I see RED! I see RED! I see RED!

The last two weeks have been MASSIVE! After my last blog entry, we have had so many fantastic ups and so many depressing downs! It really has been an emotional roller-coaster of a couple of weeks! Now all I have to do now is try to remember everything that has happened…

The Monday after location scouting was the start of an exceptionally big week ahead. On the upcoming Friday, we had our “pitch” for university, so before that, we had a lot of work to do! The whole week was basically dedicated to putting together pre-production documentation – scene breakdowns, location documentation, post production pathways, schedules, budgets, bla, bla, bla! So much work to do, and so very little time! Of course, this was mainly our fault – as we left a lot of it to the last minute. But we’ve also been so flat out with other things – location scouting, organising costumes, casting auditions, camera tests, and the list goes on, and on! Time is just ALWAYS against us. Lesson to new film makers – not matter how much time you think you have, you’ll always need more! Monday through to Thursday we just kept our heads down and kept on working away with very little, if no sleep. On Thursday, Isaac and Anli came over to my house, and we continued to just throw together our “production bible”. After Anli left in the afternoon, Isaac and myself kept on smashing away, and soon it became 4:00am on Friday morning – another night of no sleep! After an hour of shut eye, it was time for breakfast, and then off we went to uni – slightly exhausted, but we had put together our production bible – mostly finished. To be perfectly honest, the pitch went pretty horrible. I’m still not sure whether I should be saying this in our blog, for the whole world to read, but I guess when we decided to start this blog, we made the decision to keep it honest, as it’s primary purpose is to help out others by explaining what we’ve done and tried, and also failed, so that you can learn from our mistakes (and so that you don’t have to do them as well!). So, anyway – the pitch was bad. Not only were we under prepared, but due to the fact that our brains were all running at half speed (if at all), we couldn’t answer even the most simple of questions. What’s worse is that the only things we were asked, were about story – and we’ve spend so much time, energy and resources on the feature film story and concept development! The main problem was that we were having serious trouble expressing our ideas out loud – mainly because we were tired, but also because some of us were sick. We knew all the answers, and despite our best efforts, we just couldn’t convince the panel of four that we knew what we were talking about. Lesson number one, never go in to anything under prepared! Lesson number two, never go into a pitch exhausted – as you’ll need your brain! It went bad – we stuffed up – but the show must go on! We all knew were we went wrong, and we now all know how NOT to do things. On a positive note, despite the bashing, the panel didn’t really question anything BUT our story, which means at least we have the production side of things remotely under control. We also have a huge amount of faith and belief in the concept, so we’ve taken there hints and suggestions on board, and are continuing on the adventure as per planned! Just a minor little speed hump, but I think we came off OK…

Last weekend was then a chance to recover from the pitch – we really needed a break! Although, I don’t think any of us really had a break – we just continued on doing all our other stuff that needs to be done, that isn’t Sakooz related. We still had all our individual university projects and assignments to do – so all of our “to do” lists were quite full up! Which brings me to lesson number three for today – if you want a life, then don’t go into film making – it takes up EVERY single moment of your time. Seriously! But I guess, if you’re crazy enough to be reading this blog entry, then there is probably very little chance of convincing you that the film industry is a horrible place to get into. Anyway!

We all hoped that the new week would bring with it a new slate. But the Monday after was a disaster as well. It seemed like everything was against us! We had to pick up gear in the morning, and just ran into problem after problem! Then in the afternoon, it just got even worse! Everything just went WRONG! But somehow, we survived the day – JUST. But luckily for everyone Tuesday was a FANTASTIC day – the complete polar opposite! Finally!

In the morning we met up with Cail & Pete from Inspiration Studios to try out their new RED camera. If you don’t know what a RED camera is, and you’ve got anything to with the Film & Television industry, then stop right now, and check out the RED website, because RED is BIG!

Right through pre-production for Sakooz, we have very much loved the idea of shooting Super 16mm, because it looks fantastic! However, there has always been a whisper that if there was anyway we could shoot on a RED, then it would DEFINITELY be worth looking into! There are only a very limited number of them in Melbourne at the moment – and not even that many in Australia as a whole, so just getting hold of one is quite a challenge at the moment, because there under so much demand! But luckily for us, Cail & Pete had a rare day when the camera wasn’t booked out, so we jumped at the opportunity to do some tests! To start things off, here are some photos!

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

RED Camera Tests RED Camera Tests

We basically just followed the same procedure as per our 16mm tests. At some stage in the near future we’ll upload some of the footage from the tests for your viewing pleasure! But we also did some slow motion passes, which looked amazing! Overall, we had a really fun and educational morning playing with the RED camera – and we must say, even with the stock standard RED zoom lens, the results from the camera are incredible! Unfortunately we didn’t get to shoot any night time footage (it’s on our to-do list), but all the day time material looks great!

And the day continued to be fun and exciting! After playing around with the RED for a few hours, and having some “training lessons” on how the whole post production workflow takes place, we headed off to Digital Pictures to do a one-light telecine session of our 16mm tests. On a properly calibrated big monitor, the footage looked incredible – especially the 500T VISION3 stock, which was virtually grain-less considering the scene was only lit by candle light! Again, at SOME stage, we’ll post some stills of the footage, so that you can compare the RED to the Super 16mm footage.

After a truly fantastic day – it soon became Wednesday. But with all our university assignments due on the Friday – Wednesday and Thursday was dedicated solely to getting all that work done. Again, two nights of very little sleep – if any. Then Friday was the day all the work was due. We all got it in – just. We did some good stuff – and some bad. But we survived – and that’s the main thing! In the middle of all the mayhem, we also had a meeting with Loop Bar to discuss our fund-raiser night – which is THIS COMING THURSDAY! Make sure you come along – it should be a great night!

Then on last Friday night – it was finally a chance to let our hair down. We all went out to a local pub near uni and celebrated with everyone the fact that we survived the week! And what a week it was!

This weekend we’ve just been concentrating on getting things ready for the fund-raiser. Again, like always, so much to do and so very little time!

So that basically sums up what we’ve been doing lately, and why you haven’t heard much from us! Busy! Busy! But despite all this whining, and despite all the problems and complications, it’s all a lot of fun! I wouldn’t recommend it to ANYONE – but if you’ve got the film-making bug (and you’ll know if you’ve got it), then you can’t live without the thrill and excitement of trying to make the impossible possible.

Now, exclusive to all you blog readers, I’m going to show you something very special to end this post! Here is a sketch of “Pinky” (one of the Sakooz characters) for your viewing pleasure! As with all the images on this page, just click it to enlarge. Enjoy!


…and remember, feel free to e-mail us at ANY time should you have any questions or queries! You can also post any questions directly on this blog. A BIG thank you who has already e-mailed us thus far, and also a MASSIVE thank you to everyone that has been helping us with our fund-raiser! Until next time…