House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Independent

Me on a trip to Bologna, Italy in October, 1988, while I was
spending my junior year in Florence. Jeremy, today, was teasing
me for my 80s nostalgia (when I got excited to hear a cheesy 80s song
on the radio that I liked), but I think it gets to me because it reminds
me of when I first felt that whiff of independence. While I spent much
of college in my dorm room studying, I made sure I got out overseas
for a year. I still haven't made it back.


If you've been to my website, you're probably wondering why I'm still using Mac homepage and haven't gotten a more professional looking site. Just to let you know, I'm not satisfied with this, as I realize that people may not taking me seriously because of it.

The reason for it is that I've been meaning to build a new website, myself, but I haven't gotten around to learning how. I haven't had someone else do it because I haven't had the money to pay someone and I also haven't wanted to ask anyone to do it for free. So when I don't have the money and I don't have the gumption to ask for help, it goes on my list of things to do myself.

I have a hard time asking for help. (This trait runs on my father's side of the family.) I would attempt to move a 2 ton boulder on my own until Jeremy would say, "Do you want some HELP?" Jeremy has learned that he has to step in and help me and not ever wait for me to ask. I mean, I might as well do my best to do everything on my own, right? So I won't ask until I'm 200% convinced that the physics involved to accomplish any task actually do require more people than myself. (Supplying the equation to prove the point does help.)

Plus, someone else may not know how I want it done or do it the way I want. This is why I've written, directed and edited all my films. I write because I like writing and creating stories. I direct because I might as well be the one to direct what I write, because someone else may screw it up. I edit because I find that the directing process still occurs in the editing room, and well, I'm the one who knows how I want it done. Now this doesn't mean that I think I'm brilliant and that I know more than other filmmakers -- not at all. (I always feel like the dumb kid in class when comparing myself to others.) It's just that I know more about my films, my stories, than anyone else. Also, I just work better alone. Whenever I've been asked in a job interview if I preferred working alone or with a team I knew I'd be giving the wrong response by saying, "alone", but I can't stand lying. I'd refrain from saying, "oh, ick, teamwork", but I would say that I did my best stuff alone. I just think better by myself. (I should note that I'm fine working on a team on someone else's project, because I accept it's their project and will do whatever to help them achieve the results that they want. I actually am a very decent line worker. It's just that if it's MY project, it's a whole other story.)

Now, I do recognize both the positive and negative aspects of this quality of mine. It's great to be independent, but there are many tasks that can't be done alone, and making a movie (with rare exceptions) is one of them. I feel very lucky to actually be able to work with my boyfriend, because Jeremy gets what I want. He can read my mind. (Really, he can, it's a little scary at times... women want men to be able to read their minds, but maybe not quite as much as Jeremy can.) But it's still hard to do a film with just two people. So of course we'd end up with more people on our crew, but not too many more. We both found it would be easier to have a smaller crew with people who were on the same page with us, than to have a big crew with people who were energy suckers or who just didn't care about our project.

I am attempting to get past doing everything myself. I want to do a feature and I realize that I may need to step back and let someone else edit for an objective approach to my film. I also do appreciate that so many times the sums ARE greater than all the parts, and that while maybe I can make a good movie doing the key parts on my own, that it can be a better movie with a couple of more people involved, whom I trust.

I have found the blessing in coming home is that I do have a few other people around here whom I do feel extremely comfortable working with. These people I can actually work with on one of my projects as a team. So maybe I am capable of teamwork on my own project, it's just that I need to work with the right people.

While I think it's important to work to stretch a little past your character traits, you also need to embrace them, because these will guide you on how you need to work and what your true path is. Recently I worried that I may have burned a bridge because I canceled a job to do extra work on a TV show because I was sick. Since people often lie about being sick I never feel like being sick is a good excuse, even though it was true in my case. So I worried that I may have alienated that casting director. Then I sat back and thought, well, what if I did burn a bridge. So what? Do I really want to make a career out of extra work? No. And is acting even that important to me anymore? Well, I enjoy it, but I want to make my own films more. (Although, I would always love to act in another film for Bill Millios -- one of people on my "team".) So why am I worried about putting an obstruction in a path that isn't even close to my main road?

