Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Verse Chorus Verse"

Feb 21st
I work on some scheduling for upcoming March rehearsals with the cast and head out to a location scout/meeting at Southpaw in Park Slope for our big concert venue. Getting this location right is crucial to me as music (especially of the live variety) plays an important part in the overall mood and story of the film, and the venue is to hold a particular shot and group of scenes in the very beginning of the film with an intention to hook people. I'm about to go all Scorsese with this one... you'll know it when you see the reference shot. Our intention is to use the space to shoot the scenes but first record some liver performances of
the mock-band "Only Hurts When I Oui" which is being assembled by Storm from a grouping of professional musicians from past and present. Storm's eager and cool friend "Boogie" is our hook-up for the meeting and the space is perfect. We set "Boogie" up with Grant to go over how he'll assist on the project, being our go to and picking up needed experience to bring to his own future work. We'll have to negotiate some details with the owners as well as forgo the earlier live recording and play around with the schedule, but it seems like it'll work out and play for a few other scenes as well. Storm and I go over music meeting schedules and put him in contact with Jenna Laurenzo ("Daisy") the actress who'll be doing some singing and strumming in the flick as it's background emotional vibe. He is all about trying to recapture the "Once" phenomenon both in song craftsmanship and award potential. I say rock'n'roll, because if anyone could do it... Lee joins us and exchanges some banking paper work and conferences with Grant. I catch-up with him on the subway ride back into the city and his new gig, getting home and doing some writing until I crash by the light of a full moon.

Feb 22nd
I send off production emails through most of the morning and work on my own "David budget" for the next two months. I also touch base with Hugo who is flying in March 23rd from France and put him in touch with the other actors to start chatting and skyping or whatever the kids are doing these days. The day turns into night quickly and I conference call with Grant about our big post-production meeting the following afternoon. I did online research all day for the best possible output and Grant worked over some of the Red1 work flow. We finalize exactly what will serve us best and what to pitch the representative of the company: color correction and mastering of the final film with a backup amount of money reserved to do so if it doesn't work out. I run off to have a drink with my former 2nd AD and introduce him to a bar owner to host a screening/wrap party for his new short. We all discuss the upcoming TIDU shoot that he'll be working on again, a mixture of memories and catching up and learning about a ridiculous, "borderline offensive" movie called
Tiptoes ...No, seriously. How did I not know this existed???

Feb 23rd
An early rise and off to Grey Dogs Chelsea to grab a coffee with Grant before our meeting with the post-house. Its more relaxed, friendly chatter before we head over as we've decided help or no help we'll be completely fine, so since it's all cherries on top the stress is off... I wasted pacing around the city for a half-hour listening to early 90's rap music to pump myself up for nothing. I'm joking... but also kinda serious...

The new office the company recently moved into is amazing with a great view of the city, fitting for one of the top coloring/finishing houses. Grant and I wait in the seating area until we're met with the excited and scurrying feet of a familiar face and led to our destination. We talk to one of the partners or he mostly talks to us after some quick introductions. I prefer it this way as he is pleasant, understanding and already willing to help us with an offer. This does not give me a chance to blow it by rambling or badly pitching the project. The company offers to help us with our color correct and mastering and give us a tour of the facility. This coup pretty much assures that, coupled with my agenda and Gus's eye, the film will have added production value and be the coolest looking thing I've ever done. While anything can happen or change, Grant gets some number specs (though not enough for his liking in the head of the moment and double joy of being offered help) and talk some locations on our walk out of the meeting. This conversation spurs us to schedule a meeting the following morning to go over a location breakdown piece by piece and be exactly on the same page as we'll both being doing location duty. Starting to fade, I chug some caffeine with little effect (I seem to be building the tolerance of a meth addict) and attend a reading of a pilot and give some notes. Shaking off exhaustion I run home to check/send off some emails, touch base with wardrobe and look over the first pitch for our publicity artwork/photo shoot session from the DirtySugar folks. It's great concepts, clear and well packaged that I send off to be refined with some ideas, references and a great deal of looking forward to working with them. I grab what is supposed to be a quick catch-up drink with a Canadian actor friend but, though I'm rocking ice water only, I do not make it home to bed until 3am. It was half professional as I offer her a role in the film and a chance to not only show off her gymnastic abilities and comedic timing but get some stunt work on her reel.

Feb 24th
An early 10am meeting with Grant to go over locations at Grey Dog's Chelsea. We line it up in order to get on the same page towards what we can compromise on because of our budget/tight schedule and what to splurge or find a way to make work by hook or by crook. Grant quickly digs through his old archives from past shot projects to pull up some good hospice and office possibilities as well as recommending some new actors for some last-minute casting/re-casting. We look at some bars online and set-up an agenda for a location scouting/bar hop trip for the next day in Greenpoint. I say goodbye to do some work at the library and then back home in the bat cave and begin digging into season 1 of HBO's "Deadwood" while running some home errands and cooking dinner. It's way to detox from the stress of production and kill some brain cells... God, it would be fun to do a really good western.

(Pencil Factory in Greenpoint/potential "Wander Bar")

Feb 25th
Awake to torrential rain storm (perfect location scouting weather!) and find out a commercial I acted in(no, seriously) won a Clio award. I share it with a few "lucky" souls, rejoin an ongoing Friday afternoon Facebook kiddie photo "cute-off" with a TIDU actress and get ready for scouting. Luckily the storm clears before 5pm meet-up in Greenpoint to look at different spots for the Wander Bar location, the home away from home, uh...right below the home of the main characters (another thing that'll make more sense when said film is screened). Greenpoint is beautiful, blurring the line between industrial and modern Brooklyn and it's possibly the first time I've ever done a bar hop without getting wasted by the last stop (more professional then pleasure). A few drinks are imbibed out of necessity to protect from the ridiculous wind and damp air from the earlier storm and by the waterfront area. There's a few great possibilities my personal favorite space is the "Pencil Factory" with it's ambient, low-lit rustic interior and great on-the-corner exterior, it just feels right. Also take photos and pass a few great locations to be our light-adorned "indian restaurant" and "coffee shop". There's also plenty of space to both shoot comfortably, set-up the acoustic singing are and plan for a few stunts. We finish up our scouting and head back to Grant's place where he whips up some White Russians and non-TIDU related chitter-chatter over the Wu-Tang Clan on vinyl. The night devolves into more White Russians and a shit-ton of scotch at a friend and set-photographer's birthday party. A lot happens, none of it film related and what little I can remember will still be omitted from here on out until--

Feb 26th
730 AM. Daylight. Woozy. Up painfully early and hung over to help a friend of a friend of a friend move a mattress down and up a few flights of stairs. A beautiful day I work on the park and. another first for me, I receive an email from a fictional character I created asking me to have coffee and a drink. Lest you think I'm loopy from sleep deprivation and moving mattresses, an acting exercise devised by Molly and myself is for her to, after months of working on "Violet", do a Q&A with me as said person. Okay, maybe you really think we're both loopy now, but it's fun and interesting and a great way for her to test drive the character in a 3D setting without scripts and actors, to really feel inside of who this person is. It's potentially also a chance for her to dig up some good blackmail worthy stories. Proceed to continue working on the upcoming week, set up a meeting with make-up and arranging schedules with actors while finishing up the first season of Deadwood. I now know Ian McShane is an extreme bad ass, prostitutes can be feminist role models and have many new ways of saying "cock-sucker"...

Feb 27th
The Academy Awards. I have no TV. I don't feel like hitting a bar. I decide to spend the day writing and working on some storyboards in the lovely weather in the park...
I'm rooting for "God of Love"... go,team, go!

Coming up next time...
Locked down locations, some sample storyboards, a Violet-date and what exactly starts burning only a month before a feature starts to shoot... Apr 3rd is 5 weeks away....

Monday, February 21, 2011

She Got Me Under Pressure

It's been an "interesting" pre-production week with some highs, lows, moments of anxiety and disenchantment...

Feb 15th

I wake up and prep for a few meetings and do a conference call with a producer in LA to discuss a possible passion project of mine for many years. It's a nice talk and a chance to let my mind wander to a hypothetical alternate reality future as well as a possible return to the land of 80 degrees, fake palm trees and faker tits down the road. My main focus has to remain on "Things" until at least Memorial Day when I'll hopefully have a fairly decent assembly edit to show around and get some notes to edit down into a final pass before moving on to color correct/sound in the Summer.  Minutes after the conversation the first seeds of life after "Things" begin to sprout and push through my membrane. I'm realizing the long haul of what this film, the way it's being made is going to mean for me again and my future. I'm deferring any payment from "Things" in order to maintain the budget and adequately pay my cast/crew as well as the other sacrifices that will come in post and the festival circuit/promotional push. I see the upcoming battle and despite my resolve to swing away and the great support of a talented team/unit some cracks form. I grab a late bite with a friend to catch-up and put on my legendary poker face and charm to hide any hints of what's going on. Late to bed and soon to be early to rise--

February 16th

Awake to an email from across the pond citing a possible conflict with, Lisa, our actor who is currently involved in a play in England that was meant to wrap up in late-March allowing them to be in "Things". Producers unexpectedly are extending the run and I'm off drop a line to Grant and set-up whether or not we can alter our tentative schedule to accommodate this possible conflict. I work on casting a few day-player parts with the help of Grace and a few old NYU acting recommendations while mediating a disagreement between production departments. I think most people see the director, especially on bigger budgeted projects as someone who should be in a cocoon and unaffected by the back and forth and issues that arise on set, unconcerned with hashing out dilemmas and soothing egos. I've had bad previous experiences, especially on this level, with not always knowing what was going on (especially in the case of pervy, sociopath-ninja sound men on set) because people thought I should be shielded. At this level and my own involvement in producing this and my previous film, I feel that part of my job is to step in and make decisions and asses situations, sometimes running interference and mediating. Some may disagree with my position or feel it's unnecessary but I'd rather be "in the know" and work on keeping things together than let things fall apart out of principles or high-strung emotions.  There's also the disenchanting moment where you realize the financial and personal sacrifices you're making to keep the engine roaring, your personal belief in treating those you work with fairly and compensating them as much as you can amidst others arguing for what's is essentially "pennies" and "principles", but it's the nature of the beast and we all have to feed ourselves and our families.  "Family"... there's that word again.

February 17th

After a script read through for a friend's project is cancelled and location scouting day moved I, not having anything else scheduled, I make the day a mental/personal health day to clear out the bad juju that seems to be consistently swarming in my head. I play music, I try to write, i catch-up on laundry and grocery errands and yet it all seems a bit mechanical. Something is gnawing at me and churning in the back of it all that I can't quite run from. My old escape of lifting weights isn't even enough as I can't even focus enough to curl or push... Frustrated! I find myself pacing around the city trying to exhaust nervous energy and conflicting thoughts. It's oddly familiar as times I've had nowhere to go I'd make use of my dear Gotham as a living treadmill or video game, soaking up and the sounds and sights or ignoring it completely to whatever song played on my disc man, hours and hours till the sky turned purple and orange and the day started anew. I don't pace that long this time and I make it home and use my nearest and dearest friend, Mr. Bottle of Whiskey to come any last frayed bit of nerves and bring on slumber.

February 18th

A warm and sunny day--perfect weather for location scouting in Greenpoint. I meet up with Grant at our number one pick for a loft space on N.Henry. The space is nice with a great view and lighting and also packs the perks of having it's own music studio with instruments which would play great as Remy's area and save production lots of $ on props/design. Some issues with space and being able to move/re-design as needed for the shoot are discusses over a beer and pierogies(when in Polish Brooklyn!) and a walk through McCarren under the lovely weather. We also discuss our meeting with a post-house about a deal on color correction, deciding to approach for overall color scheme and some title work and high-end mastering. I leave Grant and come home to an email from Storm about the awesome band he's putting together and a date to check out our possible concert scene venue in Park Slope on Monday. I thank him for his awesome as always work, having touch based with Vita our composer and sent him some ideas for the different music (score, source, band) that we'll need with examples. I also give Storm some more congrats as his boy Luke Matheny (director/actor of the Oscar nominated short "God Of Love"--VOTE!) for some press in the L Magazine.  I write a query letter for other back-up loft and location spaces and do some research on VFX for the film involving a particular blood effect and possibly adding cold breath to the actors, as we're shooting in April and the film takes place on a cold Fall between Halloween and New Year's eve. I come across an oddly perfect article about breath effects that quickly answers my question, "Who really notices breath effect quality?"

