Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday in the park with the core

We've started Neutrino Twin Cities with a small crew of five people, known as "the core." The core consists of Eric Knobel and Mike Hadley, our producers and starter-uppers, as well as Rita Boersma, Hannah Kuhlmann (your bloggers) and Troy Zimmerman. We decided to call ourselves the core because we love Hillary Swank.

Today the core met at the Bryant Square Park for some practice with the camera. We've discovered that directing is much harder than we thought it would be (well, actually we've discovered that everything is much harder than we thought it would be), so Eric has stayed behind the camera to let Rita, Mike and I focus on learning how to improvise on camera.

Of course we had to eat a meal and discuss tons of stuff before actually rehearsing. That's how we roll. Mike's improv gets exponentially better after he's had a beer, and we can usually rationalize dining on rehearsal time as "scouting locations." Sadly, we found out during today's location scout that Galactic Pizza has an open mic music thing during our show... so we probably won't be able to shoot there. :(

After experimenting with forced perspective to make it look like Mike was a hobbit drinking out of a cave troll-sized glass, we took to the streets and shot some scenes.

Here's what we learned today: Watching people have realistic conversations on the street is fucking boring. We were happiest with the scenes in which we got broader and less reality-grounded, while staying committed. We also tried our first "person on the street" cameo. A gentleman with a large number of missing teeth was watching us shoot outside Rainbow, and earned himself a close up and a line of dialogue.

TOOTHLESS GUY: Are you shootin' a movie scene or something?
ERIC: Yeah, we are.
TG: Oh my god, you blew my mind.. and I didn't even have a part.
ERIC: Do you *want* a part?
ME: yeah, you can be in our movie!
TG: Oh, I don' know...
ERIC: Just say "There go two lovebirds," and look at those two walking away.
TG: I don't even have a key, what's my key?
ERIC: Um... your cue is when I say "Action!"
TG: ahh, okay, I can do it.
ERIC: Action!
TG: There goes two lovebirds... ah HEH HEH HA ha ha... (big grin at the camera)

It was awesome. Toothless guy added something to the scene that I think I will call "Neutrino Magic." Eric made the point that the audience will enjoy watching us take risks like that, and will really enjoy it if we take risks and it pays off.

We need to find a house or apartment to film in. We came to that conclusion for the millionth time today. Should we place a Craig's List ad? Should we rent a cheap studio? Should we focus on getting all three cameras first, and then worry about locations?

The adventure continues...

Monday, July 23, 2007

location, location, location...

tonight, while troy gallivants along the boundary waters fulfilling his rustic fantasies in some sweet keens, the rest of us met to get down to some hardcore detailing. in addition to finalizing cast and directors we realized we needed a solid list of scouted locations. because when you think about it, we could do that scene in the restaurant. oh, and then there's the scene in the restaurant. but what about a scene in a restaurant...
curse you midwestern 10:30 and your lack of open retailers and good light!!
we need to find that late night dentist, church, jail cell, veterinarian, auto body shop, store, etc.
bill's imported foods, if you're reading: open your doors!

however, we did scout a well-lit park bench and the inviting crook of a tree. so there's that scene.

so, hey, if you're reading and not creepy and live near the bryant lake bowl---let us know. we want to come into your apartment.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

3 heads and a bag of bottles...

hey everyone:

well, round 2 of NTC set out to bitch slap our first rehearsal and, in a way, i think it did. we all gathered in the angst and anime of troy's lovely studio apt. and started to discuss the challenges of improvising in front of a camera. for example, each of our fragile egos and energies suffer because we have know immediate gratification from the audience. we just have to trust that the "funny" is working and that the audience inside the theatre is excreting gleeful belly laughs and applauding our brilliance. very hard to do for performers used to being on a live stage...
and thus we began.

we decided to try shooting indoors for the evening (we all justified this by claiming we needed the experience and that troy's place was an ideal "set"...but really we wanted to avoid the sweltering thick that awaited us outside on the streets of minneapolis). we discussed the intricacies of sound indoors --- i.e., equalizing all spaces by turning every noise-making object off and what not. troy and i took a gander behind the camera this time---troy being an experienced director, I being an ape with a movie picture machine.

troy found challenges in adjusting his directing experience to "directing"/cutting/film editing improv. when is the right time to cut while still allowing the actors to maintain the emotion and flow of the scene? how do you set up the next 6 minutes of filming a scene in 30 seconds since you can't go back and re-shoot if it doesn't work? etc, etc... ah, improv time crunches!!!

i, on the other hand, found challenges with walking, looking, listening, buttons, light, and not breathing too loud all at the same time. which brings me to my

say "cut" after you hit pause. ha ha...hmmm....

so yeah, that's about it. scenework was a little more solid and interesting this time without the vast, disarming roar of the outside. for example, mike and hannah pumped body milk for an adopted baby; troy and eric had a scantily cloaked marital argument; and mike, troy and i cuddled in a bed with a bag of recyclables. that would have been far more embarrassing outside.

good loving cuddle times...



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

first post

Hi! Welcome to the official blog for the Twin Cities Neutrino Video Project, or NTC for short.

As of today, we are exactly one month away from our first actual performance.

Tonight was our first rehearsal. We've had lots of meetings, and of course we've all improvised together countless times before, but tonight we took Eric's camera out on the street near what we hope will be our venue, and tried filming some make-'em-ups.

The results? Well, you can't just call them good or bad. It's complicated. (Historians note: the first time something is referred to as "complicated" in this blog. It's going to happen about three million more times before the party's over.) Mike and I had our first crack at directing, aka filming/being behind the camera, and all of us had a chance to try acting for the camera. The results were entertaining, sometimes sucky but always educational. The main thing we learned is that this project is going to be CHALLENGING. And we each have a million new things to learn. Eric gave us a little tutorial on how to use his camera and not destroy or damage it in the process, and then experimented with different ways of using Troy's bicycle lamp to light the scenes after the sun set.

Perhaps someday, the cinematic treasures we produced tonight will see the light of day. In the meantime, I'll close this short entry with a Neutrino Twin Cities fun fact.

FACT I LEARNED TODAY: Get in the the habit of putting your lens cap in an easily accessible pocket. Whenever you're not shooting, the cap should be on to protect your fragile friend, the lens.

Soon, we'll write more about our search for the right venue, setting up/designing a rehearsal schedule, and casting the show. Until then...