My call is for 10:30am, which isn't so bad. Sure we were on a soundstage until roughly midnight, trying to figure out the best way to build the "endless bed" (most of which the bed crew, led by Shane, did well before I showed up). The trick, at least last night, was that all the new sheets had the sort of hard creases that you get when you take them out of the package. How then, to best fix it? Would it even be noticeable? We decided it was easier to just wash them all, which added time to the evening, but seemed to work. Shane was up until well after 2am.
And Maria Rowene was in makeup at 6am, getting turned into a monster. Meagan Hester and Jason Milani, our makeup artists, have turned the lovely Maria into some sort of human-lizard hybrid that's creepy as hell.
Today, the set is closed for "monster sex", which is pretty much what you'd expect out of a scene with three people, only one of whom is a monster (and she's a middle school teacher in real life. Can you imagine if your middle school teacher was spending 6 hours in makeup to be a monster on the weekends?)
The tricky part, on my end, is how to document this scene in a PG-13 way while I help out with various bits of execution. It's a lot of angles, a lot of framing and using things as shields, and a lot of discretion. A LOT of discretion.
And, really, you haven't lived until you've had a conversation about cameras with an actor who's decided that any sort of, um, attempts at modesty weren't really accomplishing anything. It's distracting, you know? Eye contact is your friend.
Also today, we wrap our blood-soaked lady-in-white, Jenna D'Angelo, a real trooper of an actress. Look for her on a screen near you.
I signed on to do DREAM LOVER mostly sight unseen. Actually, I backed it on Kickstarter pretty much sight unseen. I was online as the campaign neared the end, and word got out that Mattson Tomlin's new project needed to raise $800 in the final hour or so. I did what I imagine lots of people do in the final hour of a Kickstarter campaign--I pitched in $5 without really knowing what I was backing (I know for a fact a number of people ended up backing A Year Without Rent in the exact same way).
Being a backer, I knew Mattson was looking to film at around the same time I was looking to start A Year Without Rent, so it made a lot of sense to make it the first project.
And really, it doesn't always matter what I'm helping out on. A talented filmmaker is a talented filmmaker. There's some filmmakers I'd volunteer to help film their kid's birthday party, if they asked. (But only if I was promised cake)
Long story short, that's how I ended up in Purchase, NY, on a college campus, volunteering on a short film that I thought was a feature.
I imagine that'll happen a lot on this trip.
DREAM LOVER is a short, directed by Mattson Tomlin (SOLOMON GRUNDY: BORN ON A MONDAY) and photographed by Filipp Kotsishevskiy. We're actually filming in the same building as BLACK SWAN, which at least for today is rather fitting, as we're on a stage with lots of dancers and female leads dressed in a black vs. white motif.
This is the biggest day of the production, as we started the day by applying some rather creepy makeup to a cadre of dancers. Beyond that, it's a pretty small crew: director, cinematographer, producer Nicole Favale, two grips, a sound operator, and the composer, who's playing back a temp version of the score for the dancers.
Well, he was. But he had to leave, so now I'm manning the iPod, which is how I'm able to write this during filming.
Tomorrow: more of DREAM LOVER. More dreaming. Fewer dancers. Or so I'm told.
After 2 days in the studio, we're outside, taking advantage of the freshly-fallen snow. It's been too warm lately to actually shoot on a frozen lake, so we're using a pretty big clearing in a park. Jon and I are using this as an opportunity to not stand in the snow for a few minutes
Long-time readers will remember that I'm a proud voter in the Muriel Awards, which in addition to being the greatest award ever named after a guinea pig, is actually one of the more interesting awards out there.
It doesn't echo the Oscar picks like everyone else does, but it doesn't ignore them either. Chances are if you're the Oscar front-runner (and a deserving one), you'll get quite a few votes. But, more often than not you won't win the coveted Muriel.
Maybe 2 weeks ago, I came to the realization that I was really getting to the point where everything about the edit was all jumbled up in my head and it had stopped making sense. I had no clarity anymore. This is pretty common. At least for me it is, so I called my good friend Josh Thomas in Pittsburgh.
Josh, some of you remember, was in my film BLANC DE BLANC. He played Matt, the character who won't shut up. But, beyond that, he was our Jack-of-all-trades on set, doing a little bit of everything. In his day job, he produces videos every week for a church outside of Pittsburgh. Anyway, I asked if he'd be willing to take a look at it and help me make a pass on the edit. He agreed, and even got his boss to let us use the church's new Final Cut suite after hours. So I loaded up the hard drive and headed for Pittsburgh.
It's amazing how much quicker you can edit when you're working with a fellow editor and not, say, a black lab who constantly wants to go outside to play fetch. We plowed through it, taking my 1:55 edit and trimming it down to a svelte 85 minutes. Then, on a whim, we decided to round up a few people to watch it. Well, Josh rounded them up and I went downtown to drink scotch.
So some people have actually seen a cut of the film. The take-away from it was that it looks beautiful and the acting is fantastic. They had some structure issues (which we knew they would) and some pacing issues (ditto), but there was nothing that jumped out and said, "oh f*ck".
We did a small video of me reacting to their reactions (ignore how terrible I look. turns out when you sit at a computer all day working and no longer walk everywhere, you put on a little weight.)
Yesterday, we did a test screening of my film UP COUNTRY. Because these are the sort of things that make me incredibly nervous, I skipped out to get drunk instead. Today, I finally got around to listening to the audio recording. It's a tricky thing. What do you listen to? What do you ignore? Where are they coming from? One thing I do know: we're going to do more of them. I think I learned a lot about what's working and what isn't.