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Director’s Update

Wednesday 6.16.10

Just arrived at Dan Hamilton’s to do one more session of boards before Brent and I head off into the next chapter of the Not Today saga! Had a great meeting with John Schneider…yes that John Schneider.:) What a nice guy. He will fit in really well with our crew. It was a great meet him and I feel like we both walked away feeling good about the film and working together. I am excited to see what he does with Luke. As I was explaining to him what I wanted and what I was thinking when writing that character, I realized that‚Ķwhile it is based on my first two years of marriage and being a stepparent, I could never write the depth that he will bring to the party. He has been married for a long time and has some great first impressions of how to play this character. Again, very exciting stuff.

Brent is still working on the editor situation…stay tuned and keep praying…

Like I said, now I am spending the rest of the day with Hammy to try and knock out a few more boards. It is always a treat to hang with Dan. He is easy going, completely neurotic ūüôā and always entertaining! Not sure how much we can get through, but we will try to work as fast as possible. I have to add‚Ķthat since I was here, Hammy added a platform for his desk and computer etc. it is really big…takes up half the room actually if not more. Now I am forced to look up at him…see photo below…

I used to work right next to him on a TV tray, now I am using the floor of the platform as my desk top and am looking up at him…I tease him that he did this on purpose so I would have to look up at him!

So as of now, Brent and I leave Friday…Which means, the next blog will be from India. We are probably going to Mumbai first… then Goa, then Hyderabad to finish casting and location scouting. Busy busy busy…but it will be fun to finally get back to India. I do like it there. It is so completely different than anything here. The smells, sounds and sights are overwhelming, hyper stimulating and very exciting. Probably though, it won’t hold a candle to what my wife will be dealing with in my absence with the kids home for the summer!

I spent a few days working with Cody and Walid. They are really going to do well. They are both very excited and eager to find their characters and create something that will be sincere, honest and impactful. I am happy with how they are coming along.

Packing up to head home in traffic with about a billion of my closest friends! Got some good work done…need to be home tonight. Garrett gets his all star uniform in a ceremony at the field and I want to go to with Shannon. Should be fun. And then tomorrow we have Lindsey’s 8th grade Graduation. A big day!

Until we speak again…God willing from India!
As always, thanks for praying, following and supporting this project.
J

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Director’s Update

Spent all day today ‚Äď Thursday June 3rd ‚Äď in LA. ¬†Met with Abe, Jaz and Matt at Birns and Sawyer to do camera tests with the 5D and the 7D converted. ¬†We shot Cooke and Baltar lenses. ¬†Very different, equally cool though. ¬†It was a fun morning.


Steven
and Allan dropped by, it is always good to see them.  The mood instantly lightens when they walk in.  I like them being around….good fun always.  After the test, Abe and I return the lenses to Canoga Park and then head to Denny’s to grab a bite to eat and go over some of the storyboards Dan drew.  They make it so easy to communicate what I want to Abe, who can then communicate it to his guys.  Dan’s boards are worth there weight in gold for sure.

After stuffing ourselves at Denny‚Äôs [stay away from the pancake batter rolled in cinnamon little donut looking things!], we head back into Hollywood to go to EFILM to see a 5D film out [digital that has been printed back to film] just to see how that looks. ¬†Seemed fine to me. ¬†It was actually the same footage we had seen previously at HDI RawWorks last week, only transferred to film. ¬†Took a little of the infomercial look out of the footage…seemed fine.


We finished at 5:00pm and I jumped on the 101 freeway with about a billion of my closest friends for the 1:45 minute drive home! ¬†Talked to Steven and Shannon and then enjoyed some talk radio. ¬†Not too bad. ¬†Talked with Cody, he is super pumped and ready to go!!¬†He is a really good guy and I am certain God will use his talents to change lives. ¬†He is a gift from God to this project for sure…as are the entire crew and cast.¬† Each one of them seems hand picked and perfect for what we need. ¬†It has been amazing to watch how God has moved through this nearly 7-month delay. ¬†7 Months ago I had never heard of a 5D

I get home and work on the script a little more before heading out to an all star baseball pizza party!  Eat some pizza and watch the Lakers pound on the Celtics…a good night.  Now I am back home and am working on the script some more.  Tomorrow, it is back into LA for the fourth time this week to see what we shot today and to finalize a camera package!!

