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Production Diary
November 2003

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Friday, November 28, 2003

So I've got a couple of days off and I'm going to attempt to continue capturing footage and splitting it into takes. I was happy that I was able to create the Teaser Trailer from the first 8 hours of footage I have captured. Made my job a bit easier! Had a nice article from the Berkley & Huntington Woods Mirror newspaper published this week as well. A buzz is building; hopefully we can live up to it! Next week we'll concentrate on our 2 Arbor Daze showings at the Roseville Theatre. After that, my entire life is Love & Plutonium (unless I have a band gig or something!)

A salutation goes here,
Jeff
 

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Well, our last big night of shooting is done, and boy are we ever glad! We had a late shoot scheduled for Friday, due to some schedule conflicts, and it was scheduled to run until about 2:30. Well, up until this night my schedule estimates hadn't been more than an hour or so off, but on this night we ended up running until close to 5:00 am! But to everyone's credit, no one complained or said anything indicating that they were less than happy to remain until the job was complete. Surprisingly, no one complained that they got Taco Bell instead of Burger King for dinner (since BK was closed) either! Now that's commitment! Have I told you guys before that I LOVE YOU?! We completed the interior counseling office and DMV scenes, and I think the footage is going to look great. The DMV scene especially was really fun, and we added several unscripted bits which really added to the hilarity factor. Wait. Did I just use the term "hilarity factor"? Can you tell I need to get some sleep? Geez...

Anyway, today Mark France and Mark C. Holden were gracious enough to come out to Jacquie's so we could do a couple of pickup shots. Man--45 minutes of makeup for a 20 second take--but trust me, we'll be happy we got it. Thanks to them for helping out on an off day. And thanks to the Wolverines for stomping the pitiful Buckeyes! Woo hoo!

I'm all about bedtime,
Jeff
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

It is with great pleasure that I can report to you that we now have about 85% of the movie on tape! Our most frantic and stressful weekend has been completed and to my knowledge, all involved are still in one piece, if a little tired and footsore! We had a very manageable turnout of extras both Saturday and Sunday (around 15 both days), and, unbelievable as it may sound, we were able to finish everything scheduled (17 pages of script), plus another couple unscripted pages, with about 15 minutes to spare before Benny's Pizza opened at 4:00 both days! I know I've said it before, but I am just so grateful for everyone's patience, support and commitment to this project. It was fairly insane the amount of shots we needed to get in the 2 days we had the bar, but by the grace of God and lots of help from you, my beloved cast and crew, WE DID IT!

We have 2 remaining shoot days: this Friday, November 21 (interior counseling office and DMV scenes) and Friday, December 12 (Dick & Bob sportscaster scenes). That's it! Then the really fun part of filmmaking starts: reviewing close to 25 hours of footage and trying to slap it all together. But when it's all said and done, my goal is for everyone involved to be proud of their contributions to the finished product. For now, just know that I love you all and would go to war with any of you!

Jeff
 

Friday, November 14, 2003

Tony, Jebby, Shirley, Jacquie and I just got back from dinner and a quick scouting mission at Benny's Pizza, the site of our shoots this weekend. Everyone seems happy enough, and I think we're ready to go. It shall be interesting to see how many extras actually show up, but the bar is small enough that we can make it appear full with a small number of people. Well, off to bed, as we've got an 8:00 am call.

Nighty night,
Jeff
 

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Whew! What a weekend! We had our first major issues pop up, and I don't think any of our cast or crew will ever again scoff at the old actor's superstition of never mentioning the name of "The Scottish Play"! Some of our crew were heard uttering aloud "The Forbidden Name" during a break around 4:00 pm Saturday, and it was after that when our troubles started to arise.

We shot a quick outdoor scene (about 1/2 hour), and then returned indoors to finish out the evening. About an hour after we resumed shooting inside, Tony our DP noticed a flashing red "X" in the upper left corner of the camera's LCD screen. Being a rather new camera (less than 2 months), we hadn't seen this icon before. We finally determined that it meant that the tape heads needed to be cleaned, so we popped in the cleaning tape and tried shooting again. After about 5 minutes, the darn "X" appeared again. So in went the cleaning tape, and then a brand new miniDV tape, and again the problem disappeared for a short while. The third time the little bugger showed up, we became quite annoyed and a little frightened. We reviewed the footage on the last tape we used and it looked jerky, pixilated, and rather unusable. This pretty much sapped us of the will to live. After several loud oaths and despairing looks, we suddenly had the idea to play the tape in our documentary camera, to try to determine if it was the tape or the camera that was bad. Lo and behold, the tapes played beautifully in the doc cam, and our spirits were buoyed immeasurably. It was then that pizza was ordered and beer was distributed. After about an hour for dinner, we fired up the DVX100 again, and all was well for the rest of the night (and weekend)! After a night of sleeping on it, we came to the conclusion that after our 1/2 hour outside in 35 degree weather, condensation could have built up on the tape heads, causing our errors. Either that, or Shakespeare was having a wee bit o' fun with us.

