AirSWAT – The Series – Chapter 3

The amount of work and energy that goes into shooting something can be extraordinary, especially if you set a high standard for yourself.  Because we were drawing our inspiration from the great blockbuster action movies, we wanted AirSWAT to have a similar style.  But with our limited resources and availability the elements seemed to be working against us.  First and foremost – Our BudgetBWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep a straight face.  We didn’t have a budget.  Not in the sense of, “We had $15 to work with.”  That implies a sort of pooling of finances.  We did not do that.  We would end up going in on some purchases together later on, but at the time we each operated separately. Matt got the water and reserved the location, Mark got the posters and camera, I’m not sure what Pete got but I know he got something, and I got the donuts.  We all spent our own money and we all went into hock a little bit.

They were expensive god damn donuts, okay?  Covered in gold n’ shit.

Second – Equipment.  We wanted a high quality look to AirSWAT, which meant we had to bump it up to HD.  Unfortunately none of us had an HD camera.  I had a video camera but it only worked if you wanted to end up with a “Nondescript Shapes of Changing Color and Size” sort of feel.  We were able to borrow an HD camera easily enough, but it was a snare in our psyche.  Every single time we shot something, we would have to find an HD camera to borrow or rent.  Or we throw down and buy one of our own, which would mean spending money we didn’t have.  Either way, it was an issue we would have to deal with every single shoot and I believe this was the first hit to our morale.  The dilemma was a small hint of the large task we had taken on.

Third – Division of Labor.  I was incredibly gung-ho in pre-production.  Conceptualizing, writing, drafting, scheduling, planning, casting, designing; I basically ran the pre-production side.  Not that the others didn’t do work by any means.  I was just the guy with the checklist, making sure everything got done.  And I didn’t mind it so much.  I would have liked it if all of us were involved at every step of the process, that everyone helped carry the load throughout the series, but it just didn’t happen that way.  In a general split –

Concepts – Everyone
Writing – Pete and I
Pre-production – Mark and I
Production – Matt and Mark
Post-Production – Mark and I

This split is fine, but it’s something we never agreed on.  If we had a definitive list of roles I believe we would have been okay.  The lack of it, however, definitely caused tension.  I would strain to write, draft and put everything in place that by the time it came to shoot I wouldn’t handle any of the production, apart from the acting.  This caused resentment in the others who worked their butts off on the shoot, which then caused my resentment for them not helping me in the first place. And so on and so forth.  This was one of the major factors in the dissolution of AirSWAT.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.  The shoot for the first episode was fantastic.  We were right on schedule, the performances from the actors were above what we hoped for, what little crew we were able to get added a lot to the look and visuals, and we weren’t arrested.

Please remember that at every single shoot we have an arsenal of realistic looking, fully automatic weaponry.

Most importantly, we were starting to discover people believed in AirSWAT, more than just our parents who are all under legal binding contracts to be supportive –

I’m fucking serious.

– but also the actors and others who helped us.  People believed we were onto something, and that we were talented enough to make it good.  Nothing represents our realization that we were on the right track more than this first episode.

And let me tell you, the rest of them went the exact sameBWAHAHAHA!

Sorry, I did it again.

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