The Good Soldier – Pre-Production – Notes 1

The Good Soldier is a 15-16 minute short film that I’ve been working on with the goal of shooting and submitting to the Sundance Film Festival of 2010. The initial story idea and script development began in December 2008. Since that time I have a complete script, some of the locations, some of the cast, a basic budget, some of the production equipment, and an ever-evolving vision in my mind.

The Good Soldier is the story of a young man ordered to hold an observation post in a remote location. After nearly a year with zero activity he becomes dismayed at the purpose of his mission, for little has been revealed to him. As a result, he’s driven by an ever-present urge to uncover the true reason for his mission. Not everything is as it seems. What does the future hold for this good soldier?

Things have been coming together a bit more lately. I made a big investment in purchasing a light kit. I decided to go with a Lowel Core 44 because it has everything I need for this shoot and I’m sure I’ll be able to use it for future projects. Of course I debated between renting and buying but it came down to an issue of time – how much time I thought I would need a light kit – and convenience. It’s so much easier to have a light kit right when you need it.

I’ve been reading a lot about film stocks, trying to pick the perfect film for the locations, lighting, and scenes in the story. I’m almost positive that I will shoot on B&W Tri-X for interiors and PLUS-X for exteriors. Reasons for this are that the story would benefit from having it in black an white. Plus, I feel that b/w film holds a high place in motion picture photography in terms of style and professionalism. And it will be fun to shoot.

I’m still pretty confused about camera settings and light metering – I wish I was more knowledgeable in this area. I’m trying to make better sense of it so that when it comes time I know, based on the amount of light in the room, what settings I should have the camera on. If anyone has any advice in this department that would be great. I’m sure much of it is just getting out there and burning through some carts of film but I’d like to know a little better what I’m doing before I pull the trigger. More research to be done!

I’ve made a few contacts along the way and some of those relationships are in the early stages right now so I can’t really say what will become of them until later. Hopefully, I will have some help in the casting, scheduling, lighting, and sound departments. And I still need a main character. I will be putting together a bio for the main character shortly and hold a casting call.

After the initial test-shoot (which I wrote about in a previous entry) I learned quite a bit about what will work and what will not. I was also reminded of the unforgiving nature of shooting film. It can be difficult to get it just right. And with film it’s not like you can go back and delete it – once it’s on there, it’s on there. And you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s been processed.

The plan is to shoot the rehearsals on HDV, get the performances down pat, and then shoot it on S8.

Got to go for now….more later…