Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #29 - CCR

Enjoy the CCR! Full review on the production of "Sciolism"

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #28 - "Sciolism" Final Upload


Film Opening - Blog #27 - Project Reflection

The train had left the station, and our production's puzzle pieces were being individually crafted. The element to each practice in a film: Location, writing, lighting, dialogue, color, set design, sound. All of it makes up a whole new level of identity, like ants forming a bridge, or people building a city filled with expansive infrastructure. Alas, the Coronavirus ultimately was the nuclear-weapon equal to our micro-city of character and design. Though there were delays in our process due to school and other mishaps of life, we realized that things would need to start from scratch. However difficult communication became with my team and how hard it was to develop as a team due to the quarantine and conflicting agendas, I took a hold of a new brainstorming for a script after I scouted for new concepts and explored Florida's now vacant landscapes for eminent ideas. Abandoned areas, prisons, and forests amazed me. They were the source of adventure and unease, the perfect spawn for a film.

I wrote the concept behind "Sciolism" - A Mazz Runner / Indiana Jones / Get Out style movie. Due to the lack of actors, especially the time to train anyone in their rolls, that told me I had to bring my focus to the writing of a story that didn't solely rely most on a dialogue exchange. So instead of a beginning conversation between two characters or a group (especially with the lack of people), I looked to bring more emphasis to other aspects like color, set, and sound. I wanted to create something in the environment that lived on its own in the soul of the scene. I wanted to let the characters excitingly express themselves - Show, don't tell.

After writing on Friday, March 3rd, that Saturday Emil and I scouted the forest areas just beyond Manatee Bay Elementary that were about half a mile from the barren roads. Working with him to see how we would execute the set construction and design of the scene extraordinarily helped us visualize the idea. Once we were on the same page, we discussed ideas for music and got everyone up to speed on the plans: Alyssa, Emil, and his girlfriend Nadya.

The weather began to look nasty when I checked that night. We were going to need at least 3-4 hours to collect all the content we needed, including audio and all the shots we had butchered together with sticky notes on the side of the script. The rush was unreal and more reckless than I had ever set up a scene before, but hey, when you had as little time as I did I'm proud we got through it. Rain looked like it would fall around 1pm on Sunday, so last minute I shifted it all back to 8am, my place sharp. Even though Alyssa was late, everything else was moving well on time and we shot the whole production together like machines. We implemented the attractive parts to the area into our shots to bring something out of the Markham park looking scenery. There was no one out there, how on Earth has no one seen this place before? The hustle dragged on with our greatest efforts until 12:20 that day. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and dehydration. Even with the moped helping me lug equipment back to our car I was shot on the inside. Thankfully it wasn't too hot out there. I got home, and from that Saturday to today I had been editing and piecing together it all together in harmony, it's beautiful, and I can't wait for you to see it all. Even after all the exhausting frustration with trying to communicate with the team, I was happy to say that I could bring the project back to life under my name with my work and efforts. Its paid off greatly.

It's something that implements an adventurous and horror style to it. I hope you enjoy it soon. We'll upload the segment onto Youtube and embed it into the blog.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #26 - Editing and Grading (the fun part)

It is amazing to see all the footage come together - The process has finally been stitched together into a glorious piece. Here is the finalized timeline of the "Sciolism" sequence.

 The video clips are in the "V" rows, with the text pieces above in the light brown color, set with transitions. Most orange clips involve Emil's shots, while blue is with Nadya. Pink includes both of them in the composition, clearly the last bits of the opening. Most of the green tracks laying on the bottom laced with audio wave-forms are foley and sound mixing worked on in post. These include the score, external sound segments, SFX, and other important choices to bring stylizing to the scene. Lots of the sound effects included bass booms, heart beats, and winds.

Once I had my editing bit done, I moved on to taking the Blackmagic RAW video from my BMPCC4K and correcting all the imbalances in white balance and exposure, then choosing a coloring that I actually liked for the ambitions of what our film's message was. Something nature-infused and dim seemed most appropriate.

This section of my editing software, Davinci Resolve 16 (Thank you Blackmagic) includes a list of my shots in the sequence and my nodes for the coloring effects, which I can manipulate and then organize what it affects. I can add certain attributes to any color or add vignettes, warping, film grain, all sorts of things. I love using the plugin FilmConvert Pro to translate my digital footage into a more vintage look and adjust it freely to what I want. I can play with color, curves (non-linear contrast), grain, and camera sensor size (for how it treats the film format emulation, ie 8mm will look worse than Super 35) Once applied and tuned to every single shot, I have a consistent and quality look for the production of our video.

