Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Senior Year Begins! Project Updates~

On set for Eating for Beginners.... a foodie comedy of course.
Well, here I am... sitting in the on campus Stone Hotel lobby. I'm getting ready to meet with the Singer-songwriter instructor at my school. As one of my classes this year, I'm doing an independent study on completing an entire album in a semester. So, yes, by the end of this semester I will have a music album for sale. I don't want to give away any secret details to the album yet, but right now I'm thinking the album's overall theme is about means of traveling (both literally and metaphorically). And for those of you don't yet know, my artist name is Miss Whimsy...! Boy I do love the word whimsy.

This is Delilah-
the doll I shall be animating!
In addition to that, I am taking another independent study on stop motion animation. The end product to this class will be an animated music video... meaning: by the end of this semester I will have both a music album and at least one music video to go along with it!

My senior capstone film (aka, a thesis film) is currently in pre-production. It is going to be a 15 minute live action AND animated film. This summer I worked with Cindy Riccardelli, a doll maker and artist, and she designed and built me a 1 foot doll. I named the doll Delilah and she will be the star (well, the animated star!) in the film. The story is about trying to escape the fears in your life that make you feel trapped, and additionally, the dichotomy of how we present ourselves to the world (the live-action half to the movie) versus how we are actually feeling internally (the animated half of the movie.) The script is currently in the process of being made, and a Kickstarter is soon to follow. Stay tuned for that.

My last short film "Eating for Beginners" went quite well! It is indeed complete, but I am not 100% satisfied with the audio in some of the scenes so I decided to hold off on releasing it until I fix that. So, this Thanksgiving (when I go back home on break) I will try to ADR the scenes that need to be fixed, and once that is done: BAM! Festivals, vimeo, etc....

DP (Andy Crespo) and I looking at the shot.

Wonderful Wayne Culpepper doing stunts. What a koala-man.

Most of the cast (and me)~

Mmmm foood....

Workin with the kid actors on the picnic scene!

Girly (my junior thesis film) got into the Guam International Film Festival.

As always, I have lots of projects underway.... the ones I've mentioned are only a few of them.... on top of all of that I am in the process of working on an animated short film with my two best friends (Miles and Abbey), I'm class president (and well, there are a LOT of projects and tasks that go along with that), I went busking for the first time a week ago and made $22 with Abbey in 45 minutes, I had my first live performance of a song this past Friday (and the crowd was probably around 200 people I'd say), I'm starting to organize a short documentary to be shot soon for Brother Wolf, etc, etc, etc.... so many things to do, such little time! BUT I LOVE IT ALL!

Abbey and I singin'
The audience! 
Buskin' time!

Well, that's the brief update of most of what's happening in my life! Feel free to ask any questions for a more detailed update.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finally making a COMEDY! - "Eating for Beginners" Pre-production

Hi there friends. After completing "Clean" (my most recent short) I felt a newfound neediness to make a comedy. Clean is quite dark... I mean, hey, that's natural considering it is in fact a horror. So anyhow, my AC/Gaffer/actor Wayne Culpepper (one of the most funny, kind-hearted, and hard working guys I know) wanted to collaborate on another project, but this time he was gonna be one of the leads. At first I decided that Wayne, Dave (my best friend and also the lead in many of my films) and I were gonna go on a trip to Indianapolis and have a three person team and compete in their 48 Hour Film Competition- but logistically that idea kinda fell apart. But, however, this was for the better! Because of that, I sat down and made plans for a more legitimate next project, and then "Eating for Beginners" was born!

I sat down in my favorite magical book store "The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne-Wine Bar" (I buy coffee there, ha) and began brainstorming. What is one of my biggest passions? Food. What is one of my biggest internal struggles? Maintaining passion. Bam. I had two elements that really stuck in my gut. Four drafts later (with the feedback from my amazing film friends Airin, Miles, Nick, and Elena) I had finished a 10 page comedy short.

Synopsis: Gerard is an over emotional foodie and chef. Zep is an adrenaline junky who has just used up his lifetime supply of adrenaline. In an effort to reinstall Zep's lost sense of passion and adrenaline, Gerard presents and serves Zep five delicious culinary dishes.  Will the power of scrumptious food help save Zep from his ill-fated state of apathy?

David Dietrich (playing Gerard), Kira Bursky (me, the director!), and Wayne Culpepper (playing Zep!)

