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Sunday, July 26, 2009

More Hard Drives issues


I finally plug in all our hard drives to try to digitize some footage, in a lame attempt to actually finish this film and our TWO Lacie 1tb hard drives do not load!!!! (nor did one of our Western Digitals but that looks like its the box- the plug.)

I am not asking for things to be easy, but come ON!

Did I kill someone in a past life?
What is with my karma?

I set out to make this film, in an attempt to help some animals.
Also because I LOVE making films.

So I write a script, find actors and the first attempt... there is a mutiny so I start over from scratch.

Then... Things seem to be going well... the Long Beach Shelter opens the doors to its new facility and I get to use the old shelter... FANTASTIC!

Then Katie and I drive to Wyoming, sleeping in the car (with two dogs) - no money in the budget to get but one motel room on the three day drive.

We are in Wyoming for three weeks - painstakingly filming Katie doing chores everyday (morning and night) on my friends place - so we could get the opening montage of Katie in each shot in different clothes, hair, etc - the editor only used two of her days swapping them back and forth so instead of the montage looking like a lifetime it looked like two days bouncing back and forth...

On the drive home - again can only afford one night in a motel - for a three day drive with two dogs. We arrive home late on Sept 10, 2001. The next morning I wake up to my mother calling me from New York City - telling me to turn on the news. All hell has broken loose.

Filming stops for over a month. The world stopped too.

I regroup all my actors and set a schedule for shooting - setting a schedule around everyone else's schedule for some 20 actors - not easy. We resume shooting.

Then it happens. The night before Katie and I go film the scene where she finds a dog at a gas station, an event that actually happened to me when I was driving from Wyoming to Ohio. Found a puppy at a gas station in November in Nebraska - at 5 AM. Someone dumped the poor dog out in the middle of the night. So we use my dog Sneakers. We drive out to - I really have no idea where we were, someone directed me to a gas station that looked liked the west - anywhere USA - with an old fashioned phone booth and Katie and I drove out - on the fly - as I typically did this whole film - on the fly - asked the barkeep if we could film - got a yes and put the guy in the film. The boom gave us problems - static - and the wind was bad. But we got the shot.

Katie and I got back to my place, slept on the futon on the floor - with four dogs and two cats in my place. Then we left the next morning to shoot at a location in Topanga Canyon. I got home that Saturday night and found my home burned out - all my animals gone - one hanging on at a vets that later killed her - they withheld medication twice and ... nevermind...

So it is really hard for me to watching that opening scene with Sneakers at that gas station because that was her last night alive. And the guilt will always be overwhelming.

An electrical fire.
And explosion.
All but Bambi died from smoke inhalation.
Bambi died three days later.

That week, sucked.

That Friday I spent with a friend who I took to chemo every three weeks. Life goes on, and she was fighting for hers - so I had to be there.

Had to resume shooting immediately. The first day of filming everything went wrong. The boom wasn't working.

In between filming I had to itemize all my stuff for insurance. I was covered for $10,000. I lost $60,000.

One of the things I lost was my computer - my hard drive. I had just finished a double major masters degree and all I had written was on that computer. I have hard copies. But to work on them, or send them out I would have to retype them into the computer again.

My rent went from 400 to 1300.

We continued shooting.

Principal shooting finished. But we had a lot of pick ups.

We needed the footage of Katie picking up strays from the streets of LA. A phase nearly every rescuer in LA goes through. Hitting the shelters, bailing, rehabbing and adopting out while picking up nearly everything you find on the streets. Only I filmed my phase.

It took us a couple of years to film those shots. We kept stopping the filming because we HAD to rescue some of those animals and when we did filming stopped and rescue began.

Even Katie - an actress - not a rescuer - showed up late on set - which she NEVER did - because she stopped to pick up a dog running in the street.

While we continued filming - we began editing. First trailers. Then putting together an assembly.

