The video below is my annual Halloween NIGHTMARATHON; a 43-minute timelapse video of the 20 hours I sent watching the entire 12-movie Friday the 13th/Jason series. It’s been mentioned on a couple of the horror community sites this week including Bloody Disgusting and the Friday the 13th Franchise site.
I don’t have time for a very long blog post this week, but I always try to post every week and even though I’m about as production-depressed as I ever get right now, it’s time for a post.
This is just such a hard thing to do, you guys. Finding 10 evenings in November when everybody’s free to shoot is practically impossible. The thing that sucks too is that now that we raised all this money, we can’t just quit. We’re going into our 3rd major reschedule, and people who have previously agreed to be available on shoot days have new things popping up in their schedules. Some things are unavoidable. Really great opportunities and paying gigs. Some people just want to suddenly go out of town. Scheduling independent productions is a constant stomach-acid-churning, panic-inducing nightmare that sucks all of the fun out of what’s supposed to be a creative process. It’s not about discovering a story or crafting characters anymore. It’s only about trying to cram it into as short a time as possible around people’s busy lives. That’s all it is now. And I can’t wait for it to be over.
Production will just take a few months of headaches, heartaches, compromise, and misery and then I’ll have a nice little post-production reprieve to rediscover my optimism and enjoyment in the story we’re telling.
I try never to unleash the sometimes-paralyzing negativity and anxiety of this “hobby” in the video updates, but sometimes I unspool it here for the dedicated few who read the blog so my wife doesn’t have to bear the sole brunt of it by herself.
Thanks for reading; ‘cause I have neither the income, time, or interest to invest in therapy.
The video update below contains some of the advice I’ve collected about scheduling productions over the 5 years of making PoPS. It’s geared toward people setting out to schedule for the first time. First, though, I announce our episode 9 fundraiser raffle and referral winners.
I think that last blog post was just the kick I needed to stop procrastinating and kick this thing into gear. I went home that night, printed off all my tagged script breakdowns, calculated my eighths page count, and created some shooting blocks. A couple nights later, Eliza and I sat down and dropped them onto the calendar. I’ve sent that noise off to the actors and so far got back a couple of conflicts that need to be dealt with, which I will reschedule around soon.
I also got in touch with a weapons property master I used a couple years ago to set up the weapons for this episode.
Then Eliza and I talked about a couple of specialty props we need to move to the front burner and started discussing some locations we need to line up.
The last two nights we’ve met with actors who weren’t able to make it to the cast read through to work through the dialogue and make sure we’re all on the same page before we get to set. That’s a huge deal and outside of a read through, it’s something I haven’t given enough attention in the past. Luckily, we’ve had actors who are good at processing notes and adapting on set, but frontloading a little performance groundwork into preproduction is a really solid idea. Just from these last two nights, I could see the difference. We got to have some really productive conversations without slowing down the pace of a shoot night.
So the wheels are in motion. I’m sure I’ll talk about it in an upcoming update, but there is a certain crazy energy that comes with being in production. My normal indecisiveness about what to have for dinner or watch after work goes straight out the window and I drop into solutions/work around/results mode. Sure, sometimes I still feel a little more like playing video games than making shotlists or trading emails about schedules, locations, and gear, but in the words of MC Hammer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) soundtrack, “This is what we do.”
Thanks for reading.
The video update below involves a lot of talking about the Indiegogo campaign for episode 9, which ends tomorrow. It also chronicles how the production of the show has run a parallel path to mine and Eliza’s marriage.
Our fundraising campaign has gone really well, and whether we hit the goal or not, the amount of support I’ve felt coming our way has been amazing. Here are a few of the campaign videos that have gone up over the last week:
And speaking of support, every once in a while I think to google “platoon of power squadron” and I find a bunch of great things that are just inspiration boosters on tumblr. Like gifs people make:
“Donald being a badass in episode 8.” – lunar-alienism
I especially love it when they grab screencaps of the show and add words to them. It’s like a clue into what parts of the show are really connecting with people. And the things they write to accompany the images are SO NICE!
