The conceptual elements of this film started about 10 years ago. I was in a meeting with a couple writers who at that time were working for D.C. Comics. After a few drinks we got to talking about dream projects. I told them that I always had an obsession with trying to bring a realistic portrayal of a super hero. I wanted to get in the head of one and visit all the dark crevasses of their mind. The place where the morality code that so defines them did not exist. Eventually we threw around some ideas of how to achieve this. Eventually I sat down and wrote the first draft of ‘NightFall’.
I realized the only way we could achieve this realism was to literally deconstruct the character. Strip him of all powers and toys. This opened many doors to evaluate the true motivation of these ‘New Gods’.
Kevin Sullivan is cast as ‘the hero’ lead. Sullivan became part of collaborative process. After the casting we worked through the original draft. The entire script changed dramatically without abandoning the original spirit of the project. Also the project becomes much more ambitious. Originally slated to be a 15 minute psychological character study becomes a fully rounded feature narrative.
Casting is completed. Many new characters are developed. Talks about splitting the story into four ½ hour episodes.
The fourth draft of the script is completed. The cast was welcomed to collaborate on the final script. Each actor adds new elements to their characters. It is this collaborative process that allows us to have very developed characters who can live on in any medium even beyond this series.
Final script is approved. Pre-Production meetings. Locations are decided. The crew is complete.
Test shots. Costume tests. Location tests.
First scene is shot. It is a jail scene shot in Monrovia Ca. Production has not officially started
First teaser is shot and uploaded. Teaser poster finalized..
The teaser reaches 50,000 plus views in one week!
Officially start production of the NightFall series.
March 16th 2016
First scenes shot in the City of Monrovia. Funny enough the first scene shot was the last scene of the movie. Can’t give out too many spoilers since this is our big twist.
March 19th 2016
Filming in Downtown Los Angeles. 7th and San Pedro.
After a few weeks of test shooting Kevin Sullivan in his “NIGHTFALL” costume we realized that it did not have the desired effect. This is such a huge part of the film making process. Sometimes you just have to stop and take a another look with fresh eyes. It was after we shot the skid row scenes that we realized that NIGHTFALL stood out like a sore thumb. So we are off to re imagine our new ‘costume’.
We tested many costumes. We decided we needed an authentic look. So we spent the day distressing the new costume. This was real trial and error. We started with the old sandpaper and rolling it around in dirt. But still did not show up well on camera. Finally we found something that stained clear (to emulate sweat) and allowed for “dirt” to stick…the secret?? PAM!
We are in the ‘batcave’ tonight. Pretty big reveal scene. Meet DRAKE. What are his plans for the city? Is he an angel who is trying to save us all or is he the devil incarnate? You will have to check out NIGHTFALL when it comes out later this year.
DRAKE is played by Brian Peterson. Brian is a MASTER of KUNG FU SAN SOO! He is an 8th Degree black belt. His style is minimalist, calculating and smart…a truly devastating fighter.
We can hardly wait to start shooting the fighting scenes…I think they are going to be some of the most original fight scenes seen on the screen.
There is a new guardian of the city. Detective Martin Locke played by Todd .
He is on the case of tracking down a new mysterious vigilante who has suddenly appeared out of nowhere. ‘Could this be the recently murdered billionaire playboy who recently had a fall from grace
Martin Locke is played by Todd Burleson. Todd is a 5th Degree Black Belt of Kung Fu San Soo…he has excellent technique. He also has some classical acting training from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Groundlings. Todd has appeared in some TV shows, feature films as well as national commercials.
We are climbing up to Taktsang Palphug Monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest), a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located on the cliff side, in Bhutan, built in 1692.
You will have to wait until episode 3 to find out what exactly is going on in Bhutan.
(UM JUST KIDDING WE REALLY DID NOT FLY TO BHUTAN. DARE TO DREAM)
Our big shoot at the L.A. County Morgue. Then we went down the street to shoot at our “Train to Nowhere”. We finished with more shots of the Nightfalls new home 7th and San Pedro aka Skid Row.
We are about a month away from our Ultimate Trailer and we can’t wait for you to see it.
Just got back from our interior shots of the morgue. This was one of those scenes I thought was never going to happen. I mean what hospital would let us shoot in their morgue? But our producer extraordinaire (and our star) Kevin Sullivan came through. After a a few calls he tells me “We got our morgue!” Man how could have I ever dreamed of doing this movie without this amazing cast and crew.
Tomorrow we start the sound stage part of shooting. Also will be doing cast and crew interviews. So stay tuned to this bat channel to meet this amazing group we gathered together.
We did our sound stage stuff today. Feels really nice to be in the studio after so many location shots. Today is a lot of test shots. So much involved in making a film is testing things out to make sure it looks credible on the screen. Today is green screen day. Though never a fan of the ol’ green screen…it is a life saver when the budget does not allow for you to fly to Dubai for three weeks to get one 30 second shot (for example). Then I watch the behind the scenes of Captain America or something like that it is all green screen and CGI…I would hate to direct something like that….not that I would turn down the gig…but I would always return to films like this. It is so important in an art like this to get your hands dirty, to cut yourself a little bit, or even crack a rib (like Sullivan did in our latest fight scene.). Stay tuned he might lose a tooth next.
