MARY DOE BLOG
- Journal of the Dead
Posted on December 18, 2008 in Journal
Tony, Rowan & Adam came in for the week to work on another elaborate model – the Military Bunker. This scale model will only be a ‘mock-up’ to work out the much larger photographic miniature we are going to build for the film. They work off 2-Dimensional drawings to bring the model to life.
When I said this was a mock-up – well it started off as that and evolved into a very detailed model that we can use for camera planning and blocking.
There is no way any independent film would be doing the things we are doing. These are big-budget feature film production elements we are creating. None of my crew are going to skimp on quality and craftsmanship – they put in all the time and care into making something of beauty.
Marea our Costume Designer is in today to help fabricate one of the key costumes for the film so we can use it for a photo shoot for the poster mock-up.
It’s nearly Christmas – another year coming to a close. What a way to end it – everyone in the studio working on the film and having a good time. Very inspiring…
Posted on December 14, 2008 in Journal
The business model evolves. An elaborate Power Point presentation by Donovan makes each stage much clearer.
So much work to set this up right – there was no way someone without the passion that we have for the project, was going to go to this much effort. Both in business and creatively, we are setting the wheels in motion to do what we have always wanted. All I can say to anyone out there who will read this journal, and is passionate about their projects – get your team together and make it happen for you, instead of handing the project over to someone else who won’t put half the effort you’d put in.
Now the hard part – a company name.
Posted on December 2, 2008 in Journal
The foam latex room is in full operational mode. We are running six Mutant full head prosthetic skins a day. It’s a big job running the prosthetics, opening moulds and bolting them back up. Friends come in to help when they can. The first of the prosthetics come out of the oven and they look fearsome – this is just the beginning of the MUTANT ARMY.
We have 50 mutant prosthetic masks in the weeks to come. We take a break from the foam runs and begin to seam, patch and prepare the skins for painting.
Katherine takes the lead and starts playing around with painting schemes. She’s a fantastic airbrush artist and quickly finds a direction to take the Mutant designs.
In the coming weeks the first batch should be painted, with some help from other artists. Katherine starts to play around with wigs and hairpieces to complete the make-up design. The individual characters start to merge from the ashes – they look really scary. This is going to be fun – no matter how many years you have been in the industry, when you see your characters take shape, when you put on all the fine nuances – you always get a buzz.
Keeping the exciting and creative side of the make-up effects building like this, balances the arduous task of establishing the company structure and business side of the project.
Posted on November 26, 2008 in Journal
Sandy comes in today to start on the budget breakdown. She loves the script. We met Sandy while working on MAN THING and FEED, she knows what we are all about.
David has been in most nights this week after work to progress with the storyboard animatic – it’s looking so cool.
I keep the energy going as best as I can. It’s a juggling act – no money – stay creative – stay on track. You know if you let up for anything, the project will hit one of those brick walls.
Posted on November 25, 2008 in Journal
Richard Taylor sends an extremely cool and positive email. He has read the script and loves the story. He thinks it is well written and is going to push the project to WETA Digital. He offers his backing in any way possible.
Posted on November 17, 2008 in Journal
More meetings – the fine details of the business model are daunting. The meeting does not go that entirely well. Lots of issues to resolve – not everyone sees eye to eye on some of the ideas. Hey, everything has to be laid on the table and discussed. We have to set this up right and there are enormous possibilities that can take us in so many directions.
The rest of the week we discuss elements of the business and start to resolve and refine our ideas.
Posted on November 12, 2008 in Journal
Another friend of Francs comes in to check out our project and business venture. Nicole heard about the project and was really interested to see more. She got the VIP tour and was impressed.
Later Franc calls me up and lets me know that Nicole wants to be involved. Great news! She has some solid connections to potential investors and thinks what we are building should be very attractive to some of the people she knows.
Posted on November 5, 2008 in Journal
Sometimes the work we are doing on MARY DOE has to take a back seat to the work we have to do to pay the bills. Some days it’s quiet at M.E.G, with all the sculptures covered in plastic bags waiting to be finished. It’s hard to walk past them and not want to drop everything and just keep the momentum going.
When everyone’s in the studio, sculpting, designing, the music playing in the background – that is a beautiful day. I sometimes wonder if we have taken on too much – but you just have to put your head down and do the work. Jumping in between the effects work and keeping the project churning over in other areas is tough. We’re still doing all this with no money behind us. Favours are pouring in. Companies are giving us free or discounted supplies. MUST NOT STOP… MUST KEEP GOING…
We’ve started to mould all the Mutant sculptures. Over the next two weeks we’ll try and finish all the fibreglassing.