Zep alongside his young self, played by Reuben Hauser, and Gerard alongside his young self, played by Jaxson Mitchell~ The only other cast member is Lily, played by Thatcher Johnson-Welden.
My DP is Andy Crespo. Andy and I have worked on 2 shorts together, but this is the first time we will be working together as a Director and DP team! We sat down last week (at the magical Battery Park Book Exchange... of course) and made a complete shot list that I am very happy with. It was fun working together because we were both enthusiastically laughing at our own ideas... I hope that's a good sign. Ha. Actually, this past Saturday we shot a short 10 second montage sequence of Zep doing stunts for the film. I edited it together that same night and am quite happy with the results! What you should know is that Wayne was on American Ninja Warrior (the show) and is naturally an adrenaline junky it seems... so his character, Zep, is very fitting of him!

Andy Crespo, the DP, and I!
The rest of the shoot resumes this coming weekend. Today Brenna Golden, my AD, and I will be sitting down (at the Battery Park Book Exchange... naturally) and making the schedule. I actually just secured and visited our main shooting location which is called "Cloud Hidden." It is honestly spectacular and breathtaking- I visited it yesterday. It is the world's largest monolithic dome home and at one point it was featured on HGTV. I get to shoot there under the condition that at some point I make a short documentary for the local Humane Society. I love animals, so this trade off was a no brainer! I'm actually really excited to work on that documentary.

The next biggest thing I have to figure out is... where I am gonna get the food?! Hopefully today and tomorrow I will have that all figured out, but there are 5 dishes I need to "secure." Ha. Wish me luck with that. I'm also gonna be briefly shooting at a local Creperie (The Crêperie & Cafe Of Weaverville). It's adorable and has lovely food. Check it out!

Anyways, I'm gonna get back to "food scouting." Best job ever? I think yes. Stay tuned! Hopefully the whole film will be completed by the end of this month. I like to work with tight schedules... but we'll see. If you wanna see some more behind the scenes pictures you should like my facebook page "All Around Artsy." I post all updates + pics + links to trailers/films there.

Bye for now and thanks for reading!
Stay full (of good food!).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

48 Hour Film Project 2013- Complete!

It's Thursday and I have no voice. Well, what's left of my voice is reminiscent of a crotchety frog. Yep. Today is the third and final screening of my 48 hour film "Clean." I'm happy to say that for the second year in a row I got HORROR! Here is the trailer for the film:

Now for the details of how this weekend went down. At 7 on Friday the 21st we recieved our city's elements:
Prop: wallet
Line of dialogue: I don't trust her.
Character: Joe or Joanna Moroney, a dentist
For those of you who don't know what the 48 hour film project is, essentially you have 48 hours to make a complete film. Never would of guessed, right?!

This was my fourth year, and my third year with the same core crew. My cinematographer Kali, my assistant director Sam, my gaffer/assistant camera Wayne, and my audio man Byrd have been on my team for 3 years, and most of the rest of the crew for 2. Because I now live in Michigan during the school year (and because all of the people I mentioned above don't even live in Asheville!) each summer when we come together for this competition, it is like a big family reunion. I can't tell you how much I love these guys. Actually, when I tried to explain how much I loved them all to someone, I genuinely started to tear up... I'm such an emotional wreck!

The whole cast and crew!
Cinematographer Kali and I! We love each other.

I am so happy and proud of how the film turned out. It is actually probably my favorite film I have directed thus far. I am shocked with how it came out to be honest. Kali's cinematography is just... gosh. How about you take a look at it? Here are some shots from the film!:

This is the first film that I've completely scored myself. I didn't write the music during the 48 hours (that is not a guideline) but it is all original. One of my secret desires is to actually become a film score composer... that passion is actually just as strong as my passion to write/direct films. The music in the trailer is me if you wanna take a listen!

Now for some stories:
1. One of the shooting locations was a waterfall. My gaffer/A.C. Wayne (and actor actually!) prepped a Go Pro for time lapse in a bush next to the waterfall (we actually ended up not using it) but what we later discovered is that the bush was full of poison ivy. Furthermore, after we all left, Wayne actually went back to the waterfall to throw his water-proof camera off the waterfall for a cool shot. Unfortunately the camera wasn't rolling. But get this-- Wayne FELL OFF the waterfall. He is okay. BUT, the funniest part to all of this: he was actually just on American Ninja Warrior a few months ago. It should be airing this upcoming month. Oh Wayne.

