Category: Logistics

Wanted: Associate Producer for a New Lo-fi Sci-fi flick

Posted by – January 27, 2013

Thanks Trevor!We’ve had a pretty terrific response to GHOSTS — most recently there it is on iTunes Canada New and Noteworthy section, to the left — and we’re looking to get rolling on another movie. We’d like to explore the new funding possibilities that our success with GHOSTS has opened up, so we’re putting out the call for an Associate Producer. We’re going to spread the word broadly, but first we wanted to see if anyone reading this blog was interested or knew of good potential candidates.

You have a fascination with the business side of movie-making, both in the status quo funding options and the new possibilities offered by technological changes. You’re very organized, yet have patience with those who are not. Where others see a labyrinthine bureaucracy, you see a research challenge and a list of to-dos. Sometimes you think you are a robot, but then you cry at a sad movie. 

If you have questions or think you’d be good for the job, get in touch at

Making this Public, Money, & You in Boston?

Posted by – June 8, 2012

Couple of important things:

  • I’ve moved the blog in preparation to making it a public document of our process. If you have any issues with this — perhaps you made comments that you’d prefer stay private, for whatever reason — just let me know in the next week and we can figure it out.
  • The Kickstarter money is coming in soon. Off the top we’ll be paying back the money that the producers have loaned the project for costs thus far. Then over the next 8 months we’ll use it for the hard costs involved with screening the movie, keeping careful records. After the promotional phase is over in 2013, we will be dividing any remaining money (if any) as per our Time Logging agreement. If you have logged your hours and have not submitted them to me, please do so before the end of June. If you haven’t logged your hours and we know you’ve put more than ten hours into the project, we’ve been making estimates based on how many hours you were on set, plus prep time. This is an experimental method of compensation, and feedback and questions are welcome!

OK, on to the fun stuff!

I’ve posted some pics from the Toronto screening over here.

Here’s a little clipping from the Berlin version of Time Out, Zitty.

(Talking about other languages, we are working on subtitles for GHOSTS. The first step is making English ones so they can be translated, and Dave has transcribed the entire movie — we just need someone to match it up with the timecode. If you want to learn how to do it, get in touch for more details!)

Our next screening and Q&A is in Boston MA: Saturday July 14th at 8pm at MIT. It’s a free screening and open to the public, and I’ve been told they generally get a few hundred students out for the series. A couple of us are going down for the weekend, so if you’d like to see how Massholes react to Shit Jobs and are up for a 10 hr roadtrip, then let me know and we’ll see if we can carpool!

The Pre-Production Meetings

Posted by – June 10, 2009

Starting the last week of this month, the directors and producers will be having weekly meetings until the shooting begins. Here are some of the things we’re going to be discussing, feel free to add suggestions/concerns in the comments.

  • casting and locations: scouting, workshopping
  • gear: sound training, camera insurance, lighting options
  • cinematography: DOPs, limitations/characteristics of the flycam, style
  • world building: physical effects, digital effects, ads, signage, props, wardrobe

It seems to break down pretty straightforwardly into four topics for four meetings. Any preferred order?


Posted by – March 27, 2009

Hey all –

Jim has invited me to take the lead on a video documenting the filmmaking process of ‘Ghosts With Shit Jobs’ (I will also be involved in the main production in some capacity or other).

I’ve worked on several documentaries in the past and have a few ideas about how to do this. It’s still pretty embryonic but I wanted to share some thoughts and encourage people to think about this aspect of the production as things move forward.

First of all, I am NOT interested in making what I would describe as an interview-led documentary. This doesn’t mean that there will be no interviews; it does mean that interviews would take a back seat to footage drawn from actual unstaged incident and interaction, on set and behind the scenes. This requires a greater amount of shooting, less predetermination of content and more involved editing. Very roughly speaking, it steers the project toward cinematic documentary traditions and away from television models.

It also requires a greater amount of indulgence and consent from cast and crew as subjects. The model only really works under what I’ll describe as a ‘negative option’ consent arrangement – that is, you can ask the camera person to stop filming, but barring this, all on-set happenings are considered fair game. In exchange it would be understood that the documentary cameraperson’s presence will not be physically disruptive, and that the approach of the documentary will be respectful. In short, it requires trust on both sides

To pursue this, then, I would require a generalized consent policy that the production as a whole can endorse; so I hope you have time to discuss this and arrive at some conclusions at the meeting on the 5th.

The other thing that needs to be said is that I will not be present for every day of the shoot, and you never know when something interesting is going to happen; so I would be interested in working out a protocol which would allow other cast and crew to pick up the documentarian role in my absence. More broadly, it would be great if a general consciousness of the documentary pervaded the overall production, so that, for instance, the feature cameraperson might roll camera during rehearsal to capture that process, or individuals with something to say might feel at liberty to request an interview or even tape themselves.

The issue of documentation in my absence comes up immediately in the context of the meeting on the 5th. This meeting will be key to the evolution of the overall project, and it would be a great loss to the documentary if it weren’t recorded in some way. And I’ll be on an airplane!! I’d appreciate any help anyone can offer in documenting this meeting – even a (clean) audio-only documentation if video would make folks uncomfortable at this juncture.

If anyone is prepared to take the lead on the latter, please let me know. And if folks feel that this initiative calls for a special ‘documentary’ skill-share, I’m happy to facilitate that as well. Otherwise, please share any thoughts you might have on this idea.

