Integrate Movie Magic Scheduling with Google Calendar

So I receive a couple of messages asking how I created this integration between Movie Magic Scheduling and Google Calendar. Instead of answering one by one, I decided to create this tutorial that teaches how to do the integration.

The process is pretty simple. We have to create a CSV file using Movie Magic Schedule. To do that we need to run a REPORT that will transfer all the database info into a pdf file and save this pdf to a CSV file.

In order to do that you need the following software:

  • EXCEL
  • WORD
  • ACROBAT READER
  • MOVIE MAGIC SCHEDULING

PART 1 – CREATING THE PDF FILE

Download and import the following report that I created.

CALENDAR EXPORT – BY MARIO AMADEU.

To import a calendar you have to open a Movie Magic Schedule, click on DESIGN, a list of Report Layouts will appear, click on the IMPORT ICON, select the downloaded file and voilà.

A report called Calendar Export by Mario Amadeu will show up. Run the report by double clicking on it and then click on Print Preview. The content generated will be barely readable, don’t worry about that because I did this way so the whole information stays in one page for exporting purposes. Print the file as PDF so you can transfer to excel. The first part is done.

PART 2 – CREATING THE CSV FILE

Open the generated PDF file, rotate 90 degrees clockwise, and save. Select all, copy and paste to a word Document.

Every line should have a set of information. For some reason the line breaks messes up sometimes when copying and pasting to word. Because of that, I created one more step on word just to make sure everything will be smooth. With the text copied to word, go to EDIT->REPLACE. In the field “Find what:” type “}”, and in the field “Replace with:” type “^p”. Hit REPLACE ALL button.

Note: if the line breaks are fine, then replace “}” with a “blank space”

Save the file as txt. Open Excel and click on DATA->GET EXTERNAL DATA->IMPORT TEXT FILE. Open the text file created on word and a Text Import Wizard will open.

On step one choose Delimited;
On step two select Semicolon;
On step three select the second column and change the data format to DATE MDY
Hit finish.

The excel file will be created. Select the column B, START DATE, and format the column as a DATE with format MM/DD/YYYY. Save the file as CSV. DONE.

PART 3 – IMPORTING TO GOOGLE CALENDAR

This is the last step. To import to Google calendar, you have to open Google Calendar and under OTHER CALENDARS click on ADD->IMPORT CALENDAR. Browse for the csv file you just created, select the calendar to export to, and hit IMPORT.

If for some reason you get an error message, open the CSV file on Excel and break the table down in less records. Save 2 or 3 CSV files, each one containing 30 lines maximum. Repeat the first line with the header and save it for each one. Import the files into Google Calendar. DONE.

CONCLUSION

The good part of this integration is the fact that you can add cast and crew to the calendar, they can see details like maps, description, synopses, page count, estimated time and comments. I am pretty sure that more features will be created in the future, and maybe in a next version of Movie Magic Scheduling we will have this integration built in.

What I am working now is creating fields for call time and more detailed information like inserting day breaks and so on.If anyone figures new things, please comment here and share with the world. Thanks.

Forever Yours

During the month of June I did two projects as first AD. The first one was for a company based on New York. They hired me to arrange the schedule and  budget before start of production.  After this project, I was hired again to work for a friend. His film is called Forever Yours.

My friend Parlav Chaudhary invited me to work on his project. It was a short film with students from the New York Film Academy. We shot this film in one day at an amazing location in Reseda. When I say amazing I don’t mean that it was a fancy mansion or something like that. The place was almost like a farm house in the middle of the city.

I always get to the location 30 minutes to one hour before call time just because I am the First AD, and usually I work a lot. So when I got there, there was at least 15 dogs inside of the location. I entered the place and I thought: “okay, cool. All these dogs are going to mess the shoot. Awesome!” I thought of that because at first the house seemed pretty small for that amount of dogs, but I started to find my way to the back of the house and I was amazed by how big that place was. The house in the front was big enough to keep all the dogs inside, then the backyard, where  we set up the stage area and the shooting location, was triple the size of the front house.

