Ashley PriceGeorgia Film Connection

Sessions with my Mentor Steve Carmichael in the months of October and November Posted on 2013-12-03 by Ashley Price

Session 15 – Wednesday, October 2nd, 11:00 – 1:00

When you stage your stuff, try to stage it near an outlet so that you can have one battery on charge. Closest focus on the Tamron Zoom lens is 1.2 feet. The Tally Light tells the talent that the camera is rolling. For auto focus, the little rectangle that appears on the screen is what I would refer to in order to see what is in focus.

Session 16 – Wednesday, October 9th, 11:00 – 1:00

Steve taught me how to use my shotgun mic and lavalier mics. Turning on both mics and the transmitter will not work.
Kevin very kindly showed me how to put the footage I had shot from the SD cards to my computer. He downloaded a free trial version of Adobe Premiere Elements onto my computer so that I could hear the sound from the footage.

Several times during and after the tour, I Skyped with Giuseppe Lanno, who was the editor for this documentary. He was very patient with me during our numerous communications; and we are both pleased with the finished video.
Below is the itinerary for the tour with Brian Martin and Worship for Life.

Friday, October 11th, 2013 – Filming began when we met them at the Atlanta International Airport at 1:00 pm. I rode on the tour bus with them filming as if I were a “fly on the wall”. After settling in at the hotel, we went to the C-Room Café (which is a Christian night club) where I filmed them performing. After wards they did a live radio interview with Letz Prayz Radio. We arrived back at the hotel about 2:00 am. Where I transferred all the footage from my camera to my laptop and re-packed equipment for the next day.

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 – At 8:45 am we arrived at Belvedere SDA Church where they performed for two services. Next we drove two and a half hours to Birmingham, Alabama and checked into the hotel. Once again, I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment for the next day.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 – At 7:30 am we arrived at faith church for a sound check. They performed for the morning service and then we drove three hours to Nashville, Tennessee. After checking into the hotel, I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment for the next day.

Monday, October 14th, 2013 – At 11:00 am I filmed WFSK live radio show at Fisk University. (It was at this location that one of the performers was taken to the hospital with congestive heart failure. She had to remain in hospital for two days). The group’s agent took her to the hospital while the rest of us stayed on campus for the Fisk University listening party. At 4:00 pm we went to B.B. King’s Blues Club for Dove Awards Pre-Party sound check. They performed later that evening and we returned to the hotel at 3:00 am. I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment for the next day.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 – At 8:00 am we went to Central South Distribution Center where we toured the location and they performed for the staff. (This will be their U.S.A. distribution company for their albums. We checked on Lois in the hospital and since they were still discussing possible heart surgery, the group decided not to attend the Dove Awards.) They decided to go to a nice restaurant and turn in early since our schedule had been rather hectic up to this point. After returning to the hotel, I transferred all the footage and re-packed equipment for the next day.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 – We left Nashville at 6:00 am and drove four hours to Atlanta. At 11:00, we toured Chick-fil-A headquarters which was a highlight for the group. They did a call-in radio show; and later that evening, performed a concert at New Commandment Christian Church. We returned at 11:00 pm; and I transferred all footage and repacked for the next day.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 – At 9:00 am Brian did a radio interview with Let’s Talk America and I went with the girls to Intermix Beauty Salon to film them getting their make-up done for the T.V. show “Friends and Neighbors”. They spent all afternoon taping the show. (That evening, my mom gave us a home cooked meal at our house.) I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment.

Friday, October 18th, 2013 – At 7:30 am they did the Crunk for Christ Morning Show (Livestreaming Radio). At 1:00 pm they performed for Atlanta Live T.V. which took the rest of the afternoon. I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment.

Saturday, October 19th, 2013 – At 1:00 pm they did a concert at a Breast Cancer Awareness event sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta. We returned home and I transferred all footage and re-packed equipment.

Sunday, October 20th, 2013 – At 8:00 am we had a sound check at the Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church. They performed for three services at two different locations. That afternoon we went back to the Atlanta International Airport for their return trip to London. I transferred all footage and began to organize my notes to give to the editor.   

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 – I spent at least eight hours reviewing all the footage to put on the hard drive to send to Giuseppe Lanno. We worked on this together for about three weeks.

