Choose Your Own Blog

Sunday, December 20, 2009

July 1, 2005

So, you've got yourself a DP, some actors, some grips, some equipment, and some food. You're already over $20,000 on the budget.

Who else you need?

You need a sound guy. This is another place you don't skimp. If your movie sounds like crap, you can have the best picture in the world and your movie will still scream "Amateur".

I'm gonna go low, but let's say you can get a guy for $500/week who's bringing his own equipment. Odds are you're not gonna find one for that, but we're fantasizing here. That's $1500 for the shoot.

You need someone to boom the mic. You could get one of the grips to do this, so let's assume that's what you're going to do. Make sure he knows how to do this--it's not as easy as you may expect, and it can get downright grueling holding that boom pole steady over someone's head for three straight minutes.

There are a ton of other things to consider that will add up, which I'll just touch on.

  • Do you have any FX in your film? Anyone dying or getting limbs cut off?
  • Will you have to rent locations? How much will that cost?
  • How far are these locations? You're going to have to gas up the car, gas up the grip truck--and did you tell any actors/actresses you'd give them a gas allowance?
  • You need to be taking publicity stills with a 35mm camera--these are essential for the press kit, and once you get a deal with a distributor they will be required in the contract. Add in some cash for the film and the developing.
  • You're gonna need props. Whether you buy them or have them made will cost you money.
We haven't even touched post-production.

  • You're gonna need to edit your movie--either buy or rent a system. That's money any way you look at it.
  • You need to hire a composer to score the finished film. And if you're thinking: "I can score it myself" then you need to rethink it. Unless you're a PROFESSIONAL musician then you can't. And if you are a PROFESSIONAL musician then what the hell are you doing trying to make movies?
  • You're going to need to get your film onto digibeta for delivery to the distributor. You'll need to rent a digibeta recorder(about $300/day) and buy some blank digibetas for the transfer(they're about $45 apiece for a 2 hour tape)
  • You'll need to get that digibeta QC'd(Quality Control Check) to make sure it's passable. This is not absolutely necessary, but if you sign the contract and then your master doesn't pass--you are at the mercy of the distributor. They can get it passed to their standard and bill you for it. And who knows how they'll pad that bill?
  • You'll probably need an attorney to look over that contract from the distributor. The only reason you might not need one is if you get a Producer's Rep who IS an attorney who has already looked it over. At some point you NEED a lawyer to look it over or you risk giving your movie away for free.
I know...this is all very long-winded. I'm taking the long way to get to my point. But I'll get there.

In the next entry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The FOC Premiere

Mark Lassise and Lauren Pellegrino(and me in background on left)

Lauren Pellegrino and Jacky Reres

I should mention that the FOC premiere took place on October 28th, 2004 at The Senator. You can see some public pics at:

Of course, you want some non-public pics. Here ya go.

And no, I have no idea what's with that hat...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Got back from "Land of the Dead" tonight. If you like the other Romero Dead movies you'll like this one. (and I liked it)

Saw "Boogeyman" the other night. Not as bad as they say, but it really falls apart at the end.

What do the two movies have in common, though, other than being horror movies? One was edited in a flashy, MTV manner. The other was edited very low-key.

Boogeyman was flashy, quick cuts, sped up frames with clipped frames here and there to give it a staggered look. Land was low-key.

And you know what? I'll bet if you asked the average viewer which movie had the best editing they'd say Boogeyman. Because...and this is key...they noticed the editing in Boogeyman.

And the irony is...the best editing is the editing you don't notice. When it steps out of the way and lets the story play out. Any editor worth his salt will tell you that.

But flashy seems to win in the hearts of today's viewers. I get it. I do. I used some flashy editing in my first film(and won an editing award for it), but it bothers me that a lot of movies nowadays seem to substitute cuts for story.

Let the scene play out. I feel like these guys are getting paid per cut, like "Hey, it's $20 a cut so if I can put in forty cuts per minute I can knockdown a hundred grand on this flick!"

What happens is that society is getting accustomed to that flashy, quick editing. People complain a movie is "slow" when it actually takes time to build a story, or flesh out characters. Take a look at some older classic movies and I can assure you that many would be thrashed by today's viewers.

Hitchcock is rolling in his grave.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

June 24th, 2005

This gets dicey. I don't want to offend anybody I've worked with, so if you're an actor I've worked with just assume you're one of the good ones.

And wow, now that I re-read this I see that this was actually the beginning of "Bounty"--didn't realize I was thinking about the idea this far back...

Pro Actors Vs. Amateur

Ok, since this is just for me, I'll feel free to feel free.

This is a problem I've encountered, having written and directed two low-budget films, and it's really the biggest problem I face doing them.

You know what the difference between a good actor and a bad actor is?


Confidence in themselves. Confidence that they know the character so well that the lines they're reciting don't sound like recitals--they're not lines, they are simpy what that character would say at that moment in time when given that set of circumstances.

Confidence that they ARE this character, so they don't have to picture how they should react to a certain line--they simply REACT as the character.

You can see the hesitation and uncertainty in amateur actors. Many of them appear to be waiting for their turn to say their line. Then they say the line but they don't sell it. It doesn't sound natural. It makes the screenwriter look like an could that guy have written that line? (not to be confused with the opposite phenomena that has become known as The Lucas Factor--where the dialogue is so bad that IT makes good actors look bad--see any Episode for examples)

And it's hard to find good actors in this area. Between the two movies I've received over 2500 headshots and auditioned almost 500. Out of that bunch I have probably only seen twenty who are decent, maybe ten I think are good, but not many I think are EXCELLENT.

Rick Ganz was excellent in the part of Aric Blue, but he's not great at the "weak" emotions, like love, happy, friendly. He's great at pissed, evil, ominous.

Which is one of the reasons I'm not moving ahead with the film I was going to try to put together this summer. The entire movie will fall apart if the audience doesn't TRULY believe that they are watching a documentary, and for that you need VERY good actors. They need to inhabit those characters so tightly that they become the characters.

In a regular film the audience knows that these are all actors but they let themselves get invested in the characters anyway. In a documentary the audience won't give you that. The Blair Witch Project wouldn't have succeeded all that well if it hadn't fooled so many people into believing it was a real thing.

So I'm going to have to wait until I can get some EXCELLENT actors. Meantime I'm almost halfway done the first draft of FOC2. I'm gonna go out and look at some locations next week--can't exactly write the finale of the script without knowing what locations I have access to.

Fun fun fun.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

June 30, 2005

Shivers The Clown(Mark Lassise) finally catches Lynn(Jacky Reres)

June 30, 2005

In a Perfect World...

You write a script. You're only limited by your imagination. The most intricate action scenes set in exotic locales, wonderful sets. You put them all in! This will be great!

Then it's up to Hollywood to bring your imagination to life. To find locations that will double as the places you've imagined.

They have FX technicians to figure out just how to make that gruesome death look realistic on screen. They have stuntmen to figure out how they can safely create that stunt and make it look awesome. They have seemingly limitless money to throw at any problem, any obstacle.

Too bad this ain't a perfect world.

You're a low-budget guy. And when I say low budget I'm not talking five million. With five million I could make you four movies and take a month-long vacation in the Bahamas.

No, I'm talking between $30,000-$80,000. To the layman who has never shot anything that may still seem like a lot of money. It's not.