Two things that were unbelievable in the backyard: first an artist called Alex Atman, lived there in a cabin kind of house where his atelier, his jawbreaking 3d metal artwork, were exposed to everyone to see. This guy was also pretty cool with us, because he let us use his place for the actors change clothes, and he pretty much cleaned the only bathroom before everyone started using it. The second unbelievable part of the backyard was the animals. There was at least 4 hogs there in the backyard. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. They were the most cute thing I could ever imagine seeing on a set. People have the tendency to think that hogs and pigs are filthy, disgusting animals, and they are kind of filthy and disgusting. But at the same time they are very funny and cute. The noises they make, they way they walk, and how sneaky they are.

There was a moment that one of the hogs were getting close to the craft table to eat what was in the trash can, and I had to scare him off. The hog literally complained with me making noises similar to a man growling. And then slowly he backed away. Everybody laughed at that scene.

The shoot went fine. We were using the RED Camera with a set of very beautiful PL prime lenses as the first camera and we had a rigged 7D as well as the second. The DP was Sanket Dolas and he is one of the most talented DPs I had the pleasure to work lately. We had a crew that were very efficient and everybody was really laid back. I mean, there was no people bitching about anything, and no complains. Even with a 19 hours shoot day. It took us 19 hours to start and wrap the whole thing. By the fact that it was only one day, the overall mood of the crew was good even with the long hours.

I took some pictures of this day and also the still photographer Fred Tapia gave me some frames. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

First AD – Credit Fred Tapia
Forever Yours Behind the Scene – Credit Fred Tapia
REd Camera Forever Yours – Credit Fred Tapia
1st AD
Mario First AD – Credit Fred Tapia
7D
Second camera 7D – Credit Fred Tapia
RED
Shooting with the RED – Credit Fred Tapia
Forever Yours Crew
Forever Yours Crew – Credit Fred Tapia
Parlav and Mario – Credit Fred Tapia
Forever Yours 1st AD

 

where people see a filthy pig, I see a beautiful animal that I don't like to eat.

New website based on WORDPRESS!!!!

In this post I will go over all the great features that I have on my new website, as well how I built it, explaining the step by step, so anyone could build their own WORDPRESS site.

I had a BLOGSPOT website where the design limitations were upsetting. Changing to WORDPRESS not only gave me better design features, but also interaction and control features that are simply um comparable with BLOGSPOT. The bad side though is that I had to learn how to build a WordPress site from scratch. I didn’t want to use any available WordPress.com templates because I didn’t like them. So I ended up building my own.

Prior to this experience I didn’t have ANY knowledge of PHP, CSS, MYSQL, and DREAMWEAVER. I had to learn everything from the beginning. At first I thought it would be impossible, but it is not as hard as it seems. Of course that I have some knowledge of computer programming. If I didn’t have it, then I couldn’t do it. I don’t suggest for a person that is computer illiterate to jump in here thinking that they can just do it. It will be frustrating trying to figure and managing the gigantic amount of new information. I am definitely not the best teacher, but I will go over how I did it and maybe, just maybe, help someone who is trying to create their self-hosted WordPress site. Please, don’t expect to get all the pieces here. If you are trying to go over this route, you will have to do a lot of research and testing on your end.

It took me one week and a half to build this website. There are many steps in order to create a website totally customized as this one. The steps are: 1- DESIGN, 2 – LOCAL SETUP, 3 – PROGRAMMING, 4 – HOSTING, 5 – EXPORTING.

1- DESIGN

Instead of designing  a site from scratch I started by selecting a custom design from a library of designs that I have. The one that I liked is called Video Flick, from Press 75. I liked the feel of it and the fact that it has a lot of visual links. I started the design by changing the width of the posts and also changing the background. I changed the header for the home page to be different than the header of the post pages. I also changed a lot of little other minor things.

Most of the changes happen in the STYLE.CSS file. The best way to edit the stylesheet file is to integrate your WordPress theme with Dreamweaver.