Editing has a start and an end to the process, and it takes a glorious amount of time to bring it all together and even figure out where to start. Years of producing in my school work has granted me great skills that I have worked hard for. I have learned to be efficient in my process of workflow and meanwhile produce quality content in a timely matter. In less than I week I have given my ultimate and best efforts to this project solely on my own. I'm seeing a theme now more prevalent than ever - Lack of team effort or interest beyond what they are forced to do. So be it. If they choose to live with an honesty beyond what credit is given, that is completely on them. I got this all back on its feet, and its basically everyone for themselves at this point.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #25 - Shooting and Editing!

    It was six in the morning and we met up around my house at approximately eight. Emil blasted down the road in his Mustang, and I followed with my bike down to the very same spot we had searched. Alyssa was able to meet up around half an hour later since she had slept a bit. I wasn't too upset, since this was our one shot to get the filming done I wanted to take advantage of every minute we had on set. It was our only chance after all. We began the establishing shots of the area, some extra b-roll, and Emil's scenes when she arrived on set in the forest. There was no plan for a storyboard because of our lack of time. More just a printed script like the one from last post just showered in side annotations and sticky notes. I ended up being the main camera man, Alyssa was audio and gear, and we had our wonderful duo to play their rolls that they studied the night before.

    From 8:30am to around 12:11pm that afternoon, it was shot after shot of constant exhaustion, dehydration, and hunger during production. All four of us pulled through in maximum efficiency. We were able to nail what we had to get done and work our way down the script until we had the most content to work with for flexibility in post editing. The surges of creative efforts for shot compositions and locations in the area brought more character to the scene that made what someone would call a typical park trail to be an eerie foreign forest.

Finally, we got the production done smothered in the bugs and our own sweat, but we did it! We got what we needed and the next thing to knock out was some rest and flying at the computer keyboard. We have begun our editing for the short film opening "Sciolism", a horror/thriller flick about a teenage couple alone in the forest, lost, or so they though. Teaser thumbnails! :)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #24 - Fresh Start, Back on Track!

    Alas, after hours of searching for abandoned areas across South Florida I had no luck with finding a suitable location to tread as our vacant hell hole, we started looking for other spots to place our characters in for an adventurous maze. Markham Park, Tree Tops Park, and even Vista View Park were all on lock-down, as was the rest of the country. I discovered a little street connecting both US-27 and a few turns right past my high school. There were a few points on the road where it would deviate off into gated off pathways that lead deep into a forest packed to the brim with flourishing nature. I took a leap of faith and squeezed my bike through a crack. I spent a total of three hours going airborne through the trees, rocketing off the leverages from tilted trails and soaked in all the intelligence I could gather. I collected numerous photos of the area to scout for new spots we could apply for a script.

    The script we have is finally put together and involves two teenagers running from a mysterious criminal. The wonder of exposition and execution we crafted wraps around the idea of human fear and becoming the prey under natures wrath. We were able to get our team member Emil Lowra and his girlfriend Nadya Ackermanian to play as the duo in the story, and I would be the bad guy on the bike. The script is a simplistic urn of events that have them run for their lives, or at least they try.
Sunday, April 5th, is the day of our production. The weather looks nasty from 1pm and all the way to Wednesday this week, so that morning will be our only shot to grind and film something amazing.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #23 - Stuck at home/Media Usage

Being quarantined can drive anyone nuts, similar to (but not equally debilitating) solitary confinement, especially more taxing on a socially active teenager. Unfortunately, I am a prime example of one experiencing these pains. The eternally long hours feel like a lifetime but before you know it a whole week of just nothing has gone by. Its this vicious cycle of having full control over my life and getting so much productive work done such as homework, exercise, or other projects, yet then I'm caught up with my favorite Youtube channels or movies. And before you know it, it's 3am on a Sunday. This whole dilemma is a whirlwind of just sequential events. Time has become such an arbitrary concept of how we organize our days in routine, it just doesn't make any damn sense anymore. I don't even care for the clock; I work, and honestly, its either day or night, who cares.

Keeping in touch with my friends has been plenty important to me, and it works super well with family too. Facetime and Snapchat have definitely been my biggest source of traffic when I want to chat with my friend group when the only thing separating us during our mini-vacation (prior to school obviously) was the division from a disease pandemic. iTunes, Netflix, Spotify, Youtube: All the majority of media consumption when I'm on my own. I'm using Youtube to catch up with gaming channels, motorcycles, commentators, and so on. My English teacher has also applied the platform to directly communicate and explain her plans for the week, using Canvas as the proxy to the links.

FaceTime was my best way to talk to my friends, most often for hours on end and it kept me sane. I miss my friends so much, so I was glad to have them around me in the best way we could. Soon though I'll hopefully be able to see them in person, but who knows (and I doubt) if we'll go back to campus for classes anymore this year. Overall, it's just been a lot of computer surfing and video content online, some music, and two-way communication traffic. It's not so bad in the end.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #22 - Will Smith

Now, why would we want to film inside an abandoned, foreign, withered jailhouse?