Posted on October 30, 2008 in Journal
Sent the 4th Draft of MARY DOE to Richard and some of the producers at WETA.
Richard emails me October 31st and says he will read the script on his flight to L.A. (Later I find out he is going to one of the Comic Cons).
Posted on October 28, 2008 in Journal
Contacted WETA to update them on my progress. I have a conference call organised with Richard Taylor today to discuss my proposal and the possibility of getting WETA Digital onboard, if we can afford them.
Richard is very supportive of my projects and me as a filmmaker. He knows it is a low budget project. He has read a few of my other scripts and has been close to developing one through WETA, so he knows if I can get this project up and running I will get the break I want and move onto bigger and better things. He is going to read my script and get back to me.
Posted on October 21, 2008 in Journal
RON COBB – Yes, THE Ron Cobb – STAR WARS, ALIEN, THE ABYSS, CONAN THE BARBARIAN…
Paul and I met Ron over 10 years ago at a screening of his directorial debut – GARBO. He is an amazing conceptual designer. We’ve always been fans of his work. Franc was filming a Q&A with him at the AFTRS film school and asked if he would be interested in looking at our project. Franc told him how much we had already developed for the film – low budget, independent project – he was very interested in meeting with us. We are definitely going to get him on board – even as a visual consultant.
Posted on September 27, 2008 in Journal
The first draft of our company business model is sent through. WOW – I don’t understand any of it. Should I tell someone? Maybe I’ll sit on it for a few days and see if I can get some explanatory diagrams to go with it.
Posted on September 16, 2008 in Journal
Besides all the make-up effects we’re doing for the project, we are also producing all the miniatures. My friends, Tony and Rowan, two of the top model makers in the country, are in today offering their support and building one of the awesome scale models for the film. I won’t say what it is but it’s inspiring to see it take shape and see another aspect of my story come to life.
This is definitely going to be added to the VIP tour when investors come through.
Posted on September 2, 2008 in Journal
Casting agent Ann Fay was sent the script several weeks ago. She is a good friend of ours. She seems excited by what we are doing and is giving us her full support. We give her the VIP tour and she is overwhelmed with the amount of work we have put in already.
Immediately she contacts one of the big casting agents in the States that she has connections with and informs them of the project. The casting agent in the States would not normally discuss matters further, especially when we do not have our budget locked down and nothing to put on the table regarding money. I press Ann to see if he would at least look at my trailers and websites. He agrees to do this.
Two days later the U.S casting agent emails Ann that he is interested in staying in touch and was impressed with the material. He asks to read the script.
By the end of the week he is sending us ‘head-shots’ of some of his U.S actors – he is happy to talk to us when we have our budget together. He loved the script and saw how passionate we were about the project.
It just goes to show – you have to get your project out there and consolidate on any opportunity that makes itself available. If people don’t want to be involved – you move on. But if they see the potential and come onboard, the project continues to snowball.
Posted on August 20, 2008 in Journal
I JUST WANT TO MAKE A MOVIE – but the business structure has to be set in place.
We have put in so much energy to make this venture viable, but it’s when I move back into developing the script and designing for the project that I enjoy the most.
We have produced hundreds of storyboards, creating some solid sequences and developing story ideas. We spent two weeks working on production designs for MARY DOE and created some amazing set pieces. Yes, the film is getting bigger than originally intended but everyone seems comfortable with the way it’s heading. I’m sure I’ll have to reel it in back later down the track, but I am trying to be as clever as possible with developing this project so it remains reasonable to produce.
We start a storyboard animatic of the end sequence to the film. It’s kick arse. We will be working on this for a while – in between other paid work, nights and weekends.
Posted on August 6, 2008 in Journal
We had a mammoth meeting with the entertainment lawyer. He was excited by what we were planning and the business people we had on board to help make this a solid and enticing venture. My head was thumping when I stepped out of that meeting. There was still so much to think about and do to refine our business model, but our business team did not seemed phased by it.
The ideas that were discussed allowed limitless possibilities with what we could do once our company formed. This was setting the foundations to make more films and move into other entertainment areas like toys, comics, graphics novels, video games and merchandising. It was all that I had ever wanted to grow from one of my projects and it was daunting taking it all in and seeing the reality of what we had started. Yet it was exhilarating to see it unfold like this.
Posted on July 9, 2008 in Journal
Another potential member of the team is introduced. We didn’t really know what was going to eventuate that night but Donovan was thrilled with what he saw – both creatively and as a viable business enterprise. Ideas were thrown around – potential business positions and directions were discussed and then we all went home to let the ideas sink in.
In the coming weeks the business and creative team came together and our company started to form.
Posted on July 6, 2008 in Journal
We can’t go after any investors because our business model is not ready – that means no money has come in – but we’ve started to build our MUTANT ARMY.
