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September 2013 - Filmstigator

Michael Curtis


September 30, 2013

Behind the Scenes Photos – “GIFT”

September 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

We’ve now wrapped our first weekend of production on “GIFT.”  It was an amazing experience in many ways, and we are really excited about the shots we’re getting out of the RED Epic.

Things are pretty busy as we prepare for the next couple of weekends of filming (in Atlanta & Milledgeville). But we hope to post a more in-depth update later this week.  In the meantime we wanted to share a few behind the scenes photos with you all.

Special thanks to crew member Tendal Mann for capturing these stills!

Working with the Paralinx Arrow wireless transmitter allows director Michael Curtis to interact with actors while still monitoring camera.

Working with a Paralinx Arrow wireless transmitter allows director Michael Curtis to interact up close with actors while still constantly monitoring camera.

Actor Royce Mann as Aaron.

Actor Royce Mann as Aaron.

Associate producer, Susan Curtis, and Assistant Director, Melissa Bowers, hold the chaos at bay.

Associate producer, Susan Curtis, and Assistant Director, Melissa Bowers, hold the chaos at bay.


Actors Royce Mann & Katherine Shepler relax between takes.

Actors Royce Mann & Katherine Shepler relax between takes as Chance White (2nd Unit DP), David Ross (AC), & Todd Harvey (key grip) prepare for the next shot.


Director, Michael Curtis, blocks out the action with lead actor, Katherine Shepler.

Michael Curtis (director) blocks out the action with lead actor Katherine Shepler in our amazing Jekyll Island location.

Thanks for following and supporting our film. We encourage any writers, actors, and filmmakers interested in working on meaningful independent film projects to contact us and get involved today.


Michael Curtis


September 24, 2013

Going Big

September 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Independent filmmaking, especially in the no-budget or low-budget arena, will make a pragmatist out of you in a hurry. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that the best camera you have for a project is the one you have access to. As much as I love gear–and I do–I understand that there are a lot of cameras that could be great for our project.  Even DSLRs could have worked fine for this intimate, small film. If your story is strong, camera choice is not the most important part of filmmaking.

In the case of “GIFT,” our current short film project, the camera I originally planned on using was the Canon C300.  I love this camera.  It produces a great-looking image, it’s small and easy to work with in tight places, and it is great in low-light situations.  And it isn’t plagued by the image compromises one faces when using DSLRs.  Most importantly, this is a camera I already own, so for indie projects that means not having to burn money on camera rentals.  Since I started pre-production and script selection for this project back in May, I have been planning on using the C300.  It was a given.  And I felt totally comfortable with this choice… that we weren’t really sacrificing anything.

Yes, in the back of my mind I would have loved to shoot this project on a 5K sensor to be able to deliver a 4K master for any film festivals out there capable of screening at that resolution.  But with limited funds, I knew I needed to conserve resources and use the money elsewhere.

But that all changed this week.

One of the things I am most enjoying about our collaborative is getting to meet and work with so many filmmakers I didn’t know before.  We had some personnel shuffling recently on the crew of “GIFT,” and I am pleased to announce that Tom Pritchard will be our new Director of Photography for the project.  Additionally, Chance White will be serving as our second unit DP at Jekyll Island and will also be working as Tom’s AC for our location work in Atlanta & Milledgeville.  They are both super guys and I am so happy to be working with them.  Their energy and enthusiasm are so welcome on the film.  I can honestly say that we have an awesome team filled with positive attitudes across the board.  That is so very, very important.  And I am honored and humbled that all these various artists believe in the project enough to commit and give it their all even though none of us are exactly getting rich on this film.  To say the least.

So what do I mean by “going big?”  With new team members come new approaches and perspectives.  We needed a camera that could shoot high-speed imagery for a few slow-motion sequences I have planned.  Chance owns a RED Epic, and he offered to bring that along for shooting the slow-mo sequences.  But the more the three of us talked, the more it seemed like the entire film should be shot with the Epic to keep from having a mismatch in the look of the film by switching between the two cameras with two different sensors.  So that’s what we collectively decided to do.  And now “GIFT” will be shot in its entirety in 5K.  Epic.

RED Epic Cinema Camera

RED Epic Cinema Camera

This is only possible because of Chance White’s generosity toward the film and the incredible deal he’s given us to make using the Epic possible.  I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity he’s given us to create an amazing short film with this very cool camera.  Tom, Chance, and I are all pretty anxious to get going on the film.  We begin principal photography in just a few days now.

We’ll keep you updated with progress on production and post some photos and possibly some behind-the-scenes video clips as we go.

Be sure to subscribe to the site for updates as we post them.  Thanks for your support of our film! We’ll have many more after we wrap “GIFT!”






Michael Curtis


September 10, 2013

Pre-production Update on “GIFT”

September 10, 2013 | By | One Comment

Lots of progress has been made recently on our first narrative short film project.  Here’s a quick update.

Last month, in collaboration with Stilwell Casting, we found a great group of actors for our film. Veteran child performers Katherine Shepler & Royce Mann won the lead roles.  They are joined by Raymie Lewis and Melissa Etheridge to complete our small ensemble.


Throughout pre-production we have been humbled and honored by the passion and enthusiasm we’ve seen from the many people involved who are making the film a reality.

Our crew positions are nearly filled.  Many professional filmmakers have volunteered their services for free–even when offered pay–in order to bring the film to fruition.  It’s been humbling and exciting that they’ve connected enough with the script to want to do that.  With no outside funding for the collaborative (yet), these individual “gifts” are making the production of our film possible.

Principle photography is slated to begin in late September, and the film will wrap its production phase by mid-October.  We will be shooting in some great Georgia locations:  Atlanta,  Milledgeville,  and Jekyll Island.

There’s still more to be done as we move ever closer to shooting, and there are many areas where we could use your help.  So if you’re interested in helping support grassroots independent filmmaking in the southeast,  please contact us immediately.

We are still seeking a few key (experienced) professionals to complete our production crew.  And there are a number of additional support roles we would welcome if you have the time available.

Of course, if you are interested in helping the project but lack the time to get involved directly, we welcome financial contributions of all sizes.  Now that we are a non-profit,  donations we receive are tax-deductible for our donors.  But beyond that you will have the satisfaction of supporting artistic expression in Georgia.

We will post again soon.  We plan to give weekly updates during production featuring stills and behind-the-scenes video clips.

Don’t miss out on our exciting first production!  Sign up for updates on the site and please comment on the posts.  Your support and encouragment will help us make a better film.  We can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you!

Michael Curtis


September 9, 2013

A New Name… A Broader Scope

September 9, 2013 | By | No Comments

The Milledgeville Film Collaborative has now become!

We have filed as a 501(c) non-profit arts organization in Georgia,  and our new name–along with recent re-organizational efforts–will help sharpen our focus and further define the goals for our non-profit independent filmmaking endeavor.

The new moniker also helps reflect a broader, statewide scope.  Instead of the Milledgeville Film Collaborative, our new name is Filmstigator – the Georgia Film Collaborative.  Since we aim to support, create, and instigate indigenous filmmaking throughout Georgia–not just in Milledgeville where we are currently based–the new name is a more accurate reflection of what we’re about.

Production processes have not been impacted in any way, and we are still moving full speed ahead with our first narrative film project, entitled “GIFT.”