Author Topic: A Tortellini Story - journey into food  (Read 12698 times)

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A Tortellini Story - journey into food
« Reply #75 on: February 11, 2005, 12:04:49 AM »
Quote from: Ghostboy
That's two movies now that have in the Special Thanks section of the it begins.

Quote from: matt35mm
Mine was the first, bitches.

Cassenya: The Movie



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A Tortellini Story - journey into food
« Reply #76 on: February 11, 2005, 12:18:25 AM »
That guy in the picture looks just like a guy I know.  He was dressed similarly once.  He looked just like that.  Eerie.

So correction:  There are three movies (that we know of so far) that have thanked  Picolas did the first, I did the second, and Kotte the third.


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A Tortellini Story - journey into food
« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2005, 10:38:08 AM »
A Tortellini Story
- journey into food

On-set footage

I never experienced writers block. Now I was in the middle of it. It was more than six months since I directed and for something you honestly feel you are born to do, six months is a hell of a long time. I knew I wanted to make a short film pretty soon and on 35mm with a large crew, because Iím a filmmaker. I had the whole production side all planned out but I didnít have a script, in fact I didnít even have an idea to make a script of. Itís been said good ideas cannot be forced. Itís true. Everything my pen generated (like I didnít write it :) ) was terrific crap. You should write what you know but what the fuck do I know?
I was born in to the culinary world with both a mother and a father running restaurants. What Iíve come to realize is the power of the critic, the culinary critic. There is something wrong when a critic has a ďstyleĒ, when he is known for cynicism and just being mean. This got me thinking...and two weeks later I had a script for a short film.

Pre production (October 2003 Ė February 2004)
I knew I couldnít do this without a company behind to support me. I started Nopher Films and that was all the corporative support I needed.
I had a producer friend read the script and hoped to god he would like it and want in on the project. He appreciated what the script was saying and noticed something universal in it. He discovered layers I didnít even know was there. In the end he showed me what this film was really about. He helped me make the film a lot more layered.
I put out an ad for a Director of Photography. I only had those kinds of contacts in New York City, not home, in Sweden. The first one I got in touch with was the one I ended up collaborating with: Matt Meikle. A New Zealander living and working in Sweden. On our first meeting we did very little talking about the project. We had a long conversation over coffee and cigarettes about films we love, cinematographers we admired etc. His reel was equally impressive as his person. Our second meeting was all about the project. I made it rough on him since I didnít have a budget set yet. But he promised 35mm was the way to go and that he would get a great deal on equipment. He had a wonderful contact at a rental house in Stockholm and managed to get all the equipment, including the van, the whole damn deal for under 2700 dollars. And on that a 60 percent discount on film stock at Fuji. Could I make this for less than my monthly drinking budget?
Kim Hansen, my producer, helped me get in touch with a production designer. Malena had a tough job. I had next to nothing set aside in the budget for production design. I am going to shoot this film in a real restaurant. The location I had was a restaurant but a 18th century restaurant and my story was set in a contemporary Italian eatery. She did an amazing job with next to zero dollars.
I had this big production running and I was a bit uncomfortable. I had not yet found the actors to make this whole thing worth it. I had neglected this part. You always neglect something when you are pressed for time. Unfortunately I had done so with the most important thing. I did some true focusing on this part for a couple of days and found some great actors. Luck. I could have been unlucky. I cursed myself and moved on. Lesson learned.
Two days before the shoot I had a production meeting with the key crew-members: the producer, 1st assistant director, director of photographer, sound technician and script supervisor. We didnít really do much work. I didnít feel there was anything to talk about except let everyone meet each other. But we did lay down a schedule that made me quite excited and bit tired. A fourteen hour shoot. Kim had a rough night getting in touch with everyone to give call times. I went to rehears with the actors.
Next day was equipment and film pickup day. I wasnít sure everything would fit in the van, though it was supposed to. It did. We dropped everything off at the set and had a quick run-through. There was no need for storyboards, there was only one set, one room but we did have an extensive shot list. Everyone went home. Time was 11 pm. I went to sleep with three alarm clocks set on 5 am. I knew I would oversleep.

