Even though The Doctor and The Companion are more than enough, there will be new characters introduced in an upcoming storyline. A super secret organization that The Doctor occasionally works with, and his lovely liaison there, will make their first appearance in "A Unique Perspective". Nicole Starrett will be joining the cast as a recurring character. That episode will probably be shot in August, after "Outstanding", a sort of salute to Abbot and Costello.
Yes, I finally created a Facebook page! Please Like it!
The page's actual title is What, Doctor? The Web Series
Pages like Doctor Who?, Doctor WHO 2, Fans of Tardis, We Don't Care What You Think Doctor Who Is Epic, and the like are showing great support for What, DOctor?, sharing our links with their members. Views have gone from 24 to over 140 in a few days
One of the Facebook pages devoted to Doctor Who has chosen "Theate at The End Of Time" for its Creative Saturday fan video lineup! Daniel, one of the admins of Doctor WHO 2 said he loved the episode, especially the Yakkety Sax section.
Episode 3 is the most elaborate What, Doctor? so far. It's 16:40 long. It's the most complex video I've ever produced/written/directed. It was done with three people on set, one voice actor in NY who emailed me his lines, an iPad, a Sony A57, and a flashlight. The lighting was all practical (already there), we used wardrobe we owned, a tripod and iPad bracket I had, a sign/prop I printed at home, iMovie and some free sound effects downloaded from freesfx.co.uk (kinda cool that's from Britain!) Tim Dietlein let us use his theatre, where Tosca works, and where we've both done shows, on a Sunday and a Wednesday evening when no one was around.
The episode cost $0.
Okay, I took Tosca and Mike out for dinner afterwards, so, if you insist, it cost $65.
We shot 16 pages in six hours, the first day. I had a friend who was on a student shoot that had a 9AM call, but they didn't do their first shot until 1PM.
People waste time and money.
I wrote an article about no-budget filmmaking you can read here: http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/how-to-make-a-web-series/
Are there technical things that could be done better on What, Doctor? Of course, but most people use those technical things to slow them down, often to the point where nothing gets done.
I'm proud of what we're doing on What, Doctor? I'd love to make the leap to where I and my cast and crew can make a living out of this, but I'm not going to wait around, I'm going to get things done.
Our first day of shooting was almost two weeks ago, our second, ten days. Most videos of this length (16+ minutes) take months to edit (I don't know why). I feel like it is taking an AGE for me. I hate wasting time, and I'm not, but two weeks seems like forever. Given, a lot of the time has been spent waiting for things to render and upload (hours and hours), but still.
The first video I uploaded was viewed by my DP, Mike Paletta, who was actually quite pleased, although he has issues with the technical limitations of the iPad. My dear friend, TJ Glenn, who also provided the voice of the Usher, had some wonderful suggestions, which I have implemented. I'm uploading a lower res version for Mike, TJ and Tosca to look at (don't worry, Tosca, your full name will be in the closing credits!). I have put in some music, and some sound effects that make the episode even more surreal than it already is. I have also employed the services of John Drake and The Temporal Symposia for the scoring. (That's just me and Garage band).
I'm pretty sure that the episode will be up by Monday. Uploading a 1080 version took SOOOOOOO long that I cancelled it (I started it at night, and when I went back the next morning, it still had 1000 minutes to go; must have been some kind of glitch, 'cause it had 1000 minutes to go when I went to bed). I think I'll just do a 720 version, like the first two eps, and wait to do 1080 for when I have a faster internet connection.
The 1080p rendering looked good. I watched it, looking for sound level issues and any last minute color stuff I could fix. I'm re-rendering it, now, which should take a bit over an hour, then I'll upload it and let a couple of people watch it for things I missed.
I finally upgraded to iMovie '11 (I don't like to rush into things...), so editing will go a little quicker. I have a very close to finished cut, and I'm rendering a 1080p version to screen as we speak (or as I type). I tested uploading a 720p version to YouTube; it said it would take 661 minutes.
I might take a short vacation when I upload the 1080p one...
I have several scripts, in various stages of completion, for future episodes. I'm not sure which one will be next. Tosca has come up with an episode idea of her own, which I think is quite good, and very funny. I told her to go ahead and write it. She has written a couple of plays and musicals, so I know it will be smashing. She gets what I'm trying to do with What, Doctor?, understands the characters, and is English, so the tone, pacing and style will be spot on.
I hope to have episode 3 up on YouTube and this site by the weekend.
An ambitious script for our third episode, 19 pages. Our first two episodes were fairly short, par for the course for a web series. "Theatre At The End of Time" started out the same way and just grew. Written specifically for the location, Tim and Brenda Dietlein's Glendale Centre Theatre, the basic idea of The Doctor and his Companion finding themselves trapped in an, at first, apparently empty theatre, expanded to a much longer adventure, culminating in a mad dash, well, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Our first episode had myself and Tosca as our entire cast and crew. Our second episode, I shot entirely in my apartment, using just me; I wanted to see if I could really do it and come up with something, at least, passable. For episode 3, I called on Michael Paletta, the DP for many episodes of the multi-award winning series, "The Adventures of Superseven" (of which I am the title character), to join us.
