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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Casual Filmmaking

The funny part is that I edited a little homage to my crappy crew. It used to be up on Revver, but that web hosting service doesn't seem to be up anymore or you could see it.

But I still stand by my words here. Amateur crew can kill you, and cost you many hours of work later.


June 27th, 2006

Ok, I'm gonna have to go off a little here. If you're one of the cast/crew who this applies to, and you get offended...well, screw you. I don't care.

I guess I was in a haze during much of the filming--there's so much on my mind that I really kind of take things minute by minute. I have to be prepared to change the plan at a moment's notice so we don't lose any time, so I'm wrapped up in my own mind a lot.

So I guess I never really quite noticed, to the full degree, just how amateur a lot of my cast/crew was. I'm speaking particularly of their habit of chatting during takes.

Seriously. I'd say roll sound, the sound guy says "Speed". Typically, on a real movie set that's where people shut up. Then I call "Action!".

But I guess I never realized just how bad it got on FOC2 until now, when I'm going through the footage. On just about every take you can hear either myself or Mun(the DP) saying "Be quiet!" or "Shut up!"

Nevermind that you'd think it was obvious that once I call action, we're taping sound. So if you're talking--DUH!--I'm going to hear your fucking voice when I later listen to the takes.

And nevermind that there are actors attempting to concentrate and put themselves in a mental place where they can believably portray a character, and hearing people whispering or giggling in the background doesn't help them.

For Christ's sake--you're on a movie set. Mun actually asked members of the crew, during more than one take, "Have you ever been on a movie set?". Mun works on real movie sets for a living, and he couldn't believe the lack of professionalism displayed.

But now it's really starting to come across now that I'm hearing it in tons of takes. And it's really pissing me off.

It's going to cost me literally WEEKS of extra work, as I go out and record a lot of foley effects I wouldn't need to--my back-up mic had excellent audio of that car driving by, except for the fact that there are people chatting in the background.

As Mun said in exasperation a number of times, "Casual filmmaking at its finest." Well, I know a number of people who won't be returning to the set of my next film.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

June 25th, 2006

 First attempt at "Giggles" paint on a friend of painter Stephanie Petagno.

June 25th

The first pickup. We head to some physical therapy place that’s doubling as the doctor’s office. The examination room is pretty close—only thing it doesn’t have is the paper on the tables. Oh well.

Ziegler, Luke, me, Pattee and Frank show up—Frank last. Neil Conway shows up as the doctor.

I get set up fast. We start shooting. I’m moving very fast—it’s nice when I’m getting exactly what I want.

Neil’s right on—the whole day I think he only screws up once—and he’s got the hardest dialogue I’ve ever written—it’s all medical jargon. Good actor.

Frank’s a little off, but close enough. We get done in like 2.5 hours. I cut the footage the next day and the scenes’s pretty good. Even Mun likes it.

Find out later the sound isn't great.  Lotta hiss in the dialogue.

I don't know what's going on here right now. Make up your own caption.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

June 11th, 2006: Aftermath

D.P. Dave Mun hangs out on the roof of our set

June 11th

I wake up about 2pm. Mun comes by and his plane doesn’t leave until 7pm, so we take in a movie. X-men 3—sucked. We have dinner at Glory Days and chat about things in general.

Then I drop him off at the airport. I head home and begin backing up the tapes.

Still not feeling that deep sense of loss I had after principle photography on the first Fear of Clowns. I also don’t feel so bleak, but I’m not sure exactly when it came to me after the first movie.

I do see that I missed a scene at Tuckahoe, so we’re gonna have to pick that up. Another one! Jesus.

An early attempt at an FOC2 poster, minus Shivers, by Erik Ashley

Saturday, October 16, 2010

June 10th, 2006: Wrap Party

June 10th

The wrap party. My wife has left at 9am to decorate the place. She gets the keg, the food, the works.

I get over to the house and help set up stuff. People start arriving. I get thrown at the grill—-have to cook so I do. Hot dogs, burgers, chicken.