“I have yet to introduce someone to PoPS who hasn’t fell in love with the show (OK, not true, one guy just thoroughly enjoyed it), but even if it is not your jam, I implore you to at least check these guys out and consider supporting them on the grounds that they are a bunch of hardworking, insanely creative, good people that are helping to lead a revolution in how we share our stories.” – thelynchieconjecture
“Platoon of Power Squadron is really great webseries I’ve been watching for the last four or five years. It’s inspired the webseries I’ve been working on for the last year or two, and it has just been getting better and better with every episode. Jake Jarvi, the guy who writes, produces, and stars in it, is kind of my favorite non-famous famous person in the history of ever.” – songofsarcasm
Like…right? When you go internet fishing, sometimes you find stuff that makes your day.
And here’s a link to the Indiegogo campaign for the final hours:
The video update below has me detailing how you can never tell where you’re going to find the people who can make a difference for your project. Overall lesson? I suppose it’s maximum participation and casting as wide a net as possible.
Crowdfunding has been a game changer for the independent content creator. No doubt about it. A person with an idea, a clear and inspiring presentation, and a lot of luck has a better avenue than ever for getting the cash to make their project happen. Our audience has been very generous to us over the years and it always floors me that they’re willing to put their personal money into our project. We’re currently in the tail end of our fifth fundraising campaign for the show, raising money for our second-to-last episode. At this point, it’s not looking like we’re going to make our goal. That doesn’t mean we won’t make the show. As always, what it means is that it’s going to be a lot harder to make the show. It also means we’ll be relying on the cast and crew to be generous with their time more than usual since they’ll be getting paid WAAAAAAAY less for their participation this time around.
I remember the feeling of getting that first donation on the first day of the first campaign. My stomach dropped and I felt a whole new level of responsibility to the audience. Now they weren’t only giving us their time in watching our show. They were putting their money on the line in the belief that we would give them their money’s worth. It changed everything for me. That’s when episodes went from taking seven months to make to taking 11 months to make. I wanted to make sure to get everything just right. I also upped the scope of the show to make sure to get the audience’s money on the screen.
But here’s why crowdfunding has always been a struggle for me:
1) I feel an intrinsic sense of failure asking for people’s money. Like I can’t provide for myself. Like I’m begging. It doesn’t matter that I can provide for myself, and Eliza and I have jobs that keep us in rent, food, and entertainment money. It doesn’t matter that this is for a side project. All I know is there are many videos of me online asking for people to give us money and every one of them has been a battle against my very nature.
2) Cast and crew morale is tied into the outcome. If we make our goal, everyone is bolstered by it. If we don’t make our goal, we still sally forth, but there is a little underlying current of—Well, maybe this show isn’t as good as we thought it was. Logic be damned. The fact that people put ANY money into the show obviously means we’re doing something right. But if we only get half our goal there’s that little voice that says—You’re only half as good as you thought you were.
3) In order to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, you have to constantly keep bugging people. Keep tweeting, Facebook’ing, uploading campaign videos, spreading the word, bugging other people to spread the word. It feels like I’m being a nuisance. I don’t like being an irritant or making people feel guilty if they enjoy the show but they can’t afford to contribute.
4) It’s completely out of my control. With every other aspect of the show, if something doesn’t work out I can figure out a workaround or pick up where someone else left off. This is one aspect that I have completely no control over. All I can do is say, here’s what we do with your money, here’s what you get for your money, please help us continue to produce this show at a high level. And wait. And wait. And feel a warm sense of gratitude with each donation that comes in. And an uneasy sense of failure as the campaign end date approaches and the donations slow.
The silver lining is that there are quite a few people who still think PoPS is worth their money. And making the campaign videos is a lot of fun. Here are a few of them.