Archive for March, 2009

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Pretty, Pretty Pictures

March 27, 2009

More photos of our cast are the cast page.  Take a look.

In other news, Danny, Curt, storyboard artist Joey Schell, and I did some location scouting.  Curt knows a guy who knows a guy, and found a place that may serve as both the rooftop in the opening sequence, the parking garage (now a parking lot), and the warehouse from the flashback sequence.  Curt’s good at finding stuff like that.

We’re still considering a few options, because the roof is pretty plain.  Luckily, Joey has some ideas for sprucing up the look, if we don’t find an alternative.  More on that later.

Yesterday, Curt, Becca, Danny, and I had a big production meeting.  We worked out a rough schedule, talked about costumes, and debated the merits of black-and-white versus color.  Before that, Joey and I met to talk about storyboards.  I acted out several scenes, with park benches serving as cars, railings, and warehouses.  I probably looked ridiculous, but at least Joey now knows what my shotlist means.

Tomorrow, they will run a test shoot with our stars, Blaine and Christine, to see what costumes look best in which style.  They will also film the security camera footage of Angel killing Drost (hi, Shawn!), and take photos of Angel and Shooter for set dressing in Shooter’s apartment.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town, but I trust they’ll do a fantastic job without me.  Who needs a director, anyway?

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We Have Our Leads!

March 26, 2009

After a long search and many, many auditions, we’ve finally got our leads– Christine Breihan and Blaine Gray!  We had a number of great choices for both Shooter and Angel, but as a couple, Christine and Blaine really stood out.

And, of course, we already have our Archie, in my friend John Mark Triplett.  We met while working on a puppet movie last year. Needless to say, it was awesome.

In the early stages of writing this movie, I asked if he’d be interested in Shooter.  Triplett turned me down, asking to play Archie, instead.  He’s had several more months to prepare than the rest of our cast, which is good in some ways, bad in others.  He keeps asking me if Archie can have a mustache.

No, he can’t.

Also, our wonderful casting director Becca Halpin will be playing the part of Carson.  She’s a good actress, and I wish there was a bigger part for her in this flick.  Oh, well.  Next time.

There’s a few more key roles to fill, but I think we’ll make it in time for shooting.

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Things I Learned During Casting…

March 23, 2009

…besides the fact that no one knows how to pronounce “gauche.”

It Helps to Write in English

Like Harrison Ford supposedly said to George Lucas on the set of Star Wars: “You can write this dialogue, George, but you sure as hell can’t say it.”

“Skillful” is darn near impossible to use in a sentence.  I changed the word to “skilled.”

“Sorry, not part of the job,” on page 4, did not work.  At all.  Shooter sounds cold and cruel, with no regard for Angel at all.  Thus, it’s now, “Sorry, not this time.”

“If this were real, he’d be dead by now,” sounds strange.  Something about the cadence.  “…He’d be ead already” works better.

There are a few other minor changes I’ve made.  You can see them in the latest draft, which is online now.

Other Actors Make a Difference

We already knew the seven actors we called back were good.  That’s why we called them back.  But once they were performing against another actor, they were fantastic.  We’ve had a hell of a time deciding which Angel/Shooter pairing we like best.  Which is, of course, a great problem to have.

(Nothing against Becca’s readings, of course; she was reading the same lines over and over, for hours on end.  The few times I read were universally terrible.)

Page Count is Meaningless

I wrote a two-and-a-half page scene for callbacks.  The actual auditions took between a minute and a minute and a half.  The script is 19 pages long, and I have no idea how long it will actually be on the screen.

Cazt is Awesome

I’ve mentioned Cazt before, but I don’t think I’ve explained their business model.  They have four or five rooms where you can hold auditions.  They don’t charge the production to use these rooms.  All you have to do is keep the place clean, record your casting sessions, and make a few notes about each actor.

They make their money by charging the actors to see those auditions and notes.  The actors can go to the Cazt.com website, pay a monthly fee, and watch their own auditions for every show at Cazt.  They also get to read the casting director’s notes, which are hopefully honest and helpful.  (We tried to be both.)

If you’re making a short or independent film, I highly recommend them.

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Call Backs Complete; Plus, No Jerks

March 20, 2009

Yesterday, we (Curt, Becca, and I) saw callbacks.  It turned out only three Shooters were available, and one of the Angels could come in for only half an hour, so all of Shawn’s mathematical advice was for naught.  🙂

In any case, we saw twelve combinations two times each, which means we watched the same scene twenty-four times in two hours.  It was a little mind-numbing, and by the end, the three of us could barely keep everyone straight.

We decided to wait until Cazt puts the videos online.  Hopefully then we’ll have a bit more perspective in choosing our leads.

After that, Curt and I met with a potential DP, a guy I worked with on a couple of shows in the past.  He’s a good guy, and fun to have around set, which I think is just as important as the quality of his work.

I’ve heard that Bill Lawrence has a “No Jerks” policy on Scrubs.  The theory is, no matter how good an asshole is at his job, there’s someone else who’s just as good and who’s not a dick.  In a creative environment (in any environment, really), why would you put up with the guy who makes everyone miserable?

I don’t exactly have the wide range of choices Lawrence has when casting and crewing his show, but I’m still trying to stick to the No Jerks Rule.  So far, I think I’ve been successful.

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Shot List Complete!

March 17, 2009

The first complete shot list is available now.  Of course, it will change once we have locations, and will change again when we shoot, but for now, I can pretend I have the whole movie mapped out.

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Casting, Round 2

March 17, 2009

We’ve managed to whittle our potential Shooters and Angels down to four candidates each.  Becca contacted them for a round-robin style call back session.  Each Shooter will read with each Angel.

It’s a weird little math problem to make sure you get each of 16 possible combinations, while not making anybody wait for too long.  Take four guys, A through D, and four girls, 1 through 4, and pair them up.  Here’s the best way I can think of:

A1, B2, C3, D4
A2, B3, C4, D1
A3, B4, C1, D2
A4, B1, C2, D3

The weird thing is, Girl4 starts last, but finishes first.  Doesn’t really seem fair, but I can’t think of any way to remedy that.

Anyway, it looks like we’ll know who our leads are by the end of the week.

By the way, you can read all of the sides (including the brand new scene written just for the call backs) on this page.

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First Round of Casting Complete

March 15, 2009

First of all, I haven’t yet mentioned Becca, our amazing casting director.  She helped me pour through the hundreds of submissions we got for this little movie.  She also organized our casting session at Cazt.  It’s a great facility in West Hollywood, and best of all, it’s free for the production!  I like free.

On Friday and Saturday, we auditioned fifty eight people for our two leads.  I don’t mind telling you that I got a little sick of hearing my own dialogue repeated over and over for fourteen hours.

Also, I’ve never heard more variations on the word “gauche.” “Gowtch” was most common, but we heard “go-shay,” “gosh,” and, my personal favorite, “gaw-chay.”

Seriously, if you see a word you don’t recognize, grab a dictionary (or go to dictionary.com) and look it up.

Now comes the hard part of narrowing it down to three or four candidates.  From there, we’ll have call backs and see which pair works best.