Friday 6.4.10

Ride this morning…the first time back on a bike in a while and I felt it. Then meet up with Stephen Martin and head to LA for the fourth day in a row. ¬†Stop by a cool bookstore in Glendale called Brand Books then head over to HDI Raw Works on ‚ÄúThe Lot.‚ÄĚ ¬†We see the footage we shot yesterday…as I expected I did not like the Zeiss lenses all. ¬†The Cookes are amazing. ¬†The Baltars are beyond amazing especially after Aaron tweaked the softness a little and adjusted the blacks back to black we had a winner!! ¬†Baltar‚Äôs with two 7D‚Äôs. ¬†The camera package is set!! ¬†Steven is happy since were are abandoning the most expensive lenses on Earth apparently!:) and we are going with 50 year old Russians glass, hand tooled by a guy in Van Nuys. ¬†Steven is also happy that we are staying with the 7D package here in Orange County when we return instead of going to 2 perf film. We will shoot the sharper and cleaner Cooke lenses here to get the difference in texture I was looking for. ¬†Everyone is happy. ¬†Stephen Martin and I head back to the OC after stopping for a Baja Fresh burrito. ¬†All in all a great day. The look of the film is set. ¬†Check that one off. ¬†Now back to the script, storyboards and rehearsing.

Saturday 6.5.10

Spent from 10 till 2 doing story boards with Josh…slowly working our way through the script. ¬†I will met with Dan again¬†tomorrow from 2pm till 2am to finish up the action sequence boards. ¬†I went over them with Abe a few days ago, and they make a huge difference when trying to explain the style I am looking for. ¬†¬†Was up at 6:00am to get Garrett off to Baseball with teammates and then worked on the script until meeting online with Josh…a very full Saturday.

Tuesday 6.8.10

Just got two amazing calls from Brent. ¬†There is an editor named Jeff (I absolutely love his work!)‚Ķhe edits for a director who I really admire.¬† So today, Allan called him and it turns out he is a super nice guy and is interested in the film!! ¬†It would be amazing if he came on. ¬†¬†Wow, what a gift from God that would be…once again God is assembling his crew for HIS film!!

I have been working with the actors and we are making a ton of progress finding these characters for sure.  The two leads have completely different acting styles that will really benefit the film. They are both very excited about the movie and eager to work and grow and stretch and develop and create these characters that before only lived in all of our imaginations.  It is great to see Bhupinder and Ezekiel starting to come to life before my eyes.  Very exciting stuff for sure.

Wednesday  6.9.10

Spent till 1 am with Dan doing storyboards again…we almost got through everything we needed to…except he said my feet were stinky and it distracted him so we did not finish! ¬†One more trip back and we should be able to wrap it up.


I am off to Studio City today, for my 6 or 7th trip to that area in the last week and a half.  That drive is a bummer, but it is always productive.   Today I will spend a few hours with Cody and Walid, continuing to go through the script for the first time.  I will have Jess post some of the boards so you guys can see what we are doing till the wee hours of the morning.


Anyway, please pray for Jeff [the possible editor]…that God will put this project on his heart‚Ķas I am pretty sure we cannot afford him, but if God wants him on the team, He will make that happen. ¬†Prayers are always welcomed and appreciated for every aspect of this project!! ¬†Thanks for reading and for supporting the film.

PS. ¬†Sorry this is more like a journal than a blog‚Ķbut the journal idea is something I have been doing for years and years…blogging seems weird to me, so I have chosen to basically keep a public journal for you guys to get a glimpse into my day, week and life. ¬†Hope it is not as mundane as it seems when I am writing it…like I am posting my home movies and you guys are forced to watch them for hours on end! ¬†That would be a drag.

J

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Director’s Update

Friday 5.27.10

As I sit here in my bedroom, looking out the window and working on another tweak of the script, I have to laugh. ¬†I just got off the phone with Steven, Abe, then Abe again and Steven and then Abe one more time and then Steven one more time. ¬†I think we finally began to agree on a camera package and that was the reason behind the entire morning‚Äôs worth of phone calls. ¬†When we started out, I don‚Äôt think anyone agreed with anyone…about anything…or maybe in hindsight it was just that no one knew what the other person was actually saying! ¬†Anyway, that seems all sorted out.

