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Two-part article on THE MAKING OF
CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES
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V I D E O    T O   F I L M   T R A N S F E R

"Charlotte Sometimes" was color-timed at Complete Post in Los Angeles, CA, and transferred to film by Alpha Cine Labs in Seattle, WA. The process was overseen by Co-Producer Chris Miller of Visionbox Media.

A high definition color-timed master was sent from Complete Post to Alpha Cine Labs, where Bruno George and his technicians created a 35 MM negative using two new technologies called the Teranex Video computer and the Arrilaser Film Recorder. Because the HD master was already color timed, Alpha Cine made only minor adjustments to the first answer print before it was ready for festival exhibition.


P R O D U C T I O N    N O T E S

Efforts to bring "Charlotte Sometimes" to the screen began in 1997 when Eric Byler, Jeff Liu, and Jacqueline Kim attended the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Inspired by four outstanding Asian American feature films: ("Sunsets," "Shopping For Fangs," "Strawberry Fields," and "Yellow" ), Byler and Liu decided to write a film, with Kim in mind for the role of "Darcy."

 


Late in 1998, the film was nearly financed at Interlight Pictures, but plans fell through when a key cast member dropped out.

During 1999 and 2000, Byler and Liu participated in the formation of the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. Meanwhile, Byler worked as an office temp and as a sports official, saved $5,000, and decided to make a movie.

The rise of digital video as a medium for feature films made it possible to shoot "charlotte sometimes" for an extremely modest budget. Byler's parents and two of his uncles contributed funds.

Executive Producer Michael Kastenbaum championed "Charlotte Sometimes" at Visionbox Pictures, but was not able to persuade his colleagues to invest in the film. A compromise provided for a production services agreement, under which Byler hired Visionbox to aid in production. Kastenbaum and Byler brought on Marc Ambrose as producer, and the production was underway. Executive Producer John Manuils and Co-Producer Brooke Dammkoehler provided advice and assistance from the Visionbox office.

Shooting began on March 17th, 2001. With only 8 shooting days scheduled, Byler decided to go with a two-camera set (Sony PD 150 cameras with anamorphic lens adapters). This provided lighting challenges for cinematographer Robert Humphreys, but it did save time. The second camera was operated by 1st Assistant Camera, Robert Muthamia. The first shot on the first day actually made it into the film. It depicted Michael Idemoto as "Michael" waking up to find a note left by "Darcy."

Sound was recorded on a DAT recorder by mixer Gary Day. Brad North, who later would serve as Sound Designer and Supervising Sound Editor, manned the boom. The Production Designer was Byler's long time friend and collaborator Robert Shinso. The crew numbered between 8 and 12 during the initial eight days.

Five days into the shoot, Byler and Humphreys decided to add a third camera-- the more expensive Sony DSR 500, better suited for the establishing shots scheduled that night. The production shot with three cameras for the next three days, with director Eric Byler and gaffer Cain Angelle serving as additional operators. Several scenes in the film were shot with three cameras-- most notably the fast paced and partially improvised lunch scene. The night exteriors in the backyard were also shot with three cameras.

By the end of the 8 day shoot, the only source of funding was credit card advances. When production resumed for two weekends in April 2001, a single camera set was employed. The advantages afforded by the DSR 500 outweighed the additional cost. The tennis scene, the hotel room scene, and the final scene of the film were among those shot in April with a single camera.

Byler began work with editor Kenn Kashima in June of 2001 on Final Cut Pro. When Kashima returned to television editing, Byler continued on his own, bringing in Kashima, Liu, and editing consultant Tom Moore for periodic feedback.

Reshoots were delayed several times due to lack of funding. When Visionbox Pictures offered $800 to fund the reshoots in September 2001, Byler served as director and cinematographer, leading a crew of three. The DSR 500 was implemented once again, with sound recorded into the camera instead of with a DAT. Scenes shot on this final weekend include Lori's visit to Michael in the junk yard, and Michael breaking into Lori's apartment. The last day of shooting was September 10, 2001. The last shot depicted Kimberly-Rose as "Annie" arriving at the auto shop to tell Michael of Darcy's return.