We shot 16 pages, our first day, in about 6 hours. I had told Tosca we would probably finish in 4, and I apologize for it taking as long as it did. I quickly realized I would need another day, as I didn't want to keep her and Mike any longer. Since we have no budget (which means no trailers, no craft services, etc.), I try to use my actors and crew as efficiently as possible.
The Glendale Centre Theatre is a lovely theatre in the round, almost four hundred seats, and is the longest continually operating theatre in America, I believe. They put on a number of plays and musicals every year, of very high quality. I've been lucky enough to perform there, as has Tosca, although we haven't done a show together, yet.
As you'll see in the episode, it's a fairly large theatre, with a nice backstage area, dressing and rehearsal rooms. It's a great contrast to the black boxes that are strewn throughout Los Angeles. Anyone who says there isn't a lot of theatre in LA is quite mistaken; with so many actors needing to keep their talents in shape, there is no shortage of live performances, every night of the week.
Luckily, there was no performance this day, Sunday, so we had the place to ourselves. Using just the theatre's practical lighting, and basic stage/house lights, our setups went quickly, most of the time taken with setting focus, exposure and white balance. I am not a techno-phobe, but all I care about is getting the work done and, since we shoot on an iPad, primarily, we don't have a lot of technical issues to deal with. I use the Filmic Pro app, which is fantastic, with variable frame rates, and all sorts of fun things to play with. We did use a Sony A57 DSLR for the one exterior shot, as I wanted to mimic the difference the old Doctor Who series' had when they went from video indoors to obvious film outdoors. You'll all let me know if there is a noticeable difference. I would have loved to shoot actual film outdoors, but there's that budget thing, again.
I was going to shoot in sequence, but the exterior shot is the last scene, so we shot that first, as it takes place in the daytime. That went swiftly, then we headed inside. Things went smoothly until we got to one of the camera trick moments. I won't give it away, but you'll know it when you see it. It's simple, but effective, and I wanted to make sure I was getting what I needed. One of the advantages of shooting on the iPad, is that I can see the take, and go right into iMovie and do some quick test editing. The scene took a bit of time to shoot, the longest of the day, but we were still pretty much on schedule when we moved on to the next things.
The one thing that was a bit of a problem, although we worked it into the script because it was funny, was a wardrobe issue. Tosca wore these stylish little boots that looked great, but got painful as the day wore on. I felt bad for her, but she took it like a trooper. "It's my own damned fault," she said, in typical resigned British fashion, and refused to let it slow us down. I did let her take her boots off for shots that didn't require them. In one scene, she's standing on a phone book, as her boots had heels, and she would have looked a little shorter without them on.
We finished the day with just a few shots still needed, but it was time to take my actress and cinematographer out to dinner, so day one came to a very satisfactory close.
I still needed shots of the "villain" of the episode stalking our heroes through the otherwise silent theatre, so second day of shooting was necessary. Tosca has told me she had Wednesday evening free, and the theatre was dark, in case reshoots were called for. Going over the "dailies" (that sounds so deliciously 'Hollywood'), I realized I had completely missed one shot of us crossing the stage, a long, single take gag had to be redone, and I needed to reshoot one line of dialogue for continuity purposes.
Now, I'm usually not a stickler for continuity. I have a dear friend, Matteo Molinari, who has written a number of books on continuity errors. I highly recommend them all; the first is "Oops! Movie Mistakes That Made The Cut", available on Amazon. Some of the errors are ghastly, horrifyingly obvious ones that no way in hell should have gotten past anyone. Others are far more minor, so subtle that only the truly observant (or geeky) would notice.
If there's something really noticeable, something that would take you out of the viewers' trance, I'll worry about it, or if I see something easily fixed, I'll fix it. The one shot I had to re-do was an arm-position thing that was easily fixed. There are a number of directors who deliberately put/leave in errors, so fans have stuff to talk about. I do that purely by instinct... or not...
So, Wednesday evening, Tosca and I were, once again, our entire production team (the shots were so simple I didn't need to bother Mike). We were the only ones in the theatre.
Did I mention it's haunted?
It certainly seemed that way. (It supposedly is).
In reality, the sounds we kept hearing were coming from the alley behind the theatre. There are entrances to a restaurant, a busy bakery, and some ATMs, so there is occasional foot traffic. It did sound a bit creepy, shooting a script about being stalked in a theatre and hearing random noises.
We finished in about an hour or so, about seven camera setups and a few handheld shots from the villain's POV.
So, after two days of shooting, I had all the footage necessary. I had started editing the day following day one, so the episode looks to be up by next week.