Up and down, and down, and down…

Once again another two weeks has just mysteriously ran away from us. It’s really scary to think that we’re pretty much in the middle of the year now. I’m a little bit scared that if I blink it will suddenly be September, and if I blink again it will be January 2009! So as a way to combat that I’ve gaffer taped my eye lids open. It doesn’t seem to be working – time literally is zooming past my eyes!

So what’s been happening since my last confession? Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, a lot! After writing the last blog entry it was straight into “fundraiser” mode – all hands on deck were devoted to ensuring that the Lens Flair event at loop bar was going to go to plan. That meant sending THOUSANDS of e-mailing, ringing up HUNDREDS of people, and biting our lips and approaching hundreds of shop owners face to face, to see if they would be interested in donating anything towards our little event. Anli and myself literally just drove to big shopping complexes (such as Chadstone) and one by one visted every single store in the complex “selling” our story. And it was hard. We got rejected a lot – which was demoralising! But for every five or so rejections, one person felt sorry for us, or got honestly excited about the project and gave us a small donation. So we walked away with quite a lot of stuff – from shampoos, to gift vouchers, towels, chocolates, books, free hair cuts, all kinds of weird and wonderful things! If you were one of the people who donated something to us – THANK YOU! It’s actually quite incredible the quantity and quality of “free stuff” we actually got! So for all the other film makers out there looking at ways to raise money for your film – don’t be afraid to ask for free stuff and then auction or sell it off! If you’re persistant and hard working, the amount of items you can get is quite high.

As I said, the rest of that week was just getting everything organised for the big Thursday night event! Putting together hampers, encoding videos for the DVD screenings, doing sound checks, printing labels, etc. It was one crazy week – there was so much to do, and to be perfectly honest, just not enough people to do it, which meant everyone had to work around the clock pulling everything together. But soon enough it was Thursday, and we got everything done in time! To start things off, here are some photos of the event:

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Lens Flair Lens Flair

Overall, I think we can classify the event as a success. We had a massive turn out – probably around 200 people at it’s peak, although we had people coming and going all night. Not sure how many unique people turned up, but I would imagine it would be around the 300-350 mark. A lot of the people that were there for the first screening didn’t hang around for the second screening, but luckily were replaced by new people! From all reports, everyone had a fantastic time! We’ve recieved quite a few e-mails saying “thank you” for putting on the night, and saying how much fun they had which is great! Word has even got out into the “low budget” film making community in Melbourne saying how fun the event was – and a lot of people who didn’t attend for whatever reason have said to me they wish they made the extra effort, or changed their schedule around to fit it in.

However! The only downside to the night, and it is quite a big downside unfortuantely is that we didn’t make a huge amount of money. Don’t get me wrong, we turned over an OK profit – but we didn’t get the numbers we were hoping for. Unfortunately for us, it seemed that most of the people that came along were poor. No one could afford to spend big money on anything. It’s almost criminal, but some people walked away with some of the most amazing auction items for so cheap! For instance, in one of our hampers, not only was it jam packed with so many great things (the whole hamper value was estimated at around $200) , but it also contained a $50 Sanity voucher, and the hamper only sold for $40. Even if you just consider the Sanity voucher, the punter did well – but when you take into account everything else that was in there, but person did fantastically! One of the biggest issues for us what that in regards to the silent auction, the few people in the audience that did actually have money got everything for cheap because no one was up for bidding against them! Despite all our best efforts to attract the more wealthy crowd, it just didn’t work out that way at the end of the day. In retrospect, instead of putting on a really fun and cool event (which was focussed primarily at “art” people – as we had a film screening and auctioned off lots of artwork), next time we should do something unique and “out there” that reflects the film. I don’t think we took enough risks, and by having a very “safe” event, there was not enough reason for people to come along. I think we also went about raising money the wrong way. All our income was coming from raffles, the silent auction and a lucky dip box (full of brand new CDs!). If instead we had a book charge, and we took some of the profits from the bar, I think we would have done a lot better. However, that said, if we had a door charge, then we may not have attracted the large crowd that we did. It’s a bit of a catch 22!

So, at the end of the day, we are still in need of more funds to get this trailer off the ground. As I said, we did make a fair amount of money, but no were near enough to cover all the expenses of the trailer. We still have a lot of work to do!

The day after Lens Flair we had yet another road bump – one of our key production team members has pulled out of the production for various reasons. Although we can “live without him” it just means that individually, we now all have even more work to complete – which is tough. We may find someone to fill his place, although it could be quite tricky considering our time frame. Which brings me to a very good point – the hardest thing about film making (especially in the low-budget world) is finding great people who can work happily together, and then keeping everyone happy and together! As the producer, I spend a lot of my precious time just keeping everyone motivated and excited about the production. You become even kind of like a “mother goose” type figure – you’re responsible to cheering everyone up when they get depressed about the production, and generally just try and keep everyone on the right track. It’s hard when the hours are horrible, the work load is huge, and no one is getting paid. Personal life vs The Film is always a big issue. But the show must go on!

After several deep and meaning fulls, I then had to head off to Sydney for the week for work. The timing couldn’t have been worse, but there was no way out of it! So I spend a week away from the production – but meanwhile, back at base camp, lots of things were happening! The animatronic head continued to be work on, as did all the costumes. Special effects tests were completed. Despite my absence, the show certainly continued!

But when I got back at the start of this week, I fly into yet another road block – but this time an even bigger one than last! One of our key production members, Anli, has “Glandual Fever” and will be out of action for several weeks. Now with two key production members down and out, it meant that we had to push back our shooting schedule. Originally, we were planning to shoot in July – but with Anli sick and David off doing other things, we had no choice but to slam on the brakes. This is quite a big pain – as it means that we have all kinds of new issues, especially in regards to equipment availibility.

Step forward into the present – today. We obviously have a lot of work to do, and now with Anli sick, it means that everyone else has to do even more work. But, with a little bit of luck, we’ll survive! We still have a huge amount to do, but I guess one bonus is that we have a little bit more time to do it now. We’re planning to shoot in the middle of August. Exact shooting dates have not yet been confirmed, but we’re trying to work them out as I type.

So that’s what’s been happening the last couple of weeks! It really has been a bumpy ride so far! Whenever we think we’re starting to win the war, something else comes and bites us in the butt! But I guess that’s what film-making is all about! You just need to push your way through regardless of what happens and get your vision up there on the screen, regardless of the obstacles.

I’m still planning to upload some of our camera test material on the blog – hopefully we’ll have something up by the end of this week. But I’m also going to start posting other intersting things as they pop up – like links to cool websites, and podcasts. So keep an eye out on this blog (or subscribe via RSS), as I’ll start posting more and more in the coming weeks, months (and if I survive that long) years.

That’s all for now! Thanks for taking the time to read! Until next time…

Up & At ‘Em!

Chris!

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