special night

Oct. 2004: The store is up now! Purchase your very own copy of "special night" on DVD. I know you're dying to get one. Nothing else is new. Later.

Sept. 2004: Still working on site updates. More are up now though. Check out all the production articles in that new section. The indenation store is nearing completion and you'll be able to order the DVD soon. Hopefully, a trailer will be coming soon too. Working on getting the movie online and waiting on three new festivals. I've stopped submitting to festivals with this film and I'm hoping to be working on something new in the near future. That's it for now. Thanks for checking us out. Later.

May 2004: Not much is new with this project. Got turned down by a few festivals, but still trying to get more screenings. Iím updating the site. Soon, you can buy a copy of ďspecial nightĒ on DVD (or VHS but itís got no extras. Get the DVD). Have a new article about the production online now. Check it out. I may write one more about the overall project. Not sure.

December 2003: Click here for Fred's experience at the Mini DV Festival

August 2003: After months of work, Iíve finally found a place that I can feel finished with the project. So now, weíre entering into some festivals and see if we can arrange some screenings. We had a screening on July 7 for cast and crew at the Burbank Bar and Grille in Burbank, CA. We all had a great time, and although the movie wasnít completely finished for the screening it was very close. It was a good time though. We were able to get everyone together and just have a good time. It was also my first opportunity to show everyone what weíd created. It was extremely rewarding to watch the movie with everyone and a complete rush to see people react to it. It was completely nerve racking for me both before, during and a little bit after too.

Before, I was just nervous to see how people reacted. I really wanted everyone to enjoy it. For Natalie and Justin, Iím sure it was completely nerve racking too. They had to watch themselves on screen for god sakes in front of other people. During the screening, I tried not to look away from the screen too much. It was my safety net in case everyone thought it completely sucked and was a general waste of their time. Thankfully, after, everyone was happy and no one thought they wasted their time. This was a good sign. I also put together a behind the scenes video, which will be on the DVD, which was great fun to put together and really fun for all of us to watch. Lots of laughter for everyone. Then after the screening was all over, a strange occurrence seemed to take place. For the first time, I realized just how personal a story it was and how much it meant to me that it was coming to a completion. I felt proud of our accomplishment and felt forever indebted to Justin and Natalie for bringing this story to life for me. I also felt empowered. I felt like this was just something that made me so happy, and Iíd be a complete idiot if I didnít find a way to do this all the time for the rest of my life. I canít describe the feeling better than that. It felt good.

Work wasnít fully finished. Jacob Morgan put the finishing touches on the overall sound mix. I had him try a few different things and we both arrived at a point where we were both happy with it. Dan Beyer managed to write a little more music for the end credits sequence and it sounded great. The music really came together well. I designed a box cover for the VHS and DVD versions. Jon, Mike and I shot some video commentary that I had a really good time editing. I just let my imagination run and tried to come up with something that looked a lot different than your standard commentary. Itís really fun to watch if I do say so myself.

Now, weíre finishing up making the DVDís for everyone and concentrating on the festival screenings. I am holding off premiering it on the internet for now. I think it deserves a chance to see if it can get into any festivals at first. Iím finding that many festivals donít want to show something that has already been screening on the web. But donít you worry, if you just canít wait to see this movie, you can buy your own copy on DVD or VHS very soon. I know that is a shameless plug, but hey, I really donít care.

Weíre constantly adding things to the website too. We have one short behind the scenes video on right now, that is different than what will be on the DVD. Weíve also got some info on Justin up for all of you to see. A new production article is coming soon too. Iím hoping to add more, weíll see. Jon and I have both been working a lot of extra hours at our regular jobs too, so finding extra time is precious. Plus, Iím working hard at trying to write some new stuff. Writing is always a painful, frustrating and rewarding process for me all at the same time.

Have a good rest of the summer everyone. Wish us luck with the project and keep checking back for whatever updates we can muster. Thanks again for your interest. It feels so good to say it, so Iím gonna say it one more time. WEíRE DONE!!!

June 2003: Weíre getting near the homestretch on this project now. Iím still doing a little color correcting, but itís pretty close. Iím also getting some help from some friends who are a bit more skilled in audio than myself. Iím hoping that they can help me get rid of some of the background noise and round out the audio a bit more. If not, Iím even prepared to go to an audio post-production facility. I really want it to sound as good as it looks.

I have a third and final cut of the movie done. Iím still working on end credits, but otherwise, the meat of it is finished. Itís been tough these last few weeks, taking a hard look at the edits, trying some different shots and then trying more, until I found the right mix. I feel like I have the best movie that I could at the moment. Jonís been taking a look at the rough cuts and giving me some pointers. Itís also helped to show a couple of other people too, to get a fresh perspective. Iíve found that the biggest help is to edit like a fiend and then sit back and try to wait for a few days and then watch it again. It helps to gauge how well the edits are coming together. I mean after 6 hours or more of sitting at my computer, a lot of stuff looks better than it should.

