Casting, imdb, Kogod, and Re-writes

This week, imdb.com e-mailed to invite ‘Student Short Film’ to be added to their website! This is usually a very selective process, and films have to go through a series of approvals before any item is posted, but imdb.com reached out to ask if they could add it to the site. We never contacted them!

A new sound company is in negotiations to arrange a huge discount on the project. They’re e-mail address is www.pro-sound.com.

The business school here at American University reached out to include this project on a “Kogod Success Stories” video series to help launch their newly-designed website. John is actually responsible for filming it! We will post the video here as soon as it’s finished (in April).

VenusPuzzle.com is donating 100 puzzles for the casting process! We also have three other companies interested in donating, and one confirmed company (Up in Pieces) who is willing to offer custom puzzles ‘at cost’ (we would only have to pay for the materials).

To keep the casting process moving while Amanda catches up on reading the screenplay and Fenix recovers from a serious car crash last week (he is in a neck brace but is getting better), I bought a new website: www.missingpiecescasting.com (not launched yet), made a draft design for the casting puzzle (see below), started web designs for the new site, and started gathering information on the 150 or so celebrities we are considering attracting to the project. We are also looking for a talented writer to assist Amanda in writing letters to celebrities as the task is simply overwhelming.

Website reconstruction is still underway, and Will is almost finished with the sketches. Hopefully we’ll have those up by next week.

As always, John and I are still meeting weekly to research in the library, we added a picture of it below.

Re-writing is underway too. Lately, most of the concentration has been on re-working and re-outlining all four stories. There were several problems in the first draft that are all being addressed. It’s incredibly time-consuming, but having a quality script is the key to attracting talent to the project.

As a follow up from last week, working with the entertainment lawyer won’t be a possibility as there isn’t enough time to contribute to his needs on his project. I am still trying to get in touch with the Alabama film office to arrange for some help on the project. Also, new sponsors are being contacted all the time to help out with the film.


This is how the site looks today. It'll change around a lot during the process, but some puzzle buttons were added this week, so take a look!

This is the homepage for the casting site. Each celebrity will have a customized page similar to this containing a personalized letter, a copy of the script, and other information.

This is the first draft of the puzzle that each celebrity will receive with a link to their customized page.

A normal library day with John

A picture from February 2009


An Eventful Week

We have a new crew member! Amanda Tuzzolino will be the casting associate. She is solely responsible for creatively contacting celebrities and attracting them to the project. She came up with a great idea pertaining to the working title; “Missing Pieces.” She though it would be cool to send each actor a customized jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle will contain a website: i.e. www.workingtitlemissingpieces.com/johnnydepp. Then Johnny Depp (or whichever actor) would visit the site, and it would contain a personalized letter to Mr. Depp (written by Amanda) and other personalized information.

I reached out to many custom puzzle companies to see if we could arrange a deal for free customized puzzles to execute the idea. A few companies have been keen on the idea, and we are working together to arrange something.

We also started a list of potential actors who might be interested in working on the project.

Fenix and I have been working on coming up with auditioning materials. I made a website with extensive information about production and about casting, and he’s working on creating flyers, casting announcements, and getting in touch with schools nationwide.

We have a new sponsor! Kino Flo lights has agreed to help on the production. They won’t be able to know how much they can help until closer to filming, but they have granted free rentals in the past, so keep your fingers crossed!

Several airlines and other companies were contacted this week as well, so we should be hearing back soon.

This week, I met with a professor and have been talking to a good friend about the script. There are many changes to be made, so the re-thinking and script-breakdown processes are both underway.

A few days ago, I spoke on the phone with a notable film lawyer. He’s working on a project and needs help doing research. Hopefully there will be enough time this semester to help him on the research.

DJ has been busy reading books on sound design and trying to get his hands on some local equipment so he can get hands on experience immediately. John and I have been giving notes to one another and continue meeting every Tuesdays to read American Cinematographer in the library.

Last week I reached out to the Alabama film department, and the Birmingham film commissioner called and said he’s happy to help on the project in whatever way he can. We’re going to talk on the phone again this week to discuss the project further.

In class this week, we had to do presentations on a business proposal of our choice. To get practice pitching a project to a studio, I pitched a mock film partnership and included this film as part of the proposal – trying to be as realistic as possible to prepare for such a pitch in the future. It went pretty well.

Website re-construction and Will’s sketch work are still underway.


