9.28.2011

Our First Festival Submission!!!!



Oh yeah - we did it...at the very last minute...but we did it. When I say last minute, I mean last minute. I mean 2:59am, the day after it was due - which happens to be 11:59pm the day it was due in the festival office time zone. That's a little too close for comfort, so I didn't really rest easy till we were informed of our submission status, which we now have. We've got the thumbs up from the festival that we've satisfied all submission requirements (the blue check for those of you who have submitted on Withoutabox). We are in the running now.

We knew we'd be cutting it close. We decided to submit in early August. We thought we were close enough and could get it to submission ready if we busted our asses, so we created a timeline to get it done, and really did pretty well (with the help of Nathaniel Blume on Temp Track duty) at getting there. We originally planned to be finished 6 days prior to the deadline so we could mail it and have it be in their offices when it was supposed to be, but then we learned we could upload our screener instead of sending a DVD. Now we decided we only had to be done 3 days ahead of time.

I mean we've dealt with the trials and tribulations of getting a movie finished (finished enough in this instance) and out to a watchable format. It is always problematic - in ways you could never imagine. This situation is where evil lives, and we were aware. We assumed it would take some finagling, and there would be some mistakes. It was much worse than we thought.

Here's how things needed to work. We had to first export the movie from our editing system in a particular format, then upload that onto IMDB/Withoutabox as a the secure online screener. It then needed to finalize. Then it would appear on our Withoutabox account and we could submit it. All our other submission stuff was done. We just needed to give them the stupid movie. Now, a full length movie is a big file, and we were looking at around 4 hours every time we exported or uploaded. That's cool once or even twice, but we had to try uploading this more than once or twice. It would go all the way to the end and then fail. In fact, Charlie watched our last failed upload hit "100%" and then fail.

At about 8pm the day of the deadline, it was in the process of uploading, Charlie had tried yet another format. At this point, he had been watching uploads all day, and I had been obsessing about it all day at work. By this time, he had become calmly accepting that we would not make it, and so we went out for Subway and cat food (we'd been needing to get that, since our new cat Tina eats like it's the end of days) while it slowly uploaded. We got home when it was at about 70%.

For my part, I tried to think the right things so that it would work. I struggled to decide how not to jinx us. I always have a feeling that if I'm too confident, then it surely won't work. But then sometimes, I think maybe being depressed about it will make it surely not work. It isn't easy to control your thoughts to obtain favorable outcomes people. I decided to come to peace with the failure, but continue to look at all possible options towards success. That was my superstitious time passing belief for this instance of life stress.

When it got to 98%, we stared at it, discussing how positive we were that it would fail just after 100% like last time, then.....it gave us the "successful upload" page. This was about 12:10am. We'd already decided that we'd go by the time in LA not here, so we still had almost 3 hours. There was high-fiving, and such, but then we realized that the finalization process might take a while, and by while I mean that it was at 96% when we checked it at 2:56am, and still at 96% at 2:57am. Charlie had got the webpage set up on the upstairs computer so that we could just push the button when the time came. However, it kinda seemed like we were gonna miss it just barely.  It hadn't moved by 2:58, so just for a last ditch, I headed upstairs to check if it had shown up on our page yet. It hadn't, so I pressed refresh again and it still hadn't, then I pressed refresh again, and there it was. It still boggles my mind how it that it actually worked out. I clearly had thought the correct combination of positive, negative and indifferent thoughts.

It would have been fine if we didn't submit. Who knows whether we'll get in or not, but I really would have felt bad if we missed this opportunity, especially since we busted our asses so hard to get it ready. Anyway, that's the story. I have a feeling our next submission will be much less tense.

9.20.2011

Final Shoot Before We Begin Submitting to Festivals!