We all eat, then play volleyball. Eventually I show the teaser and a scene to mixed results. I don’t think some of the people understand that I only had 6 fucking hours to go through 31 tapes, import the footage, then edit it together, along with making new titles.

And that's 6 hours on a day we've been shooting...

Fuck ‘em. Next time I’ll just sleep and they’ll have nothing to watch.

Night falls and the real men head out to Fantasies strip club. That would be me, Mun, Stull, Mike and Al(my brother-in-law). We watch a fight, see Al get in trouble for fake fucking a waitress who bends over for him(and then demands a tip), and head home. Me and Mun keep drinking, trying to finish the keg, and I get home at 4am.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

June 9th, 2006: Day 19

June 9th

 Carol(Leanna Chamish) plays Lynn(Jacky Reres)'s manager

After 2 hours of sleep I head over to the eastern shore.

Frank tells me we can’t shoot at the restaurant we were supposed to shoot in. So once again I can toss my shooting script in the trash.

We go over to the restaurant, but since it’s not the restaurant we were supposed to be in, the extras all showed up at the wrong location. Lucky for us the other restaurant sent them to us.

We got set up—the scene was written to be inside, but Frank makes it plain that the restaurant wants us to shoot on the outdoor patio. They also wanted us to shoot an hour earlier and be gone by noon.

So we start shooting. Things start okay—then the girl playing the waitress(Crystal) drops her tray of drinks on an extra. Whoops.

Then Frank begins missing lines. He gets flustered. Blowing lines in front of 30 extras is embarrassing.

Last but not least, Noah(a P.A.) comes over to tell me that the restaurant would like us out by 11:30am. I tell him that’s not going to happen. We’ll be out by noon.

We keep going, and sure enough, we finish by 11:40 and load up to move to the gallery for what will be the last scene shot during principle photography.

Leanna and Jacky, and  D.P. Dave Mun in the middle

At the gallery some new extras show up. It’s hot, and the gallery has no air conditioner on. We decide to say screw the lighting. We’ll bounce whatever we need.

The woman playing the Lynn fan doesn’t show up, so I designate an extra to read the line.

We shoot. Not too many problems, other than audio ones because the door is open and the street is loud. Bells from the ice cream store are VERY loud.

 The gallery peeps

Before you know it we’re done. The martini shot. Picture wrap. Congratulations all around.

We pack up, and some of us decide to meet up at Legal Spirits for dinner.

It’s just me, Mun, Jacky, Stull, Crystal, Jared, Mike, Noah and Ziegler. We eat, tell stories, crack ourselves up, and give Ziegler some food because he didn’t order anything.

Back at Frank’s afterward, we say our goodbyes, then I go search Frank’s house for anything I left. Turns out to be a lot. It takes me an hour to pack it all up by myself. Then I head home, struggling to keep my eyes open the entire way.

I get home and lay down from 9pm to midnight, then I get up to edit a quicky teaser for the next day’s wrap party. I go back to sleep from 6am to 2pm.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog

To bring you this--we're trying to raise the last 25% of our budget on the new flick through crowd-sourcing via Indiegogo. So we're asking everybody's help!

But don't worry--there's some cool incentives to be had with your donation! Check out the link below to see the teaser and more info!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

June 8th, 2006: Day 18

June 8th

A first. My wife wakes me at 10:20am and tells me I’m late. I’m blank. I ask, “For what?”

She tells me the movie and all of a sudden I’m back in the present.

I take a 60 second shower and race out. I get to the set—my parents’ house—at  about 11am, so immediately we’re over an hour late.

The day gets worse from there. I should have stayed home.

We have the contact problem again. Mark can’t keep them in his eyes. They’re killing him. We get two scenes done. He takes them out and his eye becomes VERY bloodshot.

One punk doesn’t show—we have to call him. Turns out nobody called to give him his shoot time. Our bad.