(Reference photo to location. Source: Ryan Murphins @

    Will Smith started in a 2007 feature-length film named "I Am Legend", along with actors Alice Braga and Charlie Tahan. Directed by Francis Lawrence, his story followed the journey of a man surviving the odds the world threw at him (Smith). The struggle humanity fought against has left society in the vacant dust. He gets by on his own, free as a bird, alongside his pal dog in what's left of New York City. He is the only one immune to the virus that has wiped out everyone and spends his days to find a cure and bring humanity back. Neville (Smith) is their last hope for survival and is running out of time as he needs to discover the truth of whats happened and how to reverse what's already been done to the people. 

    The lonesome worlds of an apocalyptic universe seem so fitting for the current circumstances of many people out in the world quarantined in their homes. The drive that a creative and mystical universe that a set like this can create brings the excitement of an alter world to the mind. Our story will share few similarities, as we are looking to create something more driven on mystery. Our character might wake up in this labyrinth, searching for freedom and his way out of a hole. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #21 - Brainstorming

    Our days lay in infamy as our brainstorming persists, and the surge of school assignments has hit everyone like a kick in the shin. I spent all day today getting my English and History assignments done far ahead of when they're due, by weeks. I finished over 80 repetitive notecards for some vocab and wrapped up about two weeks' worth of missed Pre-Calc lessons. Thankfully my teacher granted me some full credit, or my grade would've surely taken a brutal strike far below what I want to get.

    During my session of thinking, I came across an old collection of film shorts I had done throughout my middle school years at Falcon Cove. I discovered my Film 2 short named "Heathens", and the final scene especially caught my attention. As the main detective character walks off the criminal from the police car, he introduces him to a jail yard fence and the shot fades out. But I remembered that unique traits of the location set we had picked - It was the abandoned prison off of Sheridan street near where we live. If we could investigate this area and use it as a set choice for our new short, it would bring a lot of creative possibilities for the storyline we could craft around it.

Abandoned correctional facility, full of secrets and fun adventurous if explored responsibly.

     We will discuss the main inspiration for such a location and where we decide to move the direction of our film opening in. Night folks!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #20 - Start from scratch...?

The turmoil unfolds beyond what we can perceive as the whole world falls apart. Never before have we seen a pandemic of this scale to rock the education system on this much of an international scale before. I don't care to ride the gravy train of delirious panic on CNN or other garbage like that. Cooperate news has always bothered me anyway, so now I soak up my own research or more transparent groups that actually source things. Even after all this much of a disaster, we must push on with the project.

All week our group has tried rigorously to obtain cast for the rolls in our story. Each attempt gets shot down; The whole city is on a curfew also, but no one is really allowed to leave during the day time either way. Each time we ask around the fear of catching Coronavirus is what will universally be the make or break for the parents of our friends. We have thought about taking advantage of this epidemic and think of something creative around an apocalyptic world.

Then we realized something. Every single person is probably under the same panic for reorganization or scraping old plans. Our goal is to create something entertaining and enjoyable, filled with creative content and interesting concepts that won't be so quick to thought for our fellow AICE creators. This weekend will mean the complete start from scratch brainstorming to take advantage of our situation as best as possible instead of it being something so radically stressful or inefficient.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #19 - Rosa/Ideas for the Opening Scene

    Sunday is the day of our fabulous Rosa! She is an ass-whipping beast and makes the best of life.
    Rosa is the sarcastic, bubbly, beautiful, Hispanic sidekick. She is the fun-sized pack of energy who loves to mock and bully at the ones who deserve it the most - the shady bullies themselves. She stands side-by-side with her partner in crime, the one and only Julian. Inseparable, they exploit the worst of people who take from others. They are the secret Robin-hoods on campus and they're quietly rocking it good. They are the Batman and Robin of their local high school, but instead of Gotham city, its the dimly lit hallways lined with sickly slabs of icy concrete.

    We have a collection of new concepts to replace what we had originally written for the opening scene of our short opening. This is the primary demonstration of what the character of Julian is like, so our focus is to emphasize on what his actions are like in a quick montage.

  • Quietly traveling the city, shows himself as an individual and isolationist. 
  • Travels around in dark clothing, close with the neighborhood and community around him at the local restaurant. Defiantly running corrupted or paid-off connections, has ties with the higher ups around the city. 
  • Works with people of all ages, gets universal respect from each group. Don't step in his path or you're asking for it.
  • Skilled with computers at home, a whiz at the keyboard and swift to complete his job.
  • Shuffles money around, cooperative with others to get his hustle done.
Julian and Rosa run their ring of exploits to get by in their hell of a ghetto. The schedule for our production has all been shoved down for the week, so we hope to see a storyboard along with a script wrapped up by this week. Stay safe everyone!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #18 - Julian

    This weekend will mark the importance of our two main characters Julian and Rosa! This fantastic inseparable duo is not a pair to be messed with, as they are the unstoppable, slick, yet roaring wave in school.