The other day I edited from 8pm until 6am and was just bursting with energy afterward. That was the day that I completed the third rough cut and found that audio was still lacking. I spoke to a few audio engineers and got their perspective on things they could do. Their rates were reasonable, but would blow this budget up big time. So hopefully, we can do it with a little help from friends, Jacob Morgan and Tim LaLonde. Thanks though go to Warren at Serious Music in Santa Monica and Greg and Gabriel at Avilon Music in Burbank. They took time out of their busy schedules to take a look at this small project and give us some feedback. It was very encouraging to hear that the audio is not in total disarray and helped to increase my confidence a little bit.

What was also encouraging was that I was listening to some of the music that weíre composing for the film. Weíre working with a talented composer by the name of Dan Beyer, who is a friend of Natalie Jannsen. I got to hear some of the music for the first time the other day and I absolutely loved it. I canít wait to hear the rest.

It was my personal goal to finish this film by July. We will definitely meet that goal and may have it done earlier than the end of this month. When itís finished, we can start to enter it into some contests and festivals. I canít wait to see what people think. In early July, weíre having a screening for the crew and the actors. I really want people to be able to see what their hard work accomplished and just properly thank them for helping us make the movie.

This month you should see an upgrade to the website as well. Iíve been slacking off on that, while I concentrated on editing. We should have a few more pictures up soon and Iím gonna get some behind the scenes video up by August. Iím also adding some articles on the making of the project. The first one concerns the actual idea behind the project. Next up, is the physical production including rehearsal and casting. Then the post production and finished project. Hopefully, one a month or so, until the end of September.

One other thing too. I think this speaks to the evolution of our filmmaking efforts. When Jon and I were doing the post on CHASE: CUT SHORT, we learned Final Cut Pro 1.2.5 and began editing on a G3 iMac DV 500 MHZ. Iím still using that same computer for the post on this project, but Iím really pushing the limits of its capabilities. Iím currently running Final Cut Pro 3 and would be running version 4, except that it wonít run on a G3. I feel that Iíve maxed out the potential of this computer and look forward to a new G5 desktop machine early next year. I also think that Iíve been able to get very comfortable with the program and have learned a bit more of its capabilities. Who wouldíve thought, that it would happen so quickly.

Wish me luck that we can complete the film soon and youíll be able to find out where you can watch it. Until then, keep looking around the website. Weíre attempting to update a lot of the content. Thanks again for the support.

April/May 2003: I wish that I could say that this was another creative rush of a month or two for me. Partly it was, partly it wasnít.

When we completed production, I decided to wait a week before I began editing. I wanted to get some perspective on the project and try to judge the footage by really looking at it, instead of remembering the euphoric feelings of the physical production process. I couldnít wait a full week to start, but at least, I just started digitizing initially. I held to my weekís wait before I started cutting anything.

I was able to get a full rough cut done in just under 3 weeks. That included working a full time job with lots of days of overtime for good measure. I have to admit that it took about a week and a half, before I really got into the editing. I once again got very nervous, thinking I had no clue how to go about this and that I was a big Ďol failure. I guess that passed, because I started to really enjoy what I was watching and the final half of the film came together quickly. This was the very fulfilling part.

Now comes the not so fulfilling part. Iím faced with taking a hard technical look at the film. Fixing all the audio. This takes a lot of time of really listening for any technical snafus and then finally tweaking all the levels so that theyíre fairly consistent throughout. I donít consider myself strong in audio post production, but you learn a lot as you try to decide what you like and what you donít. Then Iím faced with attempting the color correction. It feels very daunting, even though, Iím sure once I try to really get into it, it will come off fine. Then I have to consider whether Iíd like some music in the film or not. Iíve got some ideas and some plans, but nothing written in stone just yet. Itís just a phase filled with a lot of technical and not so fun parts. It also takes a lot of time, late nights, and being locked away alone with the computer. I also have to be careful, not to spend too much time alone with the movie, or I just go stir crazy and start hating everything. I lose my objectivity. Iíve been known to be frustrated, cranky and downright unappealing to be around. But whatcha gonna do?

Many people say that the real magic of filmmaking comes in the editing phase. You can make it look anyway you want to. Itís also, in my opinion, where a lot of the toughest decision making comes. What to keep, what to discard and ultimately coming up with a cut that you will show to the rest of the world and say, ďHereís my film, what do you think?Ē.

Wish me luck as I continue to make the tough decisions and try to come up with a good short film that youíll all enjoy.

March 2003: This has been quite a busy month. We began the month with the 2 final rehearsals where we really hammered out the script and the actions. We held a technical rehearsal with the crew so everyone was comfortable working with the equipment and understood exactly what would happen on the day of the shoot. The tech rehearsal was invaluable. It allowed us to work out all the lighting issues and helped us to figure out what else would be needed to make the project look good. I took the time to review videotapes from the rehearsals to further fine-tune our shot list. I was also able to eliminate some of the nervous jitters that I was having close to filming.

