Project Nova

First off, apologies for the delay on this post. I've been having some trouble getting my thoughts together.

Last Monday I headed down to Huntington, and spent a week with Kyle Quinn so we could continue pre-production on "Nova," the short screenplay/film-to-be I started back in May. I spent roughly a week at Kyle's, and nearly all the time went to working on the beginning phases of the film -- specifically budget estimates, the prospectus, scheduling, and a lot of other, smaller tasks that were just easier to get done in person than over the phone or on Facebook.

I should probably pause here and point out what a invaluable tool Facebook has been for this project, and for the collaboration between Kyle and myself. Though many might question the professionalism of communicating and planning a project like this mostly through a social networking site, it seems unlikely this project would have gotten off the ground if not for Facebook. I personally look at this as one of those times when new technology has opened a door that otherwise might not have been available. Not unlike this blog, the site has been an asset to this creative process.

Having said that, there is a lot that can't be done over the internet [or at least is better not], and getting to look at Kyle's actual scene breakdowns, layouts, maps, and storyboards was extremely helpful, and as one might expect made things feel a bit more "real." We also got to do a lot of brainstorming, and though we butted heads a few time [expected], some new ideas cropped up and a lot of decisions were made.

We also had a table read of the script, which if I manage to get all my thoughts together on, I might talk about at length here later. But for current purposes I'll just say was it extremely helpful, and helped me finish the sixth draft of the script. As I had also finished a draft earlier in the week [still not sleeping much, as you can see], this makes last week one of my most productive ever in terms of re-writes on any project. I guess this is how the grown-up writers do it.

I figure there's probably one more draft left, but everything in the current version is completely shoot-able, and I'm actually very pleased with where it is right now. There is, however, some subtle or ambiguous parts that I wouldn't mind tweaking a little, and one semi-big thing I'd like to add, which may not even make it into the final cut of the film.

I also drew up a plan to do a "Severe Cut" of the film, which is essentially a version of "Nova" pared down to the important plot points, with the setting changed [and simplified] with a little less humor. It would be a last resort version of the story, to help make up time or money in a pinch, though I don't expect to use it -- though I will probably try and finish it, just in case. Though it may wind up never even wind up on paper, I wouldn't considered this eventuality at all if not for the time spent running through the budgetary numbers and schedule with Kyle. Just thinking about it was a good exercise, as was taking time to ask myself what could and couldn't be cut, and still keep the story intact.

Coming from the same table read, Kyle and I nailed down some strong casting possibilities [probably more than possibilities, but I'll be a lot less forthcoming here until contracts start being signed, to keep certain kinds of overzealous posting from happening again], including one we probably wouldn't have found if not for the read. We also ran through a scene or two in Kyle's dining room, and though I wouldn't say it was the best conditions for coming up with scene blocking, it was sort of surprising to see some of the complications that come with moving and speaking. It's sort of miracle we're able to do it in our day to day as naturally as we do.

We've also secured the involvement of a costume designer who's a Bennington alum -- a unexpected surprise for me, since I figured we'd be working from a mostly local base. In addition to that, it looks like Kyle and I will be bringing workers into West Virginia from New York, Boston, and LA.

Our schedule has also changed a lot. We're moving everything back from late fall to early-to-mid-spring, with the hopes that this will keep us from having to make as many sacrifices during production. It'll also allow us more time to accumulate funding, and once we've secured those funds, more time to plan the movie budget-specific. Planning and securing locations would also be given more time [and the results, hopefully, would be more ideal]. We've also decided to try and purchase our camera [instead of renting], which right now could actually save us some money, and give the production some assets which could be used in various ways to pay our investors back.The camera [or, if things go well, cameras] Kyle thinks would be best don't release until the late fall, which is just one more reason for the change.

2010 just keeps getting busier for me.

So, to tie things up, "Nova" is set to film in fall of 2010, for 7-9 days in Huntington, West Virginia, and the surrounding areas. Our projected budget will be no more than $20,000, and we will be privately funded. Kyle Quinn is set to direct, Randall Nichols to produce, and the rest we'll keep to ourselves until contracts are locked in, and the project has gotten a little closer.

The week with Kyle was very productive, and there's a great deal of other things we did that I'm sure are just slipping my mind. I regret not being able to make day-to-day post while there, but we stayed exceptionally busy the whole week, and coupled with his spotty internet, it was just difficult to find the time. I will try to do better, and as I mentioned before, find a way to work Twitter into this page so when this happens again, I won't lose an entire week and have to cram it all into a single posting.

So that's that. The next comes a lot of begging, done in very nice clothing.


[If you have any questions, if there's anything I left out, or if you think you can help/be a part of Project Nova in some way, feel free to respond to this message in the comments section, or e-mail me at]

P.S. Addition! Oft-linked friend of mine, Glen Brogan, did some of the storyboards for "Nova." He posted a few today, and I thought I might pass along the link. Glen's the project's graphic artist and production designer, and we're lucky to have him.

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