February 19th

A brutal 180 windy day to the previous days early Spring and a few hours work in the library putting together some query letters, responding to emails, personal writing and fighting a lack of focus/clarity. Receive an email from Molly to show off the initial phase of the Violet make-over and hair-style. One word: "bangs"... Do a bit of pacing and watch a screener of "Inside Job" to see about how the financial collapse in 2008 might not have been my fault but instead the collective work of a group of evil financial ork-like vampire dicks that are still out there today. Grant shoots me an email that resched'ing Lisa shouldn't be a problem in the last week and might have happened anyway. I put together a tentative rehearsal sched for main cast and crew and touch base with our French actor Hugo about his arrival into the states while grooving to the new Radiohead album (which sounds like Kid A fucking The Bends) A late drink with a friend and some much needed rest leads to stranger dreams and a lack of sleep.

February 20th

"You're a talented, talented man... and a very good person". Soothing words from the great Lisa Eichhorn as we discuss her situation with the play and rescheduling not being a big issue. It's maybe the nicest way to cure the strange feelings that have been brewing all week that I confess is the pressure of not only making a feature film but what this all means for the rest of my life. I've often mentioned how much of this year is a new chapter, a new decade in the city and the focus on what the next chunk of my life will be like. I'm not itching to get it "just right" as I don't truly believe in that... Whether anyone else wants to admit or not, the responsibility at the end of the day for the success falls on me. There are a million hands in making a film, a million egos and insecurities, obstacles and achievements, ups and lows... I'm in charge and responsible for them all. This is my baby, I'm the boss and it's not the glamour of that which drives me but the understanding that at the end of the day, at the last breath I will be the one making the final and big decisions and driving the truck. Telling this story right is the most important thing in the world to me... the other opportunities, relationships, material things that I have to sacrifice in order to achieve that for myself and for those along for the ride happen without blinking... I just have hope that when the moment comes I can still play ball, I can still make the right decisions and be strong enough to support the mistakes and moments when the shit comes. That I can bring this baby home and be proud of what we've all achieved together. That I can still lead...

Guess we find out April 3rd.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Talking dirty and influencing people...


Finally trick the bat cave out with some internet and rush off to a meeting at Momofuku in the East Village with the lovely and talented Grace Folsom ("Sara"). It's the first chance I've had to really sit down with Grace since she was cast because of our crazy sched's , the holidays and recent work in a play in Philly. Grace is a young and vibrant actress, bursting with energy, hysterical and smart; it was like having. We exchange NY tales, nutty relatives and she fills me in on the etiquette of being "waivered in" on a 50cent film and fainting on set(something I can actually relate to!) all the while tossing in her love of Ben&Jerry's and impromptu animal impersonation. There is no lovelier way to have a friendly chat and we go over some of her work on "Sara" and finding a balance in her liveliness and illness. Grace is the perfect "Sara" for so many reasons and will be an important core on the success of the overall film and several important scenes. She and Molly will meet up and begin to solidify the great chemistry they already share as we move into rehearsals in March. I leave her to work at the library for a bit, sending out emails and setting up the rest of the week...

I chat on the phone and prep with Grant about tomorrow's sound meeting, the budget and then about the journal blog I'm keeping on "Things" and life. It becomes over an hour long conversation about writing, sharing, the nature of the beast and it makes concrete what I'm trying to attempt here by not only flexing my creative writing muscles "without" trying... but to document this process in a way that I never really tried with "...Around". I'm going to put it all out there, good and bad, interesting and boring... My hope is to honestly portray what is happening with the film, keep people in the loop but also show what an independent film process can be. This isn't DIY and this isn't big studio filmmaking... this is the middle ground I'd like to show other aspiring artists is attainable with the right amount of effort, thinking outside the box, respect for the craft and your associates and overall persistence.