We took two days to shoot our project, March 17 and 18, with cast and crew foregoing green beer in order to film. It was two of the most exhaustive days that Iíve experienced in quite a while. Yet, at the same time, it was probably my most rewarding filmmaking experience ever. I felt like we stayed completely in control the entire time. We had some unforeseen problems arise, but we seemed to solve them quickly. The crew was ready for anything. It was a truly collaborative effort. Michael Gardenias who shot the piece got quite the workout as I kept making him shoot handheld and long takes. Heíll be feeling the pain from this shoot for a day or two more. Jon Edwards juggled work, family and long hours on the set. Iím sure his arms will be sore from holding the mic for 2 long days. Steve Swarting was able to give us some time during his hectic schedule and he was a big help with the lighting. He was able to give us a little better look, which should increase our production value. Tim LaLonde helped us out the first day and gave us all some lessons in audio. He helped us hook up a mixer, which allowed us to use a shotgun and a table mic to capture audio. Scott Elia and Ed Gallagher came by after their long workdays to assist us for the later part of the day. Their presence helped immensely, because they were fresh and energetic which was much needed later on into the late evening. Rounding out our crew, Ronit Shapow served as our Makeup Artist. She was able to give the production those small touches as she continued to work throughout the day. She kept the actors looking good under the hot lights all day long.

Speaking of the actors, I canít say enough about them. Natalie Jannsen and Justin Ipock. They worked continuously throughout the day and delivered consistent performances all day long for two days straight. They put in an 8-9 hour day on the first day and another 12-hour day the next. At one point on the second day, they nearly brought me to tears with their heartfelt performances. They never complained even though they went long stretches without a break, had to go from yelling at each other in one scene to kissing on the couch the next, and listening to me say ďThat was great, but can we try it one more time?Ē. In my opinion, they elevated my script about 1000%. I am truly indebted to them and I can only hope that I can do them justice in the editing phase. They are true professionals and I would be lucky to work with them again in the future.

Now, comes the next phase. I will lock myself in my room with my iMac, begin to edit the film and start the postproduction phase. I also would like to take some more time with the audio this time around. My knowledge is limited, but I learned a lot from CHASE: CUT SHORT (which is still available for online viewing on iFilm), and hope to raise my game a little with this project.

I canít wait for the final project to be seen. I am definitely giving it an online premiere and a DVD. These are still months away, but weíll keep you posted. Hopefully, youíll all enjoy the final product. Until then, check out the production photos. Weíll keep adding to the site as weíre able to.

Thanks for your interest.

February 2003: Iím happy to announce that weíre back up and running. Due to some scheduling conflicts, we had to recast the role of Dave. Thank you to Darren Reiher for his work that he put into the project and we wish him continued success. Stepping into the role of Dave is Justin Ipock. He is a fine actor and weíre lucky to be working with him. He will make a strong contribution to the project.

With casting now complete, rehearsals have begun and my excitement level is building. Itís wonderful to finally hear the actors breathing some life into the script that I wrote. Weíve designed a shot list, the equipment is reserved and weíve scheduled the shooting for late March. Weíll soon be adding some behind the scenes photos and biographies to the site. You can look for these updates once shooting is completed.

I canít wait. Itís a rush to see the project beginning to take shape. We are planning on having a few more rehearsals where we can work out all the kinks in the script and hopefully have a relaxed shoot. The finished product will be available to view before you know it.

January 2003: Unfortunately we experienced some unforeseen setbacks, which resulted in the postponement of filming until sometime in early 2003. We are attempting to get all challenges resolved quickly. We were just a few short weeks away from filming when these setbacks occurred and with the impending holiday season we felt it best to postpone and regroup after the New Year.

I was personally a little upset. Itís difficult when you feel that you are ready to go and you just want to do it. I feel like I have been living with this project and not being able to get it done, really put a damper on my psyche for a couple of weeks. Luckily, I just put up a few Christmas decorations and I felt a bit better.

Now, my Christmas decorations are down and my family visits are over. I feel re-energized and I am ready to begin work again. We will definitely shoot this project soon and I will keep you updated on the progress as it begins to unfold. Thanks for your support.

November 2002: We held the auditions for the role of Dave and were blessed with an overwhelming supply of quality actors for the part. Each actor read a short scene with Natalie, which allowed us to gauge their reading of the character and how they would act alongside our Andrea. They all did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, we had to select just one. It was a tough decision. I found myself watching the audition tape over and over again. Our choice eventually went to Darren Reiher. We know that heíll be a great addition to the cast.

With shooting coming up in only a few weeks and the holidays coming, weíll begin rehearsals and then shooting to follow. Weíll be finished shooting the project by December 19, with postproduction beginning directly after that.

October 2002: Special Night, a short film directed by Fred Miller IV, is now in pre-production. Itís slated to shoot in December with an eventual release sometime in 2003. Itís the story of a girlfriend and boyfriend who are coming to the end of a long relationship. I think many of us know what thatís like.

We are lucky enough to have the wonderful Ms. Natalie Jannsen, from Chase: Cut Short, playing the lead female role of Andrea. We are conducting a casting search for the role of Andreaís boyfriend Dave, which will be completed by the end of this month. We are now in the process of mulling over the many resumes and headshots that we received from our casting notice in Back Stage West. Many thanks to all those who responded to our ad, we really appreciate it.

Keep checking back for updates!