Session 17 – Tuesday, November 5th, 10:30 – 12:00

Chapter 6:
If you’re going to listen to criticism or critiquing, it needs to come from someone who knows what they are doing. Delayed Payoff is a very powerful comedic device. It is where someone tells a joke and the funny part can be repeated or brought up two or three more times within the show or scene. Beware of committees. Humility is an important characteristic of a director. It is realizing that it’s not you but that you’re being a vehicle or a conduit for a power greater than yourself. Humility does not involve being humiliated – it is being grateful and being of service. You need to know when to pick your battles – be able to give and take. Don’t be fighting constantly. The ability to pull back will give you credits when you are in a fight. Beware of ego – do not confuse ego with artistic vision. Craft Services – they have a food budget and they go to the grocery store to get fruit, nuts, protein bars, some junk food, coffee, soft drinks, and ice. You have to be considerate to the crew. Usually the social structure allows the gifts to go from the top down, not bottom up.
Chapter 7:
Drama is the most common and broadest genre. You don’t want to copy what has been done before. There is a parallel between home construction and film-making. Houses have blueprints which are like a script for a film. When you go into post production, you lay the soundtrack down first (not the musical score) which is like laying the foundation for a house. You lay the soundtrack down first for 2 reasons – one is length, how long is the movie? Reason two is to hear the rhythm or pacing of the movie. Does the thing play well? You can listen to it over and over to see if it is good and you can cut scenes and dead space before you put in the expensive picture and soundtrack score. The next step is to add the picture to the sound. That is where the money in post is getting spent and it is like the frame work for the house. If the audio track is right and you add the last picture and the last piece of music, you presumably have some money left in the budget.
Steve told me about some films I might watch in which the plot line is sci-fi memory thrillers. He also told me about other films which do not fall into the category of sci-fi memory thrillers.
Inception, Manchurian Candidate, West Side Story, Out of Africa, and The Hours. The Hours is a prime example of a screenplay written in stream of consciousness.

Session 18 – Monday, November 11th, 10:30 – 12:22

Sound:
Sound, oddly enough, is the easiest department; it is also the hardest technical job. Double System Sound – recording audio separate from picture. The sound crew is made up of a Mixer, a Boom Operator, and possibly one assistant. The will bring their own equipment; so you budget for them (the person) and then you budget for their equipment. A Mixer is a misnomer. They are called a mixer but they don’t mix. They set the levels for the mics and they record each speaking part separately. For each person, there are two mics with two channels – a Boom/shotgun mic and a Lavalier. Each mic has its own separate presence which is whatever the ambient sound is. It is the mixer’s job to set the levels for each channel. Part of the responsibility of the mixer is to keep a sound log because the editor needs to know which video goes with which bit of sound. ADR – Automated Dialogue Replacement is also a misnomer because it is not automated. The talent says every single line to match up with the picture they are looking at on a huge screen. The Doppler Shift or Effect is when an object moving towards you is making a noise like a siren or a train horn which makes the sound waves get closer together causing the noise to make a higher pitch. The effect is reversed when the train moves past you the other direction. A Sound Assistant has two jobs – 1. He will put the wireless mics on the actors. This is because the Mixer does not have time for this job and it is not the Boom Operator’s job. 2. He will wrangle cables. He will also manage cables so that if the Boom Operator moves, he is not pulling on, dragging, tripping on, or otherwise sprawling the cable all over the place. A big thing that could go wrong with the sound is RF (Radio Interference). Wireless mics are on a certain frequency and if a taxi chanced to drive by, their two way radio could cause the mic to pick up humming or popping. Different mics sound different ways and you cannot fix over or under modulation or distortion in post. Phantom power is where mics take power off the mixer. If you are operating on phantom power, the mic doesn’t need a battery. Sync is matching sound with picture. You sync the sound with the picture by using the slate or clapperboard. The time code signal is shared by the audio recorder, the camera, and the slate. VTR – Video tape recorder is called playback for short because nobody has video tapes anymore.
Chapter 8:
You want to register your script with the WGA which is the Writer’s Guild of America. That will give you some protection, not like copyright, but close. You get an entertainment attorney to protect against people who say you stole their story. To get out of development, declare a locked script. On average, each script page is a minute long.

