The Countdown Begins

Date posted on April 20, 2010

6 Days To Go before DAY ONE

With less than a week to go before Day 1 of the shoot, I’m overwhelmed with the all-too-familiar agitation of the previous weeks.

NEW ROUND OF MARKETING

In my desperation, I texted our consultant for ideas on who to approach for more funding and what new strategy we can pursue to address this huge hiccup (of not having money as we go into production). She gave me four pieces of advice: 1) write and send out letters asking for cash sponsorship; 2) ask my former boss if the company can lend me film equipment; 3) review the budget and cut down on the professional fees; 4) shift to video.

They all make sense, but I’m disinclined to follow any of them. I’m probably being stubborn, and stupid, but I feel like those aren’t real options. Except maybe for the last one.

First, I think it’s a late to be sending out letters soliciting cash donations to the production. While it’s probably the fastest and most viable way of amassing money, it also requires a lot of time and personal effort, things I can’t afford at this point in time. If I wanted to go this route, I should’ve started it much earlier or scheduled my shoot much later. Because it’s asking money from private individuals, I will need to approach people I know personally, or I will at least need to make a list of potential donors from which a marketing team can work on. Like I said, I don’t have time to do that this late in the game.

I’m even less hopeful about asking my former employer to sponsor our equipment this close to the production. It’s too short a notice, with only six days before the first shooting day. Neither is it likely that the equipment is free as they surely have ongoing productions, this being the middle of a business year (and fresh off the long Holy Week holidays). This was also something that needed earlier consideration. I’m a bit miffed that we didn’t pursue this before. I admit I didn’t take this up myself but that was because I was prioritizing other prospects – like approaching corporations and organizations. I was hoping that our consultant could have made inquiries on my behalf instead of just sending names and numbers my way, expecting me to do all the work. I guess it’s the natural consequence of a small production like this. They expect me as the producer, writer and director to do everything, which is simply not possible.

About bringing down the budget by cutting down professional fees, we were already conscious about this going into pre-production. All the people we approached with promises of talent fees already reduced their normal rates in consideration of the production. Most of their fees have actually been further reduced from the rates they first asked for. I think it’s unfair to further reduce their rates after they’ve already put in work for the film.

SHIFTING FROM FILM TO HD

That leaves one last viable suggestion from our production consultant:

That we shift from shooting on 35mm to shooting on HD.

I’m not sure I’d be happy doing that, not after all this planning. Like I keep saying, it’s too drastic a decision this close to the shoot. Besides, all it really does its cut down on the budget but it still doesn’t solve the problem that there isn’t any budget to begin with. Or so I’d like to think.

I don’t really want to dwell on this too much cause I know that all things considered, shifting to HD isn’t all too bad. It does make a lot of sense. All that’s really stopping me from doing this is my insistence to shoot on 35mm. It’s purely personal and selfish, but I’m not reneging on that.

So instead of taking any of those suggestions, I’m trying to be optimistic about finding funding within the next 4 weekdays prior to the shoot. I thought I was done with all the marketing woes that pervaded preprod weeks -1 and -2, but here I am writing letters and making calls again. Whereas it took time away from my revisions before, it’s now distracting me from completing my shot list (yet here I am writing a blog instead of doing real work for the film, haha!).

Stupid, I know. But I don’t want to compromise this film’s ambition. So instead of cutting corners or taking the easy way out, I’m choosing the rougher path lit by a flickering torch. It’s inauspicious, but I’m choosing to have faith that it will all work out.

CASTING SNAG

Because of all the setbacks from the production, like securing locations, we’ve moved back a lot of the scheduled meetings. We were supposed to have our story conference last Saturday but we moved it to yesterday, which has since then been moved to an indefinite date.

We also planned a production meeting with all the staff and crew, but since there remains uncertainty regarding the locations, we decided to push that back too.

Thankfully, most of the parts have been cast. The only parts left are nly bit players and one major part – it just happens to be the male lead’s. Although this character’s scenes are scheduled for only one day and on Day 3, which is one week after the first shooting day, it’s still a cause for concern. Hopefully, I come up with a brilliant casting idea within the day.

FRIENDS

It’s a good thing my friends are there for support. In my clamber out of this terrible pit I find myself in, numerous pals have come to my aid, giving me leads to new companies and agencies I hope to hit up, some even asking around on my behalf.

***

I hope this optimism and blind faith does me some good. Only six more days to go. I can hear the clock ticking down resoundingly.