Back at the studio. Working out the special effects. This part of the production process is the most time consuming as it is so important to get these scenes perfect. The transition between location and studio shots must be seamless. So we will be in the studio for the next few weeks. One of principals had to drop out at last moment due to family issues. While most productions would come to a halt, we keep moving and our amazing casting department worked overtime to find us a new ‘commissioner’. And as our producer always says “when one door closes another opens” so we are so excited to have a new member of our cast.
Took some time off from the studio this week to go back on location. While it is so awesome to be in the studio, where you have more control of your environment, there is something so invigorating to be ‘outside’ and transforming a simple office space into a bustling police station. Also this is our first introduction of Detective Carver. She is a tough as nails police detective who was once Detective Locke’s partner but a difference in opinions about billionaire vigilantes have caused a great divide between the two. Especially since Carver was the one who brought the vigilante down. Pretty intense scene but everyone just nailed it! It is such privilege to see great actors working their craft!
Another weekend spent at the studio and sound stage. First we had a real pivotal scene between Drake and Talia. Talia is played by my beautiful wife Rowena. I always try to put her in my films, usually to her protest, but eventually I am able to convince her. This isn’t nepotism though, she is actually a great actress with lots of training and experience so I always think I am lucky when I am able to get her for a scene. Actually we have gotten so lucky with this show. Every single person involved has brought their A game and has made this the best project I have ever worked on. At times there is an anxiety with film making as you are never sure if you will hit the mark this time. But for this project I am just anxious for the audience to see this amazing talent we have assembled to make this project come to life.
After the shoot, Sullivan and I worked on some acting exercises to get him into shape for future scenes. One of the things that has been most difficult believe it or not is the voice. The character he is playing is quite ‘iconic’, and we really wanted Sullivan to create a new version of this ‘superhero’. So we have been playing with the voice for several months. I think we found his voice. Later we did one of my favorite exercises which I call “character therapy”. This is where I put the character on the Frued couch and ask the actor to be in character and really dig deep into their imagination to figure out the driving force of the characters action. Sullivan went in deep, pulling stuff out of this character that I believe has never been seen on the screen. From the beginning we wanted to bring this psychology into a hero film and I know we are going beyond what would be your typical character study.
Well today was a very big day for us. Our casting director has been searching everywhere now for 6 months to find us our League of Assassins. We wanted a very diverse mixture of both look and martial art skills. Well the casting director not only got us the perfect cast, he found the crème of the crème here. These guys are beyond anything we could have imagined. We only had one scene with them but after witnessing their mad skills, we started to devise more and more scenes we can have this group of talented individuals in. And I hope if I do my job right, it will be something that has never been seen in a show like this. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned we will be having interviews with these guys in studio soon and I can not wait for you to be introduced to our League.
We are taking a few weeks off from shooting to work on the full length trailer. This first season looks like will be about 8 to 10 episodes. We will be shooting and releasing as we go along. The trailer should hit in about three to four weeks and we are hoping with about 80% of episode one in the can that we can release it by August for award season. The hope is to release 1 episode per month after that. But to accomplish this we have to shoot scenes that are far ahead. So we have about 30% of episode 2 and 3 done all the while we have to write the future episodes. This is a huge undertaking for any studio but as time goes on we are getting more and more efficient. This is not our first rodeo nor our fist series, but this is by far our most ambitious.
We are taking a week off to work on getting you a sneak peek. It has been nearly 9 months since we started this series. While it may seem like a long time, in the production world it is a mere second of time. Most projects like the one we are creating take years to get even in the pre production faze. Our goal is to get episode one complete by Mid August. Well we are pleased to announce that we are currently on schedule.
Location shots today. Mostly second unit. Second unit is usually the pick up scenes. Ones that do not involve principals and usually no dialog and minimal action. Like a couple walking to the movies in the rain. It is interesting to note that second unit work is really the glue of project like this. Sure it is great to produce a big action sequence or a big scene you have envisioned for months, but without these “little” scenes you have no movie. Today we got an assortment of local talent involved. We love to bring the community into our picture because really this is community made movie. Also this week we are completing both our epic trailer and our first look. The first look will introduce you to our leads. Currently we are about 90% wrapped with our first episode production. Next we will be in post production in order to meet our deadline of mid-August. But the production does not end. So as we are editing we are also shooting episodes 2 and 3 and simultaneously writing episodes 4 and 5…and believe it or not still revising the script for episodes 2 and 3. Yup you have to be a multi-tasker extrodinaire.
This has been a crazy week for shooting. Reshoots and second unit production. Reshoots are always essential. I’d like to think when we wrap on a scene that we got it down 100% but that is not the case a couple times. We did a lot of green screen and while for some scenes it was the only way we’d get a particular shot, other times it is a little unnecessary especially if there is a “practical” set we can use that is perfect. We also had a lot of night shots that we had put off. Night shots are always the hardest. While we can use natural light during the day, when it comes to night shots you need a bigger crew and more equipment, permits, and of course lighting. It takes a lot longer obviously to set this all up and you may spend a few hours in order to get a 10 second scene. So yeah best for us to save it for last. And yes we are getting down to the last few scenes before we wrap episode one.