Let me show you how fast that money goes. Assume you're not going to pay yourself anything to write/direct/edit the film. You hire your Director of Photography(D.P.). He's gonna cost you at least $4,500($1000/week for 3 weeks of shooting plus the $400 plane ticket to fly him out from LA plus his hotel while he stays here which will be about $1100 for the 3 weeks)

You can skimp. Pull some kid who's fresh out of college who thinks he knows what he's doing. Hell, he'll do it for free so he has something on his reel.

If you do that you risk making a piece of shit. I tell you, the Director of Photography is one of the most important people on your set. Do not half-ass this position. Half-ass your P.A.s, but not this position.

So then you need some all-purpose guys. We'll call them grips, but they're really gonna be grips/electricians. You can probably get some decent guys for $100/day. You're gonna need them 6 days a week for 3 weeks, so each of them is gonna cost $1800 for the shoot. 3 of them for the entire shoot is gonna cost $5,400.

You're gonna need some equipment--come on, whattaya gonna shoot on? What are you going to rent? Let's be nice and say we get a camera for $150/day--we got a break because we're renting it for 3 weeks. The total cost for the rental of the camera will be $2700.

We need lights. We can rent a light kit or two, but we really should kill two birds with one stone. Let's get a grip truck, which we'll make sure comes equipped with a light kit. It will also have C-stands, sand bags, reflectors, extension cords and most of the general stuff we'll need. We get a decent deal on that for $1000 a week. Total rental for 3 weeks is $3,000.

Hey, howsabout some actors? We can get actors for free, of course, but they're gonna suck. You get what you pay for. You can probably find decent actors for $100/day. Let's say we need five decent actors that we will pay. We don't need every one every day, but we figure out the cost for all five on the days we need them and it's $4,100. That's pretty conservative, just so you know. And we're going to assume they're all local so we don't have to fly them into town or house them at the end of the day.

You're going to need food. Forget about Craft Services, it's not happening on this budget. You're going to be getting your wife or someone to make cold sandwiches on some days, hot meals on others. Figure you're going to spend at least $600/week on food and drinks(between sodas/water/fruit juices you're gonna go broke). That's $1,800 for the 3 weeks.

The camera we got is a video camera, so depending on whether it's HD or mini-DV you're gonna need some tapes. The price is going to vary. How much footage you're going to shoot is going to vary. Let's make a low guess(especially if you're going HD) and say you're going to get 25 tapes at $6/apiece. $150

I record audio on DAT tape. Safer and cleaner than going right to the camera(plus, if you shoot with a steadicam you can't run an XLR cable into the camera while you're using it). You can get 25 DAT tapes for $5/apiece. That's $125

So what have we done so far? Gotten some of the main people together. It's a start. What has it cost us so far?


And we haven't even scratched the surface yet. And we're also being very conservative. More to come.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

May 26th, 2005

An early promo shot from the first makeup test

Well, I guess everyone now knows which movie studio was interested in the flick, huh?

May 26th

Things are crazy right now. I'm trying to come up with all the deliverables for my second film because, between you and me, a big company is interested. I won't name them but it rhymes with Lion's Fate.

And if you don't know what deliverables are, and you're making a film...for God's sake...stop and find out.

Here's a start: Deliverables are:

1) All the paperwork. The releases from actors, writers, producers, DPs, location releases, music releases, every other release. You need them all. You need multiple copies(always keep your originals)

2) A master of your film on digibeta(some will still accept BetaSP) with music and effects on separate tracks, plus a full mix on another two tracks(in stereo)

3) The above sound elements on DA-88 or Magneto Optical Disc(though some will still accept DAT)

3) Photos and artwork. Make sure you get a lot of cool stills while you're shooting. Not behind-the-scenes stuff, though you can get some of that. I mean the cool shit pictures you see on the back of the dvd box, or in Fangoria magazine. You need at least 100 of these. They need to be good. If you're not a talented photographer, hire someone who is--money well spent.

4) Screening Cassettes

5) A master of the trailer and/or teaser for the film

6) Press kit if available, and it should be

7) Shooting script

8) Dialogue continuity/spotting list - this is gonna come as a surprise to you. You need a script that contains nothing but the dialogue from your film. Not too hard, you say! So you go through your script and take out all the action paragraphs. THEN you go through your movie and find out where your actors improv'd lines and change the script to exactly what they say. Then you're ready for the hard part. You need to mark down the timecode where every line is said. This is for the foreign guys who need to dub or subtitle lines--they need to make sure they're putting the right lines in the right place, and they may not actually understand English. You can pay someone to do this--I got a quote two years ago on my first film of $1200--so I did it myself.

9) Credit Information - A .word file with front end credits and back end credits. Make sure you get everyone's name spelled right or you'll get some nasty emails.

10) Music Cue Sheet - Timecode where every piece of score/music starts.

11) Chain of Title - This can get tricky, but mostly it's the copyright form for the screenplay of the movie and a separate copyright form for the actual movie. You'll also need a Title Search and accompanying legal opinion along with a Copyright Search. You'll need a lawyer to do this, but wait until you're about to sign the contract to do this. Sometimes the company you deal with can help you out with this, but also you'll need the searches to be dated within 60 days of delivery, so if you get them too early you may have to get them again. This will cost you between $500 and $2000 each time you do it.

12) Mortgage of Copyright and Security Agreement - the distributor will provide these to you, but make sure a lawyer looks them over before you sign.

13) Instrument of Transfer - Again, the distributor will provide

These are the basics--there are others. I'll tell you now, don't get so excited when a distributor provides you with a contract that you go ahead and sign off. One of the most important things to remember is this: The exhibit DS in the contract may look pretty standard, but DO NOT sign it unless you're sure you can deliver everything on the list. If you sign and can't provide something on there it will be the distributor's perogative to get/create it and BILL you for getting/creating it. You don't want that.

Wow, that's a lot of rules. I'll try to be more entertaining next blog--this is just tons of stuff I wish I knew before I did my first movie, and I haven't seen it talked about in depth anywhere.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2004 Summary

So here's a rough recap of what happened in 2004 with "Fear of Clowns".

I went through all the footage and logged it all. I edited my first cut of the film and it was 3.5 hours long.

Yeah. A little long.

I was depressed. Big-time depressed. I could tell that a lot of what I had intended simply wasn't working.

I went through and tightened the film. It was like 2hrs and 40 minutes long, and man, was it boring.

I knew I had to do something drastic. I knew that the original ending was going to have to get cut out. But if I did that, a lot of things that happen earlier in the movie no longer made any sense.

Namely: The clown's entire motivation for stalking and trying to kill Lynn Blodgett.

See, in the original script, there's someone behind-the-scenes with their own motivation that wants Lynn stalked and eventually killed. He's the one who's calling that answering machine and talking to the clown.

And when I take all that out...well, why the hell is Shivers stalking Lynn?

It took me a couple of weeks and I finally decided to make Shivers super-nutso. I added the voices in his head. I beefed up the "Kill Lynn, get better" stuff.

But even when I finished the movie I was pretty depressed. I had spent a significant amount of money--not all of it mine--and fallen far short of my hopes.

My only consolation was that I knew it was still a highly-marketable flick.Distributor-bait.

I cut a teaser trailer and put it online, and we started getting a lot of hits. People were getting excited. Frankly, too excited. The teaser made the movie look so much better than the flick was.'s where I started my log again...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still waiting for The Clown

Til then here's some pics from the investor video. They feature my (now) sister-in-law in a towel. Kind of weird in retrospect...