The wonderful waterfall! (that Wayne FELL OFF OF.)

Wayne, the ninja warrior, about to launch the camera.

Reviewing the crazy shot.

2. LAST SHOT OF THE SHOOT. IT IS 1 IN THE MORNING AND THE FOLLOWING OCCURS: I see a bat. I freak out. It attacks me. I run inside the house shrieking. It attacks every single actor, plus Kali among other crew members. Moments later someone shouts from outside to me: IT'S A BUTTERFLY--- to which we all discovered in unison that it was actually just a massive moth. Later I researched it and found out it's called a Polyphemus moth. It's wingspan is an average of 6 inches. Also, the name Polyphemus actually means "to be known" or "famous." Kali, Sam and I decided that this bat-moth was a good omen. Or so we hope. The best part? All of the shrieking and screaming during the incident was recorded on audio. Thank you Byrd!

Moments after the moth incident.
 3. I finished writing the first script at 11. Yes, I said first for a reason. I called up one of my actors and when I asked if she was comfortable with swimming, she said no. The problem? Her character was supposed to drown. So I wrote a completely new script and finally finished at around 3:30. I think the second script was better anyways, but alas, now I have an extra script that I can shoot if I ever need one. Ha.

Many other things occurred on set, but, I think I've written enough. If you want more stories, leave a comment or question and I will get back to you! The film will probably be posted in the next few weeks. Wish my team luck with our last showing tonight at 7 and for awards. I really hope my team can win best film this year. We are a family and well, it would be nice for my family to win this year. Ha. If not this year, as I promised myself 4 years ago, I will continue to compete until we WIN! Cheerio ole chaps!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Here comes 48 hours of fun!

Heya! It's been quite a bit since I last posted something, so let me update you on a few things.

Firstly, I finished my thesis, had three premiere screenings of it on campus, and am now in the process of submitting it to festivals. If you're curious with how it turned out, here's the link:

Secondly, I've been obsessed with music composition for the past few weeks. My roommate gave me a ukelele so I've been doing a lot of composing with it. I think in the past week alone I've done more than 10 songs / compositions. I now have enough complete songs to make 2 albums... crazy to think about. Also, my friend Dave and I have been working on our album "Far Inside." Still trying to come up with a band name. Apparently "The Runaways" is already taken... darn. We'll come up with something!

And now for the meat of this post: this weekend is the Asheville 48 hour film festival! Wooo yeah!  This will be my 4th year in a row competing. 2 years ago I won best director and best sound design, and last year I won for best makeup and best actress. I made it a goal of mine to continue competing until I win best film. Kind of a terribly hard goal to accomplish, but hey, at least I'll make a lot of movies.

Here is the film I did last year: Sleepyhead: Asheville 48 Hour Film

For the past month I have been doing all I can do prior to the event: finding a crew, finding actors, and securing locations. The thing about this competition is that you have no idea what genre your film will be until the start of the 48 hours. I've had the genres of time travel movie, detective/cop, and horror. This year my top choice would probably have to be "buddy film" because it basically encompasses all genres- the only guideline being that there has to be two friends.

My crew is basically the same as it has been for the past two years, except a few new additions (and a few subtractions... :( ).
Us five in 2011 (director Kira, sound Byrd, cinematographer Kali, gaffer Wayne, and AD Sam) have stuck together- this will be our 3rd 48 hour film, and our 4th film as a crew.

Lady power of the team. (the girl on the right won best actress! go Aislin!)

Setting up the shot with smiles on faces.

So wish my team luck this weekend! I'm nervous and excited as I am every time I compete in this. Ta ta for now lovely reader!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

DPing another thesis, making a complete music album, and progress on my thesis!

The two actors and Irene, the director (in the center) of the film I am DPing this Thursday and Friday.

a still from the storyboard
Hey! It's been awhile since I've posted anything. It's about time I update the world on my projects. This thursday and friday I will be DPing my dear friend Irene's thesis. She was the production manager of my thesis, actually! Earlier this week we completed the shot list and took photos for the storyboard. Her film is about this uppity girl encountering the world of nature, finding herself faced with the decision: go back to the fake, clean world or stay with her new wild-child friend in the magical world of the woods?

a still from the storyboard

Day one of the shoot it is supposed to be raining. That is quite unfortunate, but, we'll have to make do! Almost all of the film is going to be shot hand-held. Know what the means? Quivering Kira arms and awkward body positions in order to sustain the weight. This is actually a very good thing for me. I really do need to pack on the muscles. I'm a strong independent woman, gosh darn!

