Thursday, August 27, 2009

Production Stills credit to Shannon McCarville

Just wanted to add a note that Shannon McCarville took the production stills shown in this blog. As you can see she did a fantastic job!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


WOW -- it's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. A tremendous amount of post-production work has been done on the film. After previewing the rough cut to a dozen or so people in May, I made changes primarily to the beginning and end of the film. These changes weren't in the original shooting script, but the film needed them to really bring the story home to the viewer from an emotional point of view.

Joe Martin and I also worked on editing the film to make it breathe more, opening up a few scenes to give the viewer time to take in the atmosphere, characters and story.

After several more weeks of editing and showing the film to different people we reached "picture lock" and the film went to Splice Here's colorist, Michael Sandness and his color assistant, Ross Fleming. Greg Winter and I met with them a couple times to view and comment on the color corrections done on the film. Michael and Ross did a fantastic job unifying the film with beautiful, deep colors matching the mood of the film and the landscape!!

As I write this post, Kent Militzer, sound mixer for Splice Here is working on the soundtrack for "The Egg Timer." We previously recorded the classical guitar soloist (Joan Griffith) playing a Haydn sonata for the second montage and end credits of the film.

We've also sent the film over to Motion 504. They will work on graphics and animation necessary to complete the film.

The film is on track to be completed by the middle of July.

Thanks again to the folks at Splice Here and Motion 504 for all their work on the film.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Previewing the Rough Cut

This past Thursday I previewed a rough cut of "The Egg Timer" for a select group of people. I wanted to get some preliminary feedback on the film. As the writer, director and editor I am so intimate and involved with the film that it becomes difficult to stand back and assess how the film is working for the viewer.

After watching the film, we had a good 40 minute discussion and I received a number of very helpful comments and suggestions. After the discussion I was able to approach the film from a little different angle; and yesterday I sat down at the computer to begin to make changes which I think will define the story and characters a little more clearly. I'll continue to work on these changes in the coming week as I show the film to more and more people.

This is a fascinating experience and I've learned so much. Once again, I thank all the folks at Splice Here for their tremendous help on the project.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Polishing the off-line edit at SpliceHere

This past week, Joe Martin, editor at SpliceHere, and I have been polishing the off-line edit. Joe has a great feel for the mood and timing of the film and has really smoothed out the edits. Mary Ahmann stopped by a second time and also gave me some really good ideas for making the film better. I recorded a rough version of the piano sonata I want to use for the soundtrack. I think it's working well with the story. I have a few more ideas for polishing the off-line, but I'm taking several days off, so I can come back next week with fresh eyes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Post production at Splice Here -- the off-line edit

For the past two weeks I've been spending most of my time at Splice Here, working on the off line edit -- or the "rough cut" of the film.

I've gotten to meet everyone at Splice Here -- Heidi Schuster has been coordinating my project and I can't thank her enough for all the time she's spent helping me. The folks at Splice Here are the most cordial, helpful people and fun to work with. Carl Jacobs has been mentoring me on the off line edit. He showed me how to log in all the clips from the film; and he's been helping me with editing on Final Cut Pro. My editing platform at home is a PC using Premiere Pro, so I've had a few issues adjusting to FCP. But, with Carl's help, I've been able to cut the film in the way I want.

The rough cut process is going very well. This past Thursday Mary Ahmann, my off line mentor from MCTC, stopped by. She looked at what I've been doing and gave some excellent suggestions. I've incorporated them into the rough cut and they really add to the power of the story.

This coming week I will be continuing to tweak the rough cut and plan to show it to other people at Splice Here to get their feedback. I will also be recording a temp track of the Haydn piano sonata I plan to use for the montage and credit sections of the film. I'm interested in seeing how this works with the film. I also plan to meet with Andy Reynolds at Motion 504 about the animations and TV cable news look for the beginning of the film.

I think we're on track for completing the film by the beginning of July. Once again, thanks to everyone at Splice Here. They are great!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Production Stills

Here are Delaney Burke and Adam Thompson in the flashback scene.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Production Stills

Charles Brin (Dr. Larson) greets one of his birthday party extras, Mary Ann Hedin.
Stacia Rice, Kevin Singer and Renee Werbowski chill out between set ups.
Greg Winter, DP, with Linda Kelsey in the background and below that's me watching as the crew sets up a shot.

Production Stills taken by Shannon McCarville

Here are some production stills from shooting the birthday party scene at Dr. Larson's house.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Storyboards and overheads

I thought people might be interested in how I storyboarded for the film. I did the storyboards the week before we began to shoot. It's very time consuming and challenging to try to visualize what you want the camera to see at every moment in the film.

Here's just a sample of an overhead and a page of storyboarding.

It's a Wrap!!

We just finished six days of shooting "The Egg Timer." We have wonderful footage thanks to a spectacular cast and crew!!

