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Making it Happen

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Making it Happen: A Non-Technical Guide to Project Management
Mackenzie Kyle.
Commentary by Jonathan Pulino
EDT 500… Wednesday 4-6:40 PM

While reading Mackenzie Kyle’s book Making it Happen, late at night last week, I was able to identify many different elements of what the character Will dealt with in regard to my own life.  Like Will, I find myself involved with many projects both professionally as a high school teacher and with regard to my hobby/ job of amateur film maker. 
 Another aspect Will and I share is the ability to attract situations and problems that seem impossible to some people.  
Currently I am working on a film called “Who is Donna Troy?” an action/adventure/drama featuring 25 major shots and approximately 20 actors. After reading Kyle’s book, I was able to tie in various terms and procedures that I applied to filmmaking that the author utilized with the Windsurfer project.  An example of this can be found on page 11 of the book, on this page the author lists a seven step sign hung in his office.  The sign reads:
   Steps in a Project
1. Enthusiasm
2. Action
3. Consternation
4. Panic
5. Obfuscation
6. Punishment of the Innocent
7. Praise and rewards to the non-participants.

The author than stated that: “It was supposed to be humorous, but it rang just a little true”
I literally started laughing aloud as I read this section early in the book while my mind played images  over and over of our hectic shooting schedule .  I was able to see clearly my enthusiasm in selling the project to Ken Messimeir, the Middletown Public Access Public Coordinator.  I have dealt with Ken in other situations due to my various television productions going on throughout the years, but never before with a project as big as the Donna Troy film.  I was able to convince Ken with my constant barrage of phone calls, e-mails, re-enactments, and praise (“Ken, The Middletown Press may run an article about the station if we do a film) to let me use the new DMV Digital Camera throughout the summer.   I was able to let my passion and enthusiasm get me moving.
The second thing on the list was to take action. Immediately I rounded out a bunch of people that work on my public access television programs and announced I was making a
film.  A 64 year old camera man (Who later became the the doppelanger for Will's Martha) asked me if there was a part for an older woman, because his wife would love a part.  I replied by saying, “Have her stop by the studio and she can do a read through”.  I also put an ad in the local paper announcing that a small film was being cast ,as well as advertise on local television.  By networking with people and doing my own research, I was able to find 12 actors in seven days.
On page 52 of the book, the author states PROJECT= EXECUTION PLAN.  I had my own EP as well.  The objective was to kept things loose and fun in order to get the actors to keep showing up.  Over the years I have been involved with many directors that start  projects, but do not see them complete because their shoots are full of tension.

 The first thing I announced to the actors was that they would not have to be around when they were not required to be.  By providing the group with this foundation, it immediately made their work load a lot easier.  Rather than look at their call sheets of 25 shoots they may say, “Well I am only in 8 shots and don’t have to commit my entire summer”.  I took this process one step further in attempting to cut the huge shots in half and/or listen to the input of the actors that were in those respected sequences.   This was applied on July 10, 2004 during the filming of the warehouse rescue scene.  The sequence involved the film’s protagonist Robin breaking into a warehouse (owned by Bob) and fighting two villains with various weapons and then eventually rescuing two young girls.   The three actors involved in the fight sequence worked with a trainer for approximately 90 minutes.  They actors then took a break and returned to the set ready to go, although there were many mistakes and various light setups during this time, the actors seemed refreshed and willing to go the extra mile to complete the fight sequence.





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