Now for some exciting music-relating stuff!:
My good friend Dave and I have decided to complete an album. It sounds like a crazy idea, but I have no doubt that we will be able to pull it off. During my spring break we worked on our first song together (which is what triggered this idea). It came out better than I had imagined, and for the first time I heard music that I actually wanted to create. (Don't get me wrong- I have definitely enjoyed making my other songs in the past, but I have always felt like the music didn't accurately reflect the feeling I was going for... ya know what I mean?) None-the-less, here is the link to our song "Secret Hideaway":

We will be working on the album this summer. Prepare for accordions, guitars, banjos, ukeleles, and much more! Wooo yeah!

As for my thesis film: 
I finally sent out a rough draft to my composer. He is from France and his style... oh gosh... wow.... his style makes me fill up with warmth. It is the kind of music I hear in my head as I walk through my daily life. So whimsical and magical... and French. I completed a rough animation for the opening and closing sequence of the film. It's nice to finally be working on animation because I would love to pursue animation in the future. I wanna make some live action films, some animated films, and some live action with animation integrated into the real world films. Kinda like Tim Burton? (Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice?... aka, three of the best films ever made.)
A still from the opening animation.
My thesis film will have to be completed by around the 10th of May, so stay tuned for the trailer.

My friend Mida and I have a co-owned production company called "IA Productions." A film we made exactly one year ago called "Wait in Silence" was accepted to and will be screened at the Nashville film festival in 2 weeks. We are actually going to travel there for a few days. It will be the first film festival I have gone to, so I am extremely excited! Here is the link to the film if you are interested in seeing it!:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mission DP Miles's Thesis Shoot: Complete!

Director and I checking out the shot.
So last Friday my junior thesis shoot wrapped. I had assumed that the moment I wrapped I would be fully alleviated of all of my stress, but this was not the case! Instead, I spent the next week really cramming in all of the prep work for my best friend Miles's thesis shoot. His thesis "Round About the Cauldron" is about a teenage witch who has to let go of her long lost old childhood friendship in order to develop a new and current one.

The main things I had to prep were a shot list, storyboard, and lined script. Before being able to do any of this I had to make sure I fully understood the subtext and meaning and where the emotional beats were in the script. Miles and I made sure we were on the same page.

Storyboard still- moon light rim.

I took stills with some stand-ins (my friends...) for the storyboards. It was great seeing how a set and some groovy lighting set-ups could completely transform a space. The whole film takes place in the secret hide-out woods location of these witches. The only light sources are the fire and the moon light (which are also symbolic of the protagonist's, Noctua's, two choices: to either hold onto the past, or let go and allow the future)!
Storyboard still.
Storyboard still.

 On set I was so grateful to have all of this prep work done. The A.D., Irene (who is one of my dear friends), was able to make a fantastic schedule by using my shot list and meeting with Miles and I to discuss our needs. However, in the heat of the moment, at times I found it difficult to look back over my packet of materials when trying to juggle with the quickly disappearing time.

Finding myself stuck between the actors and the set...

The best part of this experience... well, I've gotta say it may of been using the shoulder-rig. It was so unbelievable heavy and my whole body is honestly aching as I write this- specifically my back and hips. Gosh darn! I remember quivering while getting some of the shots, trying so hard to hold in my shrills of pain. On top of all of that, my body, as quoted by many people on set, contorted into some of the most awkward positions in order to hold myself up.

Anyways, it was a lovely, stressful, and fun experience. Everyone on set was nice to work with and the actors all had a light in their eyes that was wonderful to be in the presence of. Guess we'll see how the film turns out!

Setting up the shoulder rig- with my amazing AC, Nick, by my side!
On a side note, I've been doing a bit more editing of my thesis, Girly. I'm trying to get a complete rough cut done as soon as possible so that I can send it off to my music composer and have him start working on the score. Music, as I will accidentally tell you time and time again, is one of the most important parts of a film (in my opinion of course).... like seriously!