7/30 to 8/20
Well we have been in the editing process for about a month. Editing is the most important process. To me this is were the real film making begins and ends. You take all this footage. All out of sequence and fragmented all over the place and you try to make sense of the chaos. No easy task. So much organization involved. Watching scenes over and over looking for subtle changes that make all the difference. Even the way a person breaths could have a better effect then how he breathed the shot before. It is all this detail that the audience sub consciously picks up on.
Then of course there is the old “this scene does not make sense, we need another scene here to explain this.” No matter how tight your script is there is always a moment where the script does not translate that well to the screen. Then you find yourself scrambling to get your talent back on set and hope that they do not have a scheduling problem or have dyed there hair blue for another role.
So you go back to the writer and have them work out a scene. But that opens a can of worms. It means even more scenes to explain the new scene. But it is a must for every film. It is like the artist going back to the canvas to lighten up an area…sometimes years later. I have never been one who likes directors cuts. I like to get it right from the start and I try not to shoot extraneous scenes that will never make it to the screen. I’d like to think that we are immune to that here but as always there are exceptions. I’m just pleased that people at Devolve have given me a long leash and do not interfere with the vision. As we can see with recent comic book movies, the outcome of studio intervention is almost always disastrous.
On a side note the new trailer is out and already 52,000 hits. AMAZING!!
You know one of the luxuries of being a writer is that you can explore the deepest reaches of space or swim in to the bottom of the sea…you can be anyone and do anything…ON PAPER! Everything changes once you have to interpret this vision to the screen. Normally I just hand the screenplay off to a director and I am done with it until the red carpet. And I love that! Well with NIGHTFALL I decided to direct an episode (to be honest I have directed some of my own works before but nothing close this ambitious.) was I crazy or what? The answer is yes…I was nuts. There are some scenes that would be ambitious even for a big time 100 million dollar epic. Well the scene we shot today was the one…the one I had dreaded for 8 months. We needed 9 actors, stuntmen, two camera men, major costumes, make up and guns.
Well we did it! Our amazing producer was able to arrange everything perfectly. Funny enough it is also the last scene of part one. I’d like to say that it is the last scene we needed. But as I was saying in previous posts, as you edit you realize that there are some small scenes here and there that are needed to fill in the gaps and with project like NIGHTFALL all those small incidentals will be instrumental at putting this very complex story together.
One thing I had not mentioned before was that about 80% into the filming we decided to do a complete rewrite of the script as we started seeing a secondary plot becoming the more powerful story. Not that we had to abandon all the elements of our original script, we just really brought this secondary plot to the forefront. But really this is no different than any production I have worked on. I am always called back in after filming to punch up a scene here and there…but really for the first time I am actually feeling the pressure.
I’m proud to say that today our star Kevin Sullivan picked up the camera and had his directorial debut. We’ve had other directors work 2nd unit before on this project but this was a full length scene in the film. Sullivan was anxious for me to see the footage so we arranged a quick meeting and I must say I was blown away! Sullivan nailed the scene. So watch for the ‘Bar’ scene when the episode comes out. It is all Sullivan and our amazing cast.
Hey it’s been a while! There was not much to say for the past few weeks. Just been editing. Editing is long and laborious process and I do not want to bore you with the details.
Today we had a production meeting for episode 2 which goes into production at the end of October. Everything is moving so fast now! We have cast a crew lined up and ready to go.
From the beginning this was a community project made up of non-professionals and professionals alike. But the genesis was always to involve the friends and neighbors and pretty much anyone with a passion for film making. And it has grown and grown. We now we have people from all walks of life who’ve come and joined us on our journey.
What has been really amazing is having this new generation of film makers who are still in high school and college who bring their talent and vision to the movie. I’m always impressed with the energy they bring to our project.
BIG NEWS!!! Our trailer just hit 134,000 FULL views!! Amazing!
As you know NightFall is part web series and part feature film. Because we wanted to put out an episode as soon as it was complete and did not want our audience to wait until 2018 for the completed feature. So part one is currently in post and now we are casting and in pre production for part 2. Part one was a character development, while part 2 we dive right into the mystery and action. So needless to say part 1 took 6 months to film we expect at least that amount of time to be spent on part 2. But luckily the casting once completed will be the entire cast for the rest of the series/feature.
We are also going through the latest draft of the script and preparing for yet another huge re write. One would think that once it is on paper it is set in stone. Not the case…in fact never the case. As a writer I am in this “universe’ often. Writing for me is sort of like putting on those VR headsets and you are looking around this new landscape. The first draft is sort of like an abstract painting. I am in rush to write down all that I see and hear, but in the process you miss all the nuances. But then you realize that maybe you should put the headset on again and look for the things you missed. Well this is like opening Pandora’s box. Because, as with any universe, one thing you see and change has a ripple effect that must have a satisfactory result. So change one small scene and you have to change it all. It is striving for perfection, but then again what is the point of doing a project like this if you are not going to make it perfect?
Well the holidays are near and we at Devolve are taking some time off to spend it with our loved ones. Well actors and crew. Sullivan and I are editing right now. And once again the perfectionist in us are seeing where we could have done things better. It also helps that we now have a wonderful drone and steady cam operator (say hello to Tyler)…and some new talents (via our latest casting). I mean some really amazing talent. So we are also looking at, yet again, reshoots and added scenes for part one. Now we are not pulling these scenes from mid air…no they are in the original script. I had to cut the original script because a year ago when we started this it did not seem possible to pull off such major epic scenes. But now a year later we find ourselves with all these resources and talent…all of which is making this impossible possible. Yes this means delays and deadlines not met…so be it…we want to deliver a movie unlike anything done on this scale and budget and so we are off!!
