Sunday, October 26, 2008

Filming Over

Today we wrapped. Shot a few more takes with Tom, but had to blow out the background because it was raining.

Went to see a local premiere with Tom and crew--Tom fell asleep in the middle of it and I was coughing in time with his snoring so people wouldn't think he was rude. Hell, the guy's been busting his ass for 2 weeks with no sleep.

And in his defense, I almost fell asleep myself(and apparently Zig also fell asleep)

It is now with some sadness that I tell you that Tom is gone from our state. He came out, gave me his all, rarely questioned me even though this guy has worked with names that you have all heard of, and for less than peanuts, and really delivered for me.

As I drove away from the airport I really felt pretty sad about it. He's like an older brother to me. People who have not made a no-or-low budget movie will not understand the incredible battle it is.

And having someone on your side like Tom is worth more than its weight in gold. He will do whatever it takes to help you get the shots done. If I said, "Tom, I can't get this shot done unless that guy is dead", well, start looking for a plot of land about six feet deep.

Not too long ago I mentioned that I remembered when making movies was fun, and that it seemed like it wasn't anymore. Well, as tough as this was, it was boatloads of fun again with Tom.

And a big thanks for Luke and Zig and Jared and Stewie and all the other people who don't know this blog exists--I could not and would not continue to subject the world to my film making education without the help of all involved.

Now to recuperate, make sure the rest of my life is working, and then dive into logging all of that footage. Not a fun part of making movies.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Over, Mostly

Last day of shooting. Today we drove around and pretended to be bounty hunters.

The actors stayed in character and we went knocking on doors, bothering people. Many people scatter when they see bounty hunters come walking toward them, especially Mexicans.

Then we drove down to Annapolis where we dragged our own Stewie out from under his bed. I must say, he was very good. Surprising how natural he played a criminal.

We ran late. It started to rain, but we got the stuff in.
Technically we owe some stuff--if it's not raining today, we'll do them. If it is...oh well. I'll try to make do.

Shot a bunch of pics. Here's one that may end up in part of the poster for the flick. (when I'm done the color and light will really pop on the badge/hand, so it really draws your attention)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Much Time For This Post

Okay, gotta get to bed. I got roughly 6 hours before I'm back at it for LAST DAY of shooting. Wow, I'm psyched. Need to rest.

We went into Baltimore and finished shooting with the douchebag primadonna actor who I will NEVER work with again. Christ, I hope his sound is okay, because I don't want to have to loop him.

His improv is horrible, he's got day rates, he eats CONSTANTLY--even if his call time is like 8pm he'll show up starving and try to get you to buy him "dinner". Dude, we're shooting. You should have eaten before you showed up if it's that late.

Anyway--we got some decent shots. Had a last minute actress come in, and she was okay. Decent for last minute, and she had to stand around in the cold for a while, so I give her props.

Back to L's house to film the final two scenes of the movie. Both involve very fine acting, one which I think is easily the best acting in any of my movies. I was a little worried about the scene when I wrote it, but Tom TOTALLY nailed it.

Got some decent stills, one of which is above.(nope, won't tell you what that is or what's happening or...well, anything...)

Shot home, took a quick look at the footage, but I have to go to bed...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baltimore, Final Night

We shot some BS in Glen Burnie, but the main deal was Baltimore. Gunshots in an alley. The neighborhood had 3 killings right on the street we were shooting on, and just 3 weeks ago.

Some people were nervous. Not I.

I called the police. Took a while to get me the right section that handled it, but a Sgt. Reed took my info and said it was okay. Good deal.

We ran a little late. We tried a few takes and Tom's gun jammed. I cleared it and we tried it again. Gun jam. I reloaded it and squeezed one off to see if it would work for me. It did. Loud bang.

We did a few more tries, it kept jamming, so we got out a different gun. We shoot one of the scenes, and I'm running down one side of the alley and there's gunfire behind me--Tom firing his blanks-- and a minivan pulls up slowly. There are off duty cops there, and it turns out one has his gun right between his legs.

Scary. None of them stopped us.

We did the scene like 6 times, then another scene, and we were done with the outside--which is freezing.

We shot some other cool scenes inside. Here's a pic. Some of you may know him. He's in the flick. It's a small scene, but it's pretty important, and he did it perfect.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baltimore, Day 2(Or How To Block A Road With No Permit By Creating A Fake Accident)

Back into Baltimore. We ran late, as me and Zig had to figure out how to cram the bent prop truck hood thatour producer John got from a junkyard into an actual truck.

We did that, got to Baltimore, and I parked in an alley near where we're staging people. I'm talking on the phone and two cops turn into our alley and walk toward us. I figure we probably look suspicious, and this is as good a time as any to talk to the police and let them know we're back, so I get out and go to them.

They're two lady officers. Not bad looking. I explain the situation. They're totally cool. No problem. I say, "I figured we looked suspicious because we're sitting in this alley."

They say, "No, we followed a Pathfinder that turned the wrong way down a one way street. On cue, producer John walks into the alley. He drives a Pathfinder.

