Friday, November 27, 2009


Hey everybody!

Casey Regan's the name. Making movies is my game! As a Sophomore student filmmaker, I do so through the hallowed halls of Emerson College as a major in Visual Media Arts: Film Production. It's been a good time thus far! [CHECK OUT MY LAST POST FOR VIDEOS FROM MY FRESHMAN YEAR!]

But enough freshmeat foolin' around! As the title signifies, 2009 has indeed been a big year for Slytrain Productions in the sense that there has been a lot of film/video goings-ons. And are those goings-ons cool? Oh so very very cool. Bangarang even.

So here are some updates in my filmmaking life. I hope you maintain a constant state of interest bordering on arousal... boom shacka lacka!


1.) "Still"

Pride and paranoia. When the thought of transferring one of my stories into a shared medium becomes a viable option, these two P’s are overwhelming. For me, the act of storytelling should come from a place that is real, no matter how fantastical the story being told. It is an amazingly personal process that sprouts from deep, down inside of a person, and it is so much a part of them that they feel more whole simply through the process itself. I suppose I can add a third “P” to the list: passion. I came up with the story for “Still” roughly one year ago, after I had to put an end to a relationship due to being college bound. Unfortunately, we did not find the closure we needed until a few months into school. That led to several sticky situations, but it also got me thinking about the importance of closure in relationships. So I started formulating a script. Over this year, my romantic life went through its ups and downs, all of which contributed to this tale I was weaving. There is more of myself in this script than any I have ever written.

“Still” is about the necessity closure. While anyone can connect with this base need, Lucas Whelan, my main character, is affected in a very different sense. With a romanticized sense of destiny, Lucas decides he must make a dramatic change in his life. He must pick up and move on, towards what he believes to be his future, his true calling. Unfortunately, this means leaving his girlfriend, the strong-willed and heartbroken Bridget O’Connor. Things do not end well. However on the morning he is set to leave, Lucas wakes up to find that the world around him has completely frozen in time. He is aghast while exploring this mystifying world on pause, but the thought of Bridget plagues him. So he goes out to find her, discovering she too is not frozen. Together, they are forced to confront the problem of their relationship ending, as if the whole world came to a stand still just to let them pass.

As a independent project being made by a boy struggling to just stay in school, this project had trouble affording the finer things in life, such as a camera and things of that sort. So I made my proposal to National Broadcasting Society and was gifted with a gorgeous Panasonic HVX HD camera (from which these loverly screenshots were taken) and a whole buttload of equipment. With such things, I tried to shoot a movie! Unfortunately, some extenuating circumstances led to the incompletion of the project. What I have shot is absolutely gorgeous in every which way, but I still need more, which will be shot sometime next semester (hopefully right off the bat AKA early February).

2.) FILM 1: "Left/Right" and "PUNK!"

As most Sophomore film majors do at Emerson, I have been taking the Introduction to Film Production (commonly known as Film 1) course. It is an amazing, hands-on class that teaches passionate students such as I the basics in working with the film medium. The loading. The shooting. The cutting. Yadda yadda yadda. Anyway from my time in that class, two short films have spawned. They are my first works with actually film stock, and I am very proud.

The first film I made was a experimental short entitled "Left/Right." It deals with the debilitating suffocation of a creative mental block. It cross-cut images of a person trying desperately to get something onto, literally drawing a blank, with the constant barrage of the outside world. The desired effect would be that the main character is so inundated with thought that to create anything would be impossible. In the end he is left staring at his own hands, useless vessels of his imagination.

I used a few little handy and dandy filmmaking tricks to create this short. For the imagery, I made sure to frame the subjects of each shot on either the left or right side, depending on their relationship with the hemisphere of the brain. I played off the lateralization of the human brain and how one side determines the intuitive and numerical and the other determines the contextual and creative. Ya know, that old chestnut.

This was also the first project that I manually cut, spliced, and even SCRATCHED! Scratching film is exactly what it sounds like. You scratch the emulsion off to write or draw on individual frames of film. I used this method to create the title and even rudimentary animations. I did it with a bent staple and, since one frame is a 24th of a second, IT WAS THE MOST MENTALLY STRENUOUS THING I HAVE EVER DONE!

I showcased this in my class and got a great response! I'm trying to get it digital while maintaining the pops and skips of a projector, cause i think it adds a great effect. When I do you will hear about it. I promise!

For my Film 1 final, I wanted to do something big! So the idea for "PUNK!" came to me in this way: Wouldn't a punk rock take on George Orwell's novel, "Animal Farm" be REAL cool!?
Though not ever made clear, the film takes place during the height of the 90s Massachusetts punk scene, specifically focusing on a punk gang called F.S.U. Members of the gang hold up in an old warehouse, their hang-out and home for years. They eat there, sleep there, slamdance there, and all is looked after by the leader, Old Major. But there is a moral rift in the group. When members of the group led by headstrong Napoleon return from doing something violent, they are met with fury by Snowball, loyal to the group and Old Major. The two sides clash, eventually devolving into a full on brawl that threatens to end the group once and for all.
I chose to make this because of my fascination with the F.S.U. punk gang and the ideological dichotomy that they represent. A group so straightedge that they would completely fuck up anyone they saw even having a drink. Even their name has a split stigma: did it mean "Friends Stand United" or "Fuck Shit Up"?
So I shot the thang on 16mm using a Bolex (*pictures up here were taken by on-set photographer Marc Bliss, but I'm hoping this is how the film ends up looking) at an amazingly warehouse in Billerica that was at the same time beautiful and disgusting, like punk itself. My cast, made up of entirely friends was amazing! They took to this story like a fish to water, and I love them for it! Whether it was slamdancing while I yelled at them or taking off their clothes in 50 degree weather, they did for me! Thanks YOU!

Everything came together nicely, except, of course for the sun. Living in Massachusetts in winter means living where the sun sets at 3pm. So my last couple rolls of film may or may not have been exposed. I sent the footage out the other day, asking for a couple rolls to be pushed one stop, but we won't know how it looks til it comes back. Of course, you will all know when I do!

3.) The FUTURE!?!?!?!

I got big things a-coming my friends! Fellow student filmmaker, Greg Hanson, and I proposed a script to National Broadcasting Society. The script is titled... are you ready?... THY KILL BE DONE! And ya know what... that's what I'm leaving ya with. Get ready for more!


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