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16mm Kodak Fuji Motion Picture Film

October 10, 1999 - Film tests come back from Cinepost.

Bought some short ends (film left over from someone elses previous production) and used some of the film that came with my camera and shot some tests with Johnny. I wasn't too sure what film speed I was going to use for this production, so I ended up buying an assortment. (100 asa, 200 asa, 320 asa and Fuji 125 asa.) I heard Fuji film looks different from Kodak, so I wanted to see what's up with that. I also wanted to avoid having this project look too grainy. I've used 100 and 200 speed 35mm still film with John McLeod when we've taken photos in the past of stupid crap. (Check out the Inane Photos & Fatuous Photos pages for examples.)

100 speed film is generally used outdoors, and I wasn't too keen on having to light the living hell out of a set, just to get a basic picture. I had some 100 asa 16mm film, so I tried that out first. I put Johnny on my couch, gave him my dog, Mei-Li, and put 2,000 watts of light on him. The light meter said I had to shoot wide open, and I did. Also shot the rest in film speeds in the same location.

Got the film back from Cinepost. (A place in Atlanta that process super 16mm film and transfers it to video.) Shit. Most of the film had deep scratches in it. (Very obvious onscreen.) Apparently the film magazines that hold the film were the cause. I got 6 different backs from the guy in New York. Two of them weren't used at all and they cosmetically looked the best. I thought, "Well, the look like they're newer, they must be better!" Shot most of my tests with them. Apparently they weren't used very often for a reason. They scratch the hell out of film! I wonder if the guy who I bought my camera from KNEW that, but just didn't bother to tell me about it. The scratches were different on each roll, and the magazine back that LOOKED the worst (most worn on the outside), didn't scratch at all.

Here's what I've noticed about the film stocks: 100 asa and 200 asa film looks basically the same. (Grain-wise, once it's transferred to video.) The 320 asa might've been grainer, but it wasn't that noticeable. (I was surprised, maybe you'd see it more if it was projected...I dunno.) The fact that 320 asa film gives you two more f stops on the aperture is a great thing. I had 2,000 watts of light on my test subject and my aperture was all the way open. I couldn't let in any more light if I wanted to. It certainly wasn't dark, the brightness of the image on the 100 and 200 was fine. Now the Fuji film didn't look all that much different from the Kodak. I've sort've seen the difference between Fuji and Kodak on still 35mm film, but it wasn't something that was drastic. Barely subtle. (I'm sure professional cinematographers will argue this point, but who's gonna get anal about a cheapy production like this?)

October 17, 1999 - Bought 20 rolls of 7277 film from guy on

Well wadda ya know! This ad appeared in on October 13, 1999:

Subject: FS: 20 Pristine 400' Rolls of 16mm Kodak 7277

Hi all, I have 20 400' rolls of 16mm 7277 film. It was acquired a few months ago directly from Kodak in Hollywood for a project which never materialized. It has been stored in a refrigerator since day one and is in perfect condition. The value of the film is approximately $2000. If interested, please e-mail me with your best offer.

7277 film was the same 320 asa film that I had done my tests on! According to Kodak's website, they charge about $135 a 400' roll for this stuff. By my calculation the value of the film is actually $2700!

I e-mailed this guy back and offered him $1000 immediately. He wrote back that others had offered that amount, and that the next person who raised it to $1250 will get it. I did that night and bingo! Got it. Now THIS is what I call a savings! I talked to the guy and he said that he was supposed to have shot a documentary with it, but the project fell through, and as compensation, the client told him to keep the film. He wasn't going to use it anytime soon, so he wanted to unload it and get something for his time.

A couple of people said that they'd never do such a thing, the film could be fogged, or old...or blah blah. The guy was really twitchy about sending it next day or second day because he wants to make sure it's FRESH as possible. He had good references on E-bay, so screw it, I went for it. Yea...if my precious job were on the line at some anal-retentive company I'd never do such a thing; but since it's my project, fuck it, I can roll the dice anytime I feel like and save some serious money.

The film came a couple of days later and looked fine. I guess we'll see when I shoot for real..

October 18, 1999 - Place New England Film ad.

At this point, I've recruited all my actor-able friends into this project. I'm still short a couple of roles, and more importantly...I need women! Stuck this ad onto

(Mostly) female actors and (some) help needed for a comedy film called "". Boy TRIES to meet girl on the internet story, battles hackers along the way. (How'z that for a one sentence summary?) :-) Check out for the whole lurid story about the up coming production.