Doesn't she TOTALLY look scared? :)

And then one of Rick--I have a couple of stills like this that we shot for the promo video, so if I put up a double I apologize.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming Soon

The clown himself, Mark Lassise, will recount his experience on the first "Fear of Clowns".

Until then, here's a the female equivalent of Shivers. Creepy, yet somehow sexy...I have no idea what it's from.

Monday, November 9, 2009

December 9th, 2003

A video of us setting up a shot for the promo video--
see the Ganzster spraying fog around.


When I say below that I took a week off and began logging the footage--it's confusing, I know. It' s just that the next and final entry into my FOC log was the last one.

I kept some other personal notes which I will try to reconstruct, and I also had a private blog that I will begin to repost in pieces to reconstruct how the whole Lionsgate deal happened.

Reading this I distinctly remember this time in my kid's life. To me I remember it as the pre-autism time. We didn't know he was autistic then. He just seemed like a happy baby.

December 9th

Took a week off and then began the tedious logging of footage. Thirty one hours of footage is a LOT. I mean, we had 5.5 hours of footage total for “Hunting Humans”, so put that in perspective.

Almost six times the amount of footage. Same amount of shooting days.

Began the editing process. I’ve done rough cuts up to scene 10.

Things are going slow now that I’m having to watch the newborn at night. My wife has gone back to work, and he’s a handful.

Editing is a lot like putting together a puzzle. Now imagine being interrupted every 15 minutes from your puzzle to have to take care of the kid, then you come back and try to figure out where you were. It’s very frustrating.

The scenes aren’t knocking me dead yet, I can tell you that. Some of the footage is just plain…okay. I’m getting pretty impatient to edit some clown footage. All I have so far is a lot of setup.

Rick came over and viewed some of the rough cuts. We had a good laugh at one cut where I cut away from his face to the back of his shoulder because he was sweating a lot(we had the AC off to get better sound) and he’s supposed to look like a cool, confident guy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guest Post #1 - Jacky Reres

Jacky was nice enough to recount her experience during the original FOC, so you can get another point of view. So here's Lynn Blodgett herself:

When I first saw the audition notice for FOC, I was thoroughly disheartened. I had stumbled across it a month after it had been posted. I assumed the role of Lynn had been cast, but I submitted anyways.

To my surprise, I got a call from the Casting Director and she asked that I come audition for one of the producers, Rick Ganz and and the writer/director/god almighty, Kevin Kangas.

Oddly, the audition location was in the BASEMENT of someone's home. Even though the location creeped me out, I foolishly thought everything would be safe...and I was wrong...Kevin Kangas turned out to be as sociopathic as the people he writes about (of course I didn't figure this out until WELL until the production process):)

After the audition I was pretty unsure of how I did. I thought Rick (who played Tuck) and I had amazing chemistry, but Kevin was kind of indifferent. I walked away assuming I hadn't gotten the role...which by most auditioning standards IS the norm. Three weeks later, Kevin offered me the part and I was ecstatic beyond belief.

The first day of shooting was uneventful and I remember thinking to myself, "actors really do sit around a WHOLE lot during the filming process while everyone else is running around doing stuff." It's amazing actors get the big bucks!

Anyways, the thing that I loved most about the FOC experience is that it really was guerilla filmmaking at its best. We were working on such an insanely low budget and the hours were long and a lot of times we didn't even have appropriate location licenses but we shot places anyways...often under cover.

I can remember crawling through a wired gate to get to the old abandoned park that Lynn and Tuck go to.

Despite it all, it was the best film experience I've had to date (maybe with the exception of my reality tv experience). The people could not have been nicer. The crew, the cast, etc. When you're working on a low-budget film...the thing that can make or break the experience IS the people. When you're working an 18 hour day on next to no sleep, you want to actually ENJOY going to work. I enjoyed it immensely.

A lot of my initial shooting was sans Mark Lassise. It wasn't until(I believe) a week into shooting that I met him. I can recall the moment distinctly:

We were in the parking lot of the movie theatre and he walked up to me IN makeup with his black clown eyes in and I just ran away. He was terrifying, even with his "Mark-smile" on.

Later, when I saw him without his makeup, I had one thought: "DAMN HE'S HOT!"

Mark was a trooper and I think of all the actors on set, he had the hardest job and did it with such ease and such a positive attitude.

Although FOC has gotten a lot of criticism, I can't speak more highly of the experience or of Kevin. On a daily basis we were dealing with shit. Lots of problems. Flakey actors, location problems, noise problems coupled with a very difficult shooting schedule would be entirely realistic to expect the very worst from the person running the show.

Kevin never lost his cool. Sure, he made snide remarks and he was his maniacal self, but I don't think many people could deal with what we dealt with and still not completely gone postal. I guess we lucked out. All of us were pretty go-with-the-flow.
Some of my more memorable experiences from FOC:

1). Shooting at Tuck's Mansion! Until I moved to LA, I didn't know people had that kind of money! I couldn't get over the view, the location, etc. I also really enjoyed that setting because it was the first of many that we did have control over. We also had a killer seafood dinner afterwards.

2). I loved working with pretty much an ALL male cast. It's always good to be the only girl guarantees that you get attention...and what actress doesn't love a bit of male attention?

3). I absolutely LOVED every scene I shot with Carl (who played my husband). He was an amazing actor and a real pro.

4). When Dave said to me, "Um, are you acting or just hanging out?" When you're working with men...there is no "sugar-coating" and the bluntness on set was often laughable. I think one of the reasons why I am so brazen today was working with the guys on FOC.

5). Discovering that even though he wants people to think he's a jackass, Kevin Kangas really is a kind soul. The day that Lauren Pellegrino shot her nude scene, I half expected all the guys to be total animals...but Kevin was unbelievably professional (from what she told me). It was a closed set and they refrained from their sexist humor (which believe me, would be NO small feat for any of them).

6). My favorite shooting memory hit the cutting room floor. It was when I had to drive a stick shift car down a driveway at a fast speed. Mun had taken me out that afternoon and tried to teach me. I never got the hang of it and come shooting time, when I kept stalling out the car....Kevin made the HUGE sacrifice of having me sit on his lap while he manned the car for me. It was pretty ridiculous. Given that the scene didn't make the final cut of the movie, part of me wonders if he just "wrote that in" so I could sit on his lap..hmmmm?

My least favorite this:

Shooting in the movie theatre was a bit sucky. There were MICE running through the aisles because it was super late at night and they probably were used to the place being empty. It was almost as scary as Mark. It also was pretty depressing LEAVING set from the theatre because we'd get to the location at close to midnight and leave when the sun was already up. When the rest of the world was just starting their day, we were ending ours. It was like being a vampire for a time, and I prefer being awake during daylight hours.

I learned more in those three weeks on FOC, than I've learned in any experience here in Los Angeles. For most of us actors, it was our first film experience and I, personally, am thankful for the mistakes I made. They've made me a better actor.

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about FOC or my experience. Sure, there were days that were a pain in the ass...and there were some on-set dramas...but you'll have to wait for the E True Hollywood Story to come out before I'll talk about it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October 16th, 2003

A blurry pic of Mark Lassise, Lauren Pellegrino and Jacky Reres
in the limo at the premiere(to come)

This was actually one of the last entries into my log--I only logged a few more after, and the next one isn't until December.

