Monday, January 4, 2010

Funeral Temporarily Derails Project

Hey everyone,

So, my step-Grandmother (my step-dad's Ma,) passed away the day before Christmas, and I made the decision to "de-embed" and go be with my family for a couple of days. Black Lodge, right now, is in limbo, though I do intend to start shooting again here pretty quick.

As it stands, I'm squatting on about twenty hours of footage, and I'm still a little confused about how this is all gonna go down. I still desperately need folk to talk a bit about what their Black Lodge experiences, opinions, feelings, etc. are. If you've got a link to Lodge, and you've been holding out on discussing it, quit. Now is the time. I need you badly to make this thing work.

I don't want to dispense product that's gonna be half-ass. Your input helps.

Will update when things get back on track.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Embedment: Days 2 & 3

Holy moley...I'm tired.

Okay, what to say, what to say. JMM stopped by the Lodge last night and talked to me for a bit, so that was good. Ivy McLemore (of Cigarette Girl,) came by as well, so it was a very McCarthy type of day over at the Lodge. Lots of folks hangin' out, lots of candid footage. Which is all very good, but I'm really struggling with how this is all gonna come together.

Do I pierce the veil of objectively detached footage and start talking to these people? Or, do I do a lot of interviews and just use this footage as supporting, evidentiary material? Or, do I shoot what I shoot, make no apologies, and let the viewer sort it out for him/herself? I dunno. And folk are still acting out for the camera. It's tough.

And my treacherous body is still on semester schedule, so I wake up at 6:30am no matter how beat I am and can't get back to sleep. (Well, the kitten has something to do with this, as well.)

I think I'm running headlong into my timidness - I'm so nervous around people, I don't want to just come bounding forth with release forms and then start shooting anonymous folk. It feels so blunt. But, I need to. And, do I ask them what they think of Lodge? I mean, this isn't supposed to be a "man on the street" segment. Ugh.

I guess I'm struggling to find a voice, an M.O., a whatever. It's all good, and I can still pull it together, but I am, for real, tired and feel like I need a breakthrough. I'm starting to feel a little crazy. Gotta pull it together, though - it hasn't even been a week.

Sorry, not much fat to chew on today. I'll try to include some better stuff tomorrow.

Take care,


Films Watched:
White Christmas
Funny Farm
Christmas Vacation
Saturday Night Live: Christmas Past
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Christmas
A bunch of other stuff that I've written down but my notebook is down in the car...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Embedment: Day #1

Clock in: 4:00 pm
Clock Out: 12:15 am

Good first day of shooting. Got a lot of conversations and met some new Lodgers. Collected two Owl tattoos I didn't have before (Chris Bratton, and Timothy Clark.) Shot some customers. Got a few of Black Lodge's unique decorations - I need to take a coupla solid days just shooting the store's burgeoning collection of magazine clippings, graffiti, movie memorabilia, etc. Mostly, though, it was people watching/filming yesterday.

And, lo and behold, a naked butt on the first day of shooting! You know, Dziga Vertov said that the documentary filmmaker could expect that on the first day (or two, or three,) the subjects would probably be inquisitive around the camera, and probably act a little differently than normal. The real documentary starts, I think, when they get bored with the novelty, get over having this new body around them, and just forget that I'm there.

Coolness! Really, really extreme coolness! Kat C. is letting me film her getting an Owl! And its scarification!! Hello opening montage!

Technical problems: There's always a movie going on in Lodge, so there's always a soundtrack to everything. Not only that, but the TV is on the opposite side of the store from the desk, so they freakin' crank it. I'm having a hard time getting clean audio. They do hang out in the back a lot, and that's cool, things sound a lot better, but I gotta experiment a bit with my mikes 'til I find a way to get a clearer audio signal.

Hopefully, I'll be able to make my way over to the editing suite on campus in the next day or two, and, if possible, I'll be throwing up some stills or some footage for your edification. Take care, and I'll be posting again soon.


Films Watched - Day #1:
Ray Charles: Live in Brazil
The Hangover (twice!)
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
Inglorious Bastards (for about ten minutes - then someone came and rented it.)
Bad Santa
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Christmas Evil

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Ground Rules

Hey everyone,

Okay, well, I have to administer a test today from 12-3pm, but then it's off to the Lodge and the beginning of a 3-4 week long intensive film shoot. I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm dreading it, I'm eager to be involved. It's complicated.

If you have an interest in stopping by, come on down. Here are some things you might want to be aware of:

1.) If I don't drop what I'm doing and talk to you, it's probably because I'm either filming something and trying to be inconspicuous, or busy working with my equipment or doing something film-y. Please be patient, I want to talk to as many people as possible, and I really have zero intention of being a jerk - it just happens sometimes.

2.) If you're interested in participating, the best idea is just to pretend like I don't exist. Hang out at Lodge like you normally would if nothing was going on. Pick a movie. Chat with folks. If you see me creeping up behind you, just ignore it. I'm bringing a ton of release forms, so make sure you sign one on your way out.

3.) If you absolutely do not want to be on camera, and I'm following you around like a twerp, just tell me. That's cool, and I will cut the camera off - no questions asked.

4.) As always, send me your photos of Black Lodge Owls around Memphis. Tell me where you found them. If you have a Black Lodge Owl tattoo, tell me, come talk to me, let me see it, and (if you're willing,) let me shoot it.

This is going to be an experience. I'll keep you all posted.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where's the beef?

Hey everyone.

Turning in my treatment, budget, and formal proposal this week. It's mostly a formality, but it's the last scholastic hurdle before filming actually begins. And embedment is really close at hand. One week and change left. I really hope folk will come by, but there's something else I wanted to talk about today.

I was talking Lodge with my friend Chad the other day, and he mentioned that he has a friend that has a beef with Lodge, but isn't really interested in talking about it. From what I gathered from the conversation, this guy is under the impression that the doc is gonna be a fluff piece whose sole function is to glorify Lodge.

Look, I'm a Lodge fan, true, but I'm also not livin' in a dream world. Lodge isn't for everyone - I know that. And I think I'd be dishonest if I didn't include the segment of the population that dislikes Lodge, for whatever reason. It makes the story a little more complicated, and Lodge is kind of a complicated place.

Point being, I guess, is that nobody's talking Lodge at all right now, but if you're holding your tongue because you think this is all gonna be pro-Lodge, do me a favor and don't hold back. Bring me your anti-Lodge complaints, beefs, and general antipathy. I can't get honest about this story if you can't.

Be good!