This is the representation of our character Julian as displayed by the model Thyme Stidworthy.
However, the man we have to fill his shoes in the casting is non-other than our team member and actor Emil Lorwa. This man was re-named after Nathan Hill, and this is the current identity for the same individual.

We are more than fortunate to have a character who can represent the one we have created on paper. This power at the poker table is legendary, and we hope to deliver this talent in the most effective way possible through training our cast. Sunday we will go over the future for the first scene and who Rosa will be. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #17 - Further Delays

    The chaos reigns on but tonight we finally collect our work together into something usable. The whole team has had the hardest time communicating, but we're fortunate to finally be able to reach out due to the issues at hand with Corona. With the extra time granted to us by Cambridge, we are gratefully taking advantage of the additional seven days to clean up post-production in case we need it. We are vigilant students, and even though the situation we are in is taxing, their exceptions for us are not impossible or unrealistic.

    Today will be my review for the second scene of "Bad Beat", the script written by our member Alyssa Wheelock. Our original ideas for the beginning half had to be sliced off since the vigorous assault of COVID-19 has intruded where we could realistically film. Since we needed an active school campus with students around, we were stumped for quite a bit. We're going to rethink the path in how we introduce the main character, Nathan.

    Our previous concept consisted of the main characters named Nathan Hill, Rebecca Martin, and Chester Hill (Nathan's uncle). They are renamed, in the same order, as Julian, Rosa, and August. This is the first scene where Rosa is introduced, and as the first stranger begins to nag her, she puts her foot down and brings the first impressions of dominance and control to the table. She is a fierce and sharp girl; A battle-hardened, frigidity animal. Her mockery of the bit-too-bold extra is a nice sting and pokes fun at the stranger pair (Players One and Two) Even though we now understand her fighting attitude, Julian is clearly established as Rosa's teammate; She acknowledges his presence and is like the bouncer to Julian. He is quiet, yet giving the aroma of the room an uneasy hawk stare.

Tomorrow we'll discuss the basic characteristics of Julian and Rosa! Cheers folks. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #16 - Quarantine

This is it; we've locked down for four days now. This is it, folks. The sun; doesn't it look so pretty outside? The bleak rays of sunlight bleeding through the slim window frame cracks. Oh lord; how I yearn to retrieve fresh air someday in this world, for the delusion of an apocalypse stains society into a panic-filled hysteria with misinformation. I ration myself with SPAM-filled containers and bottles of Dasani water because the tap still works but just as the media has frightened, it could have Corona in it!

Oh gosh! How the world is going to die in mere weeks. This is like that popular movie Contagion or World War Z, but instead of infected zombies, it is diseased humans. If only the world had Brad Pitt and overly paid child actors to save us now.

Just kidding! This break is a blessing, and the script is almost done.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #15 - Further Delays

Great news! My team members were successfully able to complete the majority of our script while I was out and currently sick. The plan is by Monday to have a complete segment. This weekend will surely by the final days of my illness, as I'm pretty sure its just some stupid flu or cold. Thankfully it has been confirmed I'm not a "prolific case" of COVID-19.  Why are people freaking out to this degree? Everyone has their own reasons, but my god, who knows why we took all the toilet paper. While my mom was at the Publix on Friday, she had seen a lady who had an entire shopping cart stuffed to the overwhelming brim with gallons of bleach. Is the world going to die and I just don't know it?

Of course, instead of being hysterical about everything, I did my bit of research and there will always be that minority that goes flamboyant with conspiracy and irrational madness. There will always be that radical group that not only treats these events like an apocalypse but the ones who will take advantage of it from an enterprise perspective. Its perfect polarized harmony and it just wastes resources, and before you know it, its old news in two months. What a funny world we live in. It is truly beautiful chaos, and soon will I present the life of Nathan Hill on the colored screens in that fashion. It all works out for the sly criminals who don't get caught, as the world always continues to spin. G'night folks.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #14 - Coronavirus

  Amid the rising pandemic of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, Broward County and Miami-Dade schools have officially closed their doors as of March 13th, 2020. The disruption in the workflow for many students and teachers is a price worth paying with the increasing unpredictability for this newfound disease. Their priority has been to isolate the issue and make sure their students aren't exposed, to the best of their ability, to the virus. Although the mortality rate in teenagers and adults of health aren't severe, its spread is so sporadic and prompt that it is a legitimate threat to others who don't have a prolific immune system to defend against it. Here is Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho addressing the issue today at 4:10pm.