The weekend shoot went better than we could have imagined. I mean there were issues we had to deal with - a ground loop coming through the boom, a point at the end of the day where Charlie suddenly thought we had lost all the sound recording (we didn't, but even the thought was pretty traumatizing)...and there was the fact that the actors had to see me and Barnaby in skin-tight morph suits. Honestly, other than that, everything got done as it was supposed to. We worked the hell out of our hair and make-up ladies (Lauren Bertelson and Rosalind Ferris), but as you can see from the pics below, they did a fantastic job, and the movie would not be the same without them. The actors were great too, nailin' lines right and left and rockin' the non-verbal acting. Even our good buddy Jake Fritz was helping crew the first part of the day. Thanks to all of you!
 
Ellie Church and Carlton Mohn on a canoe date!
Sarah Hoback, Bryan Patrick, and Ellie Church helping us discuss Sexy vs. Sexual
We spent all Saturday before hauling everything up there, hanging the green and the white screen, organizing the lighting - plus we shot a scene (using our Doc Johnson props) that day too. So, we spent all day Saturday and Sunday in production mode (which was actually kind of fun after being in post-production mode for so long), and got a total of 4 scenes completely shot. Two of these scenes - the ones we needed our new family of actors to be in - had been a nagging burden for a long time. We had these worked out visually before the first round of shooting in 2009, but they didn't involve actors. Then our ideas got less and less interesting to us and the work involved seem ridiculous. Then all the sudden festival submission time was approaching, so we had to decide on a approach quick-style, and honestly it was better than anything we had come up with before...and after watching the actors during shooting, we were all even more excited about how these scenes were turning out than we thought we'd be. I love it.  I'll leave you with some pics from the weekend. Enjoy!
Alfonso Gomez and Amber Helms (a fellow Mt. Vernon Alum) on a date with...well you'll just have to see the movie to learn why I'm tied up in an orange Morph Suit.
Elle Beals being coy

9.16.2011

Doc Johnson, AnC Thanks You For The Dildo With Anus!



Science Sex and the Ladies has its first corporate sponsor, Doc Johnson! That's right, Doc Johnson the sex toy manufacturer. They have donated some awesome and somewhat hard to find anatomical props for the movie. As you can see from the picture, we are super excited about this. These will be the centerpieces of a scene that reviews what the movie has discussed to that point about orgasm and ejaculation in both men and women. Let me just say this will be a fun scene to shoot - not only because we get to manipulate a dildo with anus toy, but it will be a super easy shoot and a quick edit to finish the scene. Before we got a hold of these props, we were thinking we'd have to build a 3D animation to make this work, so we are now saving some serious time. Also, it's a little sentimental because my very first vibrator was a Doc Johnson Pocket Rocket - a bright pink one. Thank you Doc Johnson!!!!!

Need a toy? Check out www.docjohnson.com

9.08.2011

Gearing Up For Festival Submissions This Month




Kristen Marley as Shere Hite
We are actually getting close, people. We have a late September deadline we're working toward to get this movie submitted into its first festival. It will be an unfinished submission - which is very common. There won't be final sound or credits, and the music will be a temp track. Which, by the way, the awesome Nathaniel Blume will be working out for us. He's the guy that composed (and managed recording of) the movie's opening number, "Shitty Perspective." If you didn't happen to be a dancer in this movie and thus had to memorize the words and dance to that song, you may know it as the song playing under our trailer - although without most of the vocals. He'll be doing the final score from his home base in LA, but is also helping us out to make the temp track. He's awesome, and we're excited to be working with him - I'll leave it at that for now.
Brandi Davis and Joshua Ramsey as a cave couple
We currently have 14 of the 55 scenes in this movie left to finish. It sounds worse than it is, really, because most of those 14 scenes are at least partly finished. However, it is nothing to scoff at either. We have a strict schedule, we're meeting every other day to asses needs, and we're doing really well so far -ahead of our schedule actually.

