Behind the Scenes of the Screenwriting Webseries

I fear three things: falling from a great height, something terrible happening to my kids, and being on camera.

I can talk in front of a large crowd no problem. I like the interaction and the energy of talking with or talking to people. The camera…the camera forces me to look at myself. I’m so quirky. I have weird facial expressions, I bounce all over the place, I’m so fat, I look pregnant, I say stupid things or make up words that even I don’t know what I’m talking about..I’m far too critical of myself on camera.

That being said, I got my big butt in front of the camera this weekend with my lovely and smart co-producer, Veronica Diaz, to film the Karmic Courage Screenwriting Webseries.

The Screenwriting Webseries is loosely based on the 8 week, screenwriting class we taught in the fall. The trick was taking a 2 hour classes on a topic and trying to make it into a 10 minute discussion for the webseries. Some topics got left out, others got broken up into multiple episodes. We even added a Hero’s Journey episode, this is something we didn’t go into detail in the classes, but brought up a lot.

The decision to do a webseries came from the fact of we got emails from people who wanted to attend the in-person class but couldn’t do to schedule issues. Many were working on a play or a film and couldn’t make it to each class. The webseries would be a good way for people with busy production schedules to be able to go online and check out as many episodes as they have time for. Doing the webseries also brings the information to a larger audience, after all screenwriting is not just local, it’s worldwide.

Veronica and I wrote out various script for the webseries. We added and eliminated scripts that where the information wasn’t that strong or was readily available on the internet.

We had a pre-production meeting with the camera department (Jason Harris) to make sure the set ideas were going to work before it was built. We had a tech rehearsal with our 3 camera set up (Jason Harris, Dave Bonnell, Dan DeMint) and non-sync sound (Chuck Budreau). Katie Harris was our AD. She was our eyes to make sure we didn’t say something too stupid or look stupid. (It was a hard job). Veronica and I tried rehearsing during the tech rehearsal but we were really nervous. Later, Veronica and I got together, had some drinks, and rehearsed just her and I for a bit, then Katie came into be our eyes and ears when we were in the groove. Katie really put us at ease. We felt comfortable with her and she told us straight how we were doing. We knew the boys would get amazing shots, but in a series where we’re mostly talking heads, Veronica and I need to be entertaining or people are going to get bored – it’s the nature of the beast.

Come filming day. A lot of time and prep went into this webseries, all I could think was don’t mess it up by being stupid or dull. Two mocha’s and quite a few beers were my liquid courage to get me through. I was happy that my hat and silk shirt didn’t mess up the lighting set up. I was worried I’d have shadow from the brim of my hat and my shirt would reflect the light, making me dark and shinny at the same time. Jason, Dave and Dan were great, our light was soft and brought us out from the very purple room we shot in.

Lights! Cameras! Action! We filmed 10 episodes, many in 1-3 takes. Episodes ranged from 9 minutes to 20. The time under the lights was draining and hot. I really have a new love for actors. I’m not an actor and don’t ever plan on being one but hot-damn that is hard work. The lights drain your energy, I felt I couldn’t cool down, hard to keep your focus and enthusiasm in those conditions.

The great thing is the shots look amazing. I can’t wait to get the series out. We shot on SD and P2. The P2 files (MXF) were not being friendly with my editing software so Jason Harris was a doll and converted the files.

At the time of this post two of the 10 episodes are posted on Karmiccourage.com. The rest should come out one week at a time click here for the schedule. We will have a DVD of the entire series when complete for those interested.

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