Joe Swanberg keeps this journal in an effort to document the LOL making process and figure out where all his time and money went.


  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Royal Moutain

    It's great that KOTM is playing in Montreal this weekend, but the Festival acceptance was sudden and unexpected, and it has really sucked a lot of time and focus away from LOL. I leave in about an hour and I will be gone for 5 days. It has been really hard to focus on anything LOL related, and I'm hoping that once this Festival is over I will finally be able to regain the momentum I had earlier.

    I shot with Brigid for a few hours on Saturday. It was mostly documentary stuff, with only a tiny bit of direction. Next week I'm planning to shoot a big chunck of Brigid's scenes, because she will be moved into her new place, and we can get rolling on our two characters, who have been put on hold while she moves.

    I shot a new scene with Kevin and Tipper last night. Their story line is shaping up nicely, and the scenes between the two of them are seeming to flow pretty well. We talked about a new idea last night that I think we're going to follow, and it should give them a nice arc. There are only a few more scenes to shoot with Tipper, but Kevin's character still needs a lot of exploring.

    So today, on my 24th birthday, I'm off to Canada, hoping that when I return, with this Festival behind me, we can push through and finish LOL in a straight shot.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005


    I have taken a little "blogcation" for the past week or so to clear my head and get some other things in my life settled. But now I'm ready to focus on LOL again. I have a really clear idea of where the film is headed, and I'm excited to take it in that direction.

    I have been reaching out to some people from around the world who want to take part in the film. I'm asking for people to send me photos and videos and other such things in an effort to prove that the internet has made the world, and especially the creative community, pretty damn small. Let's see if I'm right.

    Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Long Distance

    Kate left this morning, but her role in the movie is not finished. She will now be collaborating long distance, through the internet, via cameraphone, by mail, and possibly in some other ways we might dream up. She's just one of the people who will be involved in this movie long distance. I'm expecting a package next week by someone who shot a scene with an actress I've never met. And there will be other collaborators in this way. It's pretty fun.

    For now, I have to build a website that's going to play into the film. I like making websites.

    Friday, August 12, 2005


    I shot some video and took pictures with Kate today. It was great to see her and hang out again. It's really easy and fun to work with her, and I'm hoping I get a chance to do another film with her in the lead.

    Kevin is sick, so he couldn't shoot today, and I took this to be a sign, so I've reworked some of the dynamics of the film, and I think it's a lot better now. I certainly have a better grasp on who my characters are and where I'm trying to take the story. This is exciting. I'm sad that Kevin is sick, but good came out of it. I hope he gets well soon.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    A Girl Named Walter

    I shot another scene with Kevin and Tipper last night. I really like these characters, and their weird interactions. I think they are going to steal the movie from everyone else. I'm feeling like their scenes have a bit of extra magic so far, which is great. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go as characters. Tipper chose the name Walter for her character, which is great. I was a little taken aback when I first heard it, but now I really like it.

    I just got off the phone with Kate Winterich. She's coming up to Chicago tomorrow to shoot a few scenes. It'll be fun to see her again, and it's great that she can be a part of this new project. I've pretty much left everything up to her for the character, so I'm excited to see what she has come up with.

    Just yesterday I finally felt like I was over the hump with this film, and that I was starting to move downhill. I spent a lot of the weekend capturing and editing. There's still quite a bit of footage to go through, but I got the sense that I had already done most of the hard work, and now it was just a matter of filling in the holes and making it into a complete movie. All of Chris' scenes are shot, and a lot of them are edited, or at least started, a few of Kevin's scenes are shot, a few of my scenes are shot, and now I just have to fill in the blanks. I'm sure there's a lot of reworking to be done, and the movie still feels slightly out of focus, but I feel like I've caught my breath, and found a comfortable pace. I also feel like I'll have the bulk of the stuff finished by the end of August when I go to Montreal.

    The one major scheduling conflict right now is the scenes with Brigid. She's moving out of her apartment at the end of the month, and it now looks like we might have to wait until September to shoot the scenes that take place in her apartment, so that we can shoot in her new place. She's going out of town for the next two weekends, and I might be as well, and she's got a grown up job with real hours, and it looks like it's going to be a problem. So I might have to finish everything up except the stuff with her, and then quickly do that in September.

    This would give Kevin and I the rest of August to focus on the audio for the film. I'm thinking that from the 23rd of August until whenever I leave for Montreal, we will work full days on the audio, getting it just right, and then depending on when he decides to leave for Berlin, I might do the rest of the audio once the scenes with Brigid are shot, or if we shoot in time, he can finish it all up before he leaves.

    This means my goal of having the film completely finished by the end of August is pretty much shot, but if I can have it 75% finished by the end of the August, I'll feel pretty good about it.

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    Murdered In Spring...

    We shot the party scene Friday night, where Kevin plays live and meets one of his suitors. Kevin did a song that he wrote for the movie called, "The Chill Of Winter Is Nothing Compared To Watching Your Lover Be Murdered In Spring." He played it live, by himself, and it sounded amazing. He did three full takes of the song, for the purpose of shooting, and also did a few more partial versions of it so I could get some close ups. Good stuff. The song was great, and I'm debating whether I should put it up on the site, or make people see the movie in order to hear it. Kevin said it will never be reproduced, and the live version that's in the film will be the only recorded version of the song. Cool.

    Kevin and Tipper were great in the scene, and I'm excited to explore their characters more. There's a lot of good stuff to work with. I'm going to cut the scene when I wake up.

    I've been thinking a lot about audio in the film lately, and I've also been taking a really close look at what I'm trying to do. Once I have the stuff we've shot so far edited, I'm going to really focus in on the specifics of what I'm trying to say. This isn't just a movie about cell phones and computers. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it's about, but I know it's bigger than that. I think audio will end up playing a big part in guiding the film where I want it to go. I'm going to work closely with Kevin on that aspect. It's looking like he will be around into September, so we have some time to really play with the stuff.

    Gotta keep cutting. Gotta force myself. I don't want this movie to be hanging around on a hard drive for 8 months. I want to get in and get out with a finished movie.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005


    I just put in about 4 hours of logging and capturing and editing, and I feel good. I don't know why I was so hesitant to get down to it. It was a lot of fun to look at the footage and start cooking up ways to put it all together. Now I'm excited for another session. I'll probably capture and cut in the morning and afternoon, before we shoot tomorrow night.

    Lazy and Busy

    I have not edited anything. I have not looked at any footage. I have really not done anything regarding LOL for a few days now. I feel bad about it, but I have also enjoyed the break.

    I'm going to shoot the first scene with Kevin and Tipper on Friday. It's another party scene, where Kevin will be playing music. I can't tell whether it's going to be really complicated or quite easy. I'm leaning toward complicated. All I know is it's a pretty big scene and I will be happy to get it over with.

    I got news that my first film, Kissing On The Mouth, has been invited to The World Film Festival in Montreal, Canada, which takes place August 26-September 5. We are in the Focus On World Cinema section. So I was busy and distracted yesterday and today trying to get things in order for that (shipping the print, sending photos and info about the film, getting accreditation, etc.), which is no excuse for not working on LOL, but it's kind of an excuse.

    I'm going to attend the Festival for a few days, which pretty much means that the date of the first screening will determine when I wrap up production for LOL. I intend to have everything shot by the time I leave for Montreal. Kevin might be staying in Chicago a little bit into September, so I think he will be working on music and sound while I'm in Canada, then when I get back we'll try and wrap it up in the sound department before he heads back to Berlin.

    I do intend to look at footage soon. I'm not sure whether that will happen or not, but I do intend it.