Showing posts from 2008

Salt of the Earth Poster

Salt of the Earth Poster #1. I've also set up a "Salt of the Earth" group on Facebook- if you have an account, check it out and join!!

Peppering the Salt

Howdy! It's been a wild and busy month. I've finished helping with Oisin- editing, editing sound and color correction and have handed it back to Russ Adams.

With that, I have turned my attention back to Salt of the Earth, which I have gone down and dirty with the edit- refining it so the pace is appropriate to all the scenes. I've also been storyboarding out the pickups which will give the first scene an entirely different context than just a simple conversation in a plaza. As I have been editing it, I've been color correcting it as I go. Here's some more grabs:

I've also asked my long time associate Brett Stagg to create an animation for me that will play at the beginning. Once all of that is done, it's the business of cleaning up the audio, doing the sound design and scoring it. I was really hoping to have been to this point, but projects and freelance kept popping up!

The second of the "future noir" shorts has been written, and I have been working…

Back to the Future... again.

The final cut is almost finished on Oisin, than the audio edit should go fairly fast, than it will be passed back to my friend and fellow filmmaker Russ Adams to finish his sound design, than he'll send it off to the composer to get scored.

Salt of the Earth needs pickups. We're working on what and when, but it will be a bit before we can go back out. Than sound design, etc etc and that will be finished.

While I've been home, I've been hit with a ton of inspiration on the re-write of an old friend: Corner of the Mind's Eye. Essentially, being away from it for a year or so has given me an opportunity to look on it again with fresh eyes, and I can see within the story structure why it didn't make the cut for the Slamdance Screenplay Competition a year ago. The "B-Plot" was underdeveloped...which I knew, but once I went and wrote up a "history of the story's world" everything came together: The intrigue- the conspiracy- the drama- the heart …

We are now on IndieGogo!

I've known about Indie GoGo for a while, but hadn't had a chance to take advantage of it. The great thing about it is that you can take donations and it is kept in a separate account- where the filmmaker cannot touch it until all the funds are raised. If the total is not raised in a set amount of time, the funds are refunded back to the contributor. A few of my filmmaking friends (Aaron Martin and Russ Adams) have placed their own projects here, so I decided to toss my hat into the ring.

Here are some links on how it works and FAQs:

The Two Front Strategy

So, after my epiphany of turning one of my Unreleased-Named-Future-Noir-Project shorts from a short film into a webcomic, it freed my imagination a quite a number of ways.  With the excitement of approaching it in a different format, the story came together quite easily.  It will still be cinematic, and if the economy gets better by next summer, I will use it as a visual basis for an adapted short.
Generally, as I work out the story, I write a list of all the situations I want to happen in it and a list of the most interesting characters I can think of.  I then rearrange them until I can see some sort of pattern- and find some sort of relationships that form between motivation and action.  Some writers will write them down on cards, but generally I just cut and paste in my text editor... than I transfer them to that little freebie gem Celtx.
So, the web comic's beat sheet is done and the first few scenes have been fleshed out.  I'm really excited for this one.  Now, I just need …

Winter Plans

Editing on Oisin has been slow but steady... things have been extremely hectic lately and I've been interrupted quite a bit, so it's made it challenging.

Salt of the Earth is on hold until I can finish Oisin, but I found some concept images I had created that I was originally planning on using at the beginning of the short. The idea was to have a flying car fly down and into the city:

than behind this statue:

than over a building which we use in our establishing shot, where it tilts down showing Yolanda Arrey having her morning breakfast at a sidewalk cafe. But it didn't seem convincing to me and we don't have flying cars in any other part of this short (they are a part of the story's world, but we found they're expensive to rent) so I decided on a more sinister approach to the beginning- which I have been storyboarding out.

Because of our rickety economy, I've decided to turn one of the three future shorts I had for the Unreleased-Named-Future-Noir-Feature-p…

Michael Turner: 1971-2008

Before my advent into filmmaking, I was an aspiring comic book artist. I was good, but I was way, way, way too slow. I would always marvel at the amazing talents of it all... and Michael Turner was definitely one of them.