For an indie film, shot by me with hand-held consumer cameras we were getting some amazing feedback. I set out to show that indie filmmaking did not need to include one set. Henry Jaglom said to prove yourself you have to just go do it, make a film. And the last lines Coppola said in the documentary HEARTS OF DARKNESS about the making of APOCALYPSE NOW - he said - because of camcorders and video tape being so cheap and easy to use that some chubby redhead from Cleveland is going to borrow her dads camera and shoot a film. And that is what I set out to do - prove that. But I think I have failed miserably.

And while my first love in filmmaking was editing - I learned on flatbeds and I could edit forever - ask my former roommate from NYC Amy - she always knew where to find me - in the edit bay.

But I could not edit this film. For one, I was too close. Two, I just could not handle seeing the footage. I know I have made every editor I have worked with a little uncomfortable. I can only fake it, that I am not falling apart inside, so well. Holding back tears, while trying to work is bound to make everyone a little uncomfortable. I try to be collected but I know it's not easy for someone else to be around.

Take the worst moment of your life and film it, then watch it everyday for months on end.

So I found editors. Paid editors and unpaid.

I thought my deal with the editor who was paid the most and did the most work was that we go until picture lock. I thought I took care of him well. I prepaid him so he would have rent covered. But then he thought he decided when picture lock was. The last day of editing he called me a fucking bitch. Then he came to the screening where all the notes I had mentioned - and he thought were unnecessary during editing - came up in the feedback questionnaires. The note like the opening montage where it represents only a couple of days instead of a life time. He simply did not want to take the time to find it in the footage. And he said laughing, good luck with that. He left, and I never saw him again. He was a good editor.

See filming on a shoestring is not easy. Waiting to buy equipment until you have money takes patience and perseverance. We could only upload a little footage at a time. Just what we needed because external hard drives were so expensive. Thankfully our editor had a couple of hard drives and I could save up to buy one or two, four, now SEVEN. Those two Lacie 1tb hard drives were our last purchase in 2007 they were about $700, now they are over $100.

Finally we could upload ALL the footage - find all the shots we needed to swap out shots and create an ending. Re-edit a few scenes. And finish the film.

First hard drive crash was our Seagate lost ALL the footage we imported. Two months of paid editing and a ton of volunteer editors work - gone.

That hard drive crash the film has not recovered from. I have been trying to import the footage we lost since then.

Why so hard? And what is the difference between then and now?

The Seagate was only 200 gigs. We were still importing select shots. But we had finished and gotten all the select shots for re-editing the film. We worked with a script doctor to help me with structure. We had all the notes. But the time it takes to upload footage is long. Uploading footage has to be done in real time. First find the shot you want. Log it. then Capture it. If the scene is five minutes long - it takes five minutes to upload. You have to take more than you need because you need tails.

So when I could not recreate getting that footage in - I simply cannot handle doing it myself. I simply cannot. I am not strong enough to handle watching that footage over and over to import it. I cannot do it alone. It is simply overwhelming. I guess I am not as much of that fucking bitch to be heartless and cold enough to watch that footage while remaining numb to it. Just cannot do it. The guilt is overwhelming. The memories too much to handle. When I watch that footage it is not as if it happened so long ago as film does it captures the moment. I am back there emotionally being in that moment.

So I got the Lacie's. Thinking I could upload all the footage. They had trouble mounting when I first got them. We started importing and stopped. So there is footage on them. But I am generally working two or three jobs to keep a roof over my head. LA is pretty expensive. And I was still doing rescue until my actors asked me to stop because it ate up all my extra time and resources.

Our Lacie's were not bought alone because you have to have a DV Deck in order to import all the footage and finally we bought one. So, it has been a step by step process. I had tried on several occasions to rent and borrow equipment. But when I realized I would need to import footage around working it made no sense for rented equipment to sit while I was at work.

Our window for round the clock help closed with the Seagate crash. We had received money to finish the film..

When I quit, and say forget it I cannot finish the film, I see a ton of strays everywhere. Dead, alive, running the streets, everywhere. Just rescued a little dog from campus a few weeks ago. But I dumped him on another rescuer.


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