But then he shows up but looks more like Jesus-meets-Cousin-It than a punk. His hair completely covering his face. We did a take like that and I'm wondering, "What is he thinking?" Don't actors like for the people to see their faces?
Clayton Myers, the actor who showed up looking like Cousin It. In the end it all worked out, and he was very good in the scene. FX guy Doug Ulrich behind him.

We do Jed Weaver’s scene first. He’s a pro—comes in, bangs it out, and he’s gone. My wife stops by and fixes some burgers my mom left before she and my dad went off to Tennessee. We all eat and I try not to think about how behind we are and how the fuck I’m gonna shoot a movie about a black-eyed clown when his eyes aren’t black.

Valerie Saunders makes Johnny's hair into the punk look seen below.  She screams great as the punk girl who gets it from Ogre.
Jared, behind them, makes like he's Jamie, and watches.

We get later and later. We shoot the punk scene but end around 10pm. I order pizzas. We’re supposed to do two more scenes and then head out to do two pickups we missed because of Johnny earlier in the week.

Mark CANNOT put the lenses back in so we shoot everything reverse of him and he says he, Johnny and Clarence will come back in a couple of weeks to finish it.

Everyone says bye—the clown and crew won’t be back for the last day, and many won’t be returning for the wrap party.

This is the hair-do we're going for.

I’m in a bad mood. Two horrible days, and now I have a buttload of pickups to do. Fuck.
Spoiler alert. A lot of people die in this movie.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monstermania 08-2010 Interlude

Taking a brief break from the log, I present to you my Monstermania day. Me and Zig headed out to NJ around 9am.
We got there around noon. The parking lot was jammed full. The road was jammed full. We parked about a quarter mile away and walked.

First thing we saw was a line out the door and around the hotel. Turned out to be for John Carpenter. The Batmobile was out front.
We headed inside where I dropped off some stuff for Rob Dimension of Late Night At The Horror Hotel. That's him and me in the pic below.

Then I followed Zig around and snapped some pics of him and some celebs. This is Zig.

This is Zig with Herschell Gordon Lewis. Tell you the truth, I've heard the name, but didn't know who he was.
Added by Zig: H.G. Lewis directed 2000 MANIACS, BLOOD FEAST, GORE GORE GIRLS, THE WIZARD OF GORE and many others. First gore-hound.
I don't know who this is, but Zig got her autograph. He'll tell me later who she was.
Added by Zig: TIFFANY HELM (robot-dancing new wave girl from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V)
This is Betsy Russell(Private School, the Saw movies). She has no business still being this hot. I mean, we saw her walking across the room before we knew who she was in this skin-tight dress, and she is SMOKING.
 We figured we'd hit the regular rooms and then wait in line for Carpenter. I took some random pics. This is some zombie statue that was pretty cool. Then there were these dolls--very cool, but they were like $195 apiece...
The place was pretty packed. Isn't it funny, though, how all these cons look the same?
I'm not sure who this is, but I called her Boobs McGee. No reason.
I don't know who this is below. Zig will tell me.
Added by Zig: BILL RANDOLPH (the stabbed with a spear while having sex in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2)

Amy Steel(Friday the 13th Pt 1 &2)
Barbara Steele of Dark Shadows.
Denise Crosby(Pet Sematary, STNG)
Julian Sands(Warlock, Arachnophobia) had nobody at his table. I felt a little sorry for him.
Kelly Jo Minter(Summer School, Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Child) with something scary
We stopped by Lloyd Kaufman's Troma Booth so Zig could talk to him. Zig's movie "Blood Oath" just got picked up by Troma! btw: Lloyd was mobbed every time you went by him even though they stuck him in a dark corner.
This is Andy from Child's Play 1&2. I can't remember his real name. He'll always be Andy to me.
These are chicks. Sometimes I take pictures of them. It's a hormone thing.
A cool Krueger bust.
Ok, this isn't the chick thing. I used to work at a restaurant, so I respect waitresses. That's all. 
And no, the neck would not be a deal breaker, if you know what I mean.
So anyway, we were gonna bite the bullet and wait outside in the line for Carpenter, but someone special mentioned there might be a way around that. We gave it a shot--and I kid you not--ten minutes later we had out signed picture of Carpenter.