    Currently our team is at a loss for words in how to address the future of our project. Our plan to produce the film during the last week of March may or may not be feasible now. Our project may be suspended from production and the film will be cancelled. For now we are giving the situation the benefit of the doubt and holding onto our work, making sure we will continue finalizing the concept work and have something potentially ready to use once the opportunity to use it comes. It is on our best interest to achieve something amazing from what we've birthed so far, and we want every opportunity to execute our plans in a creative and fun way. As of now, we wait for the higher-ups to call the shots. That is perfectly fine with me; I'm fighting my own cold right now either way, so there is no rush.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #13 - Crime Families

    Nathan Hill, our main character, is the son of a criminal now finally behind bars. Isolated within his father's circle and his current high school friends, he strives to get by with his tricks and plans. He is one of mystery and secretive assassin-like methods. He gets his job done and swiftly in a lurking manner; He is a man in the shadows. Like father, like son as they say. Here are some prime examples of well-established criminal families from the 20th century to current times.

These are the three most notorious of the "Five Families" in New York City.

Genovese Crime Family

(Vincent Gigante, 2005. Photo:

    This group was the primary center of the American Mafia for New York and New Jersey. Their founder was Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who had originally called it the Luciano crime family until its renaming in 1957 under Vito Genovese. They are the eldest of the five known New York groups, who ran mortgage frauds and discovered every which way to sap money from innocent people. They also took advantage of illegal gambling over the coast through the internet. Since 2005 they have been frozen in inactivity, as this was the time their latest leader Gigante had passed away. They have the least amount of people turn in evidence against them compared to other groups.

Lucchese Crime Family

(Tommy Gagliano was boss from 1931-1951. Photo;

    Ironically one of the more peaceful of the five families, they were still responsible as an active partisan group in the Castellammarese War. This took a turn for the worst when Victor Amuso and Anthony Casso were named successors by Anthony Coralla. They re-established themselves as one of the most violent groups in American history, murdering absolutely anyone who poked troubles with their clan. After the total counted 140 murders, he was sentenced to 455 years in jail. He is a man of the past but has stained New York and the NYPD with corruption and damage. Members turned against them and half the cartel was imprisoned.

Gambino Crime Family

(Carlo Gambino, the most famous leader. Photo:

    This man was the most infamous leader amongst the Gambino group when he gained power by assassinating the leader Albert Anastasia, the man behind "Murder, Inc" until its destruction in the 1940s. He had organized Albert's murder to overrule his family and establish himself as the new leader. Their biggest influences were the gambling crimes in Cuba throughout the 60s and 70s. He appointed his wife's brother Paul Castellano when he died in 1976. The Gambino family as a whole was terminated in the early 90s when John Gotti was given away to the FBI by Salvatore Gravano as revenge for murdering Castellano back in 1985. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #12 - Representation

    Our main character Nathan hill is the pristine representative of the juvenile delinquent. Despite his poor choices, his hustle requires his massive intelligence and exacting plan executions. Reckless mischief, one who is a vicious, heartless demon with an innocent name. This monster of cunning skill is tucked in a pretty boy face, mute in his expression. There could be no better prime example of such a character in real life: Chris Benton.

"Benton is among a small but apparently growing group of young people who see playing poker online as a way to earn income and hone their skills in psychology and strategic thinking. They distinguish themselves from gamblers, such as Lotto players who rely solely on Lady Luck, and take a more studied approach to poker playing. Just among Benton’s former classmates at Fremont’s Washington High School, he said, more than a half dozen think of poker more as a vocation rather than a pastime." - The Mercury News, September 13th, 2007
(A teenage criminal. Photo:

    Chris ran his whole internet scheme with other delinquents who operated an online fraudulent group that used online poker games to exploit others for thousands. Their exploitation of others and strategic thinking was unrelenting on the whole online community. Indian online games were the source of the victims of their crimes. The rampant addiction to the game has to lead the US government to ban online access and financial transaction interactions with poker sights.

"A lot of kids have grown up with legalized gambling. College students are the most at-risk group because they have access to money and credit." (Kristy Wanner, University of Missouri-Columbia)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #11 - Chaos Unfolds

    With a mere 2 days of Florida action left, my main goal is to get some fire new clothes ready before the trip. I needed new clothes away, and American Eagle was a goldmine of new styles that were a compatible fit for my body. I can't say that often about many stores, and I was also able to grab some nice new camo-joggers. The blissful saga of my high school life shifts to a new era of modern styling, and you bet I love it!

    Currently, we are planning these things into our basic concepts and then continue from there.

  • Center our camera work in an arc fashion around the poker table.
  • Create a name of the "tournament" fraudulent scheme Nathan will devise. 
  • Opening will conclude a montage of others waiting outside the ring to join or participate in the game, maybe a list of competitors.
  • Invitation style hustle, similar to Fight Club.
  • Have the main team, including Nathan, consist of his main friend Rebeca and on other.
  • "World Poker Tournament"
  • "Beverly Hills S2E4" Poker Scene
    • Graphic match of poker chip from school montage scene into the poker scandal with Nathan running it all.
    • Have main order to scenes consist of the school first and then the poker scene as the conclusion.
  • Write in some conflicting or traumatic history behind the main character of Nathan. 
    Basic outline for ending half of short. 
  • Teen exits house, heads to friends saying goodbye to his mother. 
    • He'll be doing "homework"
  • Nighttime, walks to house with a backpack and hoodie.
  • Slips into garage through backdoor
  • Enters active poker game, and the challenge is on.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #10 - Big week, and soon...

