#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 4

MILESTONE #1

The first draft is done! As of 3am, I have 90 pages of something I am fairly happy with. Of course, there is lots more work to come, but I'm really excited for the process. 

The journey ahead fills me with excitement but also fear- and fear is a good thing in this situation. It would be totally wrong (and rather worrying) to go into a project like this without fear. This doesn't mean that I am quaking in my boots worrying about every little thing that can go wrong. But it does mean that I understand the magnitude of what I have chosen to do, and respect the path that so many filmmakers before me have taken. 

As creatives, we all have to take a leap of faith in our careers, usually multiple times. Change is scary. Risk is even scarier. But if you have a project that really lights you up from the inside and just feels right... I know how you feel. And I implore you to take that first step if you haven't already. TODAY. 

Every project imaginable can be broken into little pieces. Take some time to set a few small goals. As soon as you smash them, you will be well on the way to making that project you've only dreamed of. Until now. 

Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you're working on in the comments, I'd love to hear!

- Rob 

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 3

JUST FINISH THE DRAFT...

If you've followed the last two of my blog posts, you'll probably realise I have a love/ hate relationship with the scriptwriting process. Storytelling is at the very heart of making films, and it's a process that should be explored as thoroughly as possible. It's true when people say that with a great script, you're well on your way to a great film. I've just got to get to that first milestone. 

Aside from the script, which is nearing the end of its first draft, I have started the process of finding actors. Because I am shooting this on a super low budget, I don't have the luxury of finding a casting director, however there is tonnes of talent around if you know where/ how to find it. 

Additionally, because of the budget, I need to try and get as many people as possible interested at an early stage, because it's going to be difficult to secure talent too close to the shooting dates. Better paid jobs might come up, or some other circumstances, so I am hoping I can get potential actors excited by the story and project as soon as I can. 

As always, I'll keep you updated :)

- Rob  

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- PART 2

Oh hey, writer's block. I've been expecting you.

I've hit the midpoint of my feature script, "On The Edge". Blake Snyder describes the midpoint as the turn 'where stakes are raised, time clocks appear, A & B Stories cross, and the pace accelerates.' I describe the midpoint as the point where my plan has gone out of the window and I'm stuck and I want to scream at my wall of neatly laid out index cards. 

Despite having my beat sheet laid out in front of my eyes, the midpoint is the start of the final, and most important, act of my script. I don't want to fuck it up. "But it's a first draft!"  you scream at me. I know. And that's what makes it even more annoying. 

So what's my plan going forwards? I'm going to finish this blog post, and then I'm going to write some more pages. I have no idea if my scene cards are going to stay the same, or if I'm gonna spin the story off into a slightly different direction. I think the important thing at this point is to just write. Although I'm disoriented, I have my final destination... I just need to find the best journey to travel there.

I'll keep you updated :)

- Rob 

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#CREATORDIARY- SHOOTING FIRST FEATURE FILM- BEHIND THE SCENES- PART 1

THE JOURNEY BEGINS...

So, I've decided to make a feature film. Am I ready? Nowhere near. Am I shitting myself? Why yes, I am. 

A feature film has always been the first big step a filmmaker aspires to accomplish. Traditionally, if you could raise the funds to make a first film, and it got its budget back, that would lead to bigger budgets, bigger films, and a pathway to directing at the top of the industry (for the lucky few, anyway). 

Nowadays, we are in a wild west where filmmakers of all levels are making feature films, on all types of budgets, and distribution is as confusing as it has ever been. In the past, I have been guilty of trying to wait for the perfect timing to shoot my first full-length project, but of course that never comes. I don't foresee a lottery win or a generous patron contacting me out of the blue and offering me a realistic budget to make a feature, as this is my first, so it's time to get creative. 

Today is the 2nd of January, 2018. I am a third of the way through my first draft, which I am aiming to finish by the 22nd so I can have a script reader look at it ready for the next drafts. I am aiming to go into production by mid-April. Why am I telling you this? Well, in this blog series, I want to be as transparent and honest as possible. I want to be held accountable, and I want to show readers, in real time, the ups and downs of the journey. There is every chance I may be held up, things will go wrong, and it will be all over my blog for you to learn from my mistakes. 

At the moment, the project is in the very early stages and things are up in the air. I will be posting weekly to keep you up to date, so check back to see Part 2 very soon!

Happy New Year! 