I've known he's had a long battle with cancer... and with sadness came across the news that he had passed yesterday.

Thoughts and prayers with his family.


Biography of a Film

So, things have been quite the rollercoaster ride for the past month. I have been polishing a feature script for the past six months, and it has drastically changed in the past couple. It's funny how a story evolves and changes and it's not even the same one you'd thought was a winner.

I bought "The Making of Star Wars" a few weeks ago, and read it cover to cover. It's like an biography for a film, you see all the pitfalls and lucky breaks... and backbreaking labor it takes to MAKE A MOVIE. George Lucas went through four drafts... four COMPLETELY different stories and even then was changing it in the middle of filming. Despite hostile environments, hostile crews, hostile studios and an effects crew seemingly more interested in experimenting rather than creating... he did it. Absolutely not to his satisfaction, but he changed filmmaking and the world of many- including myself. But he did it- and it was through SHEER determination.

However, you can't c…

"Maybe..." on IMDB

"Maybe...", a comedy film made during the 48 Hour Film Project Competition in Salt Lake City, 2008 has been listed on the Internet Movie Database.

Still waiting for all the updates to our listing, but Lost Skies is now officially listed on the IMDB!!

We are planning on putting it in a few more festivals.

Now, on the the next project...

48 Hour Film Project - SLC 2008

This is going to take a couple of blogs to get in everything that has happened in the past week. It's been a whirlwind of excitement, from the 42 Hour day, cast/crew of 30, nine setups and 4 locations... and we were all STILL laughing and hugging by wrap at 11pm Saturday night.

I will in the next week have pictures and the short after this event is completed on Monday!

In the meantime, here is stills photographer Ben Bamba's Flickr set from the set of "Maybe...". I will have another set by stills photographer Brad Leatham soon.

Also, here is the official 48 Hour Salt Lake City Blog where both I and Producer Pietro D'Alessio have posted.


Stay tuned!

Digital Television and You!

These were written and produced by none other than Todd McGowan! I helped with the "animated" segment by drawing the kids watching TV, and there's some small chunks from "Love's Confession" and the TV Specialists spot in there that I did a few years ago. Car Time's open is also in there!

Enjoy and get edumacated!

Part One

Part Two

Red Scarlet

Holy wow~! I want one! The 3k Red Scarlet

With it having a smaller acquisition of 3k compared to their flagship Red One at 4k, I'm guessing that the price will be proportionately smaller. I guess we'll find out next year.

However, it's always the glass that's the most expensive part, isn't it?

Video Archives - Corner of the Mind's Eye Rehearsals: Summer 2006

Corner of the Mind's Eye - Rehearsals Summer 2006 from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

Laron Wilson and Katherine Joan Taylor rehearsing a scene behind Black Hawk Entertainment's Studios for Corner of the Mind's Eye back in the summer of 2006. Directed and shot by Juan Maestas on a Canon XL-1.

Interesting Experiment

Filmmaker Jessica Mae Stover is taking on a very interesting approach to funding her film - "Artemis Eternal". While chasing investors is not new for independents, I have to say I am very impressed with how she is mapping the progress. The official site shows her strategy, and that serves as a model for filmmakers should take notice for their future productions... I know I'm learning something from it.

I just may have to invest $25 into the project... I just need to figure out the budgets for my films first! But really, I really do think I'll donate soon.

Jack Black and the Basics of Filmmaking

When you're storytelling, style over substance is a very dangerous thing to toy with... a good foundation and some basic rules will help make your story coherent.  You'd think it would be simple to remember, but it's something I see that people forget all the time.  
So, with that, Jack Black and Acceptable TV had put out these tutorials about a year ago, and they're pretty entertaining- and are a fantastic overview of the basics of filmmaking.

Boston Globe Article - "The lost art of film editing"

As I read this, I found myself completely agreeing with the article's author. It's always been something that has annoyed me to no end- the machine gun editing of our modern commercial age. It has it's place- but too much of one thing lessens it's impact on the viewer.