Production is on hiatus til after the holidays. But post production keeps on going. We are setting up a huge scene for the start of the year. A major action scene that was removed originally because we were not sure if we could pull it off. Sullivan and I have been going to our location two or three times a week. We are timing everything perfect. We’ve done this scene over and over again. Dozens of actors,props, and special effects…A million dollars worth of luxury cars, low riders…tommy guns…blood and guts…road closures, permits, security….I mean this thing is giant…and really I have only my producer to thank for this. Never in a million years could I imagine thinking a scene up like this…and believe it would be possible. You know when you write you write a lot of extraneous things you wish can make it in the film but realistically you know you cannot…well not this one baby…we are going all out!! And why not you deserve a great film.
We shot part 2 of our big scene. The aftermath of a huge gun battle. Police on the scene investigating. Blood and guts and a mysterious stranger watching. This was so much fun to shoot. We had friends and people of the community come out to watch. I think all were pretty amazed what we are able to pull off. We will be updating our photo gallery soon so everyone can share in this big scene. I think you will be impressed!
Happy New Year to all. As I reflect on this past year I am just amazed by how much we have accomplished. I love going back through these notes and see how the project has progressed. The highs and lows…but mostly the highs. Everyone involved is having so much fun we never want it to end. Maybe that’s why we keep thinking up new scenes and shots that we hope will make this a truly epic film/web series/pilot episode. And yes it is all three. First and foremost this is a web series as we will be releasing as we go. We love the instant gratification we get from putting the work our there and getting response. Next we always saw this as a feature film. Though we do not see it necessarily as a big screen feature we did make these web series to fit cohesively together into one movie. And finally we see future ‘Episodes” beyond the 6 we are working on so this acts as a pilot. Currently we are about 80% of production in the can.
You know we do not see this project as a guerrilla film. To us that means shooting without permits and or permission. We always ask permission to shoot. But when you are going to Downtown that makes it a little difficult to do. So we tried our best, unfortunately due to a rig we had a million people looking right at our cameras ruining our shot. Frustrated we turned to our line producer James and asked him to shoot with his iphone…bingo…no one noticed, no one looking at the camera…the footage came out amazing. Will take a little tweaking to match it but should all work out good.
Oh props to Sullivan for being a great sport, sleeping on the cold wet ground in a filthy alley, getting kicked around by homeless guys, accosted by people on the street. It really opened our eyes to how people treat who they perceive is homeless. He took it like a champ and it all paid off as it gave us some of the most authentic and compelling scenes that we could have never orchestrated on paper and meetings.
We spent the day filming some “happy accidents”. What are happy accidents? when something unexpectedly good comes from what would otherwise be considered a mishap. So when we arrive in Pasadena to shoot the beautifully gothic city hall and there is a wedding party shooting photos that day and you say to yourself the whole day is screwed and then you notice the equally beautiful library across the street. You realize that you can create a whole scene on the spot and then that scene becomes pivotal to the plot…you got yourself a happy accident. It also helps that we were there with a very gifted musician and producer “Noah” who we were schmoozing to produce a few songs for our project. You got the makings for a perfect day.
We had auditions for the role of Talia today. We would like to thank all the women who showed for audition. Everyone was amazing and had such interesting twists on the same character. It really blows your mind to hear so many different deliveries. You know as a writer you have particular voice in your head and for this film most of the parts are written for a particular actor. This is our first big audition for a part and it was a truly eye opening experience.
Just finished the biggest scene of our movie. A big shoot out scene. So much prep work and pre-production involved. It was literally 2 months of prep on this one scene. I would love to take credit for it all but it was 100% Sullivan. This was his vision and his baby. What a powerhouse! Guns galore, hundred thousand dollar cars…beautiful performances by everyone. Our Drake returned after a long hiatus. Don’t want to give anything away but it is going to be one hell of a scene.
That’s a wrap! We finished production on NIGHTFALL! It has been quite a journey.
We would like to thank everyone involved. Our talented actors Brian and Todd who’ve been with us from the start. Alex, Gina and T-Myer who elevated our film to such a professional level. Our camera men and line producer Brian and James and all the actors and crew who volunteered to help make this epic film!
We would like to thank Peter and Anthony at KGEM. I like to refer to them St. Peter and St. Anthony. They are truly this films patron saints. Whatever we needed these two were always there to help!
Finally, we would like to thank the city of Monrovia and the Police Department of Monrovia. May I say honestly we could not have made this movie without the cooperation and graciousness of this great town. Really from the beginning our goal was to make this a community effort and we are so proud to say that we shot about 90% of the film in Monrovia and the majority of our talent is from the local community.
Nearly one year after our first shot I start post production on Nightfall pt.1 while Sullivan starts pre production on part 2. We must keep the wheels turning! Yes it took nearly whole year to complete production of pt.1 and I swear at times it felt like it was going to take 2 years. There is so much to do when it just us. But we have learned so much along the way!
