::::: Welcome to Web Series Today "collaborative environment"
::::: Help get LGPedia back online!!!!! <== ACT TODAY!!!!!
::::: Welcome to new Web Series Today blog "authors". <= PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

L.A. Nites - Episode 02

L.A. Nites

Continuing a Series

Having a great idea is only the first step. Writing that idea down, getting people together, having equipment, finding locations, double-checking props and costumes, making sure there is someone watching for safety and taking notes for the camera... all of these things become obvious and necessary needs when you go into production. On any production there are always a lot of things for a few people to do at once and can often make your head feel like it's going to explode.

movie clip
What it feels like mid-production
Don't worry, this feeling is normal. At this time in history working on a web series generally means low overhead in order to complete a project for less than a microbudget, as according to industry standards. L.A. Nites, for instance, was made for around $4000, mostly paid out of pocket by the creator/director Lawrence Le.

Jeff Pollard assists Lawrence Le on the set of L.A. Nites
Le onset with PA, Jeff Pollard
I wouldn't try to convince anyone that this is the best way to film a project. We all had a lot to do all the time. Casting, printing, set building, costumes designs, finding props, getting food and water for everyone on set, not to mention the writing and editing we had to do to keep up with our weekly filming goal.

goin' cray
You know the feels
Additionally our actors were gracious enough to volunteer for all of the shoots. It doesn't seem like a whole lot since we only added D. Wolf for one sequence in this episode but as the series went on, we added more and more people to flesh out the story. By the time we got to episode 10 (to be released Thursday, 1.22.15) we had 15 people on set.

This really has nothing to do with L.A. Nites
This is what 15 people feel like when crammed into a one-bedroom apartment
Which brings up another point that I'm sure you're familiar with ff you've shot a web series for any amount of time: you have filmed every corner of your apartment, every corner of your friends' apartments, stolen a bunch of shots and are thinking about moving so that you'll have new location options. A small budget means limited shooting options. But as we found out from filming episode 5 and 7 part 1 and part 2 framing changes everything. Believe it or not, Jewel's house and the costume shop are in the same apartment.

Los Angeles you so weird man.
That we made it to the second episode is pretty amazing. I know, I know in the grand scheme of things it's nothing to really be proud of but you know how mommies are about their babies learning to walk. They're stupid about it. People walk all the time. From this point forward, the baby will be forever walking and in the future they will be infinitely relieved on a daily basis that they no longer have to be up on their feet. Mommies are just excited that they're not the only ones that have to suffer that fate any more, I guess.

cute but so sad, amiright?
I don't want to start walking!!!

Episode 2

Getting to the second episode meant that it was becoming more than it was. It was becoming a "thing" whatever that was and it started gaining more momentum. Lawrence wanted to make sure that this episode got some very pretty shots in it as a way to show off his skills. I don't think anyone was disappointed with the results:
footage from the web series
Doing drops
Although it looks like stock footage, the dropper shot that opens the drug tripping sequence was filmed in studio in front of an open window. LA is great for its weather and its lighting. If you look closely at the above shot you can see the reflected camera. Fun fact: the room where this was shot is also in the same room where we filmed the hospital scene from in episode 10 (to be released on Thursday, 1.22.15).

I want what they're having
Even after filming the first series, this is still one of my favorite scenes. I mean how could it not be? We're standing on the corner of Sunset and Vine, laughing our asses off and having a good time for two hours and I didn't have to wear a shirt! It's hard to improve on this experience although, filming episode 9 (to be released Thursday 1.15.15) came close.

Fun fact: At this point in the series we didn't really have a name for the drug, its users or what it did. It was only during this scene and through our own communication about them during the writing process that we started calling the drug, "Drops" and its users "Droppies". The whole giddy, giggling effect was suggested by Lawrence and then interpreted by the actors in different ways which can be seen in episode 4 and episode 5.

Howie Emmett and Skater
One big difference between stealing shots and having a location is the difference between a closed set and an open one. An open set for a lot of directors is enough to drive them crazy. There's not a lot of control over the environment, volume or lighting. But we had a lot of luck with it in ways that gave us a higher production value without costing us anything. Like the skater in the above shot and the car headlights that flash across Howie in the final sequence (seen below).