2- LOCAL SETUP

To work your site locally and create a unique custom design, the best way is to integrate WordPress with Dreamweaver. There is a tutorial that teaches how to do this integration. I followed the steps of Lynda.com. This tutorial got me from the noob level to better than noob, but still noob level. If you want to try the tutorial before buying it, you can always look around for alternative ways of getting it.

3- PROGRAMMING

That’s the hardest part. As soon as I got the hang of it, it became easier. The best way to learn is by trial and error. By the fact that I was working on a local site, I didn’t worry about messing up my page. I made as many mistakes as I could. I just made sure that I had a back up so, if needed, I could reset everything. The only two files that I messed with were CSS files and PHP files.

CSS files contain the styles of each element in your page divided by category. Which in noob terms means that to center a “post content” I would have to set the category responsible for Post Content on a specific CSS file.

PHP files are like HTML files. They contain the  programming of each part of the page. The way WordPress handles pages is by calling a bunch of different php files for each part or function of the page. The header of a WordPress page is inside of the header.php for example. The post content of a WordPress site is inside of the single.php page.

The files that I changed most of the time were style.css (responsible for all the major styles of everything inside the site), header.php, single.php, footer.php, and functions.php. During this process, I did a lot of Googling and I messed up a bunch of times. As soon as I started to make mistakes, and fixing theses mistakes, I became more knowledgeable to a point of knowing exactly where to find my answers when I needed to change something.

4- HOSTING

As soon as I was done with my LOCAL DESIGN, it was time to transfer everything to a web host. There are a lot of good places to find a host for WordPress. The one that I selected was GoDaddy because my domain is register there and because they have a very easy to install platform. I know that you NEED a server that handles PHP5 and you also NEED a MYSQL database. It cost me 100 dollars for 3 years. For this money Godaddy gave me 10 Mysql databases, 10TB worth of space and unlimited bandwidth. Which is a lot for my small personal website.

5- EXPORTING

To transfer everything to the web host was easy. At this point I already knew what folders to copy, what files to change, and how to troubleshoot. A key to this transfer is to keep the folder structure the way it is. WordPress has a unique way of handling the files. I didn’t mess with the structure since the beginning and that helped me to have the site without any code problems.

 

New Feature Film in New York

I am doing the pre-production of a new feature film based in New York.

The director called me from over there and hired me to work for him at a distance. I couldn’t physically travel to New York because I am doing physical therapy and my doctor didn’t allow me to work yet. So we agreed that I would do the scheduling, budgeting, and breakdown before the principal photography starts.

For this production I am using the Movie Magic screenwriter, Movie Magic Scheduling, and Movie Magic Budgeting. These software are really good. They are very helpful with the whole process of pre-production.

The advantages of these software over other software, like Celtx for example, is the industry standard interface. Pre-production of films in Hollywood is made the same way for a long time. Scheduling a feature film is a three-part process: 1 – breakdown the script, 2 – preparing a production strip board, and 3 – determining the final shooting schedule. The movie magic package helps a lot with this process. Little things like the color coding, break down categories, and full integration between script, schedule and budget are key to the creation of a well structured pre-production. Then we have more advanced tolls like Report Design, Day out of Days control, Red Flags features, Calendar Management, and Element linking that makes the scheduling process way more precise.

Another good aspect of the Movie Magic package is that the company who creates the software gives a couple of courses for free. Right now I don’t have time to do them, but as soon as I finish this schedule I might take some courses. I might be able to catch little and more advanced things that I wouldn’t otherwise.

The main production of the film is scheduled to start in July. I am having a lot of work to put everything together as fast and accurate as possible. So far I am doing fantastic. My job is to manage everybody schedule, solve this jigsaw puzzle, and deliver the schedule and budget in two weeks.

 

BRANDO UNAUTHORIZED – The month of June

This was one of the craziest yet amazing months of my life.
I started the month completely broke. Instead of freaking out, I put myself together and started working my own projects: 2 scripts and a new demo reel. I had faith that I would pay my bills.

