Author Archives: Brandon Laventure
Twenty-one days of shooting down. Nine to go. Given the number of indie projects that fail before they finish production, it’s comforting to think of how much is behind us. In fact, it’s more than comforting. It makes me quite proud. We’ve shot with horses, with fire, in the dorms, in a restaurant, inside, outside, daytime, nighttime, on a dolly, on a jib, with a lensbaby, sad scenes, happy scenes, sexy scenes, spit takes, stunts, after last-second rewrites and with way less sleep than is recommended. The majority of our feature-length movie is in the proverbial can (it’s a hard drive), and I feel like there’s nothing coming up that we can’t handle.
Tonight we shoot a party scene in Maria’s apartment, kicking off a fairly intense nine-day stretch of work designed to have us finished before Independence Day. To be honest, I can’t wait until it’s over. Production has been an amazing experience, and I am absolutely having fun and feeling very fulfilled. The stress is something else, though. I’ve led projects before, and I’ve worked on very little sleep. It’s different, though, to coordinate something that none of us have done before. There’s precedent for making a feature-length student film, of course. It’s just that many of them don’t succeed. How many other endeavors are like that, popular despite an enormous amount of work and high risk of failure? I guess that corresponds to the potential return of creating a feature film. A part of me is calmed and another excited when I imagine what it will be like to have finished Apocalypse Theory. The image is so appealing, it’s tough not to trick myself into thinking it’s done already. Nine days left, and there are certain challenges ahead. We have long days and nights planned, and we have yet to shoot from the back of a golf cart or drop an actor in the Red Cedar, as we plan to do. Success and the relative peace of post-production are right around the corner, but we still have to get there.
If you arrived here without visiting the Facebook page, please Like us on the Book and take a gander at our production stills. Also be sure to join the group “Apocalypse Theory Extras.” We are in serious need of extras for some upcoming shoots, and several will get the chance to deliver lines. Hope to see you soon.
Thank you for reading the Apocalypse Theory production blog. There are a few things we’d like this blog to be:
- A way for Apocalypse Theory fans to read up on production and see how we’re doing.
- A case study for anyone who wants to learn about film production, particularly on a micro-budget scale.
- A scrapbook, so we can get sentimental about the whole adventure later.
With that in mind, please comment to let us know what parts you like, and if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about.
Let’s meet the bloggers. My name is Brandon Laventure, I’m twenty-three years old, I got my bachelor’s last May in supply chain management from Michigan State University, and I’m the co-writer and producer of Apocalypse Theory. I live in East Lansing, Michigan with six roommates, including my brother. My brother’s name is Cameron Laventure. He’s twenty-one years old, a current MSU student of English with a concentration in film studies and specialization in fiction film production, and the co-writer and director of Apocalypse Theory.
Cam and I are in the picture business. We write together, I produce, and he directs. As of April 21st, 2011, we have our very own production company called Airship Cinema LLC. We chose an airship as our symbol because a) they are objectively cool and b) they represent a spirit of invention, mobility, and adventure. Our dream is to make great movies that stimulate people’s minds and souls in new and exciting ways.
In January, Cam and I finished a 15-minute dark comedy called Frank the Assassin. Helping us were director of photography Maria Palmo, composer and grip Matt Riggs, and a fantastic cast consisting of Zack Sztanyo, Dennis Corsi, Tony Maccio, and Ben Poulson. I mention them not just because they all did a stellar job, but because Maria, Matt, Zack, Dennis, and Tony will all be returning to work on Apocalypse Theory. If you feel like watching Frank the Assassin, you can do so here.
Frank was huge for us because we now know we’re capable of filming a complete work. It confirmed our belief that with a good idea, the right people in your camp, and a lot of hard work, it’s possible to make something that people enjoy. Frank also gave us the chance to go to the Capital City Film Fest, our first festival as filmmakers. They let us show our work to a theater full of fellow film nerds, in the same program as some really amazing creations. Then, to top it all off, they gave us the 1st place award for local student films, along with a $1,250 prize. It was a wonderful experience that Cam and I will hold on to for a very long time.
But this blog is about Apocalypse Theory. The stakes are higher now, because this is a feature-length motion picture. It’s going to take over $7,000 and a summer’s worth of hard work from a lot of people to make this a reality. And while $7,000 is a lot to us, it’s not a lot to most movie producers, so we’re facing the challenges of a micro-budget. We have a lot of things working in our favor, though. Our whole movie takes place on and around the MSU campus, where we have access to a community of very talented young actors and filmmakers. There are two of us sharing the responsibility of leading this project, which is a lot easier than trying to do it alone. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a story we believe in. This summer is going to be hard, but I’ll be amazed if it isn’t a good time.