So, I will spend all weekend working on the movie…doing storyboards with two artists and tweaking the script. ¬†¬†I guess by the time this is posted we will have had our table read and I will certainly fill you in on how that goes…but it is not for a few more days…anything could happen between now and then. ¬†Also was told yesterday that we may lose one of our actors. ¬†I guess if he drops out it, is because God has re-cast His film. ¬†Needless to say that as things heat up, emails and phone calls fire back and forth at lightning speed! ¬†Another typical week in the life of trying to get a film made. ¬†THIS is why it takes years to get a film from the page to the screen. ¬†Anyway, back to working on the script. ¬†I just knew if I didn‚Äôt write this down now, come Wednesday when Jessica emails me about a blog, I might forget some of it. ¬†This is my way of giving you guys a blow-by-blow of how things happen and then un-happen just as fast. ¬†Nothing is easy…nothing worth doing anyway.

Still Friday…four hours later…still working on the script…

I just got to a part in the script where a character finds a body in a trash heap‚Ķand was thinking to myself if I have ever seen a dead body…the first thing that comes to mind, is when I was young and my Grandfather died. ¬†We went to the funeral home as a family to view the body. ¬†Just one problem…when my parents left the viewing room, they left in the room with my grandfather on the table. ¬†I remember his arm hanging off the table. ¬†Odd. ¬†But I also remembered on one of my last trips to India, we were driving and passed a cop and then a flare‚Ķmy eyes followed a blood trail on the asphalt. ¬†I was not prepared for there to actually be a BLOOD trail. ¬†At the end of the trail, was a body. We drove past and on our way. ¬†Extremely odd.

6.2.10  Wednesday.

I am supposed to be on a plane this afternoon. ¬†It will not be happening. ¬†¬†God‚Äôs timing is perfect. ¬†I will leave when He is ready for me to leave. ¬†Things are still moving forward…not without drama and conflict, but they are moving forward. ¬†Yesterday, we had a production meeting with the key crew coming from the US. ¬†I have to say that we have put together a pretty great group of people. ¬†All of them have a passion for this project and the subject matter‚Ķall of them are really amazing people!

After the meeting, I got to spend some time going through a few scenes with Walid [Bhupinder] and Cody [Ezekiel].  Very encouraging for sure.  They are good!

Last Night, we also had a dinner and partial table read at one of the filming locations‚Ķan amazing house with a crazy view. ¬†It was great to see Wilson and Preston again, as well as Shari and Sarah. ¬†This cast is a great one. ¬†Dinner was really good and the conversation was fun. ¬†I was especially proud to have my stepdaughter there. ¬†She is playing a small part in the film and was a bit awestruck just being in Cody‚Äôs presence!! ¬†It was very cute and Cody was amazing with her. ¬†She truly is a fan…and when Cody put her on the phone with his girlfriend who is the lead in one of Lindsey‚Äôs favorite shows…oh my!! ¬†When I got home she was so excited she could barely settle enough to go to sleep‚Ķso to Cody, I say a huge THANK YOU for making Lindsey feel so special.

The night was a good…thanks to everyone involved who worked hard to make it happen [Brent, Nikki, the Chandlers and Beamish families for hosting and setting up, Bev for coming by, Bill and Gayle being there was really great, Jessica, Matthew and of course Bali, JP, Maddie and Chris L….Steven, Allan, Joth, Matt, Cristi, the Martz family and my wife ‚Ķthanks for coming! A huge thank you to the cast, for being willing to drive to Orange County for the evening. ¬†What a great way to start!!!

As always, thanks for reading and for your prayers!