During this time I got to know some people that worked on a new TV station called REDE ITV. This is a Brazilian network based in LA with open programming for the whole southern California and I believe with concession for other US states. I went there for an interview with the owner Josias and his wife Sandra. I was surprised when I discovered that Josias knew my father from the time they were young and used to work together in the same group of actors and directors of stage plays back in the days. The interview went great and after that I did at least 4 freelancer jobs that saved my financial situation.

But the best was about to come. I have a friend called Joe Camacho with whom I had classes together. He mention to me about a production company that needed 1st and 2nd AD for an upcoming low budget film. He thought that it could be a good idea if we worked together there. We went on a meeting and in 4 hours I left the place with a contract in hands. The money was enough to save my finances, but I really didn’t care about that. The best part of this project was the project itself. It’s a film about one of the greatest actors that ever lived: Marlon Brando. What makes this project even more special is the group of people that are involved with it.

Starting with the director Damian Chapa who is definitely a creative person. His passion for filmmaking and his love for the art is visible on every time he smiles on set. He is a grown up man with the power to keep a young soul. We had major obstacles during the process of making this film and, like a warrior, he never let the production down and he kept fighting. This project is a challenge from day one and, in order to make it, one needs a good production team. That’s where Annette Young, Pete Allman, Ryan Torres, and Manny Lopez come to make the dream alive. They are the responsible for everything. They are on top of every issue. All the time they are talking to investors, actors, publicists, and celebrities. If wasn’t for them, there will be no film.

MYC Agnew is the head of everything. He is the voice to be heard and respected. He calls to himself this responsibility and he takes every matter as part of his day by day duties. Everything goes through him. Madla Hruza is the production and costumer designer and she is the artistic eye on every set and costume. She oversees the great work that Amor Sanchez and Parlav Chaudhary do. She is a true artist. Making a film like this needs a very accurate make up department and the head of this department is Keith Beck who is not only very talented but also a very real and nice person. He works with Jason Becker who is the hair stylist, Brittany Hall who is the make up fashion, and Gage Hubbard who is the special effects make up. They are fast and they know what they are doing. They help me more than I help them.

Of course that every film needs actors and this film has an incredible cast. Windy Myers is the casting director that takes care of more than 50 principal actors and 300 extras that we need to make this film come to life. I introduced to her the wonderful and personal friend Lakrishi Kindred who is now helping her with extras.

The camera and sound departments are the best department in this film. Pierre Chemaly is the DP and one of the best that I had the pleasure to work with. Nothing would be possible if he didn’t have a marvelous crew to work with. The Gaffer is Elton James, the grip is Ray Klas, Luigi Ventura is the 1st AC, and the 2nd AC is Abu Baker Siddiq. All of them are fast and understand the nuts and bolts of their profession. Of course that nothing would be possible if the sound department wasn’t good enough to keep up with the camera department. Kirk Dwye is the sound mixer and James O Connor is the boom operator. Together they make the crew complete to deliver one of the most beautiful and controversial indie film of all times. We also have help of a number of PAs who come every other day. Those that I can remember are Joe Hang, Travis Thomas, Parris, Brittani Turner, Jermeil Squnders, and Will Hoover.

There are people who helped but off set. The writer is James Quinn and the editor is Nathaniel Nose. He participated in one scene at the Military base in San Pedro. There is also the still photographer Naoe.

Well this is what I can remember. There are so many people helping on this film that I can not even remember of every one. There are people helping with locations, with cars, with props, with wardrobe, you name it.

I wish I could have more time to talk about each one of them. But at this moment right now, I have to work on the schedule and send call sheets so everybody could be on time at the new location tomorrow. It’s a lot of work, but a great pleasure.

Yesterday we had barbecue on set. We did a late party and everybody loved. I was pleased to see everyone happy. My roommate Peter Roca who helped me to cook for everybody.

 

Fist of Gold

I put together a video for a non profit organization based in Pomona California.
They provide kids with boxing classes and support for competition. Their work is amazing and the Head Coach/Director Jorge Castaneda and his right hand man Jerry are really cool and down to earth guys.

We shot one of the scene of the film Last Act in their gym and they helped us not only with the space but also with a lot of extras. The day we shot in their facility was definitely one of the best days of the production. The person in the production who helped us to get all this done, was the fantastic Coco Cook.

