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Old April 24th, 2002, 12:18 AM   #1
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Fatestiny Project

Hello,

My name is Arnaud Paris, I am a young French film student living in Los Angeles. With other students and young talents we started a group called SysmicFilms. This organisation gathers people from all over the world and coming from many different fields related to filmmaking. Among other objectives we try to open frontiers to small independent projects by establishing an international network.

We are about to start our first project which is going to be a 30-minute short called Fatestiny dealing about Man against Fate. Wed like to have your opinion, advice, feedback and help. Please have a look at our website at www.sysmicfilms.com.

Thanks,

Arnaud Paris
aparis@sysmicfilms.com
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Old April 24th, 2002, 03:08 AM   #2
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Arnoud,

Welcome aboard! Sounds like you are in a group is going to
make some wonderful things! I read the synopsis of the project
and thought it interesting. Probably going to be difficult to make,
but possible with enough good people.

I am also from Europe (Holland) so it is interesting for me to
see that you are going to shoot the movie both in the US and
in France. Do you need any more help in France? I might be
able to drop in depending on your shooting schedule.

Good luck!
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Old April 24th, 2002, 10:42 AM   #3
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Hello Arnaud,

Yours looks like an ambitious and interesting project. I am not a professional filmmaker/videographer so take my remarks for whatever they may be worth.

1. Your Help Wanted page lists, basically, an entire film crew. Why? Do you really need all of those people or are you mimmicking staffing for larger projects? C'mon, a "caterer" and "make-up artist" for such a small project?! Don't let the Hollywood "employment for all" movie culture seep in to ultimately ruin your project (as it seems to do with many projects). Grab a couple of friends, stop at a dept. store to get some cheap make-up, drive-thru a Wendy's and just go shoot the darn thing! Forget about the Teamsters andd IBEW.

2. Yet another L.A. setting? <sigh> L.A. is the -last- setting on the planet I would envision for your sysnopsis.

Good luck with "Fatestiny".
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Old April 24th, 2002, 12:59 PM   #4
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Not to be contrary - but I think he's going about it the right way. Sorry Ken, ;)

I don't think everyone needs to have their projects run like this, but it's pretty standard film set up. I personally like to be on a well organized crew with a head in every required department. Keep in mind that I said "required", not all film shoots require all the departments, a gaffer might sub as a grip. Your PD might serve as your AC as well. An AD might keep track of the props.

It's nice to walk on a set and have everyone doing their jobs - not just a few people doing many jobs. I know it sounds like the same old bloated Hollywood "system" but it works. If I'm working for low/no pay on a project and working my ass off, I want to know that the crew is well organized and not chaotic. The project has a chance of being finished and serve the story. I've worked on projects with no "chain of command" and it's always a mess.

Craft Services - if you can find someone to be in charge of that. Great. It makes for a happy set. It doesn't have to be fancy, just someone who can make sure there is food on the set/location. This is one of the things that will take the edge off of crew and actors if they are working for low/no pay. Crews appreciate not having to fend for themselves. I always have 1 person take orders and pick up the food. Pastries and bagels in the morning, a good lunch, and a good supply of water and juices throughout the day. Long shoots are hard work and a good supply of food and drinks makes people feel comfortable and bring down the stress.

Make-Up - Usually it's pretty basic, but your synopsis looks to have a fair amount of period situations and tonal changes. Having a make-up person is good for continuity and keeping the actors looking the way they should. Sometimes actors do their own makeup. That's fine if you're not doing something with any complexity (i.e. a comedy) or SFX.

All in all, you have to feel comfortable with the crew you have, and the crew should fit the scale and complexity of the project. With a good team, this allows the director and actors do what they need to do - work with each other. A director that is splitting his time with actors and organizing his crew is taking valuable time away from the performance. This is at a MINIMUM. It's much better to have an AD run the crew.

And again, you don't have to have all these things. I sometimes don't want to have a large crew, BUT I will always have someone in charge of food. On my last shoot, my wife applied the makeup to the artist and then left for the day. I also had someone go buy some lunch while we worked on the set.

In addition, having a well filled out crew helps you work towards your goal of finding young talent - something you mentioned on your web page.

If I didn't have a feature to shoot in May, I'd love to put my resume and equipment in the hopper. Mostly just to go visit France again ;)

Good luck!
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Old April 24th, 2002, 02:40 PM   #5
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Justin:

Very, very well put. I can't agree with you more. Taking care of people who are helping out in a low budget (i.e. no or minimal pay) is the right thing to do, and that means decent food and appropriate staffing. Ken, I have personally had more projects derailed by having under-represented departments. Not every project requires a full crew, but art doesn't have to hurt--does it?
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Old April 24th, 2002, 02:45 PM   #6
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Charles, art, even with a full crew can sometime hurt.

But I'm sure you know this...


;)
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Last edited by Justin Chin; April 24th, 2002 at 03:54 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2002, 03:49 PM   #7
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Actually, we may be on parallel paths here.

I based my labor remarks principally on "I am a young French film student living in Los Angeles." From that I extrapolated that Arnaud probably doesn't have a large time or financial budget for this project.

