Sunday, May 29, 2005

GPS is my saviour.

Well, we just finished traveling for one week straight, making our way up into Quebec. Now we're into the real shit, both literally and figuratively. Selling 3000-5000lbs of seed per day and also dealing in dozens of cows. I think we covered close to 1900kms over the week.

We have used twenty hours of tape this week, and eaten a lot of terrible food. The worst meal was from a burger stand in Quebec, which served their hamburgers in a puddle of gravy. I can still feel it sitting inside of me.

I also bought into another cow this week. I’m now part owner of two calfs, both of which will be professionally raised by a breeder and resold (for a commission) in the next few months. I’m starting to catch onto this whole cow thing… you just gotta say things like “It has a great utter, beautiful ribs, and is very dairy. Just a great clean cow” to get people to pay you lots of money. Its quite neat actually.

Back to the food situation for a second, all this shit I keep feeding my body is catching up with me. I don’t know how Benji does it. I felt compelled to exercise for this first time in a while today. Unfortunately, I fell asleep before I could act on that desire.

Anyways, next stop, the prairies!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

3 Hours of sleep never felt so bad

Well, we're now sort of into the thick of things. We've maintained the "Benji" routine of sleeping for 3-4 hours a night and spending the rest of the day working. Today we split away from him for most of the day and toured with his friend "Beaver" - that is a story onto itself.

Last night we had a steak dinner. But it turns out the steak was illegal or something, like some farmer just cut it up in their backyard. I made sure mine was cooked well done.

Benji eats his steak blood red - I mean the inside is still almost frozen sort of deal. He can eat steak like no one else i've met - I think he had three steaks last night. No other veggies or potatos, just three steaks. He washed them down with a Coke Classic, telling us he'd usually do it with some 4% unpasturized milk but our soundman is lactose intollerant.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 4:00 am, which means we wake up at god knows when. I'm too old for this.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

On the road again...

Well, after a nice weekend off we're going back on the road again, this time for quite a while. We're starting in London, getting some publicity photos and other random stuff done, then moving onto the Cornwall area, which sits around the Quebec/Ontario border I believe. It's like an 8 hours drive from London from what I'm told.

We're then in the Cornwall / Southern Quebec area for one week, head back to Toronto for a night, fly out to Winnipeg for two days, then fly back to Toronto for good. Phew.

The movie is evolving as we spend more and more time on it. Aside from are "documentary"techincal skills improving, we've realized a few really important things: Tape is cheap, so always keep the camera rolling. People are much more comfortable talking to you on camera after they know you in person, so it helps to shoot the shit a little before actually sitting them down for an interview. We actually had our first person refuse to sign a release form just the other day, which was really strange considering nothing at all really happened while we were at his farm (He wanted way too much money for his herd, so Benji just looked at them for a few minuets and and left). We weren't going to use that footage anyways, so the joke is on him!

More importantly, all sorts of new sub-plots and stories are developing as we spend more time with Benji. This movie could turn out to be a very interesting character piece if we continue to get the right footage.

In other news a cow just sold for $1.2 million dollars. Personally, I think that is pretty crazy. In fact, I think that is crazy enough that if I go to New York or Los Angeles and interview people on the street about what they think about it, I'll get some pretty funny footage. So that is what I will be doing later on this summer hopefully ;)

Anyways, let's see how these plans change tomorrow -

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Damn I am tired.

Today was the first early morning. I was on the road by 5:30. I have never been a fan of times which are pre-8:00, but now that I have experienced pre-6:00am traffic my mind may change, slightly.

Met many interesting characters today. We even visited a peacock farm. I also stepped in some cow dung and got my pants all dirty. That was pretty disgusting. At least shit is water soluble, and should therefore be pretty easy to wash out.

Our future travel plans seem to be more up in the air now then ever. By 1:00 Benji was ready to drive to the airport and get us all on a plane to Halifax within the hour. By 1:30 he had changed his mind, and we were now going out west or something. Now I think the plan is to drive out east. Whatever may happen, I am confident we will ultimately end up somewhere.

We finished shooting pretty early today so I had a chance to capture all of our footage to the computer. It’s looking better and better. Unfortunately, we only have 8 hours of footage though, which is pretty bad news as I’m guessing we’re going to have a shooting ratio of at least around 20:1, meaning every 20 minutes of stuff we taped will give us 1 minute of useable footage. We will therefore probably need somewhere around 1800 minutes of footage overall, or about 30 full tapes. We have 10 days left to film.

One of the biggest roadblocks we’re reaching is both Benji and Dave have business to do while filming, and the cameras tend to scare away customers. Because of that we keep getting days off in the middle of the week while Dave and Benji do business. Hopefully we’ll get some good solid shooting days in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Update: The First Week

Well, we've been filming for one week and its been pretty crazy overall. I can't count how many clicks we've put on our respective cars - I'm guessing somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000km.
And I've seen a helluva lot of cows. Some big ones too.

The strangest thing has been happening; whenever the cows see us come in with our Cameras they just start to pooh. In every barn we go to, we can't have an interview without a cow making diarrhea in the background. Even if the cow is not in frame you can still hear it, which is equally disgusting. Long story short, our boom pole got a little dirty once, and we now do interviews outside the barns whenevert possible.

No big problems yet, which is pretty good. Benji, Dave (Benji' s selling partner), Jon (Sound) and I are getting along really well, which is pretty huge as we've been spending literally 10-12 hours together non-stop locked up in a car.

No big technical issues either, which is sweet because our final budget ending up being 20% of our total projected expenses. Well, I guess some people would consider that alone a big techincal issue, but we'll just work around it. Looks like we're not going to have a lighting kit for this movie :)

It took a little time for me to get aquantined with the video equipment - its actually pretty funny how much my camera work improved over the first three days of filming :) . In addition to our main camera, a PDX10P, we just rented a second camera (DVX100A) yesterday for the rest of the shoot - a "backup" camera. Even though it is technically a "better" camera, I don't know how eager I am to switch over to it as I am really starting to love the little PDX10P. That and I don't want to have to deal with merging 24P footage and PAL footage on a timeline together.

So we've been to Picton, Walkerton, Guelph and a whole bunch of other places which I don't remember. I have no idea where we're going next, and we have no real schedule. I tried keeping to a schedule, but it just won't work. Our original plan was to drive across Canada, but Benji keeps getting sidetracked and re-routing us elsewhere. Oh well, its still an adventure.

This whole cow business really boggles my mind. I'm going to start investing in cows tomorrow morning with Benji - a new subplot for the film maybe. Let's see what Ari's $500 can grow into by the end of the film!

Anyways, we're off to meet Benji in Guelph tomorrow morning at 6:40, so I gotta wake up at 5:00 am. Better get my bags packed, batteries charged and get to bed.

P.S. - Moo.