What was originally supposed to be a 10 minute film that explored the psyche of a man who dresses up in a latex suit and fights crime has evolved into an epic. How does that happen? Well a lot of it has to do with the editing process. It started with editing the screenplay. Within the screenplay we found that there was a lot more to explore than merely a man talking to himself on a roof top. We decided to expand it with a few more scenes which introduced us to these new characters and actors. The actors are allowed to explore their characters and in the process more scenes evolved. Then as we started shooting we realized the city itself was a character and it was something we wanted to develop as well as often times the environment is a non issue. But we fell in love with our city…we started seeing it with new eyes. And finally there is the actual editing process. As I said before, when you are putting it all together there are scenes you left out for time and realize why you wrote it in the first place and you need to return to it. So short story done long is that our 10 minute film of a guy on a rooftop looking out has transformed into a 4 part mini series of epic proportions!
Just wanted to keep you guys updated, since it seems we have some followers of our production notes! In reality within these production notes is a recipe for the creation of a micro-budget feature film. In all honesty I would have loved to have a resource I could look at before I started this projects. Not that it would have changed the outcome but I think it would have given me a healthier perspective on expectation. Not that this is my first rodeo (or film). Since college I’ve directed about 6 films, wrote another 10 or so that have been produced by other directors. But as you can tell, none of these films compare to the scope of NIGHTFALL.
The hardest part if I had to be honest is not really my expectation but the expectation of others. You see this was always a community project, therefore the community has seen us filming for nearly a year. So ultimately the community wants satisfaction. They want to see the project completed. But it is difficult to convey the complexities of creating something like NIGHTFALL. So really we like to guide them to these production notes to get the status and what to review what we have gone through to get this project to the screen.
So for the update. After nearly two months of editing…we have about another two months of editing. Then sound construction. Then color correction. Then a score. So when will you see NIGHTFALL? hmmm…better not to give a date or time…just keep checking back here and I think you’ll get an idea of when it is coming to a screen near you!
My goodness it has been months since we last talked…so I’m here to update you on our progress. We are working harder then ever getting everything wrapped up on Nightfall. Pre-production has started on the last two chapters of our story. Luckily we have about 15% of chapter 2 already in the can and plans on shooting the rest of our film simultaneously so that there will be less delays. We have done some massive reshoots over the past two months. We’ve added a few new characters, actors and crew to our already big family. I would love to give you a date but like I said in previous posts that it would not be fair. As always time and deadlines mean little to us, the end results are the only thing that matters and in the end we want this to be as good it gets. We appreciate all the massive support we have gotten from the film and local community. And finally we reached yet another milestone…380,000 views of our trailer!! Thanks again and we’ll talk soon!
Okay I just checked our email and man oh man there were a lot of questions about our film. So I thought this I would do a little Q and A…since we can’t make it to comic con this year.
(Batfanman83) Is this a Batman Fan film?
No…we never approached this as a Fan Film. Though the characters may have a resemblance to some comic book characters, we never approached this film as such. Just as in any medium especially comic books you might see similarities like the rich playboy vigilante without superpowers can be found in Green Arrow, Batman, Phantom and the Shadow, just to name a few. So we see this as an origin story of our own character Nightfall.
(Nimrod2010) Is this a real film like one that would play in the cinema?
Yes the object of this film is to have it play in theaters. We do not foresee a massive theater distribution for it. But we do plan on a red carpet event and to show it at festivals and comic book conventions on the big screen. But that being said we are aware that the best kind of distribution for a film like ours is VOD and that will be our focus as we want it viewed by as many people as possible.
(Belikeme1212) What other films have you done?
I have directed about 20 short films, hundreds of cable shows, pilots and music videos. This will be my first foray into feature films. Interesting enough NIGHTFALL originally was meant to be a short. But after finding a producer and an extremely talented cast and crew we decided to expand on the story and make it into a feature.
(MOKOMO_GIRL) I saw this 2 years ago and was wondering what’s taking so long?
Wow! Well most feature films take years from concept to the screen and we are no different. Indeed we started development on this project a little over two years ago and to be honest it may take another year to complete the film in it’s entirety. This is why we have broken the film up into chapters. We felt by releasing chapter one that it would give us our audience a taste of the universe we are trying to create. This will also give us some time to finish up the two final chapters and once they are done the film will be released in it’s entirety.
Also the idea behind these production notes were to give you a glimpse into our filmmaking process.Looking back you can see costume and cast changes, script changes, basically all our downs and ups…from concept to the screen.
(JONJAMES_89) What’s with all the reshoots?
Good question! When we started this project it was meant to be a short. We rewrote the script to be a feature. But somewhere between a short and a feature there are scenes needed to carry the story along that are unforeseen until we got to the editing phase. It is pretty common in all feature films to schedule reshoots and we are no different. Sometimes a scene can be better with a prologue or the ending of a scene feels unsatisfying and needs to be re done. Again it is all for the sake of creating a great film that can be appreciated for years to come.
(LUCY_CHANCHAN) Where can I see the final film?
Plans right now are to make it available on several VOD sites and then eventually to be distributed through streaming sites like NETFLIX.
(MASKEDMAN36) When will the film be finished?