Certainly, as Justin remarked, there are scores of specialized details to be addressed in even the most modest project. Identifying them and "departmentalizing" them is a -major- step forward.

Charles, while I certainly agree that under-resourcing can be any project's fatal flaw, over-resourcing can be just as deadly. People take immense amounts of time, even (perhaps especially) if they're amatuer volunteers. (Justin: "I've worked on projects with no "chain of command" and it's always a mess. ") For my part, I just didn't want to see Arnuad's project become strangled by labor relations.

So, Arnaud, unquestionably we all want to see your project become reality. Justin and Charles are film/video pro's with far more practical shooting experience than me. (I'm just a broken-down middle-aged retired IT executive with over-resourced battle scars <g>.) If your financial, chronological and emotional bugets permit you to assemble a full crew, go for it. If not, be creative. But either way don't take your eyes off of your goal!
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Old April 25th, 2002, 03:11 AM   #8
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I can only agree with all of you. Especially the food thing. Major
important on a set! I also agree with Ken's view of LA. It is
probably better to shoot somewhere else. It is probably a lot
easier to leave everything in france, or at one place. There are
a lot of places that can double for anything else. And you do
not always have to tell people where they are (might be wise
if it is SF and you are on an alien planet :).... Most of the movies
I hope to make will not include a time, date or place indication.
Just not interesting for me or the audience I think. Of course,
if it is needed I'll include it.

Is there a reason why you are physically shooting in two
different countries?
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Old April 26th, 2002, 11:04 PM   #9
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hi there

Hi Arnaud,

I'm Christian Calson. I'm also in Los Angeles. I'm working on a feature length project, right now. If your group is open or if you have some time and would like to talk, let me know. It would be nice to meet you. I'm originally from Bucharest, Romania- but I grew up in New York.

Either way, I'll check out your site and wish you well.

Christian Calson
nebunulefilms@yahoo.com
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Old April 29th, 2002, 08:02 PM   #10
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my experience

It's good to pay everyone something. If you don't have the money and you tried and tried, it's one thing. If you don't have the money and you didn't feel it was worth paying most people because you could get it free, it's another thing. There's something to be said for that, in and of itself. Food and comfort is of the utmost, because everyone is giving of themselves and their resources. I think we are all talking about pre-production, really. Production is often times treated (on small production/indie production stuff) as weather (it just happens when we get there) and yet I feel it's the production teams responsibility to control as much as possible to have the outcome they want. This control includes food, pay, comfort and travel. Otherwise, it's not a balanced contribution. In the end a film/video benefits the filmmaker most. Everyone got together for you and your vision, period.
That's my rant. Thanks for reading, if you did.

Christian Calson
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Old April 29th, 2002, 08:32 PM   #11
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Various Locations

Dear Rob and forum members,

The movie actually relies a lot on strong visuals including a wide variety of locations. We are going to divide three different worlds in which the main character lives his story, this need to be clearly and immediatly differenciated by the audience. Especially since the movie is very short for the amount of information that needs to be communicated to the audience. That is why the visual ruptures is a key and crucial element for the credibility of the movie.

I agree with the idea of trying to keep it under one geographical location, but it is sometimes difficult to cheat things when you want such a strong differenciation as our script requires.

Thanks for all your feedbacks guys, and I think that everybody agrees on one thing, if you are not able to pay people the minimum that you can do is give them good food. And one of the top priorities that our pre-prod and prod team will focus on is to make the movie as fun and exciting for the mind as it will be demanding for the body. And to help recover here comes the French food!

Keep the discussion going and we are going to tell you more soon especially with a whole new redesigned web site.

Arnaud
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Old April 30th, 2002, 05:22 PM   #12
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one more thing

This was originally posted by the digital--guy in response to
this thread. He posted it (by accident) in a new thread, I've
copied it here as moderator:

----- original post -----

Re-reading my post, it seems totally angry or soapbox-y. It kind of is, but I think soapboxes are good, since some idealism is really motivated by mutual respect and giving of oneself.

I guess I've worked on projects where the filmmaker really benefited a lot (and that was it, the rest of us were left holding the bag- which was pretty empty), and I've been in their (as filmmaker) shoes and really felt like I got so much of everyone's time and effort that for what I gave them, it didn't begin to cover what they contributed.

My gratitude and food, and some money I hope covered and said a lot for the respect I felt for them and thier time. It's great if you have a crew and just shoot. I think it's great to just shoot and not stay stuck developing your project to death. Production is really the best place, I've found, for me to invest time in (or at least as much as I can afford). But I feel that pre-production is where you try to knock as many potential obstacles out of your way, hopefully through planning or money.

I just read 'Shooting to Kill' by Vachon, who is really a great woman producer. There's lots of good stuff in there on producing and pre-production. Thanks for letting me share. I get very passionate when I write so I hope no one takes it as rudeness, because rarely do I ever get so mad at any person. I just love certain exchanges more than others. Thanks.

Christian Calson

----- end original post -----
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