Time-Logging & Profit-Sharing Contractual Agreement

Posted by – March 25, 2009

Whereas it is unlikely that Ghosts With Shit Jobs will make a profit by being sold to broadcasters and/or distributors given that it is a no-budget production,

I nonetheless desire to work on this film project either out of an interest in science fiction, the aesthetics of film-making, the principle of autonomous creation, the development of professional skills, the comradery of teamwork, or some combination thereof,

So long as any hypothetical compensation should be as equitable as possible according to my efforts, and the process itself should be as fair, transparent and accountable as possible,

Therefore, I hereby agree to the following contract:

1) I will log the hours I spend working on this project, with the understanding that my percentage of the profit will be equal to percentage of the total hours, irregardless of role, after having worked ten hours (eg. If there is a $100 profit and I have worked 10 hours on a project that took 100 hours, I will receive $10).

2) I will log hours for, but not limited to, the following activities: organizing or taking part in the preparatory film workshops, contributing to the project blog, research, securing locations, working transport, securing actors, acting, working sound or lights, constructing props, shooting video, assisting in catering or craft services, working in makeup or wardrobe, creating special effects, editing sound and/or video, or promoting the screening of the film.

3) I will record my hours as diligently and honestly as possible as soon as it is practical to do so after taking part in activities related to the film project, given that padding hours amounts to taking hypothetical money away from other project participants who are being accurate in their logging, while under-reporting hours ultimately amounts to ripping myself off.

4) I will be asked via the website email notifications to submit my hours at three points i) after pre-production is completed; ii) after production is completed, and iii) after post-production is completed. I will have two weeks to do so, failing which my hours will not be counted.

5) I understand that my payment, should I receive one, will be deferred until incurred film costs have been covered, and as such I will attempt to reduce incurred costs by posting any expenses over $100.00 to the project blog so that other project participants can be aware of the expense, suggest cheaper or free alternatives, or contest the expense.

Name: ________________________________________________________________________

Signature: ____________________________________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________________________________________

No to ACTRA, Yes to Releases, Maybe to Cyberhats

Posted by – January 9, 2009

Dave has been talking to the ACTRA actor’s union about our situation, and while there are some lower rates for indie low-budget productions if you qualify, they didn’t go for our model of deferred, hypothetical money.

My unnamed source who had used ACTRA actors, then was able to clear it once he had a broadcast offer, was a bit of a special case. He started his movie as a workshop/improv kind of thing with a few people who were ACTRA. After the movie was made, he went to ACTRA and explained that he didn’t know he was going to actually make a movie — they watched it, believed him based on the style of movie, and allowed him to pay the actors TIP rates retroactively.

So it looks like we should go non-ACTRA & non-union in general: unions are one of those good things, like organic food, that I continue to feel ambivalent about. On a more practical tack, does this mean I should lean towards script ideas have have lots of smaller acting parts (Play’n) rather than ones with leads that will dominate the screen (Alleyologist)? Input welcome.

Dave was also able to track down some templates for all the releases we need at the Canadian Independent Film & Video Fund (CIFVF). He did it so quickly I suspect he might have Internet access via his frontal lobe. Or at least a hat like the guy at the top of the post.

Whine about Time

Posted by – January 3, 2009

I notice everything around here shows up in GMT.

Time Logging Protocol

Posted by – January 1, 2009

It’s pretty unlikely that we’ll make any money off of this, but if that happy thing was to happen, wouldn’t it suck if people felt like they didn’t get their fair share? I know that I would feel like shit. This is why I want to make this as transparent and accountable as possible.

As I proposed in this post, and there seemed to be general agreement on, one way to fairly divide our wads of hypothetical money is by logging our hours. So, this being the day of new resolutions, I’d like to encourage people to develop it as a habit that they eventually don’t have to think about. Personally, I’ve been using this dashboard applet for my Linux system and there seem to be various apps to do it with Mac and PC, including this Java crossplatform one (anyone else got a favourite?). But naturally pencil and paper is fine too, whatever works for you. I’ll be asking people for their hours right before we shoot, after we shoot, and after the project’s over.

Many of the people involved have done this to invoice clients, so it shouldn’t be that tough. However, unlike invoicing clients who are reselling your work at a profit, I’d ask people to consider that padding or guesstimating the time you’ve spent is either taking (hypothetical) money away from people that are being accurate, or underestimating the time spent and ripping yourself off.

Anyway: if you have concerns or questions, now is the time to voice them. We’ll work it out. Otherwise, I’ll assume you’re logging your hours!

The Proposed Schedule

Posted by – December 28, 2008

As people may have noticed, I’ve been coming up with possible story concepts — a couple have just spontaneously occurred to me, and others I’ve sat down and brainstormed up. I’ve got five now, and I’m going to go deeper with them over January — researching the leads people have added in the comments (and hopefully will continue to add), interviewing people with expertise in the subjects, etc. I’ll share what I learn and by the end of the month one will probably feel particularly strong. I’ll then write up a 10 page outline for that one in February, invite people to give feedback, and write the script in March. In Jan, Feb, and March we’ll have monthly events (like the lighting skillshare that went really well yesterday) to meet in person and discuss the movie informally. In April I would like to step it up with weekly meetings that will prepare us for shooting in May and June.

Concerns? Have a particular pre-production thing you’d like to see included? Chime in!