On Saturday Stacia Rice and Linda Kelsey brought all of us to tears as we filmed the final scene where mother and daughter are brought together when a secret is told and a memory shared.

Charles Brin did a masterful turn as Dr. Larson, the wise old small town doctor who tries to help Ellen overcome the guilt she feels about her past action. Kevin Singer had just the right youthful enthusiasm in his portrayal of Ryan, and Renee Werbowski was the perfect caring, concerned daughter of Dr. Larson.

On Sunday, Adam Thompson and Delaney Burke played the parts of twin siblings, Joe and Ellen Marsh. They did a fantastic job --- they're both naturals!!

Thanks to all the cast -- especially my lead, Stacia Rice, who was the perfect Ellen for "The Egg Timer." I can't thank her enough for taking this role and capturing the inner being of the lead character. It was something very special to watch.

Greg Winter, our director of photography, along with his magnificent camera crew (including Brian Garnell, AC, Brian Robertshaw, gaffer, and Dan Miller, gaffer and key grip), brought magic and beauty to every frame of the film. Being a landscape artist made me appreciate even more how Greg brought a wonderful artistic eye to every composition he created. As we begin the editing process we will have so much great footage to choose from.

I got to meet and work with four great sound crews: John Simms, Matt Quast, Gerard Bonnette and Ben Allison.

Dave Halls, assistant director, kept the production moving along, making sure we got all the shots we needed during the day and directing our extras during the birthday party scene. Mark Thompson did a great job on script supervision and continuity.

Cheri Anderson, with the assistance of Brooke Martin and Mary Jo Van Dell, made our locations look like the very real spaces inhabited by our characters. I was amazed at how they transformed the abandoned farmhouse into a beautiful setting for the flashback and final scene of the film.

Julie Kaupa, line producer, and Amy Thompson, production manager, made everything go smoothly on the production -- I can't thank them enough for all the work they put into this production.

Dina Dainty, our make-up artist, was there every day making sure the actors looked their best and Crist Ballas did amazing special effects make up on young Joe for the flashback scene. Deborah Fiscus helped to create appropriate wardrobe for the actors.

Kati Batchelder kept us all nourished with crafty during the shooting day and Dawn Urich produced scrumptious lunches each day of the shoot.

We had a great crew of production assistants.

I can't thank everyone enough for all the work they did on this film. We are going to plan a Wrap Party hopefully for the weekend of April 17 so we can get together and party and celebrate wrapping a fun, successful film shoot.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First meeting and rehearsal with actors on location

Saturday, March 21st, we held our first meeting with the actors at the location we will be using for Dr. Larson's house. We spent several hours talking about story and character, reading through the script at the table...and walking through the scenes. Deborah Fiscus (wardrobe) and Dina Dainty (hair/makeup) stopped by to talk with the actors.

It was so exciting to watch the actors bring the characters to life!!! We have a tremendous cast and they bring magic to the story.

Thanks to everyone who helped put stuff together for us on Saturday -- Molly Getty, Mark Thompson, Mary Jo Van Dell.

Everything is coming together for our first shooting day which will be Sunday, March 29. I am completing the storyboards this week. Greg Winter has been extremely helpful, sending me frames from films shot by Roger Deakins, a DP that we both admire very much. The frames have given me some really good ideas about how to shoot particular scenes.

We are scouting one other farmhouse location this afternoon. This location has been the most difficult to pin down...and, whichever one we choose, there will be quite a bit of set decoration required. I am so happy that I have a terrific production designer, Cheri Anderson. Thanks also for all the work Julie Kaupa has been doing on location and other aspects of the film.

Our whole team is amazing!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

People joining our Production

We've added some terrific people to our production in the past two weeks. On the producer side we now have Amy Thompson as Production Manager and Julie Kaupa as Line Producer. Both of them have a lot of talent and experience and will be great assets to the film.

Cheri Anderson is our Production Designer/Art Director. She has worked on many projects, including several feature length films and I'm looking forward to working with her on creating just the right look and production design for the film.

I'm very happy that John Simms has agreed to do sound for the film during the second weekend of our shoot. John spent a couple hours going over the script with me a few months ago and I'm so happy to have his expertise at work in the sound department.

Dina Dainty is on board for Makeup and hair. Deborah Fiscus is helping in the wardrobe department.

Thanks to everyone for joining us on the film, lending their extensive talents to create a beautiful film!!!

Egg Timer Productions, LLC

Hey Gang,

There's a new company called "Egg Timer Productions, LLC." ("ETP") It will be the official production company for the short film. ETP will sign all contracts and obtain permits, etc. in its name.

