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Archive for March, 2008


Writer Eric Ernst posted the following entry June 2nd, 2007 where he describes his writing process and dealing with conflict. Read the orginal post here.

Eric Ernst

Most books on screenwriting will tell you that the most important element in your script, above plot, above character, above everything is conflict. Which makes sense, as conflict is the most basic of elements, since it encompasses both character and plot. Most story conflicts can be boiled down to a simple “man vs.”. Man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself; there is a multitude of possibilities. The “man” almost always refers to the protagonist and whatever is on the other side of the vs. almost always refers to the antagonist. The word protagonist can usually be substituted for hero, and antagonist for villian, as these are basically newer terms used to replace older, more specific ones, much like Istanbul replaced Constantinople as the name of the capital of Turkey. Odd example, but you get the point.

Conflict is then derived from the battle, whether physical or not, between the hero and villian. The tension that comes from these two forces working against each other is the conflict, which usually culminates in a thrilling, combustible scene, known as the climax. There are a plethora of films in which these scenes occur, but many times, they do not. For example, the conflict in The Sixth Sense could be considered man vs. the supernatural, but there is never a confrontation between the two, instead just a chilling reveal. While some might see this as a detriment, there is also good that comes of it, for it helps to instill patience in the audience. Of course, there are things that can go awry, killing your chances for a satisfied audience. I’m not slamming M. Night Shyamalan, but Lady in the Water is a prime example of this.
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Humboldt County Directors are Fans of Davenport

Danny Daneau
Madison Davenport - CarolineDirector

It seems the directors of Humboldt County and I have at least one thing in common: we are both big Madison Davenport fans. Take a look at their blog where they describe a casting and set experience that is all too familiar. Check it out.

[tags]Madison Davenport, Humboldt County, Casting[/tags]


Looking Back: Tech Scout

The following post was written May 28th, 2008 and chronicles our our pre production scouting of Kane County, Utah. Read the original with comments here.

Erica Harrell

Last weekend Danny, myself, Eric Ernst, and our Director of Photography, Scott Uhlfelder did a preliminary technical scout of all our interior and exterior locations. A Technical Scout or “Tech Scout” is when the director and usually several of his department heads go through the locations and note with great detail how each scene will be accomplished. Almost always the DP talks about what special equipment is needed on which days or how to light a particular scene given the location. For instance, the hallways and doorways in the Heritage House are almost too small for a classic dolly to fit in, but Scott was able to creatively suggest alternates ways of achieving the shots Danny desires.

Flexibility is key when shooting in a historical home like the Heritage House. When Danny and Eric scientifically measured each door, window, room and hallway they discovered none of the measurements were the same. The information they gathered in the home will then be handed over to our production designer Alex Eastwood so his team can construct flats and other materials we will need for the interiors of the Heritage House.

Our scout of Paria determined exactly where we will be constructing our exteriors. Danny and I alternated taking measurements of the distance from where we will build to determine what the camera will see from certain distances. We did not want to jeopardize our shoot by placing the structure in an inappropriate place. We also wanted to make sure we were maximizing every possible angel of the beautiful scenery.

Overall the Tech Scout was a huge success and now we know what we have to accomplish shooting our interiors as well as our exteriors.

Director of Photography Scott Uhlfelder
Scott Uhlfelder, Director of Photography

Looking Back: The iChat

The following entry, published on May 1st, 2007, describes the challenges of working long distance and the blessing of video conference technology. Read the orginial post here.

Erica Harrell

One of the most challenging, yet intriguing aspects of producing A Monster in the Attic is communicating with crew despite their physical distance. Though the film will be shot in Utah, our crew is spread out across the country.

Since Danny Daneau, Alex Eastwood (production designer) and Bryce Hudson (unit production manager) all live in Central Florida and I live in Los Angeles with Eric Ernst (writer) and Scott Uhlfelder (director of photography), we take full advantage of communication technology in this digital age. As dedicated Mac users, Danny and I often use the video conferencing feature found on Apple’s iChat program, that allows us to communicate face to face in real time. Since there is a 3 hour time difference, we’re often communication either really early on the West coast, or really late on the East.

This challenge will only increase once we move to Utah for production, as we will then be spread across three different time zones. Though Kanab is a seven-hour drive from Los Angeles and two days from Florida, communication is made easy through advancements in technology.

Eric Ernst (writer) Danny Daneau (director) Erica Harrell (producer)

Actor Jake Johnson’s “Ball Don’t Lie” Premiering at Tribeca

We just got word that our lead actor Jake Johnson’s first feature length film role in Ball Don’t Lie will be premiering at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. In the film, Jake plays the younger version of the main character, Sticky. Congrats Jake!

Jake Johnson - Darrell

[tags]Jake Johnson, Tribeca, Indiewire, Ball Don’t Lie[/tags]


Looking Back: Welcome to the Blog

This was our very first blog entry, March 23rd 2007. You can read the original with the comments by clicking here.

Danny Daneau

Hello and welcome to the very first blog for the independent feature film, A MONSTER IN THE ATTIC. My name is Danny Daneau and I am the writer/director of the project. At the age of 24, this is my first length feature film and I am incredibly excited about the upcoming production. I, along side producer Erica Harrell and co-writer Eric Ernst, wanted to create this blog so that we might share all of the trials and tribulations associated with the world of micro-budget independent film.

Over the next several months you can come to this blog to follow the progress of the film or ask questions of the filmmakers. The film is currently in preproduction which means we are securing locations, casting the two actors roles, and searching for investors. Everything seems to be coming together wonderfully.

Please check in, leave comments, and ask questions as Erica, Eric, and myself write about the many amazing things happening around this film.

Best Wishes,


10 Days Until Picture Lock

Danny Daneau

I cannot believe it’s almost here. In ten days I’ll be locking the picture and sending the movie to my composer, sound designer, titles, and visual effects supervisor. I am feeling confident with the cut and feel I cannot learn anymore without hearing the sound mix and supporting music. There will, of course, be a period of final tweaking when all of this is complete, however the goal for picture lock is to have the film at at least 95%.

Nearing the end, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the road we’ve taken. Over the next ten days you will read ten blog highlights from different moments in the creation of the film. The series will be titled Looking Back.

Okay enough from me. It’s time I disappear back into my editing room cave. I do have a deadline fast approaching after all. Thanks to everyone sticking with us and following along on our production journey!!!

Sad Daneau in his editing cave.

[tags]Danny Daneau, Editing, Picture Lock, A Monster in the Attic[/tags]


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