Please take a look at the video below.

Thank you

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND FILMMAKING


I want to wish a Merry Christmas full of joy, love, and fun.
God bless all my family and friends.
My fiance is here with me and we are enjoying the first Christmas together. We had dinner last night and I gave her and my roommates Christmas cards where I told them in a funny and caring way, how important they are in my life. My father called me later at night and I could talk to him and wish him also a Merry Christmas. This morning I called my best friend and we spoke for 20 minutes. Life is beautiful if you have friends, the most valuable thing.
As far as filmmaking, well, I can’t complain. I am directing my first feature film and the result is better than the expected.

First part of the film almost done

We are taking 5 days off and we will start production back again this Sunday, December 20. Ron Quigley (dir./e.p./lead) had to travel. His brother with cancer unfortunately past away. We were about to wrap our second week shooting, and the bad news came. Ron tried to hold on and keep going. This is a lot to handle. The best thing for him to do was visit his family, spend some time away, recharge batteries, and come back renewed.

The good part is that the production is on schedule, footage looks amazing, performances are believable, crew is getting along pretty well, workflow is  in shape. I’m pretty confident that Ron is happy with the work that everybody is doing. As for me, I am really happy with my work too. I am feeling more confident about the work that I do. I can manage the crew better now than I ever managed before. We are always getting good results. Best of all, I am making new friends.

Everybody is amazing. I don’t want to leave anyone behind, but as far as I remember there are in the

– camera/grip department John, Pat, Mark, Tra, Bobby
– make up Deonna,
– Art department with Stacy and Adam,
– production with Edward, Suzana, Rich, Felipe Costa, Coco,
– stills by Maria, and Kevin
– catering by Chris,
– audio by Kevin,
– cinematography by Peter Lugo,
– and direction by Ron.

stills in this post by Kevin.

Everybody is doing an amazing job. There is an excitement every time we call action. I hope this excitement will follow us wherever we go.
I hope that Ron’s brother is resting in peace now. I dedicate my work in his name. May God bless his soul.

Start of production and engagment

Tomorrow we will start the film. The guys had already being there today for a test shoot and pre light the set. I was not able to go because I had to get done with a bunch of school work. I had even a test of one of the best classes I ever took: grip. Good thing is that I nailed the test. I am getting my school done and I am ready for the film.

We are going to start tomorrow from 7 am to 7 pm. It’s a lot of work but we are getting more people to work with us. Today I met a guy that wants to take some still photography of the film. That’s great. I hope he can join us.

There is also one more thing that I would like to mention.
I am an engaged man. I will marry my princess. She didn’t know that I planned to propose to her on thanksgiving. I prepared everything for when the moment would come. I even taped the whole thing with a hidden camera. It was awesome. I was very nervous and stressed out. My neck was killing me since I decided to take this step. It was about one month ago. I called her parents and they were happy with the news. We will figure our plans after I am done with the film and she is done with her finals at school. Now the world is opening to a new perspective. New adventures. New challenges.

I pray that God will bless the end of 2009.
Amem.

My first Feature film as a Co-Director

I am going to co-direct my first feature film. Just sign the contract today.
I am in a hurry now to make it possible because there are a lot of things to do. I am going to share the direction of the film with the executive producer/lead actor Ron Quigley. By the fact that he is the lead and he is in 80 per cent of the film, he needs someone to direct the film while he is acting. I got his contact through a great friend of mine and the dp that I work almost every time Peter Lugo.
My job is pretty much go over all the aspects of the film, like directing actors, cinematography, schedule, break down, and management. It will be challenging and worthwhile.
At the beginning of this year I told to myself that I wanted to make a short film and then I wanted to make a feature. Well everything you wanted is possible if you persist and work hard. I could not see myself directing a feature because after finishing the short film I was so tired and so broke that I could not believe that a feature would be possible. Well last thing I know is that I was talking to this guy and making this project part of my life.
As soon as possible I will post more information about the project.
Like I said before, I’m in a hurry.