The Webisode Series that Could


It’s 5:30 PM on this Saturday night and it still feels a bit like summer in the Californian time machine of seasonal evasion.  Chillwave is still pumping in my brain as the Hipsters and Squares are all off, scrambling to buy, find, steal or co-op the nearest vessel of forget-me-not while I am conspiring with two actors regarding the plan for the evening.  The way I see the night unfolding, it’s going to be long.  I will either be arrested and/or fined.  I will not make my night.  To top it off, there is a small chance we’ll all get killed in the process.

You see I’m producing a webisode series with my writing partner Mark Gonzales.  Outside of the rules of filmmaking, I’m making it almost completely outside of the rules.  There are no permits.  There is no authority.  There is no system.  There is no crew.  I am, for all intents and purposes, on my own.  Here, on this humble site (maybe not so humble) I’m going to share with you my success and failure… and potentially my arrest record.  But hell, if you haven’t been arrested, you haven’t really done anything with your life.  Just ask any, self-respecting malcontent.

For years I’ve been struggling to find a way to make my films, but for bettor or worse, I haven’t been able to raise the money necessary to make most of them.  And they’re expensive to make.  So, my solution was to follow the advice of my heroes and make them on my own.  From George Lucas to Shane Carruth and Robert Rodriguez, many filmmakers have always said, if you have a camera and a story to tell, there’s no excuse.  Like them, I kind of consider myself a “hell or high water” kind of guy.

So here I am.  Here we are.

The Webisode series is a comedy called Milkshake, and the plan is to shoot 6 to 12, eight minute webisodes, following two, wayward friends as they search for the perfect milkshake through the streets of LA.  Along the way, one of them grows up.  It’s a comedy much in the vein of American Graffiti, one of my favorite films.  In these webisodes, the setting isn’t a room, or an apartment, or a park… it’s the streets of LA, sidewalks, parking lots, diners… just about every place that can be used without permission and without getting caught.

For me, it’s a celebration of LA and what art is… peaceful revolution.  It’s sort of the point of this whole exercise.  And as with all revolutions, they begin with the individual.  So, can one man/woman make a series?  Not if you want actors, no.  But you can reduce the crew down to one if the actors are willing to lend a helping hand now and then.

For Milkshake, the production could have no more than one person.  The setting is mostly in a Mini Cooper and in front of some Hollywood icons.  Being inconspicuous was and is paramount.

Some of the gear:

  1. Camera:  5D Mark III
  2. Audio: 2-4 lavalier microphones
  3. Tascam or Zoom H6 Recorder
  4. Lenses: 5 Soviet Lenses.  Mir-47h, Mir-1, Mir-24n, Helios 44-2 and the Helios 40-2 (I LOVE LENS FLARE)
  5. Lighting:  3 LED light pads
  6. Power: Lanparte battery and pinch pack and a car inverter
  7. Support: Cavision Handheld rig with follow focus
  8. Backpack to hold the audio gear

As we shoot, I am running sound which is being fed wirelessly to my backpack.  Lighting is adjusted by me along the way in the car and everything else is ambient lighting.  If you’re wondering why I consider this my own little personal revolution, my philosophical and economic musings are on the way with some answers.  I’ll get to them as fast as I can.  I actually do make a whole lot o’ TV when I’m not making my own projects.  Hopefully we can all learn from this experience.

Before we get to that, I want to credit my incredible team of actors who are fighting to make this as hard as I am, and who by the way are totally brilliant.  Danny Lutman, Ned Fullman, Colleen Boag, Kali Cook, Steven Humphreys and Claudia Graf.

To start it off, here are some pictures from the first couple of nights.  More to come (I haven’t been arrested yet).

Posted: November 21st, 2013
Categories: Directing, Milkshake, The Biz, Webisodes, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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