So after the next couple I'll be working from other stuff to give you a bit of an idea of what happened next.

Oct 16th

Took mun to a quick lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s, then had to sort through equipment to find all the stuff I have to mail Mun. Watched some of the footage. Looks good. He really knows what he’s doing.

I’m not sure people realize that a large part of turning out a good product is by surrounding yourself with talented people. If you’re smart, you’ll do that.

Before he left, he said “quite an ambitious schedule you put together there” which was a nice way of saying are you out of your fucking mind?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 15th, 2003

Remember those magazines in the movie that
Tuck has been masturbating to? collecting?

Well, they had to be created.
My buddy Rich Henn came up with these after I sent him pictures.

This seemed like a long day because we started early, but it really wasn't that long of a day.

I remember getting this really uncharacteristic feeling of sadness that the whole thing was over. I was going to miss most of the people I had spent all that time with.

October 15th

Last day of shooting. Feels weird. Had to get up early at 10am and head to Balitimore. Wind was whipping like a bitch. Can’t use the crane or steadicam, so there goes the shooting script.

I say screw it and shoot it static. Low budget hell. Move to another scene in Brooklyn Park that looks like the projects. We shoot there--it's confusing because it's doubling as the OUTSIDE of the basement.

We head to my parents’ house. My brother is there already. Sound like he’s pissed(again). We run behind, but have a nice setup for basement where clown stays. The lighting setup Dave does looks good. He's worried it's too "college film-class". I like it though.

We're running late. Get pizza, get ready to run to Pasadena. Wife calls--Andrew is already at my house. 40 minutes early. We’re running late. He doesn’t want to stay late--I'm getting irritated with him.

We rock to Ppasadena and crank the scene out. It's funny, it's my wife's uncle's house. He has knows we're coming over so he's lit all these tiki torches out on his porch. But the scene is a day scene even though we're shooting it at night, so we can't even see out the window or doors.

Also, his bedroom is very girly, and it's supposed to be the psychiatrist ex-husband's bedroom. But I think we get some okay shots, and his OFF-CAMERA death is supposed to be a bit of misdirection concerning the next OFF-CAMERA death where the guy isn't really killed.

Then to my house. We get Andrew's side of the scene finished pretty fast.

Then outside to get Mark in my back yard. The martini shot(final shot of the production, not counting pickups).

More meloncholy. We go out to Jillian’s for drinks. Had some laughs. Funny but sad. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 14th, 2003

The NEVER-before-seen picture of Andrew in clown makeup.
What I remember about this night is that NONE of it made it into the final movie.

When I was writing the script I distinctly remember thinking that the audience probably wasn't going to care who was BEHIND Shivers--that once he got caught, they would disconnect from the picture.

I should have pursued that line of thinking, because in the editing room it wasn't working. The scene was a mess, and even worse than that, I could tell no one would care. They'd caught the big clown. To have the movie go on for another 15 minutes would have been a disaster.

So I had to remove the ending of the movie--and when you set up a lot of clues that lead you to the ending...that's a lot of shit to also take out. But then other things don't make sense.

Hence, the mess that became the final version of FOC.

Oct 14th

Steve calls out sick. Great start to the day. He’s supposed to do the stunt work tonight as a double for Andrew.

Went over my parents’ house to do a pickup of Rick and Jacky in the Viper. It started raining, but Mun did some funky work on the camera and it looks like daylight.

Took a quick break, then we have the finale of the movie at my house. Praying for no rain.

The rain started pouring.

I said(to myself) fuck it, we’re shooting it anyway. We loaded in equipment in the torrent wearing rain-slicker ponchos my wife had bought.

Paul couldn’t get over to my house to paint Andrew until like 9pm so we tried to shoot all the cutaway stuff that we could. Nicky showed up late; Mun took him out and did his scenes in the car real quick while I set up the inside stuff. This is how you know I trust Mun--no way would I do this otherwise.

Andrew pitched a fit and yelled at Mun when Mun joked about his face paint. So then Mun was pissed. Word to actors: Don’t piss off the guy who can make you look bad on screen.

Running late. Go figure. Had to pick up the pace and then you run the risk of jumping shots or the line. We did both tonight. Not gonna be the most dramatic ending ever, I can tell you that.

Took the shoot outside. The rain had stopped. Didn’t make things too much easier. Andrew keeps saying he has to work in the morning so he needs to leave. This was an original shoot day so I’m not sure why he’s got to work early the next morning.

He comes over again and says, “Am I done?” I try to think. I think we got the shots. He goes to take off all the makeup.

Fifteen minutes later I think I missed two shots I needed. Fuck.

Then I put on his clothes to do a couple of stunt shots. I jump on the car in his clothes with a knife, the car pulls away and I fall, still holding the knife. Mun doesn’t want me to use the real knife but it’s all we got. I did get a little hurt(my elbow) but hopefully Mun got some okay cutaways.

But I managed to not impale myself on any of the takes, so there is that.

Ended about 3:30am. Packed up. Gotta be in Baltimore at 11am for the “final” day of shooting. Jacky took off. Kinda sad to see her go. You spend this kind of time with someone and get along well with them, it’s like you’re seeing a friend leave.

Hey, she’ll be back for the pickup and the wrap party. Hopefully everyone will come. They’re like my temporary extended family.

Weird. Not used to having a cast of this many people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oct 13th, 2003

Jacky Reres and Steven Gleich in the mediation scene.

You know the great thing about this? As if the night wasn't tough enough, we had this reporter come out and interview me that night. She ended up being an extra. Was with us for like five hours.

And then the article came out in the newspaper and not only did she mis-spell a couple of my lead actors' names wrong--she got the name of the movie wrong.

Even though--in the picture SHE took and had printed next to the article--I am wearing a hat with the name of the movie. She called it "Fear The Clown".

I had to digitally correct the entire article for the press kit.

Oct 13th

Mediation scene. Goes fucking perfect, besides the maids right outside the door with their vacuum cleaners. They cleared out fast though. Actors/actresses were right on.

Easy shoot, finished on time. Darla Albornoz, who played Lynn Blodgett in the promo trailer we shot, Christopher Lee Phillips, Steve Gleich, and Jacky. Amazing how fast it goes when people don’t fuck up their lines.

Went to dinner, off to the gallery.

I expected about 50 extras. Got about 15. Isn’t gonna work right. Improvise to the second scene where we don’t need that many extras, then send Mark and my wife and her friend to the bar a couple of doors down to recruit some extras.

Also, a reporter from The Capital picks this night to come out and interview me. I make her an extra.

We get some extras from the bar, most drunk, but still not enough. Started shooting, everyone’s antsy, sound sucks with trucks and buses going by. I try to get some coverage, but we lose some extras. Also, they keep wanting to talk during the take even though I’ve chastised them(nicely) a number of times.

Soon we’re down to like 5 extras and the gallery is supposed to be packed. Yeah right.

This scene is gonna suck. We jumped the line, didn’t get a lot of coverage. Ugh. Bad night. Finished about 1:30am.

But we did screw Rick up by putting booze in his cup during one take. Pretty funny to see the look in his face, but he did the take without missing much of a beat.

btw: Wanna see creepy? Check out the screen cap of the first time my brother EVER airbrushed the Shivers makeup. He did it on HIMSELF! Then he emailed this to me after he digitally made his eyes black. Nice, huh?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oct 12th, 2003

One of the many paintings my brother did for display at the gallery. This one had real nails in the painting where you see nails. I call that dangerous. He calls it art.

