Sunday, January 12, 2014

After Arrangement: What's Next for Ancient Gray

Since there's been some silence as of late we've had a few people ask us what the next step is as far as filmmaking efforts for Ancient Gray.

First of all, yes, we are working on a new film. At this time the plan is to release a featurette. There's been a few events that have caused us to push back production of any kind from 2013 into this year, likely Spring or Summer.

Here's what I can tell you so far about AB...

The film is a psychological drama starring two principal characters, one male and one female, much like Arrangement. It's undecided at this time whether or not additional characters will make their way into the final draft of the script. A few actors have been contacted and I've received a few reels but I will be holding official auditions for the film in the future. The production will likely be working with advanced equipment beyond DSLR's. The film will be in color.

A Kickstarter will be launched as well with a higher budget goal than Arrangement.

When it comes to writing scripts, I draw most of my influences from music rather than films. For AB, I've been listening to a lot of classical music, and found that the most influential pieces were also the simplest. One piece in particular was a composition written by French pianist Erik Satie in 1888 entitled Gymnopédie No. 1.

The music had a sense of elegance and loss to it that shared an uncanny resemblance to the theme of AB. We'll be striving to incorporate this music into the finished product.

Stay tuned in the coming month or two as the project develops momentum.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Arrangement is do I feel about it?

Arrangement from Doug Cannon on Vimeo.

While it would be fun for me to sit back and tear my own film to pieces, I've learned that personal criticisms of my work are best kept inside until I have the next few steps planned and can see where I'm heading. As it stands, I don't have any definite plans for a next short film but it would be silly to assume I'd never make another one. I'd rather think about exploring some other projects in different mediums for the time being. But I want to elaborate on how fortunate I was to have shot this. This film was shot hours before hurricane Sandy made landfall. We were in a limited state of emergency. Did anyone puss out, though? Nope. Everyone drove in to Wilmington to help. And while I was scared shitless that we'd miss this opportunity to shoot or a key part of the team on set wouldn't show, we executed on time and shot a lot in the time we had. For a budget of $1,200, I'd say this movie looks better than what we paid for it. I owe much of the credit to my crew and cast, but I also think that I stepped up in a way that I didn't with The Monument. We had a ton more planning going into this project and instead of just telling someone to get a shot, both my DP and I managed to orchestrate an efficient shot-for-shot playbook that helped us achieve this short within our aforementioned budget. It's very easy, obvious perhaps, to say that the production was better than The Monument. It was a much more efficient management of time and money. The film is another story. I don't think that either one can be compared to the other. While I'd love to say I've surpassed The Monument, they aren't the same sport. The Monument was a fun, interesting film for me to explore, but I'd rather shoot films like Arrangement. Films that aren't swimming in confusion and only offer enough to make the viewer keep watching. And while I was terrified that this short was going to end up a disaster, it thwarted every bit of misfortune along the way. So let's just get one thing clear...this is the second short film I've ever done but the first attempt at a cohesive story. There are obviously flaws...but Arrangement gave me a ton of direction and insight on where I need to improve for the third short. Arrangement was a massive success and I couldn't be happier with it. Thanks to the cast, the crew, the backers, and those that just wanted to add a little something to the project as it neared completion. It wouldn't be the same without you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Monument's Music

I've found an incredible presence of creative minds online, but of all the sites I frequent, Something Awful has to be one of the most supportive and inspiring. Their forums boast an impressive community of painters, writers, musicians, filmmakers, sculptors, etc.

When I decided that the best route for The Monument was to use music, I recalled hearing a few tracks from a musician on Something Awful that I really felt captured the sense of emptiness in our short.

Disparition, a solo project, specializes in ambient electronic pieces that draw their influences from several genres including industrial, experimental, and folk. The tracks we used in the film were from the album "1989", an album that explores the Romanian Revolution.

Jon Bernstein, the man behind Disparition, was immensely generous lending his music to the film free of charge. What's more impressive is that Jon has all of his albums available on his website for free.

I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you some of Jon's music. I'd also like to thank Jon for helping us out in making this film have a feel we'd certainly struggle to accomplish without his talents.

You can download Disparition's music and learn more about Jon at his website.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Theater Showing Today

The Monument will be shown in its first theater at 1:30PM today at the Newark Film Festival. I don't expect many people will be coming out to the movies today, but I'll be there along with some other filmmakers from Delaware. The Monument is being shown along with six other student films. One of the films being shown is directed by a good friend of mine, Andrew Czudak, whose editing know-how greatly surpasses mine.

While I'm excited to see something I made on a movie screen, I'm also anxious to put plans into motion for my next project. I've considered all of the work we put into The Monument, and while I certainly consider the project a success there are numerous things I wish I could have done differently. Sound is probably my largest issue with the film--something I plan to considerably tune for my next project.

As is expected, we'll also be running a Kickstarter fund to raise money for this second short. That's something else that will be tweaked. I'm also setting aside money to afford my own Macbook Pro and editing software so that I can work on the next project at home.

I hope to launch the project within the next month.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Monument - A Short Film

The Monument is a short experimental film about a journalist seeking revenge in a post-modern portrayal of America. The film argues the significance of memory--the memories we choose to immortalize, the memories we wish to forget, and the things we offer the world to be remembered.

This is a film that was designed to feel like a dream; disjointed, murky, and enigmatic. The film plays homage to a mixture of avant-garde and noir films and attempts to cover its meaning through visual presentation and atmosphere. In the tradition of avant-garde, many details are left unexplained, and are instead intended to invite the audience to make their own conclusions about the film's implications. It's also important to note that this film deals heavily with the arts; whether photography, music, writing, architecture, painting, or even the film itself, you'll see all of these expressive mediums and more scattered throughout the film. I'd like to personally thank each of these artists for lending their talents / property to this film free of charge. It's for this very reason I believe the meaning of our film remains pure and the greatest reason why I loved working with the cast and crew. I hope you'll enjoy our first short.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dirty Stills

These stills aren't from the final, high-quality export. I just like their dirty appearance and would like to share them with you.

A test screening will be conducted on July 1st followed by a brief Q & A. After that, the film will move into being mastered into its final version and submissions to festivals will begin.