- Rob Ulitski 

 

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Remote Creativity: Livin' To Inspire

After a month-long journey shooting a new music video across Portsmouth, UK, we have finally released the video for “Machine”.

A couple of months back, I was looking for an ambitious project to really challenge myself, and knew that I wanted to find an artist with a global appeal, who had something to say. When I came across “Machine” on Free Music Archive, I was hooked and set on shooting a video for the track.

I worked for a month making the props, and ensuring the small details were all taken care of. I made use of a network of friends and old colleagues to act in it, and everyone did such an amazing job. It’s one of those projects that I will always look back on as being very important and I think career defining. I found a new confidence with this project, and can’t wait to work with TJ and the team again. The track is so strong, and together with the video, I think we’ve really made this a very global thing. Everyone will read into it slightly differently, but we have a strong message, and it’s one that is very clear in this project.

www.mercuryandthearchitects.com

www.robulitski.com

BEST FRIEND // HORROR STORY NARRATION //

Story time! Check out the new video, "BEST FRIEND" and let me know what you think! SUBSCRIBE to my channel for more- https://goo.gl/KCHSAK

TRANSCRIPT:

BEST FRIEND

I’ve always been a little different to everyone else. Even at age 22, people don’t really want to talk to me. They don’t stop in the street and say hello, or smile on their way past. I have very few friends, and spend a lot of time in nature to try and feel like a part of something. I live on the coast in a small UK town, and I have more open space around me then I know what to do with. I could walk different routes for a year and still see something new.

Last week, I woke up around 6am, had some cereal and headed off for my first walk of the day. I usually walk for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, however I felt like doing a longer stint that morning. As the sun was beginning to rise, I remember feeling really hopeful about the day. The smell of freshly cut grass was in the air, and it was time for an adventure.

I walked one of my favourite routes, which takes me around an old farmhouse and to an old creek. I headed in the direction of the old building, and continued on until I felt the ground beneath me get wet and sloshy. It was hard to pick up and move my feet in this swampy grass, and I loved it.

The creek was particularly beautiful that morning. The green-tinged water was still, bugs were dancing on the flowers and the sweet sound of humming birds was echoing around my ears. As I continued into the marshland, something felt a little bit strange. I felt someone else was here. As a loner, I am almost certain I have trained myself to feel the vibrations of another human being when they are close. That might be spiritual bullshit, but I felt something.

A few steps forwards, and my assumption was proved right. There was someone lying down next to an abandoned car that had been stripped right down to its barebones. As I carried on, it was clear that this guy had been here for quite a while. His tshirt and shorts were drenched with mud, and there was a crusty bloodstain across his neck.

I was a mere few metres away when he turned to look at me.

“Thank god! Please help me. Get me out of these chains”.

I was puzzled at this statement until I noticed the heavy metal chain, constraining his wrists to the skeleton of the car. I walked a bit closer and took a seat in the mud next to him.

“What happened to you? Why are you chained to a car?”

He looked at me blankly, before starting to pull as hard as he could on the chain. His face scrunched into a grimace, as the wounds on his wrist reopened and started to spray blood across his arms.

I looked at him for a while, before deciding to speak up.

“You’re not going to be able to break those chains. They look pretty strong you know” I said. He turned to give me a “fuck you” expression and started to speak.

“Please find a tool and cut me loose. I don’t have much time.” You could tell this guy didn’t like nature. He didn’t appreciate the crisp Spring air. Or the beautiful singing of the hummingbirds. This is why I don’t like people. No-one ever wants to just sit and relax, or enjoy the freedom that surrounds us here on Earth.
I wanted to help him. But I also figured that most people don’t get that much time outdoors, and it was up to me to show him a good time. He was in MY home now, after all, and I wanted him to feel welcome and comfortable.

This man was becoming increasingly agitated as I sat and asked him questions, but I just wanted to know a bit more about him. I asked him about his life, what he does for work, and what events led him to being chained to a car in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t get much out of him, but I was feeling so happy. I was connecting to someone, finally, and it felt so nice to have an adult conversation.

He begged to be cut free, and this was really hurting my feelings. Finally, I’d found someone to talk to, and even he wanted to run away. I don’t think so. I made a deal with him. I would let him go, as soon as he had told me about his life and spent sometime asking me about mine. It had to feel natural, otherwise I wouldn’t be helping him. My time was worth something, and so he had to offer me something in return. That’s only fair, right?

His face wasn’t selling it for me. Nope.