I've mentioned to people that I felt okay moving from LA as a filmmaker because it's not like I want to work for a studio. Now I think it could be really exciting to work for a studio, but it's just not me. I'm really just starting to get that about myself.

I put this picture above of myself in Italy because it reminds me of what a weird loner I can be. Now, it was a friend of mine who took this picture of me in Italy. It was the first day of our October break. But we spent just that day in Bologna together. I then went off and did my own thing for the rest of the week. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy spending time with friends and being social, but I need a lot of alone time to figure myself out. And I knew that if I traveled with other people that I wouldn't do what I wanted to do, so I often wandered off by myself. But through my being alone I made connections with people, including distant relatives in Pescara, some cute and not so cute Italian boys, and my US Army buddies. (I became a regular visitor at Camp Darby. They sneaked me into the barracks, took me bowling, and supplied me with Oreos and Suzi Qs.)

I don't know when I write these posts if they make sense, but I need to do them. Oh... I just realized that I am dependent on something. Should I rename this post?

I should probably just stop writing and re-connect with the world again. I think Jeremy needs some attention...

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Editing

I have completed the rough cut for I Just Want to Eat My Sandwich. In this situation, the rough cut is a fine rough cut, meaning I feel the picture edit is 95-99.9% complete. I really don't know of any part I need to change right now as far as picture is concerned, but after taking a break and getting a little feedback I will make adjustments as needed. We do need to change and update the music in some parts as well as do color correction and more sound work. And I need to add the credits, too, but I'll wait until the end, as I could end up having more credits and more "thank yous" to add.

This film, including credits, will be about 7 minutes. I originally wanted to do a film that was about 5 minutes, but I worried that was out of reach when I wrote a 10 page script. OK, it was 9 1/2 pages, to be precise. I was happy to discover that the pacing was faster than a page a minute. I wanted this film to be closer to 5 minutes than to 10, since I felt that this was a story that needed to be told in 5-7 minutes.

The thing that I worried about most in editing was continuity. Though I strive for simplicity when making shorts, I couldn't help but to add some complications. The good thing about my shoot was that it was all in one location (in the office where Jeremy works) and that I didn't need complicated lighting set ups. However, I was challenged myself by making a film that is almost all in real time. The bulk of the film happens while the lead character, Susan, is at her desk, which is all one scene. In that one scene I have 9 characters other than Susan coming and going. Because I needed to schedule people at different times during the day, I could not shoot the scene in its entirety. I also didn't have time to get all of Susan's shots in on one day. So what we ended up with was one of those scramble puzzles. I broke the shots down by each character or group of characters as they came to talk to Susan, did long shots of each of those scene parts and got the medium shots and close ups of the other actors, while often filming Susan's medium shots and close ups the next day. On top of everything, we couldn't help but to break the 180 degree rule. Because the space was so small and because we couldn't move the cubicle wall without, most likely, shutting down the company's servers, (which would have had a serious impact on their business), we were seriously limited on the angles we could film from.

So when I started editing I could see right away that continuity in screen direction would be an issue. I clearly break the 180 degree rule when editing this film but I tried to do it when I had something else happening in the shot that would help maintain some continuity in the next. Plus, since Susan's cubicle is established pretty clearly in the beginning, with Susan staying seated in the same place the entire time, and only one way for anyone to walk into it, breaking the 180 degree rule is not as threatening as it would be if this were a scene in a bigger place with a lot of movement.

When I think about the imperfections I question myself on what I should have done differently. And I ask how much work I should to to correct those imperfections. I really feel that I should make every film the best that it can be. But sometimes to make your film obtain 100% of it's potential comes at a much higher cost that achieving 95-99% potential. Plus, I'm doing a 7 minute short, not a long short or feature. At some point I need to just say, hey, this is good, now time to focus on the next and bigger project.

But wait, I'm not onto the next project yet. My mind and heart is very much in Sandwich and I committed to making this into something that will entertain people. It's just that after doing a couple of shorts that took me a year to finish, I finally want to exercise a faster turnaround, and start investing more into the bigger projects that will pay off exponentially more.

I just want to make my movies.

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