Brooklyn Based Filmmaker

Slate from our second day of Shooting Time Signature. 6/21 at E's Bar

Making Time Signature (TBD 2014)

Slate from our second day of Shooting Time Signature. 6/21 at E's Bar

We wrapped shooting Time Signature on June 22nd. I’ve talked a little bit about it on our Seed&Spark page, but truth be told I needed to take a bit of a break from talking about the film. After talking about it pretty much non-stop through May for the crowdfunding campaign I got a bit tired of even saying the words Time Signature. A couple of weeks now have passed since the shoot. I have a very very rough assembly of the film put together and over the next few weeks I’ll be working towards getting it to the rough cut. So, I guess I can talk a bit about the film again.

Time Signature began back at the beginning of 2014 as a joke. Occasionally on my twitter I will post a bunch of random movie ideas that are not at all intended to be taken seriously. They’re mostly ridiculous. “A pilot crashes her helicopter on a desert island and falls in love with a dinosaur,” or something similarly ridiculous. This one was different. It was something along the lines of “A woman tries to get an autograph from her favorite guitarist, who turns out to be her time-traveling daughter.” It’s a bit difficult to dig back that far on Twitter, especially since I’ve had a pretty hefty volume of tweets since. Anyway, the core of the film: a woman meeting her favorite musician who turns out to be the woman’s time-traveling child, was in there from the beginning. I got a few positive responses from people other than “that’s funny.” A few people really liked the idea and said they’d want to see that. Well, then it started to stick in my brain and after maybe a week or less I banged out the first version of the script.

The script evolved in a few ways during the process. It was always just going to be a short film but it went through iterations of more characters and less and different versions of the reveal and different reasons why the daughter traveled back in time. After several revisions I started talking to a few people who I wanted to work with it on. First, I’d been wanting to put Kitty Ostapowicz and Tara Cioletti in something together for a few months. Kitty and I had been working on a few projects and had more in mind. Tara I unfortunately hadn’t had a chance to really work with since Abel and Cain. I reached out to them. They were both interested. Then, I reached out to director of photography Peter Westervelt, who I had worked with when I crewed Kelsey and I had been talking to about shooting Meme. Everyone was very into the project and I started moving forward with some more revisions. Soon after that I reached out to Hye Yun Park, who I had met back in December, about playing another character in the film. She was in. The team was coming together.

I was excited about the project and the prospect of doing it in the early summer and I talked to a few people about it. They were very into the idea and it made me realize that Time Signature might be an ideal project to try crowdfunding. Not only that but to try a new platform out: Seed&Spark. I plan to talk more about Seed&Spark and why I chose them in another post in the future.

And that’s where we went with it. I won’t go into much detail about crowdfunding other than that we did our best to plan out our outreach for the Time SIgnature campaign and despite many difficulties on the way, the campaign was successful and we had funding to make the film.

Our shoot was scheduled to take place between June 20th and the 23rd for quite awhile. I knew we only needed 3 days to shoot, we were just trying to figure out which 3 days. We settled on the 20th-22nd and work began on finishing up pre-production.

The first day of production, Friday the 20th, came and it was a bit of an adventure. It was our “car day” when we’d be shooting everything we’d be doing outdoors and in cars. We’d selected two locations. One for our interior car driving scenes. Another for our exterior parking lot shots, which had a lovely view of the Hudson river and the Palisades to serve as the backdrop of our scene. We had some minor transportation difficulties but in general we made it through the day and got all of our scenes shot at about the time we expected to finish. The biggest issue we had for the day was a location issue. Our exterior location turned out to be a more popular early Friday evening hang-out spot than we had initially understood and we had some sound issues. We got clean takes and did the best we could, but it was definitely a frustration for everyone that day.

The second day, Saturday the 21st, started not long after the first day ended. I felt a bit bad about a 6:00AM call time after a 9:00PM wrap time but everyone was ready to go bright and early Saturday. Unfortunately, we were unable to actually get into our location until 7:00AM that day. It was a frustration but the crew were very professional and on the ball and made it work and we were out the door with the van packed 10 minutes before the agreed upon time at 3:00PM that afternoon. For being a short day Saturday was also one of our more complex days. There were several scenes to shoot with extras. We had to redress part of the bar location and arrange people to look like they were having a good time at a rocking after party. I think it was ultimately a big success but it was definitely a little crazy at times. Again everyone was on the ball and doing a great job.

The third and final day of shooting, Sunday the 22nd, came after a decent rest. It was the most relaxed day schedule-wise. A couple of short scenes. For me it was even easier because we were shooting at another apartment in my building. So, to get to set all I had to do was put on pants and go downstairs. For me after the first two kind of crazy and very stressful days of the shoot this was the most mellow day. I was a little frazzled just from generally being tired from the previous two days but I also felt more relaxed about the process. It was a little more fun for me. Again, the crew were fantastic at coming in and getting us setup quick and executing changes between scenes quickly and painlessly.

Overall, it was a stressful experience but a good experience. Time Signature is definitely one of the most complicated shoots I have produced/directed with more locations and a bigger crew than I have had before. That was a little overwhelming at times, but in the end it all came together well and it did because of the hard work of that dedicated, talented crew of people.

I look forward to working with them all again and I’m going to thank them all right here. You should hire all of them for your next shoot: Peter Westervelt, Carolyn Maher, Adam Deen, Erin Clayton, Dom Bozzi, Diana Molina, Felix Berrios, Jeff Davis, Zach, Lauren Shaw, Dan Brown, Jesse DeGanis Librera, and Heidi Kikel.

All amazing folks. Also, thanks need to go to my awesome cast of Kitty Ostapowicz, Tara Cioletti, Hye Yun Park, and Matthew Addison who all did a fantastic job realizing my characters for the screen.

And then thanks should go to Valerie Opielski, and E’s Bar for generously allowing us to use their properties as locations for the film.

Also, the extras who showed up early in the morning on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for no pay (sorry, guys) and stuck around through our craziness.

And also my wife, Jessica, deserves thanks for putting up with me. I’m a neurotic mess.

Everyone is amazing and I couldn’t have made this film without any of them.

Now, here’s some behind-the-scenes photos by Heidi Kikel to enjoy. More can be seen at Heidi Kikel Photography on Facebook.






2 responses to “Making Time Signature (TBD 2014)”

  1. Ruth Avatar

    Thanks for the ‘behind the scenes’ peek.

    1. sean Avatar

      Happy to! We’ve got some video coming soon!