Going on a relaxing trip to Traverse City with some friends in a few hours. Our downtown ritual generally consists of sushi, stocking up on chocolate, and chilling at a nifty coffee shop where I become a human-cliche as I sip down my chai among the coffee drinkers. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love coffee. In fact, because I had iced chai last night as a celebration for finishing Miles' shoot (the director, AD, and myself all got iced chais- it was miraculous) I probably will get double shots of espresso with lots of cream and sugar today! So, adieu!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Shoot wrapped- post production begins!

Miles and I

On Friday we wrapped the shoot! I had assumed that upon screeching the words "that's a wrap!" a sudden sense of relief would shower down upon me- but this was not the case. On Thursday I am actually DPing my best friend Miles' junior thesis (he was actually my AD and gosh darn he is amazingly organized and focused!) So, I've been busy preparing for that. Last night I updated the shot list and drew out some schematics for camera placement. After about an hour of that I went into a trance-like state, jamming out to crazy accordion music, dancing alone in a little editing room below my dorm into the wee hours, playing out his movie in my head over and over again... ohhhh yeah.

The actors surviving!
But back to my thesis! Both days were a time crunch which seems to be that of the inevitable. I did basically get all of the shots I wanted... I mean, a few times we did have to cut some shots, but being the oddity I am, I managed to find a way to get them anyways. (On top of that I added in some inserts we hadn't been planning...!) The second day was much more stressful. Within the first minute of the shoot we flip-flopped the schedule. Heck that was confusing. Rather than shooting the outdoor scene last, we decided to shoot it first due to the fear that the sunset was coming earlier than we had planned for. But the worst part of the day was shooting outside. Everyone froze to death. It was around 10 degrees F.

My DP and I checking out the set-up!
I am beginning to cut a rough of the film. My biggest motivator to get it done is the music. I have a composer from France who will begin to work on the score once I send him my first cut. Music is one of the most important parts of a film for me. Almost all of my favorite films are loved due to their score more so than anything else- for instance, Amelie, Coraline, and Nightmare Before Christmas. (I sure as heck love those movies for their overall package, but I particularly am drawn to the whimsical music.)
Key grip and gaffer!

Due to limited time and tight scheduling I had to cut out my very prized beginning and end dolly. It was a hard sacrifice to make, but I made an exciting trade off: I am going to animate the beginning and end! One of my close friends (Irene) is going to do some drawings for me and then I am going to do the animation in After Effects.

Anyways, I gotta go back to workin on my friend's thesis! Wish me luck!

Most of the crew~

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Kira Adventures Begin!

Hello there! 

My name is Kira Bursky. I am 16, have long hair, eat chocolate as much as I drink water and go crazy every time I hear anyone who uses the phrase "the bees knees." I am a filmmaker and a songwriter. I want to make films and write songs that are reminiscent of circuses, childhood, imagination, growing up, magic, food, eternal friendships, and forbidden love. And other curious things naturally.

I frequently and consistently find myself being caught in the act of creating my own words. For instance, I used to use the word "expansious" almost on a daily basis. "Oh, that sky is just so beautiful and expansious!" Alas, one day my film teacher said: "Kira, expansious is not a word" to which we discovered that for my whole life I had used this self-created word in replacement of the word expansive. I'm still in denial.

My shallow celebrity crushes are probably Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, and Johnny Depp. My biggest inspirations are Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Jan Svankmajer, Maurice Sendak, and Yann Tiersen. I have fallen in love before. I shall fall in love again. I love love. My dream is to meet someone who becomes my eternal best friend and lover. I want us to grow old together, to take care of each other, to have two person dance parties, to love each other, and then to open a chocolate and tea shop in Australia when we are old with frail backs.

Some random Kira facts: I am learning the accordion. I secretly am training myself to be a mime. I love food and tea and purple and red and hugs. So much. Certain flavors make me go crazy (in the best way imaginable). I especially enjoy coconut, cinnamon, lavender, and cilantro. Indian food is... well, the bees knees.

I am creating this blog in order to document my filmmakin', song writin', life-livin' journeys and adventures.

Today is the first shooting day of my junior thesis film "Girly." I have been working on it for the past few months and cannot believe that today is the day! Check out the set!:


Setting up the clock wall:


 Assistant Director, actress playing Girly, me, actor playing Benny, and Production Designer!

Feel free to ask me any questions about my films, songs, life, whatever!

Shooting in 20 minutes...

Let the adventure begin!