Having worked in television for the past ten years, you see it all the time with news- where it has to be done that way to get the story across... but more and more, the language of cinema in this fast paced world is becoming abbreviated much like the English language gets chopped up in text messages.

Fast food cinema. And we all know what fast food does to you.

Updated Concept Art Gallery

I finally got the concept art gallery up and running again. I'll soon be adding more images to it, including Archangel Alpha Conceptual Art and Two Sides of the Moon.

Lost Skies Facelift

Image had a major facelift a month ago, but I had conceptualized this logo and had been working on refining the look for a while. I'm planning on animating it for the opening slate on all future productions. Let me know what you think!

I've also finished my second feature-length screenplay and have registered it with the Writer's Guild of America. I'll be announcing more on this in weeks to come!

Budgets & Strategy: Part II

So the pitfalls of pre-production all come down to planning.  It's not enough just to "know" what you need.  You need to write it down, figure out how you are going to acquire it, and have an alternate plan in place incase it's not going to work out.  
There is plenty of production software out there.  I've discovered one called Celtx, which is perfect because not only is it FREE (and just because something is free doesn't mean it has value), it is actually really good.  I like to think of Celtx as scriptwriting software on steroids.  Without going too much into the features (you can go to their site to do that yourself),  it is able to categorize items and give detailed information on props, actors, characters, sets, vehicles, livestock, etc.  It also allows you to create backgrounds for your characters, and lets you define why your scenes are important.  
The key feature of this is you can use it on the internet, and create a group that can access all the fil…

Budgets & Strategy: Part I

You know, as I've been paper producing my next project, I've came to a few conclusions that I have found that I need to work on myself, and it's the same problem other filmmakers have:
Of course, you need to budget your money so you know how much you can spend on a set, or that costume with the rhinestone and lights, or if it's going to be sandwiches or pizza for the crew.  That goes without saying.  You'd be surprised how many filmmakers usually skirt around all of this.  Charm only goes so far.  This also goes for available resources- what you can already bring to the film in terms of equipment: lights, camera, greenscreen, yada yada yada.  The favors of others bringing in their gear and what you'll have to barter with.
However, I've also realized what the biggest resource of all:  People's time.  A donation of a person's time is often more valuable than any monitory income you can bring into your film by any investor.  They are sacrificing …

A3 Concept Art and Future Plans

Here is some early concept art for Archangel Alpha.  These were used in early funding pitches.
Alphas Attack

Old Friends Contemplate the War

Elena and the Sea of Glass

Alex's Apartment in Old Rodinia

Aaron has been busy working on his spec trailer, you can read all about his adventures here:

As for Corner of the Mind's Eye... I've been giving this quite a bit of thought.  COTME is essentially a road movie.  Most of the action takes place in the desert, in small towns, a roadside diner, a hospital, a gas station... quite a bit of locations that require quite a bit of money to produce.  That said, I am working on a script revision to help with a weak b-plot and I'd like to shoot a spec trailer to approach others for production funding.  The necessary evil of it... but it's good- people will get paid, the sets will be insured (as they always should be) but the biggest thing is t…

More Archangel Alpha Goodness

Archangel Alpha - Bev's Ascent

Our Fillmore, Utah location scouting trip last fall.

Archangel Alpha - Bev's Ascent from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

Lostskies Website Update has been re-designed! A couple of little bugs to iron out, but the new look is up. I've also signed up for a new Vimeo Account... I tested it with this clip that I animated a year ago.

Are you ready for Car Time? from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

Storms in the Lost Skies

Things have been quite turbulant lately- in a good way. I've managed to pick up quite a bit of subcontracted freelance doing corporate videos and storyboards. Can't say who or what... but it's been very hectic.

Here's a little visual treat as I was messing around with After Effects a month ago, trying to place matte paintings into existing footage. I used an old Public Domain movie... see if you can guess what movie it is: