Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oops

That's Schonscheck.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tenth Shoot; Pictures from Saturday

Had our tenth shoot today, featuring special guest star Jake Hildebrandt as the mysterious "Pete the Pirate".



The shoot went well enough; we had to keep restarting because David kept cracking everybody up. Not that I'd say that David is too funny; there's no such thing, I think, as someone who's too funny.

Speaking of shoots, here's some of those promised pictures from our mammoth ninth shoot. There'll be more where this came from as time progresses.



Sunday, July 27, 2008

About that Ninth Shoot...

Well, it turns out the mike was off the whole time. We have to redo the whole thing.

...

... just kidding.

The footage is beautiful and the acting spectacular and we'll be spending much of our free time this next week sorting through it all and cobbling it together.

Pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ninth Shoot

Production: 51% complete

Oh, Christ.

It's almost 1:30 in the morning here. We started just after 8 p.m. and we just finished. With the exception of dinner and one last rehearsal run-through, it's basically been five hours of four people cramped into one living room surrounded by two 500-watt lights without air conditioning on a hot and humid night. And-- genius that I am-- I decided that one of the characters should be wearing a sweater. A sweater! What the hell was I thinking?

(In my defense, I chose the costume on a non-hot and non-humid day. But still.)

It was a long shoot, and it was a hard one. The scene itself is emotionally draining, the scene itself is long, the scene itself had a lot of set-ups-- 14 basic set ups, not counting the occassional close-up and the like. And though she was benadrylled up the wazoo, Adrienne's allergies started acting up.

Like always, she troopered through it. She got a little bleary-eyed and puffy-cheeked towards the end, and we were all pretty worried about her. I don't think she's one that likes people making a fuss over her, and if she's reading this, I'm not sure if she'll exactly be happy with me mentioning all this. But I want to say that, while she couldn't exactly be her usual cheerful self, she was extremely professional the whole time through; none of it was reflected in her dynamite performance.

Next production, we'll try to shoot somewhere besides our lovely home. Now, don't get us wrong; we like our home. And it's very appealing to us to have a location over which we have complete control. There's never any worry about anyone throwing a party the night before, changing their mind, or blaming us for damage we didn't cause.

But we've shot in our home for two movies now, and, no matter how much we vaccuum and how much medicine she takes, the cat fur still gets to Adrienne. Adrienne is a very talented actress-- perhaps the most talented and responsive that we've ever worked with. She's someone we want to work with again and again until she gets sick of us. And so working with her in an allergen free environment would be highly desirable for all concerned.

And, more importantly, Adrienne's our friend-- and we don't want to put her through all this.

...Like I said, it was very hot, and so everybody was feeling a little grimy and there was a fair amount of stress. The end result, I think, will be worth all that bother.

At the same time, this whole "spend hot summer days/nights cramped in a little room with 500 watt halogen lights" thing has gotten old pretty quick. We still remember some of the less-than-ideal shooting days last summer, in our last production The Man Who Loved.

We're thinking that our next production, whatever it may be, we'll try to shoot this next winter or spring or, if it comes to it, that following autumn. (Autumn's Tom's favourite season; Mary doesn't have a favourite, but she "sure as hell" doesn't "like shooting in the summer".) Because these summer shoots are hell on everybody involved.

Anyway...

Shoot's over. It was long and it was arduous and it was warm. Tomorrow-- or, rather, later today-- we'll digitize all the footage to our hard drive and begin to piece it together. There'll probably be some pictures then.

Right now?

Right now I'm too tired to even finish this sen

Ninth Shoot Prep Work

Today's the big day: Sequence E, which starts as an interview and ends... well, you'll just have to see. Suffice to say, we think it's going to be one of the strangest and most invigorating cinematic experiences you'll ever... experience... at the... cinema. Ahem.

The preparation for this shoot has been somewhat extensive; pretty much every rehearsal has devoted a substantial amount of time to this monster. And we think it's going to pay off, big time.

But we've also done some more subtle prep work-- creating the two documents which get the scene started. The chances of the audience glimpsing these documents in any kind of detail in the film are slim to none; all they really need to look like is a resume and a list of questions, respectively.

That said, we decided to have a little fun with it, rather than merely typing gibberish.

First up, here's the list of forty interview questions, only three or four of which will actually be asked in the film. Which ones are they? (Hint: it's not the one about Charlie Brown.)



A more subtle sense of humour is in evidence in Nick's resume, with only a few gags slipped in here and there.



Well, actors should be arriving any moment now. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eighth Shoot

Production: 34 % complete

Our rehearsal ritual is as follows: we eat, and then we rehearse. It's served us well, but today, we decided to change it up a little: we eat while shooting, and then we rehearse. We were afforded this luxury because the scene in question took place at the dinner table.

Here's a picture of David from that scene:



And because David's had twice as many photos posted on this site than Adrienne, here's a double-dose of Patterson-ness:




Boo-yah!

Next shoot's coming up this Saturday night, and that is a huge chunk of the script dished out in one ginormous and demanding scene. Will we conquer the now-legendary Sequence E, or will it conquer us? Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Seventh Shoot

Probably the last of the short shoots today; next week we start getting back to bidness. Still, we shot a few takes of a very important scene with David.



We're having dinner now (David is threatening to eat my pizza by means of a clever ruse) and then we're going to start rehearsing the dance number.

And, just in case fans of P. Diddy Jurich are not yet satisfied with the glimpse of greatness in our previous post, here's another choice still from the mysterious duel.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Acting With One Hand

It has come to our attention that the only still of the immortal Peter Jurich to grace this site has been of the duel at sunset. To remedy this situation, we provide another still below. (Peter's on the left, David's on the right.)



You'll note that this still has been masked (or "letterboxed") to the intended aspect ratio, making it an extra-special treat for Jurich fans everywhere.

And, for those of you wanting another look at the aforementioned sword duel, we present the following cryptic still from the film.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The First Scene is Over Eighteen Minutes Long

We knew that the film's very first scene, which pits out hero against a rather large and unexpected charge on his utility bill, would be a bit of a set-piece, involving five different shoots-- four of which have been completed.

With most of the footage in the bag, we started putting it together, and we came to the realization that, as the title of this post says so succintly, the first scene is over eighteen minutes long. That benchmark was arrived at by reserving three minutes for the portions of the scene that will be shot on that mysterious fifth shoot (more details about that when it happens). That is, by the way, a very conservative estimate, that three minutes; it could very easily be five or six and, to be frank, probably will be. In which case we'd be looking at a scene that was over twenty minutes long-- all before the opening credits.

You're probably asking yourself, "Are these people crazy?" And, last I checked, we were not.

"Does anything happen in this scene?"

Yes! In fact, a lot happens in this scene. There might not be any explosions, but it moves quickly, in its way, starting small and gradually building up momentum like a boulder rolling down a hill.

And-- I'd like to think-- it's funny. What we're attempting here, and what (I dare say) we're accomplishing, is to take a very ordinary event and, step-by-step, pile one detail or complication on top of another. Each detail is credible on its own, and each step from one to the other is equally credible, but by the time you reach the scene's apex, the difference between the beginning and that climax is starkly ridiculous.

"Isn't eighteen minutes plus way too long?"

And the answer to that one depends on the scene. In the case of this particular scene, I think, the answer is "no". So much of the Funny here derives from reactions, timing, and hesitancies that to excise them would not only make the scene less funny (and thus the film as a whole) but would also damage our carefully constructed structure (and thus the film as a whole).

So, we're very proud of this "little" scene. At the same time, we're a little conflicted about the length. Yes, it is as long as it needs to be, but at the same time, an eighteen minute set piece revolving around a mysterious charge on a utility bill doesn't exactly command the attention of festival committees or potential distributors.

It also doesn't help to win over most audiences. We're not really "arthouse" people-- we're very populist in our taste and our approach. Populist, I suppose, but also admittedly somewhat peculiar. Which has also proven to be a problem in the past: not weird enough for the crazy festivals, not "respectable" or dumbed-down enough for the prestigious ones.

We've got a niche, I think, and I think that means that once you've seen one of our films, you won't soon forget it. And those that dig our films are going to dig them more than your ordinary run-of-the-mill movie, and those that don't won't with a vengeance.

And that's fine-- that's well and good.

The problem is, of course, before you can see the film and fall madly in love with it, we've got to get it out there.