He was asking stupid, forced things. Oh, “How old are you?”, “Where are you from”.

I wanted to answer, about as old as you and I obviously live around here. He wasn’t trying. I’d have given him a second chance, but by this point I had been out a few hours and was getting thirsty. I told him that he hadn’t satisfied my criteria, and that I would be back early afternoon.

At home, I enjoyed a glass of iced tea, some more cereal, and I hung out with my dog for a bit. Around 2pm, I decided that swamp man can have another chance.

I arrived not long after 3. As I got to the car, I saw him squirming with a piece of metal he had pulled from off the car. He was prying at a heavy duty padlock with this metal, trying to set himself free. Was I really that bad a person, that he didn’t want to just have a nice conversation with me? I’d had enough of people always running away, turning away from me, leaving me to be alone. Life is to be shared with relationships of all kinds, and the only one I had right now was the one with myself and my dog. I needed a friend.

I struck him across the head with a metal flask I had brought with me from home. I explained to him that I had made a coffee for us to share, a big flask full, enough for 2 to 3 cups EACH. Once again, he complained some more and kept asking me to release him. I’d had enough.

I opened my flask and pulled out a cup from my bag. I poured in some of the steaming hot coffee, and took a sip. It was far too hot for my liking, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my day with a burnt tongue.

The temperature was perfect. I discarded the cup and the lid to the flask to my side. Swamp guy was still squirming, trying his best to smash through a lock with the limited movement he had in his arms.

I walked closer until I was above him, and turned the flash 180 degrees. The hot coffee rushed out of the flask and drenched the skin of friend. It sizzled as it washed away the mud stains, a cloudy brown stream of molten beverage.

He screamed some more. Complained some more. Blah blah blah.

As he began to settle down a bit, I noticed a tattoo on his arm. Now, I would have used this as a conversation point, but seeing as he didn’t really want to talk, I didn’t want to waste my time any more. The symbol was two triangles, crossed over each other like a venn diagram. I wasn’t really too knowledgeable about symbolism, but this tattoo looked like it had been done very recently. And not with professional equipment.

A few hours passed, and I just sat there in silence. Swamp guy was wriggling around, saying something about how cold he felt. I just wasted my drink on that son of a bitch, and he says he is cold? I was over this situation, and decided to leave. He screamed a bit, his voice breaking into a whisper when he tried to hit his high notes. Oh, now he wanted some company did he?

This would be the last I saw of him, if it wasn’t for something really peculiar. I noticed the symbol he had on his shoulder on a nearby tree. It was carved quite haphazardly, but it also looked quite fresh. I took a different route home that evening, and before I was ten minutes out of the creek, I saw the symbol again. This time, on a flag tied to the tree. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to walk on and see where the symbols lead.
As night started to fall on the woods, I had seen about six symbols already, and was on my way to finding more. An hour later, I was almost back where I began. And then I saw it.

Just over by the abandoned car and swamp guy, a huge flag had been erected. The symbol took pride of place, painted black on a white sheet. Surrounding the car were ten to fifteen men, all dressed in red robes with their body painted bright white. I managed to get a little closer to the action, but didn’t want them to spot me.

I could tell the screaming came from swamp guy before I even got any closer. He had this whiny tone that really grated on me. The next thing I heard was some ritualistic garbage, a stream of words coming from the mens’ mouths. One of them was reading from a big dusty book, perhaps something religious. Perhaps they just found it on Etsy. I don’t know.

Before I knew it, they were all chanting. It was in another language, but I actually found it kind of catchy. A few minutes passed by, and all of a sudden, they all started to scream at the top of their lungs. Each of them was grabbing a liquid with cupped hands out of a big bucket, and splashing it onto him. Ten seconds later, a match had been lit and dropped onto swamp guy.

The screaming was incredible, not in a good way, just in a really crazy way. I’d never heard someone scream like that. He was in flames and screaming for a good minute before it stopped. The men gathered their items and walked away, obviously ignorant to the causes of forest fires, but that was for another time.

As I got ready to go home, I had just one thought. At least he wasn’t cold any more.

MEAT // HORROR STORY NARRATION //

So I've decided to start making Horror Story videos on YouTube. You can see my first, "MEAT", below, and a transcript of the story just underneath, if you'd like to read along. SUBSCRIBE to my channel here: https://goo.gl/KCHSAK

TRANSCRIPT:

MEAT

Everyone knows the best part of a night out is falling into a fast food shop and stuffing yourself with greasy carbs until you’re sick. After I drank much more than I thought possible, the idea of a juicy burger wouldn’t leave my mind. Me and Joe had left the club early, but our normal place was closed. We hadn’t lived in the area long, and our uni was miles away from any food shops. But we were desperate to find somewhere.

So we walked on about a mile, the buildings all merging into a grey haze. My eyes were drifting around the area, searching for a glimmer of neon, the promise of greasy beef keeping me on my feet. Joe was a lot more sober than me, so he had an arm around my shoulder, making sure I didn’t trip over and knock myself out. I promised myself I wouldn’t sleep before I ate, so KO’ing on the pavement wasn’t an option right now.

As we were close to giving up and hailing a cab, something caught my eye. As I began to focus my bleary eyes, I noticed a small shop tucked around the corner of the street. The signage was in a different language, but a small cartoon mascot of a pig in a crown was enough to win me over. As we walked closer, there was a sign in English. “Burgers, Pizza, Chicken.” I’m not a religious man but I was ready to get on my knees and pray that this place was open.

And sure enough, as we stumbled within walking distance, the door swung open and a guy walked out. With food! I jumped through the door so fast I almost knocked him back inside. Joe shook his head and politely held the door open. Fuck that, I thought. I’m hungry.

As I enter the small dining room of this restaurant, something seems really off. It’s too clean here. All the other fast food shops in the area were greasy, dirty. A shitty rainbow of stains from the variety of bodily fluids and spillages. But not here. The whole room was lit with neon pink lighting, and the booths were black leather. Yes, you heard me correctly. REAL LEATHER.

Whilst pondering the interior decor of the restaurant, Joe had walked in and already placed his order. I joined him at the counter, and looked at the menu on the wall. I noticed two things at this point. Number one, there are no words on this menu, only pictures. Okay, that’s fine, I know what burgers look like, no biggy. However, my other observation was that there were no customers here. We’d usually be battling fifty other drunks for a taste of greasy delight, but there was literally one other person here. The young girl behind the counter, who looked barely old enough to be out of school, let alone running a restaurant on her own.

My turn to order came around. I pointed at the burger, near enough reaching over the counter and touching the picture. I made sure she understood exactly what I wanted, these things are important when you’re as intoxicated as I was. I was salivating thinking about how quickly I was going to eat. I had earned this meal.

The girl nodded politely, and walked off round the corner into the kitchen. We had a great view of the small kitchen, and to my amazement, it was also sparkling clean. There was definitely a secret cleaner around here somewhere. Perhaps she scuffled out between each customer and went back to hide because she’s shy. I don’t know. It’s not important.
I was impressed to see the talent this girl had. She was mixing ingredients, chopping onions, frying garlic. She was the real deal. A mini Gordon Ramsay.

About ten minutes later, after me and Joe had been talking about nonsense for a while, the girl presented our meals in two white styrofoam boxes. We paid, smiled at one another and walked off. As we turned around, I could still feel the girl watching us, her stare burning into the back of my head. Against better judgement, I turned just as I walked through the door. The girl muttered a few words.

“I’ll see you soon”.

I nodded politely, but I assumed I’d never see her again. This place was over a mile from uni, and I only come out once in a blue moon. Fuck knows how I’d ever get here again, even if I wanted to. That didn’t help settle the anxious voice in the back of my head though. Something was off.

Fast forward twenty minutes, me and Joe are on the bench, chomping through layers of moist beef and crispy lettuce. I had mayonnaise in my beard and down my t-shirt, but my god was it worth it. We talked a bit about life, girls, getting older. He showed me a ring he had bought for his girlfriend. Apparently he’s been keeping it in his jacket ready for the right moment. Good on him. I could never settle down at our age.

We finished our food and parted ways. I got home, threw up and feel asleep on the floor. Brilliant night.

The next day at uni, I wasn’t feeling all that great. I don’t usually get bad hangovers, but this was all focused on my stomach. I had puked a couple of times that morning, and now I felt starving. I tried to eat some cereal but it came right back up. All I wanted was another burger. I was desperate for meat, minced flesh fried into a perfect disk in a bun. Joe wasn’t at uni. He wouldn’t answer his phone although I tried a couple of times. He was either feeling the burn worse than me, or he’d lost his phone. Whatever, he’s an adult, he can look after himself.