When it was posted, they "corrected" some of my grammar. Brother. (Did i.e. Cummings have to deal with this sort of thing?) Notice: I'm quite aware of my writing "style," if you're offended by it, THEN STOP READING FACHRISSAKES! It's almost like there's a politically correct spelling and grammar patrol out there. How DARE you be different from the rest of us. There's RULES to grammar! Now STAY IN LINE!

Started getting swamped with e-mails every night for the first few weeks. I think this ad generated about 100 responses. I was surprised that I could generate so much interest in a no-budget production! I had put a detailed outline of the story online, a scene-by-scene breakdown of what is going to happen within this film. You can see the original web page here.

I knew that I would be dealing with the people I chose primarily through e-mail. Second, I was looking for someone who appeared to "get it." Also...I was looking for someone who sounded intelligent and interesting. Someone who would be cool to hang out with on the set while this thing drags on. I figured that this would be obvious through a few exchanges via e-mail. I was right. After someone had done the initial contact ("Where do I sign up for an audition?", etc.), I'd send them this reply:

========= START Form letter 1 =============

Thanks for checkin' out my web site and getting back to me. I apologize for the form letter, but I'm getting swamped with requests for the few remaining parts. Let me reiterate the parts that I need filled: (Go to for detailed descriptions.)

FEMALE: Irene, Darleen and Debby. I'm really focusing on finding my Irene at this moment. The person who will play Irene really needs to have the desire to play a villainess. I'm hoping to use my runner-up Irene candidate to play Darleen. (Sorta the over-the-top version of Irene.)

MALE: Rob and Tariq. Rob needs to be a tall, good looking guy. Tariq needs to be either Black or Indian descent who can do an over-the-top accent. THE DIRECTIONS ON WHAT TO DO. (Note: you'd be amazed at how many people couldn't seem to follow these.)

1. Pick a character you think you'd like to play.

2. Send a head shot or a photo to: Eric Bickernicks, ** ADDRESS REMOVED ** OR...just send a .JPG, .BMP or .GIF file of yourself to this e-mail address. WHY? Even though this isn't a "real" paying acting gig, and I'm not looking for professional SAG actors, I'm looking for someone who at least has a real desire to get into acting, and took the first step by getting a head shot done. I've had the desire to become a writer/director, thus, as I've put my money where my (brain?) is, I'm hoping you've done the same.

3. Read the story outline:

4. Tell me what you think of the story and concept. (Likes? Dislikes? Suggestions?) I hate to make this sound like a 5th grade writing assignment, but I'm looking for the kid in the back of the classroom who always leapt up, waved his/her arms and shouted "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

5. Tell me something inane.

The final director rant: I really could care less on what experience you have. Please do not send resumes...they're boring, I personally hate them. I also want to avoid doing many auditions. There is no way I'm going to parade a bunch of people through my office just to inflate my ego. I'm looking for people who WANT to do this project and have a sense of dedication to something they believe in. Also...I betchya don't know what the most important set of directions are up above. ;-)

============= END Form letter 1 ==============

You wouldn't believe what sort of responses I got. A couple of "I know this person, you should contact them." to "Never acted before, don't have a head shot, where can I audition?" I also was soliciting feedback from the people who read the over-view. One guy in particular thought that the story WASN'T funny, but that I should use him anyways because he'll do whatever I tell him to do. Another woman (a very pretty model), sent her head shot but never told me anything about herself, the story, nor did she even ATTEMPT at coming up with something inane. When I didn't respond, she eventually sent another e-mail asking why I never got back to her, then she pointed out that she was a model and had VERY NICE CLOTHES. [Sound of me slapping my forehead here.]

And guess what the most important question WAS in the questionnaire? NUMBER 4. It's amazing what you can learn just from asking someone to say something stupid. Some people just can't do it! It seems that anyone with intelligence and a sense of humor can pull a dry comment out of their ass on command. How is one supposed to participate in a COMEDY when they can't even think of something....inane! Let alone having all night to think of one, THEN e-mailing it to me the next day? This was just amazing to me.

I guess I'm stealing this from the Monkees audition. The producers of that show (when they were auditioning) basically asked people to come in, then played with their heads until they got a reaction. ANY reaction that wasn't the same ol' response got noticed. A few people immediately stuck out from all the others. (Most people just went, "But WHERE is the audition?") Only a few of them figured out that the e-mailing back and forth WAS the audition!


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