Session 19 – Friday, November 15th, 10:30 – 1:00

Chapter 8 cont’d:
“Stay away from see dog, say dog.” Don’t position the camera so that the audience sees the person speaking. Get the person in the foreground. Get the reaction of the person speaking. All of this is by gut, not formula; you get into formulaic stuff, you are not doing well. Everything goes from left to right. If an edit is “fat”, it means that there is too much space from the out point to the in point. Brush cut – walking in front of the lens. It is important to cut in motion. You have freedom with rhythm in editing like a cadenza in music. Find a way to make a cut so that when going from one scene to the next, your eyes don’t move from one side of the screen to the other. This is called jarring. Eye trace goes with action. Pick up a magazine and be aware of where your eyes go first, second, and last. Non-linear editing is editing scenes out of order, sometimes stopping in mid-scene to work on a different scene and coming back to the original scene later. Linear editing is editing each scene for the whole movie in sequential order. The difference between Analog and Digital is like the difference between a second hand watch and a digital watch. Analog has inconsistent waves of energy. With Analog, the quality of the electrical power that you have, if you had a power surge, there would be a “blue” color on the screen or a bit of sound would peak causing inconsistency in what you’re doing. In digital land, there are 1’s and 0’s; there is no room for inconsistency…All the switches are either on or off. Digital editing is non-destructive. EDL – Edit Decision List – the computers and software that keep track of every single edit you make (cross fade, special effects, lighter, darker, cuts). There is a lot of safety in digital that you didn’t have before.
Steve recommended the movie Gravity because it is beautifully shot and illustrates the frailty of the human condition.

Session 20 – Tuesday, November 19th, 10:30 – 1:00

Steve watched the finished video of the Brian Martin and Worship for Life tour.
A few students from the Atlanta Harp Ensemble (including myself) are participating in an ensemble competition next year. My teacher wanted to know if it is possible for me to record us playing using my camera equipment. I asked Steve and Kevin if such a thing could be achieved. Kevin said I would need to put it in Adobe Premier Elements, make a wave file, and make a red book audio CD. I recorded a CD of myself playing a song and took it to Radiant 3. Since Kevin was not there that day, James (he works in audio) made a wave file and put it on the CD. The sound is amazing on the CD, so it has been determined that it is possible to record only audio with my camera equipment.
With the time we had left, Steve went over Chapter 10 in the book. He said it is wise to read my script aloud to see if the line is what the character would say. Mystery is a good device in storytelling.

Session 21 – Monday, November 25th, 10:30 – 12:54

Steve watched the Hunger Games: Catching Fire with his friend Leslie who was the second unit script manager for the movie. She was telling him how some of the scenes in the film were done. There is a scene where the peacekeepers wipe out the black markets in district 12. This was shot in empty warehouses in Decatur, GA. There is another scene during the games where about five of the tributes are on the Cornucopia and Plutarch tells the game makers to spin the Cornucopia. This was shot in a parking lot in Kirkwood. It was set up on a turn table with green screen surrounding it.
Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children is a book that would make a very interesting film.
A Line Producer is like a field general. Strategic – big decisions for the big picture. Tactical – closer, minute by minute. Each day has a price tag attached to it. You want your budget to have a little bit of money left when you finish shooting. You do not want to run out of money in the middle of shooting. You want to maintain the quality of the production. You want it to be consistent. Steve showed me a director’s finder. It was a VMP London the master, Isco-optic Germany. The director’s finder is something only the director (sometimes the DP) uses to find the desired shot without having to move the camera and set up lights a thousand times. For every foot of screen, you would have 1.85 width ratio. 1 to 1.85 is what is normal today. Cinema scope is 1 to 2.35. Cinema scope would be a 60 mm lens. 1st, set aspect ratio with the front ring, then set focal length for 35 mm. The standard length for pieces of dolly track is eight feet.
Chapter 11:
William Goldman – rule #1 in Hollywood – nobody knows (is sure of) anything.  

Session 22 – Tuesday, November 26th, 10:30 – 11:42

There should be a balance between art and business. Dialogue is an aural phenomenon. You have to speak it out loud and hear it to know if it works.
Chapter 12:
Write your key ideas for your script on cards.

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