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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?