    Finally, I get my weekend, and frankly, after one crazy week of Pre Calculus and my first SAT, I'm surely burned out. Frankly, I over prepared myself for that one. Twelve of my Sunday hours prior to it had been 260-ish math problems, and I over-estimated their expectations for me. Whoops. Aftershock, my high school's weekly airing television show is one of my favorite classes Cypress Bay can offer. Tuesday is the day I'm flying out to DC. Flying in a giant metal tube with wings than Man 100 years ago would've died for, all for $200. The frightening reality is this is the test of my skills in cinema and TV production. STN (Student Television Network) competitions are the big thing across the States for connections and getting out there in media for high schoolers. Despite missing so much class, I would never pass it up without a fight. Every year it proves to be an incredible adventure and peek into the lifestyles of free American individualist adults. "Go have fun, go crazy!" they say, and we do. Its some of the best content we make all year.

Group as a whole at Boeing, Nashville, TN

Left: Aracelis Partida , Right:Me, with some smoothie thing.

    I definitely will be continuing the blogs as I leave my team behind in lil' ol Florida winning trophies with my team for our school. The feedback I (hopefully) will receive back as our script and concepts continue to evolve without my home presence are vital for my writing. I'm going to depend on them for my work. I can't wait to see how the script will piece itself together. You can't have everything, but compromises are always possible! Daytime: filming and editing. Nightime: Clacking away at the keyboard and overworking, by that point, a fried noggin. Goodnight to all of you chaps, maybe tomorrow I can get an update on what the wakening blossom of our outline is. If I do, expect it sometime soon! Cheers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #9 - Criticism

    The day has come for the revision of our concepts within the plot for our characters Nathan Hill and his best friend Rebecca Martin. Our trio takes an AICE Media Studies AS level class at Cypress Bay High school: the opportunity to hear supportive and productive feedback into the development of our short opening was critical to our processing. It helped us complete the basic blocking behind the design in what each of our scenes would be and develop it. Our particular priority was to figure out how we could show the characters we had written origin stories for in ways that presented their traits and interests within two minutes. Tuesday was one of our most productive days in creative flows of thought. The hustle of a high school teenager as he gets by running his whole scheme of fraud, sucking out the flood of easily manipulated young adults for personal gains, like that of a vicious vampire. Nathan is undergoing the largest financial scam in the history of mankind, crafting the perfect plot to use games to his advantage. Yes, all of it is a game; He chooses to play his cards in the most exacting fashion to turn the tides for himself and him only. It is horrifyingly sickening knowing the true filth underneath each sliding chip on the green carpet top, understanding the criminal charlatan behind it all. Would you do anything to learn what happened to your father and survive the journey?


    I love the thrilling tension behind the history of the character. It brings a magical, endless charm to the excitement of a story and the plotline. The tease makes me itch from the inside out and I'm along for the ride on the edge of my seat. Our project's goal is to deliver two quick scenes following characteristics similar to Quentin Tarantino's films Inglorious Bastards (2008) and Django Unchained (2012). Both are remarkable for the harmony in the score, set, editing, and cinematography for their opening scenes. Every shot has a purpose, and the first scene hopes to deliver the hunter/predatory observer traits to Nathan as he goes hunting for his financial prey. He leaves a looming tension bottled up inside, an uncanny discomfort. Something is going down. 

Left you on a cliffhanger? My apologies! I will elaborate further on scene one tomorrow and introduce the second portion.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #8 - General Props

   A major segment of the fundamental pieces of filmmaking ultimately is the set design itself. It is essential to create a set that can attribute to the scene of characters and conflict through multitudes of expressions. This can include props and their coloring, lighting, design of the themes, cultural references, and how it is all strategically arranged. Our team definitely wishes to create a comfortable environment with stylistic choices similar to a man-cave, yet with looming harsh darkness in the back. For our primary garage scene, there are 5 key elements we want to attribute around the poker game battle.

Poker Table
One could surely say this was pretty important right? Its possible one of our team members has first-hand access to one from his family members, but the current status is no promises. Amazon offers premium deals on products that are within our financial tolerance; Perfect for our budget. Walmart is able to deliver similar deal guarantees.

Walmart search for "Poker Tables" under $100

Amazon search with similar criteria
We're more than satisfied with the basis for our set design in a short, easy reach by spring break!