I run the calculations. Lie, and if they see the Pathfinder(which is parked roughly 200 feet to my right, I notice), they can run the plates and if they figure how he's with me, they may think I'm lying about other stuff.

So I tell them the truth--that's John. He must have got lost. In his defense, one of the streets is not clearly marked--the DO NOT ENTER sign has been removed, so you don't realize you're going the wrong way until you turn down the street and see traffic is coming at you.

Anyway--we go driving, get that shot done. Then we get the extras--we had about 12 when I really wanted like 20--over to where we're shooting. We park the truck and create an accident.

We prop the bent hood--colored the same as the truck--on top. We scatter window glass on the ground. We scatter car parts and stuff all over. We park another car like it drove into our truck.

From the back it looks great. The final touch is a smoke machine under the bent hood--when it pumps out smoke, it looks like the car is smoking. (though we couldn't power the smoke machine at first--had to use the genny(generator).

The accident looks so good a few people stop to see if everyone's all right.

New cops stop by. We tell them what we're doing. They're so nice, I decide that this scene didn't involve any gunshots, but maybe it ought to.

Those cops leave, we ready the scene.

A second later a fire engine pulls into our road, lights blazing. Before they even jump out of their truck, those cops come back and call off the firefighters. They apologize for not informing the fire station.

We're ready again. I call action--the extras pull up, we run, my guy fires his gun.

The cops come back pretty fast, and a second later there's a CHOPPER--it's search light on us. The cops, still incredible sports, tell us that we should have let them know we were firing blanks. They said the chopper saw them immediately and called it in.

They say no harm no foul--I don't know where all these cops have been my filmic life, but it's AWESOME. They left, we did like 10 takes. It's good stuff.

Then we decide not to make it an early night--we knock out 5 scenes that we had moved to Saturday so(fingers crossed)Saturday is once again a day off. (There's a premiere of a local movie that night that I'd really like to see, but it takes a distant second to finishing this movie)

To sleep. Ambien, here I come.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GB Return

Not much to say. We ran late. Had about 10 extras--actually wanted like 20. It never fails that 100 people ask if they can be an extra in your movie, but they're neve around when you actually do the shots.

Got some good footage. Shot a real gun in a residential neighborhood at 11pm, and nobody even turned on a light. It was kind of nice, but unexpected.

There's some good stuff tonight. It's funny how ugly this movie's going to be, but it's in service to the story. I think it will work out nicely.

btw: Did I mention here that I lost 6 pounds since I started shooting. Completely unintentional.

Back to Baltimore to stage a car accident. (no, our permit does not allow us to do that)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hello Baltimore--Day 1

First night in Baltimore. Didn't start well. I needed our exec producer's truck(it's one of the main character's vehicles), but it wouldn't start with the key he left me. (he was in San Diego)

So we went into Baltimore. Offloaded stuff. There were cops everywhere, so I went up to one in a car with my permit and told him what we were doing. He was very cool with it, said if we needed help, let him know. He'd put it out on the wire that we were shooting.

Only problem was that it seemed to bring MORE cops over when we were shooting. They acted like they didn't know what we were doing, but it was pretty apparent they just wanted to see exactly what we were shooting. I got a shot of Tom talking to one and the cop car driving off. $100 says it makes it into the movie.

Then we moved to the roof to shoot some shots. It was 38 degrees. That's not counting the GUSTING wind five stories up. I had to go down the crazy ladder/fire escape twice. We were all freezing. Not sure how that footage looks, but I can tell you how it sounds: WINDY. The picture above is my artistic interpretation of how I felt up there(I took this photo tonight up there).

Great view of Baltimore though.

We fell a little behind. We had some extras come out--they were very cool. One guy was an old man who had a limp, but he was a trouper. Had to run in the streets and stuff.

Anyway, I think we got some nice, some crappy, footage. I'm sure it'll edit together decent.

I'm not getting enough stills, I can tell you that.

Anyway, we made our day(that's what it's called when you complete all scheduled shots) and finished 9 and a quarter pages today. Back to GB tomorrow--well, Monday, which is now today.

Here's a pic of a great new actor who came up from N. Carolina. His name's John, but that's all I'll tell you now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day Off(ha)

Today was technically our one day off. I let the working crew go even though I shot some side stuff.

Our lead actor got assaulted today. He accidentally followed someone(he was using his GPS) to a grocery store, got out of his car in full gear, and this drugged-out guy started yelling at him about if he was going back to jail he was gonna kick my guy's ass.

This guy swung at my guy, my guy ducked and did a football tackle(lift and plant), but scraped his face in the process. Now he has a scratch on his cheek and a small red mark on his nose. Definition of a continuity nightmare.

Shot some stuff with an actual Bail Enforcement agent(Sammy)--he played a crook, and he turned out to be VERY good. He was natural, he came up with some good stuff. We're going to do it again in better lighting(we were losing sun because of the altercation earlier).