I don’t like to throw out dates or timelines. I did in the past and met with disappointment when those deadlines did not happen. So it is best for me to say that we will keep you updated of our progress and that chapter one is currently in the can and is in the final editing stages. We do have a few little scenes here and there scheduled but it has not delayed our editing schedule. So long story short…chapter one pretty soon…the entire film…hoping less then a year.
(JUAN_DON) Are you a real studio?
Indeed we are! This is our first feature film under the Devolve name…but there are several projects under development. I am just one of three directors who work with devolve and we have a pretty impressive production team. We are community based. Which means we do pull our talent from our community instead of “working professionals” but it was always our focus to create a studio that was community based. We see Devolve as a Studio University as many of our production team are intern/students learning on the job. This has translated in many of our intern/students choosing to continue on to college to study film. This is our proudest achievement and really differentiates us other studios.
In fact we are proud to announce soon the creation of a 501c3 non profit arm of our studio that will continue on with this program to be both a studio and a classroom.
Well that’s it for our Q and A for today…yes there are many more questions to get to but unfortunately I’m needed on the set so keep the questions coming and I will try my best to do more of these Q&A in the future. Watch the skies!
We are wrapping up editing on the first 30 minutes of NightFall. Could it be that we have been working on this for over 2 years! Wow! It went by quick! right this moment we are on minute 10 of the film and it is looking great. It really has blown up from a 10 minute short that was all going to be shot on a rooftop. We now have had over 40 volunteers and a dozen cast members. At the end of this project we will have shot over 200 scenes! Amazing.
Editing is nearly complete. We like to do what we call a rough cut. This allows us to show uit to the cast and crew and get some feedback. This of course is not how Hollywood works…but it is how we do it! This movie 100% a collaborative effort and we never saw this as one persons vision but the vision of everyone whose involved. Yes it is a bit more of a process but it is so much more rewarding for all involved. At the end of the day it our film! So the rough cut is nearly complete. The soundtrack is in the works and most importantly we are about 10% into filming the last hour of the film. We hope to complete the shooting by summer. I am entrenched with the editing so we are handing the film direction over to a few of our cast and crew. Again this is very much a collaborative effort and we encourage anyone who is interested in directing to help us with a scene or two. This also gives us some amazing footage that is unique to the vision of the director of the scene! Something you just wont see in any other film.
I’ve talked about it before but this is an extreme example. Writers are usually not constrained by production. We are allowed the luxury of creating without boundaries. Meaning when I sat down and wrote a huge scene that takes place in a temple located in Tibet, I did not worry about how the heck our production team would pull it off. I just write it. Well now we have this huge temple scene coming up and it was a daunting task for the team. I think all will be amazed by our production design team hard work finding the perfect location. They have found us a location deep in the mountains that transforms you to Tibet without leaving “the Zone”. The zone, is the area traditionally marked roughly around a 30-mile radius from the studio. Our studio of course is located in the city of Monrovia. So you can only imagine how difficult it is to try and match the mountains of Tibet in the San Gabriel Valley! Well we did it!
Then came the second Herculean task of costuming our actors. Again the production team came through, exceeding expectations.
Wonder why something like NightFall is taking literally years? Well things like this should give you an idea of what our team has to create magically out of thin air!
So what am I up to since handing the reigns of directing over to three very talented directors. Am I sipping martini’s poolside? Well yes…yes I am. But I am also writing while I’m sipping martini’s poolside. I am in fact writing everyday! You see just because you complete a script does not mean that it’s the end. In fact you may find yourself rewriting the script over and over many times while still in production. That is because as you work on a film you start to notice things that you had in your mind do not translate to the screen. So you need to amend it. You will find yourself amending scenes on location as things are being shot. You may find that at times you created a plot twist that in the end does not work because you had a plot twist earlier that makes this latter one moot. You have actors drop out and you need to either write them out (if they shot scenes already) or you need to replace them. But I write with the actor in mind so for me it means changing the script to fit the new actor. So in the process I have probably written over 1,000 pages for a 90 minute movie. And I continue to write, and not just NightFall as we are a studio with other projects on the horizon. So I am writing new screenplays as well. So well it seems like I am just living the life, I am in fact working, and working harder than ever.
Stunts are such an important part of our film. I mean this is a superhero film! We don’t do CGI so all that you see on the screen is 100% practical and real! Kevin Sullivan and Brian Peterson (Wayne and Drake respectively) are both expert fighters (Brian is a Kung Fu Master!) This of course is a blessing to any production! They have spent the past 4 weeks choreographing a huge fight sequence that takes place at the ruins of an ancient and mysterious temple.It is amazing what these guys can do…and what they can’t do?! What do I mean? Well Kung Fu is usually full contact but when you have to do this over and over for 20 takes or so…that becomes nearly physically impossible. But Sullivan has informed me that not doing full contact is not an option. They are creating probably one of the most accurate display of real fighting ever seen on the screen. This of course comes at the sacrifice of both their bodies. Sullivan has reported bruises all over the body, cracked ribs and fractured fists and wrists! And all for the sake of the art and being true to their training! I am truly amazed at both their dedication to this film.