We’re going to pull out all punches on this project. We knew we wouldn’t get the pre-production time to do what we wanted to do on a low budget independent film – so we decided to start as soon as we could. Katherine Brown, our make-up supervisor on the project, has been an enormous support and is giving up a lot of her time to help develop and create many aspects of the make-up and make-up effects for MARY DOE.
We started designing MUTANTS and some very elaborate animatronic creature sequences.
From the beginning I could see that some people were in this for the long haul. They believed it what we were doing, had helped me on my previous short films and were not going to stop now when we were planning our first feature film.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing – many people have not been very supportive and actually wasted our time in the process – we just move on and build our team. Any spare time people could give they would come into our studio and start sculpting, designing and planning. In the weeks that followed we had 15 Mutant prosthetic sculptures in progress. From there it led to the full body animatronic characters and effects – these amazing sculptures would be the centrepieces to a very important sequence in the film. Wait till you see the making of this project and the ‘making of book’ that we plan – this is looking like a fully-fledged $20million US Horror movie in production – I kid you not! Our studio was alive with energy and creativity and it was all focused on bringing MARY DOE to life.
Posted on July 5, 2008 in Journal
MARY DOE begins to take shape. Martin was the first to read my script and was very positive about the material and what we were doing. A first draft is handed to everyone. The story found itself relatively quickly and we use the draft as a springboard to start to bring this vision to life.
I was exhilarated with what I had written. It was a cool story, had great characters, a classic Femme Fatale in the lead role, and a barrage of Mutants. My focus for the project was to make a low budget feature film that would give us the universal commercial appeal that we wanted and give us the biggest platform to launch our company.
Posted on June 10, 2008 in Journal
We contacted our industry friends and colleagues who had been so supportive of us in the past. They would always encourage us to make a feature and we knew we could get help and guidance from them along the way. Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton at WETA in New Zealand had been extra supportive of my projects and really kept my spirits high when I asked for advice and their involvement as the project evolved.
Paul was getting excited – the momentum and positive energy was building so fast. Every day he came in we would talk about what we could do to make this film kick arse – to blow everyone away with what we were undertaking.
A core group of our friends and colleagues in the make-up effects industry banded around us when we told them what we were doing. Some donating their time and talents to help us get this film up and running, especially with the enormous make-up effects requirements we have planned.
We are referred to an entertainment lawyer to discuss our business plans.
Posted on June 9, 2008 in Journal
More business associates come in for meetings and our team started to form. They all love films and wanted to try out something new and exciting. They were blown away by what we proposed and our studio really inspired them creatively. We could see that they wanted to do something with us. In a matter of months we were on our way to building the foundations of our film production company and the evolvement of MARY DOE.
As with anything – you have to put your idea out there and let it take on a life of its own. You just have to be prepared and take advantage of the opportunities that will make themselves available.
Posted on April 6, 2008 in Journal
FUCK IT… I’M GOING TO WRITE A LOW BUDGET HORROR FILM…
Hopefully I don’t start off every entry with inspirational words like these, but I can’t tell you how excited I was when we made the decision to do this. We contacted our friend and DOP Franc Biffone, as he had hinted on this venture during the filming of my short film trailer – PARADISE LOST. We had such a good time making the trailer and really produced something amazing, that we knew we could easily have a go at bringing this together.
Franc dropped over that afternoon and we started talking. He uttered the same inspirational words and something about ‘chickens’ (to be explained when we do our Q&A at Comic Con), and we knew we had someone we could rely on. By the end of the meeting Franc had contacted some business and financial colleagues he knew, that might be interested in backing us.
That week we had those people in at Make-up Effects Group to show them our past work and tell them what we were planning. They were definitely interested and wanted us to form a company to make this venture a reality.
Posted on April 6, 2008 in Journal
FUCK IT – LET’S MAKE OUR OWN MOVIE…
Moments of inspiration like this can change the world – or maybe the world around you. That’s how it all started… After years of trying to get our films up and giving control to other people to develop our vision – was just not working. Hitting brick walls when you were so close to getting your project green lit, and then something just happens… Don’t you hate that… something just happens… no one can really put a finger on it, but you can see that wall getting closer. It’s so disheartening. Enough was enough!
We felt we had the industry contacts, and of course all the intellectual property, so why not take it upon ourselves to push our projects and give them the best chance they could get to be made. We were the best people to do that. We would stop at nothing and give everything to get the chance to get our film made. It seemed so obvious! We had always wanted to do this but we were so involved in the creative side of the business, we never had the time to wear both hats and try and produce our films as well.
Let me tell you, the day we uttered those inspirational words – our world changed…