To top it off though he took us to Texas Roadhouse. It was like a 45 minute wait, but this guy says, "They know me here--I don't wait." I thought he was BS'ing, but they sat us RIGHT AWAY. Pretty much every person that worked there came up and said hi throughout our meal.

The waiter knocked our check in half, and Sammy gave him a $50 tip.

Tom and I have decided we're in the wrong business.

Tomorrow night--into Baltimore.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crazy Fast

We've done about 59 script pages(I counted) in 5 days. That is nuts, especially given the stuff that happens in this film.

Things are moving smoother for the most part.

Day off tomorrow(Sat) for most. I think Tom and I are gonna go out and shoot some stuff, but we'll take it easy. No pressure. Then maybe go back and watch some footage.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One For The Cheap Seats

I know, just another bloody naked lady standing around. I can't put it in context for you. Please do not pass it on or show it to anybody else.

But tonight was a bit of a nightmare. I got a couple of primadonna actors all of a sudden who have done NOTHING. They're not THAT good, and they have virtually nothing on their resume, but we fall an hour behind and they're getting agitated. One guy's suddenly got a "day rate", when I made it clear it's a flat fee.

And the greatest effing guy in the world, at least 15 years older than some of them, who has a limp because he almost had his foot blown off, and NOT TWO WEEKS AGO GOT HIT BY A CAR--this guy keeps chugging on, smiling, laughing, doing whatever you freaking want him to do because he's loving making movies.

Breaks my heart that this guy is not a superstar actor, because he deserves it. He's a great guy who's talented as hell, and he deserves a much better director than I am.

Without him and the couple of backbone crew members and friends I have(you know who you are, effers), I would be crushed right now under the weight of this beast.

To bed. I'm dead and I'm getting awfully girly in my exhausted state.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 3

Perspective: We just wrapped an 18 hour day and had one meal break. We've shot 30 script pages in three days. (and these aren't cake dialogue pages, as you can see from my previous post)

Yeah, you totally wanna come work on one of my sets. :)

No cops tonight. I have to download and backup the files or I'd be sleeping right now.

Tonight we could see some problems. We're firing blank guns in an apartment complex. No permission(did you have to ask?)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Okay, yeah

We're two for two.

Last night we tasered an actor. Yes, for real. A cop stopped us right beforehand, but we had a local bounty hunter with us who knew him. We told the cop we were going to taser someone.

The cop said, "That's gonna hurt like a bitch. Be safe." He drove off.

Tonight we get kicked out of the parking lot of an apartment complex because it's private property. We're doing NOTHING. We weren't even filming, we were talking about setting up.

So we moved to another apartment complex. We start shooting. Yes, one of my guys has a real shotgun. The other guys have guns and are dressed as realistic bail enforcement agents.

An unmarked car pulls up. Cop gets out. He's a friendly older guy, but he asks us to put the shotgun on the car, then he talks into his mic--"Roll me a 34". Not sure if that was the number, but whatever.

He asks us a couple of questions. Says there was a shooting nearby. Trail leads near where we are.

Then five more police cars pull in line, lights flashing. You can hear the K9 in one car barking.

We talked, we smiled, we joked. Might have lied a little. You know, it's still me.

After a while all the police left except for the first guy, who asked how much longer. I told him five minutes. He said he's watch. We finished the shots, took about 15 minutes.

Thanked him. Got his name so I can thank him in the end credits.(Thanks Office "Razor" Kazor!)

So that's two nights, both times busted by the cops, both times we got to keep shooting. Early day tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quick Post

Okay, 1 day away from shooting. Not near ready, really.

Through creative storytelling we somehow got a Balt Co film permit. It's pretty funny, really. Doesn't even have the name of our flick on it.

Even funnier--I'm starting to suspect we won't need. it. We've been to the Balt location a couple of times now, including twice with my guy dressed as a bounty hunter, and four times the cops have slowed down, looked at us, and sped off.

THEN tonight my lead actor cuts a cop off(without knowing it was a cop), so the cop pulls us over. I'm shooting from the passenger seat, no seatbelt, special lighting in the car. I wish I had kept shooting, but I was scared we were about to get hit with the riot act.

One cop on my side, one on the other. The cops look in, see Tom, and one goes, "Oh, bail enforcement." They take a very cursory look at my lead actor's driver's license, and the one cop goes: "So you're filming some stuff huh? You guys should go down the street, make a left on X street, then a right on Y street. You'll get some good stuff there."

Then they took off. Crazy.

Monday, October 06, 2008


With too much to do. The list of things to

And I'd love nothing more than to go to the movies. Wouldn't mind seeing Eagle Eye. Flash of Genius mildly interests me. Nick and Nora's seems like harmless fun. But I really wanna go see Religulous, Bill Maher's new flick.

And my Tivo! Wow, it's got--not making this up here: 4 Episodes of The Shield, 2 Houses, 3 Heroes, 1 Entourage, 1 True Blood, 3 Supernaturals, 1 Mythbusters, 3 Cops, and a couple of others. And this is after I actually took a couple of hours and tried to catch up...

My Tivo's gonna start deleting stuff to make room soon.

Not enough time for everything.