Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stay Close: A Short Film By David Wagner

Here's a short film I shot in August with two of my daughters and a friend of the family, called Stay Close.



I made it as an experiment, trying to see if I could do a short film myself from concept to finish. All things considered, I'm very pleased with it, though the handful of people I've shown it to have had very little positive to say about it. So be it.

Filmed it on my iPhone 7, got all the footage in about 3 hours in one afternoon (from 5:15 pm to 7:45 pm), did the edit and color corrections in Premiere Pro. The music is too loud, I know... and the sound is inconsistent. The audio-gathering and crafting aspects of film making are hard for me still, but I'm learning.

And hey, if I don't try, I'll never learn, right? I had a lot of theory in my head going into this. Every shot, everything I put in it, I had a good reason for. I think a lot of it worked (in spite of the feedback I'm getting), and I have a plan moving forward, as far as what I'll do differently next time.

And there will be a next time. And many times after that.

First film, done.

Adios.

Dave the Mildly Disillusioned

Monday, July 10, 2017

Still Breathing


Surprise!

Well, see, initially I was saying "surprise" to you, if you happened to stumble in here, fully expecting the December post to be sitting atop the dormant page here, and hey, a new post from Dave the Absentee (and Possibly Deceased, who knows?)!

But actually, it's probably more apt to say "surprise" in reference to myself, as in I'd be surprised if anyone ever bothered to check in here ever again...

You know, there's a strange sense of freedom and liberation in such a position... I could say or do anything here now, and no one would ever know! MUAHAHAH!!! I could strip down to my zebra-print speedo, wear a toilet seat around my neck and race around the blog without restraint, pulling tissues out of a box and flinging them everywhere! I could sing at the top of my lungs, and dance like no one's watching... because... you know why...

Or I could simply sit calmly and stoically in the directors chair here, and explain what I've been up to, lo, these 7 months... or explain why I let my blog die in the first place... or why my feet smell strangely of turned cheese...

But first...


Honestly, my blog had evolved so thoroughly into "more of the exact same thing every time" that I ultimately decided a swift and unannounced sword to the head was the only way to address the situation. I was either whining about life's little problems, or talking about whatever film/play/writing projects I was either currently working on, or hoping to somehow usher into fruition, or posting random odd photos/video's... and fart jokes... and occasional tedious theological meanderings... Frankly, I was getting sick of me, and, since I'm a narcissist, I projected that onto my meager audience, and assumed y'all were sick of me as well...

And so... yeah...

And I had every intention of letting things continue that way. But hey, tonight, I felt the long-believed-dead feeling to fire up a blank post and get my ramble on. Do I have anything stellar, or enlightening, or educational, or life-altering to relay? Nope, lol... I wanted... to.. uh... [Dave glances around, embarrassed]... to share what I've been doing this year, as far as film/plays/writing...

Maybe that's just what I'm supposed to do/be. Do I just accept that? Screw it, I'll leave that to the philosophers to figure out...

So this year, I've basically been putting myself through film school online, by watching YouTube videos on film production, and by hunting down and absorbing the best film and TV I can find. It's funny... while I was heavy into learning screenwriting, it got to where I would watch a film or show, and I could see the script ghosted over the screen as I watched, sort of scrolling past... I could see the dialog text scrolling by as it was being spoken... it was a weird sensation... Now that I've been learning about shot composition, scene structure, editing, composing, special effects, pacing, etc., I've gotten to where I can observe the craft of what I'm watching as I'm watching it... why did the director choose that shot? Why did they open that scene on a close-up instead of a long shot? Why use a wide lens there instead of a long one? Why did they hold on that shot for two extra seconds instead of cutting away? I can enjoy watching the film/show, but simultaneously study the craft...

So, yeah, I'm discovering the art of film making.

I've obtained more tools of the trade as well. Cameras, sound gear, lighting, editing software, special effects software... I'm becoming a one-man film studio...

I've always been a writer, since my childhood. I know my way around a page, in any number of genres/disciplines.

I've been an actor since high school. Combine the two, and I believe I can write well for an actor. I can write parts that actors will read and smile and get excited about playing, since I thoroughly understand the actors' mindset, and what appeals to them most. Being an actor helped my writing...

And now that I'm learning all the steps involved in bringing a script to life on the screen, it has also helped my writing to evolve. I've since gone back and re-read short screenplays I've written in the past years, and now I can see how impractical some of it is... if I'd understood better the craft of film-making, it would have made a difference at the early writing stages, where I'm coming up with the story elements... now I can write with craft in mind...

So that's what I've been doing with my time away from the blog. Learning. Experimenting. Coming up with ideas for things I can film by myself (or with my daughter(s)), here at the house... short films and series ideas... I have scripts written. When I have something to post, I will post it here. I'm super excited.

I haven't only been isolated these months. I was involved heavily in the Easter play we did at church in April, which was incredible fun. I worked with Ryan E. on the 48 Hour Film Festival again in May. I'm working on a short film (as an A.D.) with another friend of mine, Shawn J. And I'm working on a spiritual short film with another friend of mine, Andrew K.

Plus, I'm still occasionally filming for BTI, and still meeting with Rob D. about the feature script we wrote together.

Other things in the works as well.


So, now that I've typed it all out, how do I feel? Was it worth it? A new blog post, ultimately full of the same old stuff?

I don't know. Maybe I won't post this at all. Let it languish in the "Drafts" section. Nah, I might as well publish it. But I won't announce it on FB, I'll just let it lie here.

But basically, I'm still alive. Still learning, planning, growing... still writing, drawing, acting, filming... still breathing, exercising, drinking coffee, treading water... one Dave at a time...

Will I post again any time soon? I don't know. Maybe. I've been feeling the itch to create more Wagnervana comics. And when I film and edit something worth sharing, I'd like to be able to post it somewhere. So yeah, I don't know. We'll see.

I guess that's that.

Dave