Yesterday, May 11, 2023, I captured the first shots of what will be a multi-year project: the making of my monster movie. The film straddles the line of multiple genres (but mainly arthouse). This is one of those passion projects that will require me to build complex set pieces, design unique props (some mechanical in nature), and engineer all the practical monster effects. While some projects I can organize and shoot in a more traditional timeframe (usually about one month of production time), the reason this project is planned over the next few years is because of its complexity, crossed with my out-of-pocket nature of doing things. Thus, taking baby steps, and micro-moves is integrated into the process (at least for this particular project).
Furthermore, for those who are unfamiliar with my work, making movies for me is a personal art practice. Thus, I do not use a traditional crew. I shoot all my own films, edit them, and only retain help when I absolutely need it.
The film is being produced in vignettes, the first of which is scheduled to shoot this summer. Each vignette is like its own short film, but when combined together into a feature-length movie, creates a complex and rewarding through-line.
The first shots to be captured is a bit of b-roll of the Manhattan skyline at dusk. I've been waiting about month for the perfect weather and lighting scheme. You see, last night, the lighting of the Empire State Building was lit entirely green. So, for the past month, I've been keeping track of the building's lighting schedule (ESB's lighting schedule is available on their website). When I read that it would be lit in all green, in partnership with City Harvest to bring awareness to World Hunger, I knew that this would be the date I shoot this footage. Hunger is an important theme in the monster movie, but I previously hadn't decided on a visual mechanism to convey it. The people running the lighting schemes at the Empire State Building have done this work for me. As I push forward with the production, and organize the vignette where this b-roll will be included, I will now integrate green into the palette, keeping in mind its new meaning.
This is a great example of not only how I do research that informs my process, but how my story is enhanced by real-world color affiliations. Previously, I wouldn't have chosen green as a color to represent hunger, yet it now makes sense.
$15 in tolls, plus $10 worth of gasoline, and 3-4 hours of my time. This produced 26 takes, from sunset to dusk. The screenshot below is the one that will ultimately wind up in the film. All in all, $25 spent out of pocket.