Continuing with our mission of doing a community film, we discovered a talent right at our own front door. We just finished an interrogation scene and the performance of our ‘discovered’ talent was beyond expectation! We do not have many ‘actors’ on this film. Most of our talent is discovered! How you ask? Sullivan and I will sit in front of an outdoor cafe and people watch. As soon as I see a face that would be perfect for a character, Sullivan jumps and runs after them. He gives them the pitch and 9 out of 10 times we have a new actor in our midst. Sullivan even goes out scouting for new faces. So if you ever are approached by our producers with a Devolve Films card and asked if you might want to be in movie…consider it! and join us! You may be our next big star!
Continuing to push ahead. I was looking at the final revision for the script and it was dated 12/20/2016 we are nearing the 2 year mark soon! Most studio films average about a 6 month to 8 month production time and a year in post and most independent films average about 1 year production time. So for a micro budget indie like ours I am proud to see us on a reasonable time frame. And while I am leery to predict an end date to production. I can say we are rounding the bend. It has been exhausting at times but always worth it! So what do we have to report. Well we have started the voice over recordings. Yes we are attempting ADR – Automated Dialog Replacement. ADR is where we get the actors in a sound stage and re record their dialog while they watch themselves on a screen. ADR is not something that is either time nor budget friendly. But in my opinion it is the only way to guarantee sound quality. It is unbelievable what great sound can to do for a movie. It literally can make or break a project like ours. So here is some advice to a new film makers, if your film has an enormous amount of dialog then you want to keep locations down to a minimum. Try to keep most of the scenes indoors and under a controlled environment…meaning…do not shoot dialog in a busy airport. I went into NightFall with the idea of telling this story more visually then with dialog. I limited dialog to scenes we could shoot indoors. I knew all exterior dialog would need ADR. So I made those scenes with very limited or dialog.
Believe me first time film makers the one thing I consistently see (or hear) in debut films is poor sound quality. Take time before you sit and write and think about the production side. It will save you so much in the end!
Shout out to Taylor! She just did her first 2nd Unit shoot and it turned out amazing! I shot this one scene about five months ago and I was getting ready to edit the scene and I was so disappointed with what I shot. I told Sullivan that I wanted to re shoot it but it was difficult to work the shoot into my schedule. So Sullivan took it upon himself to procure the talents of Taylor to direct the scene and I was blown away. Taylor you have a bright future in film making ahead of you (if you choose).
Nearly three years!! Wow! But I’m proud to say we are in the final stretch! Part one is in the can. It is off to the color correction, sound editing and finally a score will be added. You say ‘part 1’? Is there more parts? The answer is yes. We always envisioned NightFall as episodic with far too much story to tell in 90 minutes. What are creating currently is a two part arc that can serve both as a pilot episode and a feature length film. The 2 parts do complete a story arc so you wont be left hanging. But we want you to see what we have created as soon as we can. So we will be releasing part one and then finish up work on part two. We have already started production on part two and we are about 40% complete with the production. If the fates align and we are given the opportunity to expand this we have about six more episodes in planning stages.
We spent this week in our ‘office’ doing casting for part two. There were two parts that I was really stressing over. I really do get obsessed with a particular look that I really never want to compromise that vision. Luckily our producer feels the same. So we looked over 200 hopefuls and from that we narrowed it down to six. And WOW! Every actor who came in was exceptional and brought something to the part that was so unique! I am always amazed by the talent that is out there. I wish I could write a part for every one of them! But alas that would be impossible. So after literally days of meeting and debating we found our two actors for the part. We will be making the announcement soon. But needless to say Welcome to team NightFall Agent Stone and Fox. I cannot wait to shoot your scenes!!!
So Sullivan has created some traction here! We have been moving full steam ahead and it would make your head spin how much we have accomplished in the past 2 months. With casting mostly finished we shot several major scenes. The actors we casted in the the Stone role and Carver role have just blown us away! Up-ed the game of this movie! Interesting note that two other actors were originally casted for the part. We even shot a few scenes. While the performance of the original actors were “good’, there was always something not ‘perfect’ about the scenes. This just did not sit well with Sullivan and I. So we talked about it and realized that while perfection is a near impossibility, it should not stop us from trying to achieve the nearest to perfection that we can. So we recast the parts! We reshot scenes! And alas we got what we envisioned! We were so pleased that we decided to create a few more ‘new’ scenes that could better highlight these characters and build upon them. Sullivan has been helming a few scenes as well! Both Todd (Locke) and Sullivan have really picked up the baton on some scenes and have done some extraordinary work. I feel some of the best scenes (visually) have come from the Sullivan taking charge of directing. He has a keen sense of mise-en-scène (visual theme). I’m proud to be a part of this collaborative film making. It is something that cannot exist in ‘Hollywood’ because of all the constraints but it is exactly what I think Hollywood needs in order to create more provocative and unique content.
