Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

Llama Dolly

It's not at all assumptive that I want fame as a fabulous filmmaker.

Getting there is still an issue. It's certainly much easier than it once
was: technology has ascended to the point where equipment is commonly
available, and you don't need to go to a four-year university in NYLA to
even get your foot in the door of a major studio. The indie filmmaker is
born unto the face of the world.

There are still some things that you do need to make it. Talent is
probably the most important, though it might be secondary to drive and
persistence. A good story and good characters will help you get your
movie seen. And knowing how to exploit the system will give you a leg

I have a visual style. It is something like a signature-- I can tell my
work from somebody else's in the same film. It's not as gratuitous as
say Jerry Bruckheimer or Tony Scott, but it's there, and I like it.

For those of you who want to see:
Stone Soup Films.

"The Thing That Happened" and "Pray for Daylight" are the two that I did
most of the DP work on.

Dead Zone
(commercials), which I wrote, directed, and did the
production design for. Some of the lighting design is mine, some of it
is from the talented Mark Lopez.

e Fright Farm
(DIVX), which Mark directed and lit, and I was the

Bear in mind that these are all threepenny budgets. I'm always trying to
find low-budget ways of creating the look that I want to get-- like on
Pray for Daylight, the scene taking place outside the house at
night with the cars: instead of using a thousand-dollar-plus butterfly
frame with a silk, I used a piece of conduit with some nylon cloth
stretched across it as a diffuser. Two fresnels on the backside, and

Now I'll probably make a 10x10 butterfly frame out of 1" conduit and get
some more cloth and grommets and sew my own diffuser out of some white
organza or something similar. It won't be perfect, but it will work for
probably 99 percent of what I need, and it will probably cost me less
than two hundred bucks and a couple of hours of my time. And I'll
probably make two or three of them, with some different cloth panels so
I have everything from full shade to full diffusion. And I'll probably
make some smaller ones as well, like 4x4.

And I've become enamored with fluorescent lighting as well, like Kino-flo, or some of the newer
Mole-Richardson units. The technology has improved so much that it's
almost essential.
And then there are CDM bulbs. They are like these small gas-discharge
bulbs that have really good color rendition, and something like four
times the efficiency of a regular quartz-tungsten bulb, so a 150 watt
CDM has the equivalent light output of a 600-watt tungsten. I can get
repairable lighting instruments on Ebay and retrofit the CDM bulbs into

Technologically, I'm fine. And I can make stuff look really pretty. But
in the midst of this comes the artifice of directing and storytelling.

Directing I can do. But there are two kinds of direction: technical and
emotive. Technical is fine for doing things like "hit this mark" and
"scream here", and is perfect for things like special effect scenes.
Emotive directing is more for those scenes that need to be carried by an
actor. You have to speak in terms that the actor can understand without
interfering with what they bring to the mix. You have to guide them,
give them raw material to work with so they can weave their performance
out of it. I need more experience with that.

And storytelling. This brings fear. I have stories and bits in my head,
but getting them down on paper into a coherent form is difficult, much
less making them into a compelling script. Really I need to write more
in screenplay form.

And I should probably go back amongst the bits and pieces that I have
sprinkled about this journal and see if any of them are useable. I bet
there's a good horror story lurking there somewhere.


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