Yesterday our team - Mike Tabor, Greg Winter, Dave Halls, Julie Kaupa, Cheri Anderson, Amy Thompson, and Mary Jo Van Dell - walked through three of the locations which we plan to use in the film. It was a very good day, with lots of discussion and planning. We've got a great group of people working on the film and I can't wait until we begin to shoot.

For the past four days I've been working to create storyboards. I finished three key scenes and will be working on the rest during the next week. It was extremely helpful for me to visualize how my characters move in the space of our locations and the storyboards and overheads helped us plan for the shoot as we visited the locations. I know that Greg is working on some great suggestions for using the camera in the best possible way to capture the emotions and actions of each scene.

We're getting close to finalizing production insurance for the shoot and tomorrow I meet with AFTRA to finalize contracts for the Union actors on the film.

Mike Tabor just advised me that AICP has donated funds for craft services on the shoot. Thank you so much, AICP.

Things are coming together and our first shoot date is a little over two weeks away.

Thanks once again for all the wonderful help on this project.

That's all for now -- back to the storyboards!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Many, many developments!

Well, I'm finally back on the blog! I've been extremely busy these past few weeks. But a lot has been accomplished with the help of so many people -- thanks to everyone who is working to make "The Egg Timer" come alive.

I have finished casting for the film. I'm so excited about all of the wonderful actors who will create the characters in our film. Here is the cast list:

Ellen --- Stacia Rice
Ruth --- Linda Kelsey
Dr. Larson --- Charles Brin
Ryan --- Kevin Singer
Lucy --- Renee Werbowski
Joe Marsh --- Adam Thompson
Young Ellen Marsh --- Delaney Burke

I'm also very excited that Greg Winter has agreed to be director of photography on the film. He has great experience and I know will bring a substantial artistic and technical expertise to the film.

We have almost finished the location scouting as well. Now we must work completing placement of production insurance and obtaining permits. I will also be finalizing the AFTRA contract for the three union actors who will act in the film. And I will be sending out a rehearsal schedule in the next few days.

So....things are really coming together and I look forward with anticipation and excitement to the last weekend in March when shooting will begin!

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Auditions

Hi everyone,

Last week we had two more days of auditions. A&E Casting came up with many talented actors. We filmmakers are indeed lucky to be making films in the Twin Cities where there is such tremendous talent.

Now I am engaged in the difficult process of choosing from such a terrific talent pool!!!

I hope to make most of the final decisions this week; and I'll keep everyone posted on this blog.

Shelly, our location manager, is busy scouting locations and I think we'll have more information on that subject during the next week.

Thanks again for everyone's help on the film.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joe's Ice Skates

Joe is Ellen's twin brother who died at the age of 14. Above is a photo of his hockey equipment that we see in a flashback.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's New?

We had a meeting at IFP on Wednesday, January 21st. We decided we want to shoot the film on the two three-day weekends of March 20th and March 27th. It will be a six-day shoot.

We talked about clarifying contractual and insurance liability on the project. This primarily relates to signing the AFTRA contract and obtaining insurance certificates for the various locations and permits. We will have a conference call with Alex Rosenstein, the attorney helping on this project.

Mike Tabor has prepared a breakdown and will be providing copies to all of us in the near future. He has also gotten approval from Props on Wheels to let us use a process trailer/tow vehicle for the car scene. This is fantastic news!!

Dina Dainty has said she will do make up for us. Thank you so much Dina!!!

Mike confirmed that Jeff Stonehouse is still on for DP. He will keep Dave Schnack in the loop just in case something comes up at the last minute. Thanks Jeff and Dave.

Shelly and I have been working on locations. I just found a good one, I think, for Dr. Larson's house. The house is located in Stillwater. Below are some photos:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Additions to "The Egg Timer" Team

On Monday I met with Shelly West. She will be the location manager for our film. She has considerable experience as location manager for other films shot here in the Twin Cities. She and I discussed the various locations. Shelly had some great suggestions and will follow up on some of the locations I mention in this blog. I could tell right away that Shelly will be a terrific addition to "The Egg Timer" crew!!!

Dave Halls has agreed to be 1st AD on "The Egg Timer". I am very excited to be able to work with Dave on the film. He worked on "A Prairie Home Companion" and will bring with him a lot of experience.

Thanks to both Shelly And Dave!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Auditions at A & E Casting

Two weeks ago, before the start of the holiday season, Eric and Toni at A&E Casting did a great job bringing together many talented actors for an audition session for "The Egg Timer."

I found actors to fill several roles. Eric and Toni will arrange for a callback session where we will bring back a couple of actors and audition several new actors for two open roles.

Eric and Toni were great - both in finding very good talent, and in taping and setting up the auditions. Thanks so much, you guys!!

Happy New Year 2009

Hope everyone had a very happy holiday season. I'm looking forward to a great 2009 and a successful production of "The Egg Timer" with the help of everyone on our team. Thank you so much for being part of this project.