Hopefully, however, the presence of the fifth actor in that first scene-- the part that hasn't been shot yet-- will at least get those festival judges to give us enough time to win them over. Who is this mystery guest star? Well, until we're sure it's on we're not going to try and jinx it by putting his name out there.

But our fingers, as always, are crossed.

Sixth Shoot


Short shoot today-- easy, yet difficult. Easy because (1) it was short, (2) it didn't require a whole lot emotionally, and (3) with only one actress and natural lighting, it was pretty simple to coordinate.

It was difficult because of the way we shot though. We had a particular stylistic hiccough in mind when shooting, which transformed three short scenes into roughly eighteen even shorter ones. It's hard to get in character for a short scene, even harder when you've got eighteen of them, not a single one more than eight seconds long.

Adrienne rose to the challenge though, turning in a strong performance in what will be her character's introduction. So I guess it was an easy shoot after all. Given the circumstances, I say that's cause for applause.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cut Cut Cutterooni

Concerns about scheduling problems have had us looking very closely at our project, what we have left to shoot-- which is substantial-- the time we have to shoot it-- which is not-- and what we need to "tell the story", if a story this be.

And we've decided to cut a pretty huge chunk out of the film-- it runs about twelve pages-- not only because it would necessitate at least four different shoots at multiple locations (thus eating up four different shooting days), but also because of a number of other reasons. To wit:

1. Our first choice to play the part is unavailable, leaving Tom (the understudy for every part) to fill it. And it's not that Tom couldn't play it, or that he doesn't like acting-- he does-- but it would be less special than our first choice had been.

2. We've had trouble finding a place for it in the film. It had a place initially, and then we started shuffling things around, seeing what things work better in what spots, and we found that while it has some fairly deep thematic links to the rest of the picture, in terms of more tangible links it is tenuously related at best; it really just stands on its own. It could work, we reason, as a "breather"-- something to separate two larger chunks of the film-- but it's not really necessary to it the same way those larger chunks are.

3. In shuffling the other scenes, we've found new meanings imbedded in the material; behaviours and tendencies that are more noticeable and telling without this sequence. That is, the sequence that we're cutting contradicts a meaning that we weren't aware of at first, and having found it, it becomes easier to sacrafice what we thought, at the writing stage, was going to be one of the highlights of the film.

And so, there you have it-- the script is now twelve pages lighter and our shooting schedule, while still close, is four days shorter. (Which, when you're shooting weekends, is a helluva lot of time.)

We should be having a (short) shoot on Saturday with just one actor, followed by a rehearsal with both leads next Thursday. That Saturday, while our actress is at a concert, we'll try to work with David on his last bit of solo shooting, as well as starting to work, choreography-wise, on the musical number.

As we get back into production, there should be more frequent updates, as well as pictures galore.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In the words of a very wise man, "grrr."

In observance of the Fourth of July holiday (and, to be more precise, the Fourth of July holiday plans of members of our cast), we took a break from shooting with the intention to tackle that unmitigated tyrant of a scene we know and dread as "Sequence E" this coming Saturday.

Unfortunately, Blanche is in town that very evening, and so one of our cast members opted to bow out to see said concert. Undeterred, we decided to grab a few important shots with the other cast member that Saturday, with the next Saturday cordoned off for "Sequence E".

But, as often is the case with the best-laid plans of rodents and homo sapiens, we discovered that on that following Saturday, that other cast member is going to a concert, which means that shooting "proper"-- that is, shooting the big long scenes that make up the bulk of the film-- is put off until at least the 26th of July-- the end of the month.

This caused quite a scramble, and so we've spent the last spot of time going over the remaining material, trying to figure out if it can be shot before David's wedding and subsequent honeymoon.

The answer? Yes, but only if we double-up on a couple weekends and do a couple of week night shoots. Which is certainly doable, though I'm not sure how happy the cast will be about it.

And even with that schedule, we haven't quite set aside the time we need for the musical number.

"Musical number?" you say.

Yes, musical number. We introduced David to his song today. He's a bit trepeditious...



... but so are the rest of this at this point. I got the sinking feeling that something's going to be cut...

... and I hope to God it's not the song.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Podcast # 1

Our first podcast for Son of a Seahorse gives an extremely brief introduction to the film for the uninitiated. Expect more depth as production continues.