This day was an absolute nightmare. Everything that could have went wrong did go wrong.

And a lot of these things are things that wouldn't go wrong if you had more money(which means more people) to help out. Your location guy would know that there was a parade going on so you wouldn't get screwed there.

Your camera assistant would be making sure you left with all the equipment you came with.

But these are luxuries when you're working the no-budget flick.

Oct 12th

Gallery day. Got there early(11am), but the street was blocked off. Turns out that they were going to have a Columbus Day parade that day.

No shit.

Couldn’t get the truck or my car with all the equipment and paintings to the street. Blocked off. Said fuck it and drove them both two blocks down a one way street, then backed our way onto the street we wanted.

We started shooting, and right on cue the parade started RIGHT ON THAT VERY FUCKING STREET WE WERE SHOOTING ON. We took a break, since we couldn’t record any sound.
After that things went okay, but we ran over time. Josie, the nice lady who was supervising us at the gallery was pretty tired. Finally got out about seven p.m.

Jacky Reres at the Craig Flinner Gallery

Rick Ganz in front of another painting my brother did.

Dead tired. Went to the house and caught a little football before heading out to the theater for our 11pm – 4am shoot. At least, that’s when we were hoping to wrap.

Started shooting; it’s the pickup where the clown confronts Lynn and Tuck in the theater. We missed it the other night. Everything’s going okay, except we have to shoot a slight variant ending since I don’t know if we’ll get the whole fight in.

The battery ran out and we went to get the other battery. It’s not there. Neither is the charger, so we can’t use power from a plug.

Turns out we left it at the gallery.

I have a replacement at my house, so I run out, go 70mph to my house and back. We rock and roll through the end and finish up at a little after 5am. Great. Now I have to get up at 11am to go up to the mediation scene.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 11th, 2003

Yes, we all have to try that homage shot.
Okay, how bad did we fuck the first part of this day up?

We get back to the house and haven't taken any continuity shots. There's a sliding ladder in front of the bookcase and none of us can remember exactly where it was when we shot part of the scene before.

So we're trying to shoot and dodge the ladder, but if you watch closely in FOC you'll see it moves by itself! One second it's over on the left, then on the right! I cut it pretty close so you probably won't notice it now.

With Lauren's scene it was just awkward. Looking back maybe I should have shot more meaningless scenes with naked girls like my college film buddies did, but I was too busy making horror trailers to movies I wanted to make...

Which means I had never before shot pictures of a naked girl that I didn't intend on sleeping with right afterward.

In the end it came out pretty good though, and that's all that matters when you're talking about movies...

Oct 11th

Went back to the Eastern Shore for pickup at Ed’s—the big house. It went okay. Nothing great on footage. Gotta hope it matches the other footage we shot, even though we tried to cheat daylight when it was night.

Lauren Pellegrino as Amanda

Then off to kill Amanda. It’s awkward. We’ve never met this girl, and here she comes four hours away and we’re like “Hey, take off your clothes”. Feels awkward. She’s not a nude model or actress, but she says she’s fine with it.

She is fine, but I’ve never shot full nudity. I want to be considerate but I also want to get the scene so it’s freakin’ awesome.

It goes well. Lassise hit her head on the wall once. Threw her down a couple times. She was a real trooper. She didn’t care, just kept doing it.

We ran late, so the owners of the house were out waiting in their car until like 2am. But we got it and I think it’s good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 10th, 2003

This day was pretty relaxed when compared to everything else, but I was having a real hard time finding a little girl to play young Lynn Blodgett. I can't remember why.

And again at the end of the night when I rushed off to get things prepped for the next day, Rick and Mun went out to a bar or a strip club. Bastards.

Oct. 10th

As thought, no go on the first two scenes. I wasn’t prepared, we had no kid to play the young version of Jacky's character, no station wagon for that scene, and no Viper for the other scene.

Just slept in after calling everyone and telling them not to go anywhere until I called them. Jacky didn’t get the message and went to the location(my mom's house) anyway. She couldn’t get in touch with me, and called Mun and Rick.

So they met her down there, then finally got in touch with me. I told them to go ahead and shoot the scene—they have the shooting script and it’s just a sleeping scene. They had to make the bedroom look like night. Mun does some more camera trickery. It looks good. I get there in the middle long enough to see it went well and finish directing it. Mun had it under control though.

Had a couple of hours to kill so we took an impromptu break and went to see Kill Bill Vol 1. Pretty entertaining, but almost too stylized. Unbelievable how nice it is to sit down and relax, and try to forget I'm in the middle of waging the war that is no-budget filmmaking.

Finally went to Rick’s apartment to get another scene where Frank is at Detective Peters’ house—gets a call and rushes out the door. Went well. Everyone had beers and it was kind of relaxed.

Mun did some good lighting setups—the shots with Frank at the computer look very good. I dont' realize until later though that Frank has done some of the takes with the phone in a different hand. Cut together it looks like the phone teleports from one hand to the other.

Frank also managed to dent Rick’s wall when he swung the door open and rushed out. Rick was kinda pissed, but it's not really Frank's fault. Should be a door stopper or something, and what? He's gonna be delicate when he's off to save a lady from a killer clown?

I left to return the actual police radio I've borrowed from my cop buddy Rich, and pickup another room key for Lauren Pellegrino who will be coming in tomorrow from New York.

She’ll play Amanda.
Lauren Pellegrino, about to make her entrance

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 9th, 2003

Judy Furlow as Gale, and me as the cop who ate too many doughnuts

When I look back at this day in the log I just remember what a nightmare it was. Getting up earlier than normal so I can have my wife drive me into the airport, walking through the terminal to the car rental place only to have them tell me I was screwed. That's another 90 minutes of sleep I could have gotten. I think the actual shoot went well. Had some fun with Jacky, Judy and Frank.

Oct 9th

Started bad. Didn’t get much better. Made a reservation for a Dodge Intrepid at the airport rent-a-car. My buddy cop said those were the new model cars and we could make them look good.

Go to the airport, walked a half a mile to the counter and they told me they don’t have any more Intrepids but they could offer me a minivan for same price. Obviously that’s not going to work.

What a waste of time.

No other cops would show. We used a Crown Vic from down the street plus my younger brother’s Taurus. Everyone showed up late. Some extras didn’t show again. I decided my cameo would be a cop on the scene, since I needed some cops and didn’t have the extras. Fucked by the extras again. That could be the name of my book.

Steve Carson, our first AC, also became a cop.

The scene was the morning after the clown has killed a family a few doors up from our protagonist. Our choice was to use the next house up, which I had permission to use.
But I liked the one two doors up better. Rich Herard, our police advisor advised against it.

I outranked him.

We ran crime scene tape all in front of the house, parked two fake police cars there, and began shooting. I even commented on camera that it would be funny if the people who owned the house came home to their new crime scene.

Not five minutes later, the lady of the house pulls up, ready to have a coronary because her house looks like a crime scene. At least I know it looks believable.

The bad new is that she’s pregnant. I hustled over and explained what was going on and she was cool with it. Even moved her car for us.

Then the guy who owned the house with the pregnant wife comes home and is a dick. Five minutes after he gets home and I talk to him, he’s out back mowing his lawn(and the grass didn’t look that long). Ten minutes later and he’s out front loudly raking his leaves. How do you spell COCK, boys and girls?

We started doing all the shots. A car drove by just about every take. A fucking plane took off every other take. Some nimrod with a hammer was pounding away at his house.

Not a lot of fun. I’m not in love with all the stuff we’re getting, but it will have to do.

Frank and Jacky run lines

We rush down to the side of the house where Detective Peters(Frank Lama) tells Lynn what he believes happened regarding the hitman clown. And we're losing light fast.

We try to do Frank's side of the convo but he keeps tanking his lines. Can't remember. In his defense it's a lot of lines in one chunk, and he's doing double duty acting and directing on another movie, but we just don't have time.

End up just letting him hold his script below camera line so he can glance at it when he needs to. Then we get some good stuff on Jacky's side just so we're safe for any cutaway. Say what you want about Jacky, but I can't remember a time she was unprepared with her lines.

We eat, move on.

Did the scene where J.P. and Frank knock on the door, looking for Jacky’s character. Rich Herard did return duty as another cop with them. Set up the screen to double for daylight. Went okay.

Afterward Mun pulled me aside as there was a littler personal conflict going on that I didn’t know about. He tells me that the night before he and Rick went out. Rick got drunk and said that “we” weren’t happy with the shots he was getting. That “we” wished Gil had been available. Mun says if I’m not happy he’ll take off—no problem.

I don’t know what the fuck Rick is talking about. I tell him it was just Rick being drunk. The stuff looks good, and the stuff that doesn’t look good is not his fault—we’re so limited by the equipment we’re using in the locations we’re using them that it’s a miracle we’re getting ANY good stuff.

Think we straightened it out.

Funniest blooper of the night. We’re doing the scene where Jacky gets a call from Phillip after she and Rick are mugged. Phillip’s not there because we only need Jacky’s side of it. So I’m reading Phillip’s lines so Jacky has something to respond to.

We do the take a couple of times, and one time when Jacky asks, “Phillip, what are you doing up so late?” I respond seriously, “Buttfucking your mom.”

Jacky opens her mouth to respond with her line, and then it sinks in. We were all tired, exhausted, and everybody burst out laughing. Took five minutes for us all to compose ourselves.
Anyway, we finish up. There’s a shitstorm coming for tomorrow.
Another shot of the star of the movie. Yeah, me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Brief Break

This was the trailer we shot to show investors what we were going for before we shot the movie.

A few tidbits:
  • This was before I ever met Mark Lassise, so as you can see, the clown costume is all in one piece. You know, before we realized we were gonna turn the clown into a perverted sex symbol.
  • This is all shot on fairly-crappy hi-8 video, but we actually shot 16mm film at the same time with my Bolex. Due to the cost of development and transfer to video, I STILL have the film in my refrigerator. Besides, the video-version of the trailer worked...
  • Darla Albornoz("Vampire Sisters") played Lynn in this video and was a finalist for the role that eventually went to Jacky Reres.
  • We shot a bunch of stuff that wasn't even in the script, but there are a couple of shots that are actually exactly like they are in the final film.
  • Yes, that music is from other movies so there's a chance this will get taken down.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 7

I always thought this hand looked pretty realistic as FX go...

The first scene we shot this night was supposed to be just one straight take--the whole dolly into crane thing to reveal the body. We spent an hour setting up and lighting the shot. Then we did about 5 takes.

The crane was shaky every time we went up. And then when the movie ran long I ended up dissolving part-way through to speed this up.

I also remember that the mini-van I borrowed from my parents wouldn't start the next day. Had to call the dad who brought me another car, had the mini-van fixed that day, and returned to me that night.

Now that I think about it, thanks Dad!

Oct 7

Went down to Annapolis to shoot the aftermath of Julie’s death. The scene has the camera on a close up of phone cord. We move down the cord to the phone, past that to the receiver and a hand clutching it, past that to show the arm is chopped off, then we crane up to reveal the decapitated corpse of Lynn’s best friend and manager, Julie.

Very easy. Went well. Had to set up a lot of equipment for one shot, but it went off great. The crane worked out well—just not sure how realistic the body looks.

We shot it at my buddy Luke’s house. He was pretty cool about letting us dump fake blood all over the wooden floor. Gave us a rug to ruin.

Went back to the theater to get another shot. Did it fast. Half assing the police cars with those party lights. Don’t know if audience will buy it. Need to get the cars on Thursday or they definitely won’t buy it.

Finished by 4am. Early night. Sweet. If only I didn’t have to go get comics.

Accidentally left the “COME IN THEY DIE” sign on the inside window of the theater. The theater locked behind us so we couldn’t take it down after we noticed it. That should be a pleasant surprise for the early crew tomorrow. I hope they don’t call the police.

We got the 8th off, then back to work on a very hard scene.

We need cop cars bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 6th, 1999

Shivers in action

It's funny to read this log entry. To think, the movie was LONGER? You mean I cut shit out and the movie's first edit was like 3.5 hours long?

Honestly, my biggest regret in the whole thing was not having another month to go through the script--I'm sure I would have fixed a lot of the things that ended up being problematic.

But had I waited another month then we would have had to push the shoot back another year since we would have been shooting in the winter months, which brings problems that can be unfixable. (Snow one day, no snow next day--that's an unfixable continuity problem, not to mention if your actors can't GET to the set because of snow it could shut your movie down...)

That's why I don't shoot any movies in the winter.

Oct 6

Back to the theater again. Doing Jeff’s death scene.

Mark was late getting to my brother’s, so we sat around waiting for him for a while. Shot some stuff when he arrived. We were running behind—again.

Did Jeff’s death scene. His wig cracked us all up. It really didn't look right--he looked like a Beatle or something. It amazed Jacky that it looked okay in the shot though.

Wow, they're like twins...

Jeff was a trooper though—throwing himself on the ground with no pads or anything.

After that, though, we were real behind.

So I rewrote part of the script right there. It’s nice having the writer on set to do on-the-spot changes. Had to omit stuff. We just don’t have the time and I can’t make any more pickups. We’re running out of days to finish this. So I’ve shortened stuff.

We moved to an upstairs scene that I was really looking forward to, and had seen in my mind very vividly--the scene where Shivers corners Tuck and Lynn at the door.

Of course, it was about 4:30am at the point we started shooting. We just didn’t have time to light it right, so we could only shoot from certain angles, and you can bet those weren’t the angles I was imagining when I did the shooting script.

Little disappointed about that. I really wanted that scene to turn out awesome. We shot until 7:15am, then packed up. Home by 8am. It’s 8:33am right now.

I’d go to bed but we blew two lights tonight. The only two that I don’t have replacements for. Gotta try to locate some replacements or we’re in trouble.

Fuck it, I’m going to bed. I just ordered them overnight from someplace on the web. We’ll have to do without them for one day. It's 9:14am.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 5th, 2003

Some extras think that posing with me will get them better background placement.
Sorry, ladies, only handjobs will do that.(I'm kidding. Maybe.)

You can see much of this day in the "Making Of" FOC. This is the night you see me leaning over the counter rolling my eyes while Jacky and Rick make fun of the lines and then do some uninspired acting with them.

Now normally I'd laugh with them and then try to explain to them just what the point of the scene is. Once you get an actor understanding the whys, then they will typically get on board.

But at this point I've probably had about 12 hours of sleep in 5 days, and have already been working 14 hours with my only break being the five minutes I sat in my car eating my Burger King meal.

I'm exhausted, frustrated from actors not showing up, and there just comes a point where you hit a wall. This was that night for me.

Oct 5

Enchanted forest. We slipped the crew and equipment through the hole in the fence and tried to block the scene.

Some other people were there. I acted like we had permission to shoot there, and started bossing them around. They left and we got down to it.

Again it's pretty cold for the day. We did okay. The contacts are bothering Mark. He can't keep them in for that long so we try to get all of his angles done first. I'm concerned about the clown running around in the day, but the reason I'm doing it is to try to buck the all too common killer-only-appears-at-night.

Don't know if it will work or not.

We lost light fast--the scene was taking a while. There's a lot of wind, and the trees are blocking the sunlight. We get it done though, and I think it turned out okay.

Rick and the crew were gonna go grab a quick bite to eat. I said go ahead, but be at the diner by 7pm.

I hit Burger King, eat on the drive, head by the house and grab some equipment. Then went to restaurant. Rick and the crew was late.

Set up, not bad, but I forgot to call Mark to tell him to go to Paul’s early and get made up for the scene later that night.

Paul’s pissed—he’s gotta work early in the morning. I’ll hear about it more later I’m sure. But right now I have to get the diner scene with Lisa Willis Brush finished. It's a lot of set-up and exposition.

Got it done in a minimal three hours.

We ran late getting to theater. Two actors didn’t show up—Frank Lama and Jack, the kid. I call Frank and he says he must have got the nights confused. Says he can be at the theater in two hours—he lives all the way on the eastern shore. Means he’d show up about 4:30am.

Can’t reschedule. Had to improvise and shoot one side of the scene with Jacky and Rick talking to me, standing in for Frank. A couple days down the road we’ll shoot Frank talking to me, standing in for Jacky/Rick, and hope the eyelines match. Jack’s just gonna be written out of the scene, but it’s gonna make the main character look like a bad mom since I wrote her kid out of the scene. Or it’ll make me look like a bad writer.

We move on to James’ death scene. We don’t have much blood left that night, so James grabs a bag of cherry slurpee mix and we use that.

James dove in. Looks a lot like blood. Crazy man.

We do a scene by the soda machines and Rick and Jacky have both decided they don’t like the dialogue. They make fun of it during the first run-through, then proceed to do the most-uninspired first take ever.

I’m very frustrated and short tempered. It was a sixteen-hour day for me, and I had had enough and didn’t have the energy to fight to get what I wanted. We finished shooting, packed up, and I left without saying goodbye to anyone.

It’s getting harder every day. It’s hard typing this now.

We worked until 6:30am.

I know--they don't look like they're sucking at their jobs right now, do they?
(I'm kidding--it was brutal on all of us)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 3rd&4th, 2003

Shivers about to chop some piggy

Setting up a shot at my parents' house with our Lowe's-made screen

The bouncing head on the car window

One of the key difficulties in a super-low budget flick is one of special effects. Most of the FX on FOC1 were created and I never got to see them until the day of the shoot.

So you never know what's going to work and what's not going to work. You have this shooting script that you hope to achieve and then find out that the FX prop isn't going to work for what you need.

In this case the head needed to be airbrushed on the spot to get it closer to J.P.'s skin color. We lucked out that my brother was on set that day with his airbrush. He didn't have all of his paints but he definitely worked it closer.

Then, the prop body for J.P. wouldn't really cooperate. It was stiff and kept falling over. It's not really Doug's fault--we didn't have a ton of money to work with so it was impossible to make a realistic body.

To me, the worst shot is the far-away Heston POV shot where the body is on top of the Happy Clown. I should have had Jed(the Happy Clown) moving around, trying to get the body off of him.

But I was busy running up and down the street, trying to watch what we were getting and still direct people. Bit of a mess, really.

Oct 3

The decapitation day.

It went as well as could be expected. Drew a crowd of about 20 across the street. One of the kids did pics and then brought them over for us to autograph.

I think the head looks good—Paul had to touch it up color-wise so it matched JP. The dummy is pretty rough through. Its joints don’t move right. Probably won’t look very realistic. Too late to do much now.

The shot where Shivers walks out and pulls the axe out of the balloons didn’t work. I see it in my mind and it’s pretty cool, but the wind gusted so hard that every time he walked the strings would wrap around the axe blade. Even ended up popping some balloons. Impossible to pull the balloons away without using a cut.

Too bad. It was a “trailer shot” for sure.

We ended early enough I got home to do a rough cut of the decap.

Oct 4

A bit of a clusterfuck. Supposed to be an early day, but the wind and rain blew in and darkened the sky so much that it wouldn’t have matched our day shots. We spent some time doing bedroom scenes.

Mun rigged up a pretty cool setup for a bounce-board outside the window. Used duct tape and a stick. He’s pretty creative with our ghetto equipment list.

Friday, October 9, 2009

October 1st & 2nd, 2003

Tuck and Lynn, trapped in the projection room
You know, not surprisingly, I don't remember a ton here other than what I typed. I was tired. I was making a lot of decisions with hardly any sleep, so it was nerve-wracking.

But Mun helped out a lot here. There were times I couldn't remember which way we did something but he was always pretty helpful there. And even though he was very tired, he barely ever gripes. Another good thing about the Chinaman. (he's not really Chinese, but he loves it when I say that)

I remember Mark and his protein drinks. He always had this gallon-plastic jug full of his protein drink so he could stay in shape. In between takes he'd stick his straw into it and drink from it(so he didn't smear his makeup).

As for the posters that I mention below, you can see in the final product that we had to blur some while others were fine. Go figure.

Oct 1st
Shot scenes of rick and jacky escaping from clown into projection room, without clown. Then we did every scene in the projection room. Went well. Will be interesting to see how I can dodge all these fucking movie posters hanging up all over the place. The line of “fair use” and copyright infringement is very blurry.

Did jeff’s scenes right before he meets the clown.

Shot until 7am, then went to get comics. Finally got to sleep about 11am and slept for a good 7 hours. Shooting went well. Because of my strange sleep hours, my head feels muddled. Hard to think.

Still very tired.

Oct 2nd
Went to the Eastern shore to nice house, shot some scenes, jumping between each other.

Workers working on house kept making noise—there’s a lot to fix and clean up because of the hurricane a week ago. The workers keep walking into our shots from the backyard, would come outside and stand by their trucks talking—which was all picked up by our mics. Sorry about that STD, guy.

The shoot gets confusing--we lost our light so we’ll have to go back. Can’t fake the light in a house with giant windows.

We eat lasagna that my wife made—she brought it over and cooked. It was nice.

We pack up for the next scene...

It’s starting to get cold. We drive to the roller-coaster office on the eastern shore. Very cold. Wind chill was 38 degrees. In between takes everyone would run inside to try to get warm except me and Mun. I mean, it didn’t feel that bad once your body went numb.

We shoot the scene where Rick and Jacky get mugged by Heston, played by Ted Taylor. It went pretty well I thought.

Got way behind though, didn’t leave til 3am. Typing this at 4;08 am and am ready to drop. Got some decent stuff though.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

September 28th/29th, 2003

Lynn, in shock from being mugged--Rick's out of focus with his hand in her lap. (probably)

The only thing I remember from the 28th was how fast that freaking car was, and how much everybody wanted a chance to drive it.