I touch base with Molly about setting up a meeting with a post-production company and our impending "script-go-over" this coming weekend, send out a few emails and hop the F train to Park Slope to meet with Carlos "Storm" Martinez, our post-sound guy. He gave us a tentative sound budget that included some color correct work with his contacts and we decided to tentatively cut that out of the budget as well as negotiate on weeks of mixing. Grant is along for the ride to talk rates and keep track of budget flexibility. We also chat with "Storm" about the score, the mock super band that will be portraying "Remy" 's group "Only Hurts when I Oui!" and a possible venue in the area for our concert scene to be confirmed later. It's a great meeting, always good to collaborate with someone who is as jazzed about a project as you are if not more so.

Grant and I chat over a burger about our post-budget, how much each department side can and should have based on our previous experiences. Grant is a set veteran and I have far more in post-production working as a dub technician/editor/assistant editor/producer-editor or "predator" for various ad agencies and media companies. We have honest discourse and find common ground...

I realize then how much of this process is going to be about finding the line between creative freedom and fiscal responsibility. Many of my decisions and overall process is going to be about treating the people I'm working alongside with the utmost respect and offer them as much creative freedom as I can while attempting to get my vision, all the while still maintaining order and not letting this project financially unravel or short sight any particular department.

We also chat about locations and our upcoming scout... already scoping out potential lofts in Brooklyn that, once secured, we will try and find the other locations in the surrounding vicinity to save time and use the loft as holding/office when not shooting in it. This centralized game plan will simplify much as the production rolls onward in April.

(the "loft aesthetic")


I spend the day organizing the following week and doing a slight rewrite on "Things". I chop out an excess and expensive scene in the middle of the flick that I realize would be chopping room floor anyway and am adding a slight scene better introducing the character of "Zooey" (played by the amazingly talented Lynn Justinger) and Gabby(Meissa Hampton)'s Green Wrath actor friends.  It's a lighter day then I'm used to and I spend a few hours catching up with an old friend over dinner and a beer and call it an early night after some work on my shot-list in prep for the whirlwind weekend coming up.


I touch base with Molly and our make-up artist Amy Forsythe who accompanied her for a consult with Molly's hair colorist about her "Violet make-over". It goes well and our first test will be sometime in early March, though Molly itching to start transforming herself may chop at her goldi-soon-to-be-ginger locks sooner. I polish off and export the "Blue Shooting Draft" to Grant and the various departments that need to look at and continue to work on the shot-list.


I do some work at the library and set-up a meeting with a possible costume designer Beth Anne Kelleher (another great referral from Amy) and head off to Astoria to meet in the elephant cave of actress Molly Ryman.  Today are agenda is to really touch base with where we're both at for a long chunk of time on the creation of Violet and the entire piece, going through the script scene by scene and locking down our goals and process so she can go off to do her work and meet back with myself and the other actors at rehearsal. Having both a prior working and personal relationship with an actor is a blessing in that hopefully a trust has been already built up or at least has an initial foundation and you know each other's process, strengths and insecurities. We exchange our views on Violet and the answers and work done on a Q&A. We exchange personal history and information that relates to the story and Violet, once again a comfort built up over having a previous personal/professional relationship with Molly. It's an honest discussion

We finish up at a diner near the subway and are affirmed that we are indeed on the same page and all that is needed is the upcoming weeks of work, physical transformations and melding with the other actors.  We also have a special "Violet date" towards March where Molly will first fully unveil the girl you will all come to know and love this time next year...

This is a scary and beautiful opportunity for Molly to step into her own and tackle something she's never been given the full chance to do before. I have to allow her enough freedom to allow her to grow and create the physical representation of a human being that I created and who shares a few facets of myself. I also have to help guide her, earn her trust and support her in that creation and realization of it in order for the film to work. There's a lot of pressure as there normally would be for any undertaking of this size and she's fully aware that there are eyes on her and this project, not necessarily looking for her to fall on her face but not expecting her to hit a home run. I know Molly as I know myself and those similar unimaginative, uninformed ideas and prejudice I've encountered... we always rise to the occasion. I have full faith in her abilities as an actress and assure her that she cannot fail herself or me so long as she really swings away. She agrees and we are ready for the fun, the excitement and the work of what's to come. We say goodbye and I head back into the city for a quick bit of writing/work and pass out early, suddenly drained.