J

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Director’s Update

So here we sit, one more week has passed and…a ton of work and progress has been made. We are booking flights, and everything else that goes with the controlled chaos that is making a movie…or getting ready to go make a movie anyway. So, YES it is a good week. We are moving forward for sure. We have announced the cast!! ¬†Check them out, follow them on twitter, see their other work…they are all amazingly talented actors and actresses! I am excited and grateful to each one of them for their involvement. I anticipate nothing but greatness coming from each of them…great positive energy, great acting talent, great chemistry…especially with Cody and Sarah! When you guys get to experience what we all saw in the audition between those two‚Ķyou will believe they have been dating for years!! They all share a passion for this cause and have agreed to dive in and give God their absolute best on this project. Our goal is simply, to make the best movie that we are capable of making because God does deserve our best. So, needless to say, I am thrilled with each and every actor chosen. They are all unique and I am certain you will be captivated as you watch this film…at least that is my goal‚Ķ.to bring out the very best in each of them‚Ķto identify their strengths and play to them‚Ķto isolate their weaknesses and stretch them, helping them grow‚Ķto frustrate them and console them. Basically, doing whatever is necessary to get the most riveting performances that this set of actors that God has assembled for such a time as this, are capable of giving…and I am thrilled to have this task laid out before me.

I have also started storyboarding a little with Abe‚Ķa little with a new friend, Josh Lam‚Ķand a little with a very old friend, Dan Hamilton. Abe and I started with very rudimentary boards, just to have an idea of what I am looking for. Then he found Josh, who I primarily work with via ‚Äúgo to meeting‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúiChat.‚ÄĚ This way he can be at his house and I can be at work or home and we can work together. I can see his screen, so I can guide him and he can see me, as I stand on a chair trying to show him how I see Kavya‚Äôs hand grasping her dad‚Äôs pant cuff!

Just got back from meeting with Cody and Walid. They are both super excited and ready to dive into the film. I gave them both some homework and set a time to meet again before I head out for India. Things are finally in high gear…or ‚Äúaccelerated‚ÄĚ as a friend likes to say.
Cody has a band, Fairlene, and they are releasing their first single next week‚Ķso, check out his website and support him please!! Cody also has the cutest dog I have seen a long time BTW. Spent a lot of time on the phone with Jessica today. She is our catchall media guru and social networking person and currently acting as a personal assistant to three or four people!! Not to mention she has twin toddler boys at home!! She is busy for sure! It is great for me to be able to turn over stuff and focus on what I need to be doing at the moment. Now is when things get nuts for me‚Ķbut in a really good way!! This is play time. This is what we have all been waiting for…it seems God has finally granted us permission to go make HIS film. I love this kind of busy…productive, creative busy.

Meanwhile Brent, Steven, Allan, Chris and Denise are the kind of busy that would make me insane!! The organizing kind of busy…the nuts and bolts of making things happen…visa, plane trips, table reads, budget issues, equipment lists…blah blah blah…no thanks. We are lucky to have such a team surrounding this project…willing and praying it into existence. So far so good…
Oh yeah…while at Cody’s house…he played his new song (he actually played the piano part for us live on his beautiful white piano)… then, when he stopped playing, Walid started playing another song. Seems they are both musicians! Cool.

Anyway, so keep praying and watching…new things happening daily.
Thanks
J

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Cast Announcement

We are excited to finally announce our cast for Not Today! These amazing and gifted actors have patiently waited with us for this day and here it is! I hope that as you look at each one, you’ll begin to pray for them and the impact that they will have as a part of this project. Check back in the next week or so for a personal message from each of them and their thoughts on being involved with Not Today.

Cody Longo as Ezekiel

Click here for Cody’s IMDB Bio

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Walid Amini as Bhupinder

Click here for Walid’s IMDB Bio

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Sarah Habel as Audrey

Click here for Sarah’s IMDB Bio

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Shari Wiedmann as Sarah

Click here for Shari’s IMDB Bio

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Wilson Bethel as Bill

Click here for Wilson’s IMDB Bio

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Preston Davis as Z-Roy

Click here for Preston’s IMDB Bio

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Justin Baldoni as Eli

Click here for Justin’s IMDB Bio

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Director’s Update

Just got my BLOG reminder and of course happen to be in the Wednesday meeting…as usual!!¬† Great timing Jess ūüôā¬† So what is happening?¬† This week, there actually IS something happening.¬† Not sure I can officially say all that is happening, but things are finally happening!

Big meetings…none that I am in but, big meetings none the less have been going on behind the scenes both here and in India.¬† Sid, George, Chris, Denise, Brent, Steven and Allan all have been on full alert trying to make this permit process come together.¬† Language and time differences are magnified ten fold over the phone.¬† To hear Steven talk about some of these conversations, is laugh out loud funny.

