Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Super 8 Footage

Here's a photo of the Super 8 footage Surry shared with me. Most of it was covered
in a white mold or dust but wasn't so brittle that it got destroyed in the transfers.

In the past week, I have gotten several exciting emails about more B Roll that can be used in Abandoned Allies. As a result, I visited Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks (@AVGeeks) on Tuesday.

Working with Skip has made this part of the filmmaking process infinitely more fun. What was one of my biggest struggles has become one of my biggest joys. Knowing I have the help of an expert has been a huge relief.

Skip recently re-transferred the Super 8 footage that Surry shot during his time in Vietnam. When I visited Skip he skimmed through some of the newly transferred footage. It is BEAUTIFUL. The difference between the first and second transfers are amazing. Skip is such a pro.

Skip moderated one of the A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy Conversations titled One Foot in the Archives with archivist and filmmaker Rick Prelinger (@footage) at the 2011 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C., last April. Listening to Skip and Rick talk about old films--the preservation, cataloging, and sharing of it--has made my interest in the subject grow exponentially. They speak with such love for studying old films, the people in them, and the art of archiving it successfully so that it can be shared.

Since Skip's been kind enough to transfer the Super 8 footage for Abandoned Allies, I recommended him to a Special Forces Vietnam veteran who has offered to share his footage with me for the film. Joe and I are meeting for coffee on Saturday morning for an introduction. I can't wait to see his footage in hopes that I might share it with you in Abandoned Allies.

This was a photo I took when I transferred the Super 8 film using Skip's machine
last year. It was really cool to finally do that with his expert assistance..

The journey with this Super 8 footage has been a long, challenging, and exciting one. Read some of my old blog posts if you want more background about it:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Great Many Thank Yous

There are many people who helped make the recent private screenings of Abandoned Allies successful. I wish to extend a dear thanks to the many folks, including the people who are helping me make the film itself (too long a list to share here).

Here are just a few of the folks who helped me screen Abandoned Allies twice in one weekend, with more of our cast and one of our largest private audiences yet. I wish to thank:

Abandoned Allies Cast and Crew
Obviously there would be no film screening, if there weren't people helping make the film. The cast have shared so many hours with me to help me learn about the Montagnards, U.S. Special Forces, and Vietnam War. The crew has been incredibly supportive as well. Together, many of us have learned how to make a film. Both the cast and crew have been really patient as we strive to make Abandoned Allies a great film. To each of them, I owe a huge thanks.

Surry Roberts
He is the one who initially wanted to record the history depicted in Abandoned Allies, and has gone above and beyond in supporting the efforts to make the documentary film. Knowing I needed to focus on the film before we showed it, he coordinated logistics with our cast. He hosted the screening, provided snacks, and directed the conversation after the film.

Jack, Chris, and Jenny Spencer
These amazing folks were responsible for the delicious cupcakes, running the A/V equipment (mingling music, the big screen, playing the DVD, house lights, etc.), and setting up the club (putting out seats, tables, etc.). Big thanks to them for showing up earlier than expected, and allowing me to be completely relaxed because they were in control of logistics at the club. (Plus, they give the most amazing hugs. I love Spencer hugs!)

Jessi Nemeth
When I asked her to run concessions for Sunday's event, she said yes with no hesitation. She's one of the hardest working women I've ever met, and one of the most dedicated actresses, too. When she played a character in Chris Moore's film Flush With Fear, she rolled in the dirt and poured coffee on herself to make her costume authentic. If you bought a drink or snack at the screening, Jessi is the one who served you with a smile. (Big thanks to those who tipped her well, too!)

Jessi Nemeth was a character in Flush With Fear, and is one of
the hardest working ladies I know. She managed concessions
at the Abandoned Allies screening at ComedyWorx.

Elizabeth Jackson
EJ is a dedicated volunteer with Abandoned Allies, focusing on event planning. For the recent private screenings, she helped me think through event logistics ahead of time and kept me on schedule at the event. She kindly and gracefully scooted people from the lobby to the arena so we could start the film on time. She also helped me think of ways to collect feedback and take questions from the audience. I'm thrilled to start putting together more events once the film is finished, knowing she's there to help make it happen in style and excellence.

Elizabeth Jackson has been a long-time volunteer with Abandoned Allies, helping
us with planning events. She was a huge help with the screening at ComedyWorx

Brian Crawford (@BCwritr)
If you said something on camera at the screening event, you were talking into Brian's camera. He filmed the event and is creating a short video for the web. He's been willing to edit it all together, which takes a lot of time and effort. I really appreciate him being there. The footage is stunning, and I can't wait to share it with you. We're in post-production and working through a few things, but hope to have that online in the next few months.

Andy Poe helps Pam Ross with the mic, as Brian Crawford
prepares the camera for her interview.

Andy Poe, David Iversen and Mike Garske
You've already heard about the fellas at the Brite Spot Collaborative (related blog post), and Andy Poe is the one that introduced me to David Iversen and Mike Garske. They helped me finalize the film by exporting it from FCP and then burning it to DVDs. Andy had to remind me to breathe. David scanned through the timeline and fixed a few things I'd struggled with in editing. And all three of them joined me for a beer while the film exported. I owe them a huge thanks for their help because that process has given me a LOT of trouble in the past. Andy also helped Brian by wrangling people in to say something on camera at ComedyWorx, and I'm most grateful for it. These are top notch guys, dedicated to doing great work.

Jason Kelly
If you had your photo taken at the event, Jason was the man behind the camera. He met Brian Crawford and me at ComedyWorx the day before the screenings to scope out the place in order to get great photos (related blog post). Not only were the photos fun, beautifully lit, and exactly what I needed, they were also online almost immediately. He's a dear friend for helping me out, and I'm incredibly lucky to have such help.

Jason Kelly was our photographer, and put the photos online
immediately. Pam Ross took this shot for us, though!

Carole Watts
My ever-supportive, wonderful mom. She's been helping me make this film since the beginning, and just finally got to see the latest cut. She brought yummy brownies to the screening and even posed for a few pictures--she seriously hates being in pictures.

Other Unnamed Folks
There are a number of other folks who helped out, and I'm sorry for not naming each of you. Many of you made me so happy simply by showing up. And there's one guy in particular that has been unbelievably supportive. To him, and all of you, I owe a huge thanks.