Production (28th February)
I didnít. I drove to the set. Thatís one of the most exciting moments in my life that I will remember forever, the drive to the set. To be someone who always feels out of place I felt so much at home.
First one on set I prepared breakfast and made a large batch of questionable coffee. It was dark outside. February in Sweden is dark most of the day. It worried me a little bit. Would it be a problem to make this six minute story look like it is in real time? Matt assured me it would not. I walked the set and could not help but laugh out of excitement. I felt like such a rookie but that was okay, this film is my chance to get the rookie-excitement out of my system.
People started to drop in and alone-time was over.
Matt had decided to light the set from outside with really big lights to minimize relighting for every shot. Two hours until the camera was supposed to roll and the actors arrived. Michael, one of the actors, took me aside and told me he had the most horrible cold and a terrific headache. He is the one who have to deliver a two minute long monologue. I was worried but he assured me it wouldnít be a problem.
There was about thirty people there now and I had the best time walking around, talking to everybody.
The first shot required fifteen extras and a plate of pasta for everyone. The extras was there, the pasta was not. The chef of the restaurant promised to make us all the spaghetti we wanted but I had told him the wrong time or the schedule change somehow but he was a great sport and helped us out. He had the pasta done fifteen minutes later.
I took some time for myself before the first shot. To focus and clear my mind. I had never felt more confident in my whole life, as a person. It may sound strange but it is true. This is how it feels to be home.
The shoot went pretty smooth until we came to the monologue. There had been a miscommunication between me and Michael. He freaked when I told him we were doing the whole thing in one single take. We had to split it in two shots which in the end worked out for the better. I had never seen an actor work so hard as ill as he was. He tried to be as close to my words as possible but it didnít really work when he did it. I blame the script. I gave him some exceptionally good direction: I knew understood the subtext of the words so I told him to just adlib the middle part. It wouldnít do any harm if he seemed a bit confused and insecure. It would fit nice with his characterís state of mind. He did a great job! Though he happened to say ďa plate of TortelliniĒ instead of ďa plate of TortelloniĒ which forced me rename the film. Funny.
Last shot was in the can around 10 pm and we packed everything away. I had a head ache from hitting a fucking lamp four times. It hung really low and I didnít notice the read tape we put on it after the second time. Thatís me at my best. Actually Iím surprised I didnít trip over cables or fuck up the monitor.
Everybody left but me and Kim. There was a lot of cleaning to do. We left around 1 am. Totally fucking beat.
I went to bedÖI slept before I hit the bedÖ

Post production (Mars 2004 Ė April 2005)
This is the period I learned the greatest lesson. Look how fucking long it took!
I slept the whole sunday, the day following the shoot. I had some brief moments awake but they were filled with emptiness and satisfaction, an odd mix. But mostly I slept.
I dropped off the film at the lab and picked it up two month later when I had the money. That same day I went to color grade the film and transfer it to a digital format. This was really exciting I can tell you. It had been over two months since production and I was detached from the whole thing. But it took only a second of grading to get all the excitement rushing back.
A got everything down on my computer together with the sound material and got down to editing.
Kim, my producer, got in touch with a music composer who, apparently, was writing some songs for Backstreet Boysí new album. Whatever that would mean to my project I thought it was cool. He made some really good and fitting music for my film. What came later was sound-designing and mixing. A process I did not enjoy. I simply donít have an ear for it, for sound and what fits. But it is said to be 75 percent of a cinematic experiences: the sound scape and therefore fucking important. With good help from Kim and the mixer we finally had a good soundtrack. I think they hated me though that period. There wasnít a trace of decisiveness in me. That sounds fine and that sounds good and that and that and that...
The least dramatic but most expensive in the whole post period was online editing. You basically pay some one to re-edit your film.
So what did I do wrong here and what was the lesson learned? Plan and budget for post. I did neither. I just didnít see past the shooting. It wasnít really a product of disinterest but lack of knowledge.

Iíve learned a lot and I ended up with something great. With flaws and everything I love this film and I love everybody involvedÖand I think thatís what itís about.

I'm gonna put off drinking for a couple of weeks so we can afford festivals. I won't invest in a film print because that would cost me as much as the whole film itself but I'm sure if a major festival wants it I'll get the money.

We'll see what happens...


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