Poker Chips
For some particular reason, no one has poker chips in their house, which is most definitely not pleasing to learn. However, we aren't penny pinchers and ten dollars never killed anyone. Amazon also happens to over some amazing steals for said chips. Their algorithm that contributes to their selection of ideal products greatly offers us variety in quality via price, giving us a solid broad spectrum to quickly overview. A proper collection of professional-looking chips, so well organized. The ideal look is for a silver hard-case and a slick look. 

Tuesday is the beginning of the work for the structure on our plot. Priority will be for the character symbolism and the blocks to the opening scene. We can't wait to deliver special charms to each trait of our film! This is the start of "Bad Beat"

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #7 - The Game at Hand

One of the major implementations of the opening film for our scene is when the high school students coordinate an elaborate game of poker. Poker has shown itself to be a game with high stakes, one with strategy, and superhuman skills. A just a single one of 52 cards can mean the difference between winning and losing thousands in gambling. The strategies are maliciously cunning and ruthlessly exacting. The culture behind the whole community of gamers has become one of the mute expressions and a particular goal in mind: eliminate others and prevail.

Variations of Poker

A true classic origin to the game most are familiar with. This version consists of basic parent fundamentals that are almost always paired with other mechanics to add strategy in the fallout. Beginning with 52 cards ranked high to low (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, etc), however, the suite is irrelevant. The end is simple; Whoever has the highest collection of 5 cards at hand is the winner. There's a collection of ranks to classify different possible combinations; "Four of a Kind", "Full House", "Flush" and so on are some examples. 

Stud Poker

A poker variant where each player receives a set of cards; Some are faced up and others aren't. Whoever will bet first during the game is variable throughout the session, so it does not matter who is physically where on the table. The common theme is whoever has the most face-up cards is most likely to win. There are four or fewer rounds in one game, and some styled versions of Stud Poker include "Six-Card stud" and "Caribbean Stud" Besides these key differences it follows the classic orientation of a typical poker game. 

Texas Hold Em'
Yee-haw! Especially down here in the South, we Americans love so dearly. Two "hole cards" are given to each player in the start. The main stage consists of "the flop", "the turn", and the final one, "the river" The main goal is to collect the best combination of five card sets from the rest of them. The cards are dealt randomly and each player needs to manage their "money" within set of cards. They can chose to trade there cards and auction them around in such deals between other competitors. The winner is ultimately the one who has comprised the best hand and not gone bankrupt by the finale: A fat cash prize known as "the pot" This variation blossomed in Robstown, Texas around a century ago, bringing an American classical variation to the table. 

Understanding the fundamentals of the the styles poker has brings us creative opportunities to clash conflict among the cards with each of the characters we write. The micro war is full of twists and turns to excite the audience and drive tension or drama that will not be let go so easily. The high school hustle is swift and sly, and our main character must not have his scheme exposed in the neighborhood clique. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #6 - Equipment

     Years of development in my skills and return investment into effective products keeps the quality and traits of my content up to standards. Multiple commissions, school projects, and other events have offered me an opportunity to handle my net savings back into high-quality tools video production and other cinema gigs. Middle school was the origin of it all, as I had started with just a little adorable Canon point-and-shoot to work my way up to the set up I have now. I'm more than glad I can contribute to my team's upcoming project with cinematic attributes. I love that I have the skills and strengths to use my gear in its fullest potential for films that can match Hollywood productions.

Camera Set-Up
1) Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
     This beast has the workhorse powers unseen with a camera of its cost until now. For $1,300, you get a cinematic monster with 4K DCI recording up to 60 frames a second, in BRAW Q0. BRAW has become Blackmagic's answer to the lossless nightmare of CinemaDNG and created an efficient codec that could process RAW metadata into flat images to run smoothly on many systems of varying processing power. The color sciences of their new tech has proven itself as a big player with competing brands' similarly priced digital cinema cameras. This camera has given the chance for premium motion pictures at consumer-friendly costs. It is the pinnacle of "the most bang for buck"

 2) Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Canon EF Lens and Metabones EF-MFT Ultra 0.71x Speedbooster

     It is often heard that the Micro Four Thirds mount has its fundamental downsides, which it does. The crop factor, lack of diversity in lenses, and so on. Metabones has done a great service to the industry by introducing magnifying lens adapters in numerous flavors on mounts. Famously have they offered one designed for Canon glass onto the native MFT mount; Perfect for the Blackmagic. Not only does the Speedbooster increase sensor size by multipling the crop by 0.71 times (effectively making it 1.42x like a Super 35 camera instead of the 2x natively) and make paired lenses faster in exposure, it allows a much wider range of fantastic aftermarket lenses. The Sigma 18-35mm lens is famous for provided an incredibly sharp and versitle image in photography and filmmaking, and has rightfully become incredibily popular as a great wide-zoom, especially in low light scenerios. The bundle of tools together has created a ruthlessly valuable mechanism to spawn something beautiful in every project. 