I spend the day running errands and setting up the following week as well as getting a bit of exercise in to keep my brain and mind sharp. I run to a late meeting to grab a few beers with Raina, a friend of a friend, who has slowly but surely begun breaking into production of the last few years both in lighting and as a producer. She's an intelligent and passionate young woman who's slowly been building a rolodex and projects. It was also a unique opportunity to tell the "Legend of David Spaltro" from the beginning to someone who'd never heard it, hopping and skipping from train station/film school to other countries to the movie about the train station to the financial fall-outs and back again... someday I'll write that autobiography pop-up book. I promise... (call this all a warm-up)

A late night call to set-up a possible location scouting mission in the morning and the continued debate over Red camera package v.s. Arri's Alexa in terms of best serving the budget and project with Grant. There will still be a bit of debate and due diligence but we're agreed on what our end game should be in the decision.


Valentine's Day... or as I often referred to it in previous years, "detached drifter Christmas"... It's a beautiful out and I decide to make the day a bit easier on myself after a location scouting mission falls through. I go to the park after some banking/financial dealings and finish up my shot lost in Tompkin's Sq.Park, proving once again I'll never be a house cat and maybe do my best work on park bench/chess tables...

Coming up... more casting announcements, locking down locations, costume designs, sketches, storyboards and more with April 3rd is less than 7 weeks away...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Preppin' for the B-side/casting "Parker"

After prepping all night long for a day of meetings (crashing somewhere around 3:40am) I'm up at 6am for a wake-up work out/run combo and begin working on my shot-list. By noon my DP Gus has arrived and we start to talk more in-depth on the overall look of the film before he takes a mini-vacation and goes off to to shoot a feature this coming month. We have a friendly catch-up, bouncing ideas back and forth on some particular scenes and shots, the equipment that might be needed and how to go about capturing it (all info that will be passed along to Grant to fit into the budget). I'll have an in-depth locked shot list to go over with him when we're closer to production, as well as some storyboards I've been doing and a set of image/film and painting references for visual aids I'll be emailing him on and off over the next month. He hands me a book of photography by the Hungarian born photographer, filmmaker and sculptor Brassaï. A lot of his stuff is dead on for a lot of the light/dark contrast I want to instill in "Things", as well as some of the silhouette imagery I want to play with. Our conversation leads into thoughts of eye lighting, dolly movements and a few other tricks I'll save for another day. Gus leaves and other than the three cups of coffee in my system fueling me I'm jazzed to put together some new images and tell a story I've written more visually then ever before.

I run to the West Village to have a coffee meeting/catchup with Meissa ("Gabby") to talk about her character and the upcoming agenda for rehearsals, fittings and make-up design. Meissa is an extremely versatile honest and has a great intellectual brain for details big and small in a character, dissecting little traits and extending them not just into words and movement but into props, costumes and overall look. We wrap up and now flying and running ten minutes late at that beautiful magic hour where cabs are all in transition I run back to Chelsea and the Grey Dog cafe to meet with Robb of who will be helping us shoot promotional images for "Things" and creating artwork for a poster. Upon arriving at the cafe I realize there's been a slight miscommunication and Robb is actually in the Union Square location I passed on the way to Chelsea. I jet back to meet him and we have a neededly fast-paced 20 minute meeting that is beyond pleasant and exciting. The jitters and raving coming out of my mouth, most resembling a cross between the guy from Shine and Miley Cyrus after that bong hit of salvia, are equal parts exhaustion, caffeine and creative excitement and energy. We plan to meet again to discuss further in detail what exactly we'll be shooting, some visual ideas and budget for the project.

I float home and crash before I can eat a bite of dinner...

I'm still deciding between the two actors I've narrowed it down for Parker. After a simple conversation with Molly I've realized I'm over=thinking more than I should be and not trusting my gut… i make my decision and write a few emails…

Aaron Mathias as "PARKER MCNEIL"