Up until this weekend as well, we had been very lucky with our lighting equipment. But in these last 2 days we must have lost at least 5 blue photoflood bulbs. We have now exhausted our (well, actually Dan's) entire inventory, and we need to come up with a new stash for our bar scenes this upcoming weekend. And those things are fairly expensive, yo? By far the most spectacular loss occurred between takes when a bulb exploded quite close to Tony Griffin. It was good and loud and rather messy. Thank goodness no one was injured, but it was yet another example of "The Unnamable Play"'s ability to wreak havoc on a production.

We filled up 7 tapes (almost 22 script pages) this weekend, so it's gonna be a long week of reviewing and capturing! Plus our 2 biggest days of shooting lie ahead. We have 7 1/2 pages to shoot on Saturday, and 9 1/2 pages on Sunday. Sunday is the biggest scene in the movie, both in terms of pages and actors. Fortunately we'll have 2 cameras in the bar, and it looks like we'll get a good turnout of extras. It's certainly going to be a challenge, but I think we can do it. Well, who am I kidding--we HAVE to do it, since we only have the bar for 2 days!

I'm overwhelmed by the commitment of our cast and crew to stay overtime to finish what needs to be done and helping with every area of the production. I am in your debt, and you have my everlasting thanks!

Rock on,
Jeff
   

Friday, November 7, 2003

Big weekend coming up in Z's basement! We have 5 scenes in Dr. Medlo's bedroom/laboratory to get done in 2 days, plus the anxiously awaited Dominatrix/Slave scene. I'm sure Melissa and Jamie are shivering in excitement (or something) at the thought of being outside tomorrow afternoon in 35 degree weather. If it really is that cold, we may have to think of another location for them to ply their trade. We must keep everyone happy, that is my credo! Jacquie, AEG and I are headed over to Z's house tonight to start setting up and blocking some shots (not a basketball reference!) For now I'm going to rearrange the Cast & Crew pages while waiting for Jacquie to get here, then load up the car.

One other quick note, we've already got about 20 RSVPs for extras for our bar scenes next weekend. That's pretty cool. And a lot of them are coming from a new talent agency in Pontiac called GDPros. Never heard of them until this week, and I don't know how our casting call found its way to them, but nevertheless, I'm happy for it.

Talk to you Monday or so,
Jeff
   

Monday, November 3, 2003

We just finished another great weekend of shooting. We started with the unscripted plutonium heist sequence on Saturday morning. We were at McDowell & Associates, an environmental testing and cleanup company owned by Dan Corrigan's father-in-law. It had all the right gadgets and equipment to make it a convincing warehouse. We had about 8 extras show up, which was great, and Tony Griffin created a cool looking container for our plutonium rods. Dr. Medlo, Holly, Hank and Tony ran all over that warehouse for about 3 hours, and the rest of the crew were busy finding lab coats and hard hats for the extras to wear. It should be some pretty cool stuff to use as part of the opening credits.

Then we moved on to Jacquie Floyd's house where we got to see Mark C. Holden transformed into Mrs. Medlo for his/her first scene (Mark France is quite the artiste), and we capped the night off by having a photo shoot in Jacquie's backyard. Greg Krueger took literally thousands of photos (well, not really literally, but he was prolific) so hopefully we'll end up with some good shots for our press kit.

Sunday dawned wet and dreary, but HA! This time we had cheated Mother Nature since we were indoors all day at Karey Hart's apartment (she's a good friend of Jacquie and our dominatrix Melissa). Anyway, we shot from about 11:30-7:00 and finished everything on the schedule. We were even able to get Karey's kitty in one scene. Kudos to Maggie for enduring about an hour with chocolate frosting smeared all over her face!

All told, we got another 3 hours of footage and about 9 pages of script on tape. Things have been going really well so far, and I need to thank everyone for their commitment and help throughout this process. It's coming together and I hope you will all be proud of your work when it's all said and done!

We've got 2 action-packed weekends coming up: next weekend (11/8-11/9) we are in Dr. Medlo's bedroom/lab for 2 days, and the following weekend (11/15-11/16) we are in the bar for 2 days (where we will need more extras!)

A word of advice: If you must stand around for 10-12 hours 2 days straight, do not, I repeat, do not do it in Chuck Taylors. Oh sure, they may look stylish, but they are built for neither comfort nor speed. Trust me on this one.

Exhausted but happy,
Jeff
   

 


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