At the cafeteria after my first seminar, I couldn’t for the life of me find anything good to eat. There were salads, sausage pastries, soups. But no fucking burgers. Now I’m all up for a meat free Monday to help the earth and climate change, but what kind of place only sells burgers once a week on a set day? God help me. I felt sick to my stomach, and anything else I attempted to eat just came right back up the way it went in. If it wasn’t so looked down upon by society, I’d be biting down into Kathy the plump lunch lady right at that moment. I wanted a slab of meat, I didn’t care if it was cooked or not.

I gritted my teeth and spent the rest of the day in class. Right after, I decided I was finding this pink neon burger place again. There were restaurants closer to campus, but I’d tasted heaven and I wanted a second turn. I raced in the direction I remembered, and after a few false moves, found my way. Luckily, this place didn’t seem to close. There were a few more people in there since my last visit, but I was happy to join the queue.

As expected, little Gordon Ramsay was behind the counter. We exchanged smiles, I pointed, she cooked and presented. I ate it there on the spot, and took another for later.

This continued for two weeks. I swear to God, the only thing I could eat was this burger. I tried a couple of other items from the menu, but they barely touched the sides. I didn’t even bother with the buns or salad after a while. Pile up the meat and let me eat. Good slogan, I’m gonna use that next time.

Apart from there won’t be a next time.

I went back yesterday, and to my horror, the place had a notice on the door. “CLOSING DOWN TOMORROW”. I slid through the door, and the girl was behind the counter, crying.

I went to comfort her. She couldn’t explain anything to me, but was trying to rush me out. She obviously wanted to close right there and then. She escorted me out the door, and before I had a chance to think, she had locked up and disappeared back into the kitchen.

I couldn’t understand it. The restaurant was doing really well, and many of my friends really liked it there. She couldn’t have been strapped for cash. I also hadn’t seen Joe since our first night eating burgers. Perhaps he finally got the balls to propose to his girlfriend. It didn’t sit right with me that he hadn’t called, but no-one else seemed too worried. Good on him I guess.

At this point in time, I was desperate for one last taste. I imagine it’s what drug addicts feel like. One more hit and then I’m done. I didn’t know how I was going to go on after today, but I was sure of one thing. I’m getting one more taste.

I slipped around the wall, and noticed a back entrance to the kitchen. It was a risk, but one I was willing to take. I snuck up like a ninja and crept through the fire door. The girl was nowhere to be found, but as if by magic, there was a burger frying up right now! I could quickly swipe it with a napkin and slip out before she saw me.

I picked up a few napkins, removed the pan from the heat and grabbed it. It was searing hot, so I dropped it onto the side for a second. It fell into a puddle of blood juice, but I wasn’t bothered. That’s the garnish sorted.

I blew on it for a few seconds, standing with my back to the wall in case she came back. I took a few bites, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Juicy, moist heaven. My ecstasy was short lived when I heard a scream. It was quickly cut off, as if covered with a hand.

I snapped back into reality and decided to get out now. I walked over to the same fire exit I came in. And then I saw something on the side. I walked over, and was in front of a large walk-in freezer. There were empty boxes covering the floor, but I wasn’t looking at them.

I was looking at a purple jacket, perfectly folded and placed on a rack shelf with many other clothes. I walked up the rack and grabbed the jacket… and out fell a ring. The same ring Joe was going to propose with. Oh shit.

I don’t know quite what I was thinking at this time. Why would he have left his ring and jacket here? Perhaps he had left them outside and the girl brought them back in. That would make sense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Inside the walk-in fridge, I saw the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. Piles of bloody body parts, detached fingers, hands stripped to the bone. This was a professional job, no wastage. Piles of bones and prepared body part snacks. There was a mincing machine just outside the fridge. As I looked at the bloodied metal of the industrial grinder, I saw a body part hanging inside, half minced. It was a foot, with a distinctive tattoo. In the year I had known Joe, I told him that getting a tattoo of a camel on his foot would be a stupid and childish thing to do. He remarked that it was hilarious, and in the case that he was ever murdered, people would be able to identify him.

He was fucking right. God knows where the rest of Joe was, I’m pretty sure some of him was in my stomach. I rushed out, called the police and went straight home. I don’t know what happened to the girl. Joe’s family found out and it was hell.

But something is really troubling me. I didn’t feel sick running away from the scene. I didn’t feel nauseous around the metallic smell of stale blood. I felt hungry. I had eaten some of my best friend in the most literal sense, and I wished for only one thing.

I wish I could have had one more bite.