Honestly I'm flipping out a little. I have truly been working on this movie my whole adult life. I began the research right as I was finishing college. I put out the first insanely long, rambling, pre-script about 2 years later in 2004ish, and AnC began in earnest really visualizing the script in, I think, about 2007. Shot everything the spring and early summer of 2009, and here we are. It almost doesn't seem real to be this close. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you all know that after all these years of us talking about and working on this, it's gettin' done, baby.

9.04.2011

No Strings Attached - The SSL Review



So I said I would SSL review No Strings Attached, and I am  a woman of my word. I reviewed its twin movie, Friends with Benefits (FWB), here, and as one would expect, it's almost impossible not to compare the two movies once you've seen both.

Honestly, as far as the SSL reviewing goes, this movie simply doesn't have as much to go on as FWB had, and frankly what it does have to go on ain't that progressive, or to be more clear, it actually portrays just the type of inaccurate depictions of female orgasm that I'm working against. However, that said, it was still generally fun to watch. It was a formulaic RomCom, but not nearly as formulaic as FWB. Plus, it had moments of strangeness that I really enjoyed. Natalie Portman calling some women pumpkins? Yeah I enjoyed that. Kutcher making a period mix for Portman, all old school on a CD and everything with somewhat witty song choices? Liked it.

I'm not so sure that they sold the relationship in this movie though, particularly in comparison with Timberlake and Kunis in FWB. Probably Kutcher couldn't sell it. He's cute and charming on screen (at least I think so even though many people have an irrational deep hatred of him, which I won't knock because I myself carry deep irrational hatred for particular actors and actresses), but I don't think he has the range or the acting chops or something to make it work. I actually think Natalie Portman could hang, but it just didn't work that well for me.

Now as for this non progressive orgasm depiction, I have to say I'm a little sad about it. I just blogged about Ashton Kutcher giving big ups to this movie for its depiction of a female character owning her own sexual desire. He rightly pointed out that we see too little of that in Hollywood and that in general less emphasis is placed on female orgasm in our sexual culture than on male orgasm. He even stated the obvious, but oh so overlooked truth, that in school male orgasm is discussed (not really as pleasure, but as a necessary means to discuss reproduction), but women's orgasms are simply not discussed because they are removed from reproduction. After reading all this I thought, cool, this movie will have some realistic depictions of female sexual release...or not. Honestly, I think Kutcher's heart is in the right place, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. My SSL type criticisms are not your average types of criticisms, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people have never thought about depictions of female orgasm in the ways I discuss in the these reviews. So Mr. Ashton Kutcher, if you're reading this (and if you are, I'll freak out), know that I still have love for your feminist pro-sex leanings. Take this as an invitation to engage in a friendly discussion about depictions of female orgasm in media.

So on with it. The only scene that had a depiction of female sexual release was during the couple's first sexual encounter. The two knew each other over the years, and although they hadn't spent much time together, they obviously took a liking to one another. Ends up, they're both living in the same city and have mutual friends, and after Kutcher learns his dad is sleeping with his ex girlfriend, he goes on a one night bender with some friends and wakes up buck naked at Portman's apartment. Her and her roommates fuck with him for a little and then Portman leads him back to her room where he can find the pants he drunkenly pulled off the night before.

Well, wouldn't you know, they're sitting on the bed talking when they just bust out kissin' and a touchin'. I would like to stop the story here and point out that Ashton Kutcher's character just woke from a night of drinking so hard that he ended up naked on a friends couch. His breath has got to smell like hot garbage, but I guess Portman's character is into that. Anyway, they quickly move from kissing to naked to condom to doin' it. I mean it was like less than a minute. Then,
Portman's roommate is all like, "come on we gotta leave for work," and Portman looks at Kutcher and tells him he's got less than a minute to do the damn thing (or something to that effect). He says he's way ahead of her, and I'm thinking, okay she means he's got like a minute to get his. However, what actually happens is that Portman and Kutcher both come at basically the same time, and I realize that Portman's intention was probably not to tell him he needed to finish in a minute, but that he needed to finish her in a minute.