Also, I remember being a bit of an idiot. I had my shooting script but hadn't broken it into a shot list. When shit started getting really confusing I realized I needed one, so at one point during the shoot I broke a couple of scenes down into shot lists.

Sept 28th

Skipped first two scenes, pushed them to later. That’s called a pickup. Don’t want to do it too often, ‘cause all of a sudden you have your days off turned into days on.

My friend Beth has a boyfriend who has a nice house we’ll be filming in, and he owns a Porsche and a Viper. We went over to borrow the Viper for the scene where Rick drops Jacky off after the Heston(hitman) attack.

We all took turns driving it for fun--Mun got it almost to 100mph in 2nd gear. The thing goes to 180mph. FAST. It was getting a little cold though, and it has no top, so the ride across the Bay Bridge to return it was a little chilly.

We got the scene done, piece of cake. Looks nice. So far been good day bad day good day. We’re in line for a bad day.

Sept 29

Movie theater night. Mark came by and we went over to get him painted up at 9pm. We went to the theater.

Now, we don’t really have permission to use the theater. The head projectionist, James(everybody calls him Kimo) is a friend of mine and he’s good friends with the Assistant Manager. They’re both cool with it. We have managed to leave the General Manager and Corporate out of the loop.

We show up and wait for the customers to leave. We can only shoot when the theater is closed, and we have to be out before it opens again.

Things go well—a lot of the theater employees helped. Bill Stull, the Assistant Manager, and some other movie people helped us load in. Went fast.

Started shooting. Had a shot list. Think things went well, but when you’re shooting actual shots out of order, it’s very risky. Are you going to be sitting in the editing room going, “Shit, I wish I had shot that?” Turns out, yes you will.

Jack porter, the kid showed up, a little early and we were running behind. I brought Shivers out to meet him, rolling video on it—I was hoping Jack would freak out and it would be a cool story to tell later. But it turns out he thinks the clown is cool. Not scared at all.

Got the auditorium scene done where Jacky and Rick are talking, waiting for their movie to start, then we had to move to another auditorium and light it for the scene where Shivers holds Jack hostage.

We did that. Jack was decent, but he wouldn’t stop smiling. Too cute to yell at though. I shoot a lot of coverage behind him and from afar.

Shot a little more, got out of the theater at 7:30 am. Got home by 8am. Gotta get some sleep.

September 27th, 2003

Dennis Long played Shivers in the promo trailer we shot to raise funding.

We shot this entire day at the house I grew up in. My parents still live there. And I realized something in that one day that I never knew the entire time I lived there.

That house and neighborhood is LOUD. The kitchen floor CREAKS if you move an inch.

My sound guy was giving me fits and I finally said screw it--not much we can do now.

I can tell you, fixing sound in post taught me a TON about sound.

Sept 27th

Exhausted. No other word for it. It’s 4:57 am and I just walked in the door. We started setting up to shoot at 11am this morning—I’ve been awake and working for almost 18 hours. I booted up notepad and then excel before I realized I needed Word to continue this log.

I’m that tired.

The day was a bit of a disaster. I figured we’d fall behind, so you might expect that I was prepared. But no.

During the shoot inside there is so much noise outside--people using every fucking’ power weedwhacker and lawnmower, there’s construction up the street (BAM BAM BAM with the hammers) – it’s impossible to get good sound.

We’re so far behind by the time we finish shooting the first couple of scenes that it’s getting dark outside. We still have to do the scene where the hitman in a clown mask comes in, fights Tuck and gets shot—and all that takes place during the day.

Mun figures out a way we can light it like it’s day outside—close the curtains inside and blast just about every light we have at the curtain so it looks like sunlight outside. It works okay, but it’s still pretty dark inside now.

We choreograph the whole Tuck runs in, tackles him, fights, and then they stand up. The room is actually too small for this scene but we try to make it work. It takes a long time.

The scene, as envisioned, has Jacky shoot the hitman and behind him we see the picture shatter. He laughs, then we crane down slightly to show that the bullet went through him to hit the picture.

So I’m behind the camera with a BB gun. Jacky would pull the trigger on her blank gun and I’d fire the BB gun. It would crack the picture frame but not explosively enough that you could really tell anything was happening.

We did it a couple of times with a couple of different pictures. Never worked out.

There was a lot of sexual innuendo going on all day(and this was when the “nugget porn” conversation happened, which I think was on the Making Of. Also, Jacky scrunched up her boobs for the camera. She’s fun like that.

At the end of the night I called off the first scene of the next day, and thought I might call off the second one because we need a wig that Lisa Willis Brush said she’d get—we need her “corpse” to wear it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

September 26, 2003

Jacky's headshots sent to us WAY back when. If she asks me to take them down I will.
Not sure why I don't mention casting Jacky Reres.

We were having a hard time filling the lead role. I really only had one other serious contender and then we got a video audition from Jacky.

Rick really liked her. She was a little nervous, very spunky, and cute. She did the audition and at the end said some cute stuff to us through the camera. I think Rick wanted to bang her.

I told him we'd have to see her in person before I could cast her in a role that could make/break the movie. She lived in Virginia, so we set up a time to audition her at a house halfway between us--a friend of Rick's.

We met her and auditioned her at a table in the basement of the house. You have to wonder how creepy it is for young ladies to go to strangers' houses and audition in their basements...

I wasn't totally sold. Still wavered between Jacky and the other woman because, to be frank, Jacky exudes sexuality. It's not on purpose, I'm sure, but it really was the opposite of how I saw the character. I had based the character on someone I know who is like a sister to me, so to think that her character would be like that...hard to wrap my mind around.

In the end I took Rick's advice and cast Jacky. Now I'm happy I did--she definitely took over the role and made it her own.

Sept 26th

First day of shooting.
Got to the main set and the crazy lady who lives there started screaming through the door to go away, she didn’t want us shooting there. Very embarrassing for me in front of the crew. So, thanks mom.

Went incredibly well. Working with a four-man crew for today, since we don’t need a sound guy. Everything we’re shooting is MOS(without sound).

Banged out the first couple of scenes and we were ahead of schedule. Ate some dinner of sloppy joe(thanks Mom!) and then moved on. I did get a little bored, since we were doing all the “Lynn paints” scenes—I’m aching to kill somebody…in the movie I mean.

Last scenes of the day involved Jacky in bed. We put her in bed, Rick sprayed her down(quick note: I’m not sure Rick really does this for the acting—I think he simply likes spraying down the actresses) since she’s having a very bad nightmare involving clowns.

The innuendo was flying today even more than on the set of “Hunting Humans”.

Even went to Jillian’s and had a couple of beers afterward and beat Mun in a game of pool. Better luck next time, my nine-fingered friend!

Came home, went over the shooting script scenes for tomorrow so I’ve got an idea of what we need to do. First thing we have to do is move all the equipment upstairs since we’re shooting in the whole downstairs tomorrow.

Hope it goes well, but we have a lot to do.

Okay, little extra here. What I remember from the first day was being very nervous. I was worried that Jacky would be underwhelmed by our crew--that is, me, Rick, Mun, and Steve Carson. She might not take us seriously.

But she did. And then I remember infinite boredom--taking an hour to light the scene and then shoot scene after scene of her painting. BOR-ING!

We made our day though. That's important. I think it may be the only day 1 of any shoot that didn't end in total disaster for me...