Everyone's working

DJ is committed! Our crew is solid. Everyone is working very hard and researching pro-actively.

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of work to get DJ headed in the right direction by meeting with a couple sound professionals and doing some research to pass along.

Communicating to get everyone on the same page is a lot of work, but it’s certainly worth it. Everyone working together is pretty amazing!

The website went under a few renovations this week. Continuing with the ‘visualize’ intent, the crew member’s pictures and biographies are now posted online.

Fenix and I have been working on getting the casting process underway. He came up with a really great strategy – a rabbit hole approach. The process will be broken into stages. The stages begin very simply (to allow for a large pool of actors) and progress in difficulty (screening out bad-fits). I wrote a detailed/wordy casting informational sheet that we put online for proactive actors who want to know all the details about the film from the get-go.

As far as the sponsorships go, I submitted formal proposals to Chevron and to a Netflix filmmaking competition. A few other companies were contacted this week as well (including airline companies). A film industry company called SetWear signed on as a sponsor this week too (this brings our sponsor number up to three).

Will and I have been working back and forth on the sketches. He’s doing extremely detailed work and is really going above and beyond. He’s slightly molding the images to more closely fit with the visuals of the film. The sketches are really going to let everyone in on the movie that we’re making.


The Crew

John, the cinematographer is committed! He’s still going around to get things in writing regarding his scholarship situation. Taking a semester off is tricky, but he’s getting it worked out. He is incredibly committed, and we are doing a lot of back and forth with notes and references.

Worried about finding a casting director, I started organizing a national campaign to spread the word. Mid-organization, a newfound friend from school, Fenix Libertine contacted me with a sincere interest in working on the film.

After talking with him and getting on the same page about the extensive demands about the position, he turned out being absolutely perfect for the casting director job. He’s enthusiastic, organized, efficient, devoted, and we like a lot of the same movies and music. As we were going over notes about the film, I told him to watch the film, Magnolia, for inspiration of ambition in a movie and flawless casting. It’s not almost 10 years old, and it’s not very popular, but he had the DVD in his backpack!... we’re going to work very well together. I sent him a lot of notes about casting, and set up his e-mail: casting@kentonbartlett.com. Right now he’s working hard on playing catch up and taking a crash course in understanding casting... We have a casting director!

DJ, the sound operator, is still thinking about working on the film. He will commit or defer by Friday, the 6th.

American Cinematographer

The library at American University has every issue of film industry magazine, American Cinematographer. It’s a fantastic resource, and to get a good working knowledge of professional cinematography, equipment used on films, and lighting setups in popular movies, I thought it would be a good idea to read every issue. John and I are working our way through them. I’ve gone through all of 2008 and 2007, and John just started looking through this week. We’re going to meet every week to sit down, research, and talk about the movie to move forward in a consistent direction on the film.

Sponsors and Grants

We have our first two sponsors! Sennheiser, a microphone company, has offered product discounts for the audio equipment on the production, and Samsung is donating a 1.5 terabyte hard drive to the film (worth approximately $350).

Netflix is holding a competition to give $150,000 to a first-time filmmaker producing a movie this year. It’s perfect for this project, and I submitted all the materials this week. Keep your fingers crossed. We won’t know anything until May, so it’s best to forget about the competition and proceed with fundraising.

The e-mails have continued to all sorts of companies trying to get product donations, loans, and price reductions. With Samsung and Sennheiser’s involvement, hopefully that will be an incentive for other companies to jump on board. Right now, I’m working on an extensive application with Chevron to get some free gas for the road trip.


Last Tuesday, I met with my independent study professor for this course – to make a long story short, the school is opening the course to give credit for revising the script and working on pre-production assignments. She said that people want to SEE the movie that they are investing in. So, she suggested to re-do the website with a concentration of getting people on the same page about the story and basically exciting people about it. This was a great point, and coincidentally, I had been working on a new trailer to advertise the movie.

The next couple days were spent all day in the computer lab taking clips from some of the best movies around and combining them into a cohesive 1-minute advertisement to show what we are aiming for with this movie.

To further ‘show’ people the movie, my friend and talented artist, Will Braden, offered his skills to the project. He is drawing pictures of seven of the most picturesque scenes in the film to excite people about it. I am gathering pictures of expansive locations. We’ll combine the drawings and pictures into a slideshow so people can start to visualize the project.

The website now includes photos and biographies of the crew so people can see that this is really happening and to put faces with the names.