Saturday, March 1, 2008

Links ,we've got links

A fury of emails this morning!

I announced to the cast that we have changed directors.

Amy found another filmmaker to make one of our trailers.

Susan sent me a link to the Deitch show by Michel Gondry. I adore it. It's so utoipan. I love utopianism. I totally think Disembody is a utopian venture.

Marcella sent me this vid from the NYTimes

I also love Michel Gondry.

And Han pointed me to the Vezzoli Guggenheim show of last year

Naked Attic blog

Vezzoli's NY Times blog

Art Info

So I've been researching a bit this morning.
Definitely check out the Vezzoli's blog on the NY Times. The 70's Italian videos are fricking amazing. I'm so totally in love with them. They're not Disembody, but they are sooo Forever What?
I don't think Disembody is too closely related in approach to Vezzoli, but there are many ways the shows intersect. I'm not concerned with celebrity. And he's not concerned with collectivity or collaboration.
But we're both using the language of cinema and performance to try and open out art and engage audiences.
I'll write more after I've finished all of his NY Times blogs.

I met with Janet today. We went over some changes in how the money will be distributed. Yesterday's post covers it pretty well. She is in agreement that the crew's pay is budget and should be paid out before investors recoup their moneys.

Also met with Amy and discussed some potential investors. She has also hooked me up with her friend Jean, an L.A. video artist, who is interested in producing a trailer for us. That's exciting.

Okay, off to the Fringe opening.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

the finer points of investing

Last night I met with Janet for awhile to go over the investment details. It turns out that the way I'm structuring the Disembody deal flies in the face of standard Hollywood contracts.
Go figure.

The way I'm trying to structure it is that from any moneys made from sales of artworks or from distribution or sale of the film:

1) Crew, with the exception of me, get any deferred wages. That is, much of the crew understands that if we don't reach our goal of $30,000+ in investments, they will have to be paid their $100/day down the line. They will be paid this money before anyone else is paid anything.

2) After crew are paid, every penny goes to paying off investors' initial investment, so that their risk is as limited as I can possibly make it. In a sense this structures their investment as an odd loan, in some ways.

3) I recoup any personal moneys I invest.

This will take us to a break even point for all involved.

After this the investors receive 2% of profit for every $1,000 invested.

Fringe and 23E Studios split the remaining money down the middle. The goal I'd like to hit is coming in at a $30,000 production, giving Fringe 20% and 23E Studios 20% of the profit. However, if we go over budget (with a maximum budget under any circumstances of $40,000), then Fringe and 23E split the remainder.

23E's share is then split evenly between all the crew, including myself. 23E won't actually keep any moneys.
Except, of course, my money and 23E's money are pretty much identical at this point, since we decided against an LLC and 23E Studios is, for now, Lee Pembleton dba 23E Studios.

Anyway, boring details of production.
Tomorrow I meet with Janet again to go over this in more detail. I'll spare you.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dot Com and floor plan


On the way to Fringe. Looking like a filmmaker? Artist? Sociopath?


Ahhhh, Hollywood!

Here's what Amy and I did at Fringe the other day.
Pity my poor designers, contractors and architect.


We bought 23estudios.com and set it to forward to our .org site. Woohoo, another step on the road to legitimacy.

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Web and visual design update

image from http://condellpark.com/kd/quasig.htm

I just got off the phone with Erin. The website and logos will be done by next Thursday. That's great news.
As well, she's super excited by the Penrose Tile design that C & K found. So the whole project from logo to site to poster to catalog to architecture to interior design will be cohered around equations and designs that come out of Penrose.

Erin is also going to be working on a business card for 23E, an investor's pamphlet, a catalogue, and posters. The posters will be a series of coming soon types and a final, Now Playing version.
All very exciting.

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Business news

Oh yeah, everyone loves business news.

Well, today 23E Studios opened its own bank account, with its own debit card. This will allow all the money going in and out of the project to be tracked and accounted for to crew and investors.

Not big news, but important news.