L.A. Nites
Krysten's look of concern is totally legit in this shot. We were shooting in an alley off of Vine around midnight, it was supposed to be quiet but turned out to be anything but: just prior to this the landlord had come out of the building, thinking that Howie was actually in trouble. When filming on open sets both the actors and the crew must be able to improvise in case it doesn't turn out exactly as planned.

Making a web series
An early morning puke
Making the puke scene happen was a fun challenge in that regards. We knew that we wanted to film it right after sunrise in order to get that bright, clean look in terms of lighting and where Aaren was in the story. The location we scouted looked good, there was a mailbox and Aaren could send his letter but the one thing that we didn't take into account was that this particular sidewalk is a direct route for most kids in the neighborhood to get to school. So...

School kids watch our hero puke
"Hold for kids," was the most common call during this shoot. Although you have to admit that they do add a nice bit of ambiance. For this and other ethical reasons, we couldn't leave the "puke" (which was made from coconut water, mushroom soup and green jello). We got all of these shots in one take and then cleaned up before getting the next shots. By the time Aaren staggers to the mailbox, the puke was completely cleaned up.
Getting ready for work
The next sequence was shot just after the early morning puke setup. It was this shot (shown above) where all of us came to realize that Aaren probably has more going on than meets the eye. There's something about his resolution of will. I'm not sure how much it was initially part of Lawrence's plan for the main character of his show to turn out the way that he did but all through this shoot Erik kept to saying to us, "This dude's a badass, I don't know how but I just know he's a badass." How much of a badass he becomes can be seen in episode 7 part 1 and 2.

You were supposed to be here 20 MINUTES AGO!!!
Let's take a moment to talk about my favorite cameo in this series to date. Everything about this guy is great. His accent is rough German, he's totally built and fierce. And then turns out he's a really smart guy, too. He is a composer who has done the scores for a couple of horror films. Also, he shared this piece of information with us on the ride back from the set, "I don't like the nude beaches [in Europe]. I don't want to go to a public place where I can see a lady's breasts. I want to take that lady home, I want to undress those breasts and see them for the first time there. Wow! When I see them in public I forget about wanting to go to the beach or whatever I was doing and want to go find a private place to enjoy myself."

Keepin it classy - L.A. Nites
Yeah, I kinda see your point there.
The following driving sequence is one that Lawrence was really gung-ho about as a part of the whole, "going for a series of cool shots" look this episode. It was difficult to find the right shots to edit together but we eventually pieced together what became this montage. I'm a pretty big fan. We were also tying in a subtle joke that is sprinkled throughout the show about how much you have to constantly be driving in LA.

LA Nites driving sequence
Driving in LA = constant
Shout out to John Coluccio who is the guy yelling at the end of this montage. He's another guy that Lawrence knew that is hella ferocious but turns about to be really nice and incredibly intelligent. Just previous to his take Lawrence shared an experience with him in which he saw a man get hit by a drunk driver. John was irate and incensed by the driver's actions. It made an excellent cut. I love the following shot too of Aaren comes around the corner counting his money. My biggest reason, of course, is this beautiful graffiti on the wall behind him. I'm kind of a sucker for urban artwork like this.

Pretty graffiti
My feeling is that it was an ugly building before. Solid blue or an advertisement or whatever. God, gag me. Why is it okay for corporations to evade our space with ads but its not okay for a tagger to put up his name? It's the same thing in my book. Just the business paid for the space from whoever owned it. Question mark, though... who paid you to take up your brain space? Think about all the logos, jingles and slogans you can remember. Who's paying you for retaining that knowledge?

This is how I feel about marketing
There are too many great shots in the final sequence of Aaren and Howie grappling. This scene was interesting to me because this was the first time during the filming of the series where I was legitimately creeped out by what we had written. When you have an idea of something, it's like a vague concept, flashing images, the impression of a thing. You can write the words, understand their meaning and envision it but it's not until it happens in front of you were you realize that you've written something unsettling and a little fucked up.

this baby has no affiliation with the making of L.A. Nites the web series
It may be an ugly baby but it yo' baby
Nevertheless, we edited it and started working on episode 3.

1 comment:

If you want to become an "author" on Web Series Today please read: http://tinyurl.com/becomeaWSTauthor

For more detailed information about Web Series Today please read: Web Series Today:

For other info contact: [email protected]

Join the discussion: http://www.tinyurl.com/webseriescommunity