The road to Aaron being in this film is a long one. Back in December of 2006 when I was first casting for "...Around" I received his head shot and resume for "Doyle" but because he was SAG and I had no idea what the budget or how the budget for the film would come about, I never called him in to read. The rest of that matter is history, but I always remembered him and after creating the character of "PARKER" Aaron returned to my mind this previous summer. For a long time the role was left open for a "bigger-name" talent, to whom many were sent the script in order to secure financing. That never materialized before the financing came, so I had to cast the part and read him and several other actors. The role was always going to be difficult to cast… physically Aaron fit perfectly, but of the most important factors was being able to portray a tortured, withdrawn and dry individual yet still come across as appealingly full of life and energy, a flame of promise of what previously existed and may still be there and ability to connect to Violet's own emotionally withdrawn soul. During the audition the previous week, more than any other actor in this respect, he was able to get great reactions, sometimes both antagonistic and playful, out of Molly despite being under the weather. That kind of energy and easy charm would have to shine through Parker in way that wouldn't be easily performed with any big gestures, facial expressions, movements or tone of voice. Parker is damaged, holding onto demons and darkness in a way that is both similar to Violet and wholly different. He's in need of forgiveness he's not seeking and is reserved in a completely controlled way, but still able to find human connections that gnaw away at his resolve. Aaron is a director's actor, full of commitment, eagerness to try anything and mold towards whatever is asked of him. I'm excited to add him to the family and work with him on creating the perfect mix for this character and then playing him against Molly in her complete 180 from anything she's done previous…

the road to April 3rd marches on!

Coming up next…. Soundtrack and location, location, locations!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2 Months from today....

Principal photography begins on "Things I Don't Understand" on April 3rd, 2010... a mere two months from today. With the amount of pieces falling to place and work that has to be done/supervised that will be a blink of an eye. A journey of a mere sketch of an idea in 2003 that took first shape almost three years ago during the post of "...Around"...

here's what's been going on...

Amidst the crazy after maths of a blizzard I hand off some bank paperwork to be filed with our producer Lee in Union Sqaure and prep for a meeting with Amy, our key make-up/fx person. Full of energy, ability and a million grand creative ideas we plot out some important elements-- Molly's make-over into Violet including hair color and tattoos, creating a realistic and appropriate cancer make-up for Grace as well as other special fx for the character. We discuss the other main characters, creating unique minute details and thematic tie-ins.

Do final locking down for Auditions on Sunday. Find out our amazing sound designer/mixer on "...Around" and soon to be "Things", Carlos "Storm" Martinez deserves some great props. Not only is his baby daughter crawling but a great short film he worked on "God of Love" has been nominated for an Academy Award for best short this year. If anyone in the Academy is reading this, I implore you to check out this film before you vote. Excited to work with Storm and Vita on music and sound for "Things" as unlike last time we're starting from a blank slate and live performance plays a key role in the film, as well as capturing the honesty and energy of it in NYC. Storm's main inspiration/description to me at an earlier meeting: "Purple Rain"!
His "royal badness"? Um, yes please....

AUDITION day. I meet with Molly to prep reading 5 talented local male actors for the role of "PARKER". Each one brings something different to the character and their own unique abilities. It's a long day and Molly is a champ, continually giving each actor the same amount of energy and life into each scene and take, supporting their every move so they can show their best. By the time the last actor has read we're both a bit wiped and proceed to grab a quick bite and chat it out. The pros and cons of each performer are there, and like many final castings it will have less to do with talent/ability then who is just right for what we are trying to do with the role. I walk her to the train, deciding to give myself some time away from it to think about the two actors that really stuck out (both very different, both equally good and right)

1/31- 02/01/11
I spent the next tow days chasing Verizon and trying to set-up the "Batcave" office with internet. I'm also fighting a horrible cold, probably brought on from being in a million places and shaking a million hands. I receive a revised budget and initial chat at 3am from Grant. We have a brief chat and decide to meet and go over key points and any errors.

I meet with Grant at Lyric Diner in Chelsea to go through the script and more importantly our post-sched, making sure there is enough money left over and and figuring out where deals, freebies and other cost cutting measures meet up with what we actually need to supply festivals, distributors and produce screeners. We leave with an agenda to spend the next week focusing on locking all locations, starting with the loft and then finding the other locations in the same vicinity to cut travel time/cost. I also set up a meeting with a photo studio to shoot promo shots of the actors for posters/press material.

Up at 6AM for a run and gym to wake myself up and spend all day prepping for a meeting with the DP tomorrow before he goes off and shoots another project. Remind myself to give an agent at ICM a call re: a cool casting addition to be locked down for the film and announced soon. Final deciding on PARKER to be figured this weekend… 2 months. The good fight!