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The mighty fly through

Curious about what this whole thing might look like?
Well here's a quick fly-through created by Chris Chalmers at www.green-ideas.com
It's fun to watch, but even more fun to drag the cursor along at your own pace. At least I think so. I like to be able to linger over the lobby and hallway and such.

video

As well, it's more fun to watch BIG. So here's a link to the mpg which you can download.

http://www.vime.org/fringe_fly_through.html

A walk-through the fly-through:

0:00-0:04
First we're putting two walls up, floor to ceiling, to divide the gallery into a lobby, a theater and a hallway between them. The walls have a pair of doors in them which allow wheelchairs access to the theater, and an easy exit for crowds at film's end.
A stage is built in the theater, as are bleachers.

0:05-0:14
In the hallway between the theater and lobby a flight of stairs will be built. (The purple you see at that point is the concession stands going in, as well). The walls will be skinned with drywall. The lobby entrance will have a curtain over it. The theater door will be an actual door, locked from the outside so that people can only access the theater from the hall stairs, emerging out onto the stage, unless accompanied by an usher.
Stairs will lead off the stage.
The bleachers are skinned with a foam and cloth seat and a mirrored riser element to reflect the film at guests as they emerge onto the stage.

0:15
In this view you can clearly see the full space subdivided into its three elements: lobby, transitional hallway, theater.

0:16-0:21
At this point we switch to an exterior view from the front of the gallery, as if we are guests entering. We pass through the doors of Fringe into the lobby. Then we move past the concession stand, through the curtain into the hallway.

0:22-0:40
Once in the hallway, most guests will go up a flight of stairs, and then emerge through the film screen - walking out of the film, as it were - onto the stage. They will then go down a flight of stairs to the side of the stage. They will cross the theater floor and go up into the bleachers to watch the film.

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Some nifty graphics

I received this from Chris a couple weeks ago. Sorry I was so remiss in putting it up.

http://www.green-ideas.com/viralmem/flash/viralmovieFinalSmall.html

It's the fly-through of the space, as we envision it. It's missing the design elements being developed by C & K, but it has all of the build elements. It provides a very nice vision of what we will build between July 12-19.

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Naturally, things change

Last night I got the bad news that the director, Chadwick, is not going to be able to stay onboard. Here's his email:

Lee,

I got some nasty news. Due to a number of projects I have going on
and the unexpectedly shortened shooting schedule of my video project
in minneapolis, I don't think I'm going to be able to give your
project the attention it needs. My friend andrew and i received
funding for a video project last august and we need to knock it out
over the summer. originally this was not the case but due to changes
in his life and mine, it has to be this way. but, I know how
important this project is to you so I don't want to leave you hanging
and I will still to what I can to help but I think you'd be much
happier with someone who could devote more time and energy to the
project. I wont leave you hanging if you really need me and we can
talk about this more but if you had someone else in mind, they would
probably serve you better.

sorry about this, my life is just getting far too complicated right
now and I'm barely able to juggle the things I have.

i hope your solitude is productive in LA. I never made it down like
I thought I would.

You can see why I work with the people I do. They are the most amazingly stand up bunch of folks ever.

I read this last night after spending 8 hours stuck at the SF airport.
This morning I'm re-org'ing. As it stands now, I think Skye will be stepping into the director's role. I spoke with him and Elise today, and they both feel like that is a logical move. He'll give the project a very different flavor, but given that, like Chadwick, I've seen a good deal of Skye's work, and loved every bit of it, I'm very confident that Skye will craft a brilliant and engaging film.
Elise will probably be the sole editor. Skye and others will assist her, but there won't be the tag team editing earlier envisioned.

I always knew these sorts of changes were going to be constantly taking place. And at this point, with such a large crew, I am hoping to move people around as folks drop out, rather than bringing in new people. I think I need to use this as an opportunity to start getting Disembody more in sync with the budget we have. I am confident we will find more investors, but at this stage I am beginning the process of bringing budget and project in line. And then I will regrow aspects of the film as we find new investors.

Anyway, that's this morning's big news. I have a 2pm meeting with Erin, the project designer, to look at the website and logos and other promotional materials.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

in Los Angeles

I'm in Los Angeles right now. Been here a week. Got another week to go.

Lots of meetings.