Forever will these tools be at my side to create spectacular art!
("Dean Milan",

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #5 - "BAD BEAT" Scheduling and Characters

     "Bad Beat" is going to be the official name behind our new film concept to come into production. Our research into the poker community and trends in the game spawned a term we believed our main character, Nathan Hill, fit flawlessly. The term refers to a "bad beat jackpot" in the game of poker, in which the one who seems to have the advantage, looses in the end. It's a satirical twist stinking of mockery and ego; The man who believes he is on a pedestal above the lame kid gets the tables flipped on him and is crushed beyond his dominance. This phrase gives an appropriate tribute to the style and charisma of our main character. Today our team met up in a group to discuss how we were going to invest in what props to purchase and how we would block up who would work on what in particular. Our main concern was creating a set of intricate detail yet have it be financially efficient. Our current focus is figuring out the web of characters in our scheme and planning the rest of the project.


The opening scene will consist of these characters and what their relationship is. Nathan Hill is the primary character in the story, and he is a high school senior student how running poker scams to get by financially. His uncle, Chester Hill, is an aged man yearning for a future since his divorce, yet after Nathan's father is slammed behind bars, his focus is to be the guardian of and befriend Nathan. Rebecca Martin is Nathan's best friend, the only since childhood. No other pair of peers is bonded so tightly, as they are the unbreakable bond of effective criminals. No crime is done without the other, as they fix their hustle getting each other's backs, no matter what they run into. 

Nathan begins the night with Rebecca, challenging two swindlers coated in black leather to a poker game in his home, a gamble indeed. He invites them to search for the answers of what exactly went down for his father, as these men are associates of the Mafia group that butts heads with his dad's group. Nathan and Rebecca execute their cunning tricks to assassinate these men, defeating them in an embarrassingly quick fashion. They had come to spell trouble, but Nathan isn't letting them put a dent in his shield yet. An unsettling foreshadowing reeks off these chaps as they proceed off into the darkness down the block. 

An imminent fight sees them for the fate, but he must find out the truth with his dad first. A new week of planning and sculpting of the plot will continue Monday, so see you then.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #4 - Planning

Now is the time to initiate scheduling as the back bone of our project in the making. Today I'll discuss three core ideas to set up everything: set design and the score for the opening segment.

Set Design
Creating the scene behind the opening of the film includes extensive lighting set up around a table in a garage stuffed with vintage relics. Alyssa Wheelock has offered her home as the main establishment for the shooting days. 

Key Concepts:
  • Musky lighting and soft details around caking everything in the garage.
  • Rusty tools, equipment, and other machinery.
  • Stuffed boxes of novelties, supplies, screws, little parts.
  • Daunting warm lights to bake the room's ambient light.
  • Wooden or marble backgrounds to create a cabin-like look.
  • Comfortable couches and chairs
  • Pillows, misplaced laundry around the area.
  • Dirty floors and dusty things.
  • Basic electronics like a television or radio operating quietly in the background.
  • Refrigerator full of beers and other treats, including a microwave for a quick snack. 
The goal of these ideas is to create an essence of a man cave, private and exclusive to a group of elder friends in a time of need. The room no one speaks of but is welcome to visit for the refreshments and entertainment with other social pals. Its a paradise for friends - a comfortable place to crash and for them to be themselves, the true definition of a home. Who doesn't love to crack open a cold one with the boys and enjoy a nice Friday night with buddies?

We wish to create a scene that can offer a place of relaxation and challenge that with the dialogue between the characters as tensions are introduced for the main character, bringing him sickening troubles for his future.

A fantastic source we found for quality musical productions was a website named ""
We have purchased a subscription to access the rights for their entire library of content, giving us the ability to use it without legal troubles regardless if its commercial project or not. We are granted the expansive ability to use their music in any fashion we choose. Most of these examples for concepts incorporate a blues style of jazz music. 

Notable Songs Pitched:
  • "Ellis St" by Duffmusiq - Likeable classic ambient jazz; Includes light sax and drums with a cinematic "Soul & Rnb" charm in the style.
  •  "Traumatraum" by Denhollander - Slow, smooth, deep saxophone notes with deep bass. A eerie romantic theme of dramatic darkness.
  • "For You" by Olivier Olsen - A fusion of both "Ellis St" and "Traumatraum", but losing the drums for a quiet snare, synth, and classic piano.
  • "Circle" by Columbia Nights - Foreign drum sequence with romanticized strings, a beautiful melody with a peaceful tone. Great listen with natural songs bringing reminiscence to a casual lounge. Playful and charming in harmony.  
  • "Dallaltra Parte Del Muro" by Livio Bartolo -  Acoustic guitar and harmonizing piano come together in a loving urban duo. The nature of the song is fashionable and dreamy.

I hope you have a beautiful day fellow reader, and I wish for you to enjoy the music as much as I have. Cheers!