Going off script! To most writers that is the kiss of death. Writers are a protective sort. They go into their worlds and extract scenes and put them to paper. It is a very personal journey. So when you have to hand the script over to a director, actors, even cinematographers to interpret it can be a painful experience. I am not one of those writers. I love to see interpretations of what I worked on. It is one the reasons I usually don’t like to direct most of the screenplays I write, because I enjoy the collaborative process so much. Lately I have stepped back from directing and have let others jump in and share their vision of the subject. Such an incident happened this Monday. Sullivan and I realized while editing that we did not like the flow of the beginning of NF. We wanted to do more of an introduction to the characters instead of throwing them right into the action (this is very Hollywood and yes I fall victim to it as well) So we wanted a bit more of what we call a (slow burn). That is were we are in no rush to just get to it and allow the characters to grow more organically. So we wrote a whole new scene! (yes this is why NF has taken nearly 3 years to shoot!) But we needed to shoot right away. Some of the actors had other gigs, the weather was changing on us…etc. Well of course this did not give the actors much time to rehearse. I get a call from Sullivan (who is directing the scene) asking what can we do? I said, “go off script”! As scary as it is to just let actors roll with it, the results can be breathtaking as it was for this shoot. Todd and Reggie just nailed it. There was a comfort in the scene that I just could not write. These men barely met once for a previous scene and yet I got the feeling as if they had been friends for years. And that is not just acting! That is something else. It is a commitment to a character that breeches acting and moves to ‘becoming’ the character. These two created a scene that to me was kind of magical and feels effortless which is what you want from every performance. So I say BRAVO to you Todd and Reggie for creating such a great scene!
We are going on 4 years since we started Nightfall! Amazing ride! Maybe we just don’t want it to end…maybe it’s that we keep getting ideas all the time on how to expand our universe…maybe it’s all the talent that continues to flow through our project…maybe it is all it! Whatever the case we are in no hurry to rush this project. It has always been and always be a collaborative film and as long as there people willing to contribute and learn Nightfall is always alive. And that is what Nightfall is now. It is a film but it is also a school. The people who have joined us along the way have all added their own fingerprint to the film. Actors turn into directors…producers turn into writers…there are just so many opportunities to learn and experiment within our film. And as we get to the editing phase we encourage more people to join us. Editing is perhaps one of the most important aspects of film making but the hardest to learn and perfect. If you ever had an interest in editing or film making please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just finished yet another amazing scene. This one takes place in Wayne Labs! Thank you Tanner Labs for use of your facility. It is this amazing community we have here in Monrovia (the Hollywood of the Foothills) that makes all of this possible. We cannot wait for you to see this scene!
Looking back I cannot believe it has been over a year since our last post! What a time it has been! Not just for our production but for the world we are living in! So here is the update. Is the film finished? No. We really love the filmmaking process.. Perhaps we never want it to end. But from time to time we have new ideas that pop up that allow us to expand our story and make it better. We now look at this like a novel that is unraveling as we go along. We have been editing as we go along so we have about 50% of the film complete.
So What Is New?: Well as we said above we are creating new scenes all the time. One that was added was an intricate fight scene on a mountain top. We choreographed it for months and the end result was amazing! It is so interesting how it can take months just to get 2 minutes of screen time…but hey that’s what it takes. We also have worked with drones to get us some very cinematic scenes that were really inconceivable 5 years ago. We have also invested heavily in our own equipment instead of rentals which really freed us up to film whenever we wanted. Which is one of the reasons that the new scenes came to fruition.
When will this movie finally be done?: Honestly we do not know. We are in no hurry. We even created scenes that take place some time later to facilitate the time it took to get this far. Our goal is not only to create a great film but also to learn from the process. This is our film school as well. And most paramount is to have a great time. And we are. We have become a family over the past 5 years and that is has been the greatest gift of all.
Wrapping up the rewrites of the final scenes. Just finished a scene between Detective Locke and Mr. Wayne shot in Sierra Madre. Todd (Locke) and Kevin (Wayne) delivered a compelling performance in the graveyard scene. We were originally going to shoot it in the car but the scene translated much better with the actors sitting on a bench in the actual graveyard. It was great to get back to shooting after 9 months of Covid 19 restrictions.
We had a meeting today to figure out what we could realistically do with the Covid 19 lockdown. We agreed that a drone would be a great pick up and help with scene transitions. Todd stepped up big time with the purchase. He looks to become proficient soon and we are hopeful to start shooting with the drone by December
Todd has the drone down pat. We captured our first footage with it today. We now have some great train station aerial shots. It looks amazing. We agreed to meet next week to get some drone shots of Wayne Manor.
We captured some great drone footage at the Wayne Manor. Todd was able to fly the drone pretty far up the driveway, which is about 120 yards to the house. Also got some great tracking shots. Just doing a lot of experimenting, helping Todd get used to operating his new drone.
Revisited the alley way scene next to Waynes hide out. Again, got some great tracking shots of Wayne discovering his first real place to live after the train station. Also, got a cool shot of Wayne climbing up and down the side of the building just off the alley way.
Had a fun road trip to the Los Angeles Morgue. We wanted to capture the feel of the city that Wayne was about to enter after he woke up, so again we got some great drone shots of tracking down the front of the morgue and Wayne walking down the steps and into the city where the movie really begins. We revisited an old bridge in the north east part of LA city where we got some grungy shots of Wayne walking around. This scenes will be used to show him traveling between the train station, manor, his hide out etc.
We met with Andrew and Kevin to re-record the audio from their flash back scene. It went well and we were able to recapture the original direction of the scene. We are looking to schedule a drone shot of the train departing from the train station in the beginning scenes of the movie.
We have finished 10 of the news broadcaster scenes. Robert managed to get access to the studio for these green screen shoots. The scenes turned out well and elevates the films story telling.
We planned a quick transition shot this weekend and a reshoot of Todds alley scene. We also decided to add an establishing scene for the bank robbery.