Steven and Allan are here again today for more meetings.¬† They, along with Brent, are discussing timelines and people actually traveling to India. Cool.¬† Still staying a bit reserved though…we shall see if this is the time God wants us to be in India.¬† The irony of shooting in the worst possible month and in fact, the one month of the year people say DO NOT go to India will be when we are there shooting, is not lost on any of us!

Oh well.  Pain is temporary, film is forever.  I will be happy to be there shooting whatever the conditions are.

Tomorrow, I will spend the day with Abe looking at footage from a 5D.¬† This is the newest and coolest way to shoot films, the only problem is that I haven’t seen any footage that I actually like yet!¬† Steven likes it – it saves a ton of money. Abe likes it – it is easier to use and much faster.¬† I want to like it..but as yet, don’t.¬† Hopefully, I will see something tomorrow that changes my mind.

I am excited about the idea of working with the actors.¬† Working with actors is my fun on set.¬† I love watching them create and make words on the page come to life…usually in unique and interesting ways…and sometimes not anywhere close to how I may have be thinking when writing those words.¬† That is when it gets really fun.
That is when I know an actor has claimed that part…that is it no longer something that I can speak to with ultimate authority.¬† That they have become the character they were cast to play…when they can tell me how that character would react in certain circumstances or what they would wear or say.¬† I get the best seat in the house to watch that happening…exciting stuff.

Anyway I think that is about it for today.  Hopefully when you read the next blog, it will have a full cast list and a start date!

As always, thanks for your prayers and continued support.

J

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Director’s Update

Another Wednesday…another blog!

Got a surprise call this morning at home from Denise. Her and Chris are such neat people. It was a pleasant surprise to hear from her. Seems she wanted to talk permit and to just say hi. She is sweet. Then her phone died and so I called Chris and left him a message, he called back so I got to talk to him as well. A good way to start the morning…after my bike ride. 6:30am ride…cold and hard…mostly climbing. Rode with Dan. He has been riding almost every day for the last week. He pulls me along.

Let’s see…not much new. Seems we might be getting closer. Last week, I spoke to two of our main actors…both are good and still excited to be involved. I am equally excited about their involvement. That is one thing I am certain of…we have a great cast assembled. That is a huge part of my job as the director…cast and the DP. Those two elements are in place and I am excited and ready to dive in.

Trying to remember if anything else came up this past week. It has been relatively quiet…there is a ton of activity behind the scenes…Brent, Steven, Allan, Chris and Denise are all working hard to make this film happen once we get our permit…some of them are working both on getting the permit and what will happen after we get our permit. I am grateful to all of them for their time and effort. Meanwhile, I am trying to remain focused on the job of directing. The writing is finished…well kind of. The script will evolve as we [me and the actors] start to break it down and unravel each character, but for now it is good. Abe and I will continue to story board the film when time permits. I will now start reading over the script, again and again and again to saturate my brain with the details and nuances contained within the 114 pages. I will also begin to identify the visual information as well as to refine the shot selections. This will continue throughout the production.

I am trying to temper my focus. If I get fully engaged, the delays are super frustrating so I have learned through this long delay to not get too engaged…and therefore I don‚Äôt get too bummed. Once we get a permit and have some travel set plans, then I will fully engage and focus. That is where I function well. I like the intensity and energy on a film set. I miss that most from my ‚Äúold life.‚ÄĚ [pre church media director job] A film set, when run by a good leader, is the greatest place to be…it is like Disneyland to me. It always has been and I am anxious to get back to that place. All that to say, we may have some good news early next week for all of you who have taken this long ride and who have stood by us!!

Until then, be well…keep praying and stay tuned.

Just wanted to add that Brent and I just had lunch with Ron, Tina and their friend Aaron, a pastor from Bellingham, Washington. Great time. Shannon, my wife stopped by to say hello as well. Tonight we are having a prayer meeting with Aaron for the film. Should be a great time. 7pm in the green room behind the Worship Center at Friends Church in Yorba Linda. The Address is: 5141 Highland Ave, Yorba Linda, CA Just show up if you are in the area…or can be in the area. A great time of fellowship with some truly great people.

J

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