a ridiculous amount of TV and film experience in the role. The conference was to discuss his first pass at breaking down the screenplay into a production schedule. The implications of that schedule are huge. If you’ve got a set production budget, as we do, the biggest variable that will decide whether the film comes in on that budget or not is… time. Sure, you need to juggle the finite cash to make sure that each department has what it needs (more realistically, the closest you can get to what it needs) to get the story the Director wants to tell on the screen. BUT – the big cost is wages, of course. Our current budget can sustain a twenty day shoot. We were pretty sure we were over, and the schedule proved that out – by eight days. The 1st AD wasn’t panicked about that, and frankly, neither were we. I think we’re all just happy to have that crucial first step done. Now, the task is to refine the schedule based on discussions between he, Ryan and Blandy. They will talk about shot selection, approach and general vision to get that schedule as efficient as possible. I do not believe that these discussions alone will get us to twenty days. We’re still going to need to rewrite. But we’ll get as close as we can, first. Just as importantly, both Ryan and I were really impressed with the 1st AD as a person. Relaxed, but professional. Matter of fact, but understands the needs of story. We think he’s going to be great to work with. So far he appears to be exactly the type of person you want in that incredibly important role.
The big thing that’s looming over us right now is Easter. We must avoid shooting over that period, because we can’t afford the extra wage costs that working over that holiday would bring. When you take that into consideration, our window for completing Pre Pre and then Pre becomes shockingly narrow.
I better get back to work!