But before I headed down here we had a crew meeting in Berkeley at Alex and Keturah's house. Had almost half the crew there. Not bad given that many of the others are out-of-state.

Top row: Elise, Keturah, me (photoshopped in by Elise), Carson, Skye
Bottom row: Alex, Amy, Marcella, Carol-Anne

A few locals couldn't make it. Ted and Yosh were out of town. David was working. Hanif was, well, otherwise disposed, apparently.

Anyway, it was a good meeting, a lot of good questions were asked and I had a chance to catch people up on where the project is.

A couple days later I had a building meeting with Carson, Dave, Ted, Carol and Keturah. That went very well. Everyone was enthusiastic about the theater and the project. C & K had their designs well sketched out. We're basing the space on Penrose tiling. The entire theater will be designed as a whole, around the ceiling tile design C & K have. Ted is updating the blueprints for the theater and lobby to reflect this.
David and Carson had excellent ideas for building, as did Ted. I came away from this meeting incredibly confident. Everyone is better prepared than I thought they would be. And they are excited. This is our project, not mine. And that's the goal.

The next night I met with Chadwick and Alex and we discussed the production side. Once again I came away incredibly confident. They had both put time into addressing issues that might come up. It gives me great faith in our ability to pull this off to see my crew, four months out, really thinking and grappling with the preparations for Disembody. Similarly, it's good to see them thinking about the problems we are going to face and how to prepare for them.

Once here in LA I raised a little more money, we're at 15K now. That leaves me 15K short of my goal. And 25K short of what I'd love to have. Amy had a couple friends she thought might be interested, but that didn't work out. No matter, we still have a lot of investors to meet with in the coming months. That will end up being my greatest contribution to this ultimately, I suspect. While everyone else brings an incredible set of skills, I'll be trying to bring the rewards to them for contributing those skills.

I met with my lawyer here. Janet is advising against an LLC. It is expensive and doesn't seem to offer any advantages. As a conceptual element, it doesn't justify the $1,000 it would cost. I will instead function as DBA (Doing Business As).
I will be opening a separate account for 23E Studios, so that its money is easier track and account for to investors and crew.

I met with Susan a few days ago. We talked for a couple hours. I had a lot of questions that we needed to cover. Mostly technical details. It looks like we are going to put the IT office in the gallery's loft. So we'll be utilizing all three floors of Fringe.
That's bloody exciting.
As well, there's been a great outcry from folks to do something for the opening. Other than just have us and the materials there being taped. So I think we're going to put up all the ephemera we're generating now. We're shooting a lot of photos and videos at meetings. We'll have the candy and the perfume and architectural model. We'll have all of the design plans and lists. I think we'll put up the ephemera on opening night, July 12, btw, to show people where we hope to be and how we hope to get there. And how we got as far as we are, too.

More good news. My friend Han, who graduated from CCA two years ago, and from the Berkeley film theory program as an undergrad, is helping out with the theory and promotional aspects of the film. We've been corresponding baout it. Between him and Hanif, I have a pretty unbelievable philosophy crew.

Yesterday I was with Keturah and Carol much of the day. We breakfasted and discussed their latest designs. They are doing an amazing job. I am so pleased. After breakfast we headed over to Fringe and they met Susan. We shot a lot of video and polaroids of the space. And we tried to envision and map out where walls and screens and curtains and murals will be. It was incredibly productive. It also made me incredibly nervous.

23E Studios is a real entity at this point. We are going to build a ridiculously large and grandiose theater to show an insane movie about the act of contemporary art practice. We are going to do all of that in a week. And I have four months, 16 weeks to prepare everyone and everything.
And, of course to finish my MA thesis at CCA.
Can you say nauseous from the pressure?

Of course, it's also the most amazing project I've designed yet. It's truly out of my control. I am along for the ride, and I can't think of a better way to create a work of art than to join with 20+ of the best people you know and start a gigantic snowball of creativity down a hill.

Anyway, obviously I'm chuffed. Everything is coming along. Other than having less money than I'd like (but more than I thought I'd have initially), everything is ahead of schedule.
Oh, right, we have our cameras secured. Two Canon GL2s. Things are happening, and they couldn't be happening better.

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