I don't want to say much. Maybe he was having a bad day or something. But my impression of Carpenter wasn't a great one. Leave it at that.
But I got this:

Anyway, it was a decent time. Honestly, with Carpenter being the only big guest I was a little surprised at how many people were there.

Back to the FOC2 log soon!

(Hey, look! Bonus video of Monstermania!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

June 7th, 2006: Day Off

June 7th, 2006

A day off. I wake at 5:30pm to my wife telling me she brought me Chick-fil-a if I wanted to get up. She read my mind. I eat, watch the Lost Season finale, and then go downstairs to take a look at my stuff.

I start editing stuff and making the graphic for the cake. I work until 2:30am, and do a rough cut of a scene.

Friday, August 6, 2010

June 6th, 2006: Day 17

The irony of this entry is that actually, once Chad's score was in, this scene turned out pretty well. You can see the scene almost entirely at:

And the fun stuff to watch is when Jacky locks the door--you hear a lock, but there's no lock there. I was gonna attach one and just didn't get around to it. The angle makes it hard to tell, so I just said fuck it.

But she sells it, right? That's why we pay her the big bucks.

Stephanie painting Mark up

June 6th

A disaster. We start, and here we go late again. I don’t know how it happens but the time start flying by. It takes us most of the night to do the first scene. We break a window, which looks decent, but a lot of other stuff starts going wrong.

We have a gore scene with spurting blood and we have to put plastic everywhere so that there's no way we'll get any on the wood floors. We have to figure a way to get the dummy figure to stand on its own so Mark can swing an axe into it. We finally put it on a C-stand, and after a couple of tries we get it to work.

We can’t make the new basement door fit right, no matter what we try. I personally spend an hour cutting, sanding, and fitting the door. If you pull up hard it will shut, but there’s no handle to keep it shut.(I do all this carpentry when I get there while the crew is futzing around; don't ask me why)

We get done the first two scenes and it’s around 4am. We were set to finish them at 1am. We now have an hour and a half of nighttime to finish.

We get a shot where Steve Carson gets thrown through the front screen door. He tells Clarence--six foot eight ex-wrestler to throw him through hard, don’t worry about hurting him.

Clarence does. Steve goes flying like a mannequin. It looks great, but Steve doesn’t respond the first two times I call his name. I’m worried. Then he looks up like, no problem. I’m thinking he was out for a second or two. He denies it.

We start rushing. Half-ass time, folks. A lot of ugly shots. The light starts coming up. We visqueen(I think that's what Mun called it) the windows to stop the sunlight. We shoot toward the doors first, and even fire a few live rounds at 4:30am. Here’s your wake up call, neighbors.

Then we do the door chop. We have to do it right away because of the angle we’re shooting, but now that we broke the door we can’t shoot that direction without seeing a giant hole in the door.

Phil, ready to get into his costume.

We half ass our way through some more shots. It’s gonna be an ugly scene, I can tell you that. Exhausted, I let Mun have my room at the hotel and then I drive home with Ziegler and Carson. I get there at 8:30am and go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

June 5th, 2006: Day 16

June 5th

Wow. Lotta shit today.

I waited for Ziegler since I was gonna drive him over to the eastern shore. He’s late—I had figured I’d stop and get lunch but now we might not be able to. I’m just pulling out of my road when I get a call from Steve Carson, one of today’s actors.

His car’s back windshield is broken and he says he can’t make it over to Frank’s. The cops stopped him, he says, and won’t let him drive. So I tell him to meet me nearby and we’ll give him a ride.

New detour—as we wait for him. He takes his time. Lunch is definitely out.

We get to Frank’s house 15 minutes late. We need two police cars—we had one real one that was gonna show up and I was going to rig up Brandon’s car for the other. But the real guy says he can’t come til later. So we make up my car into a cop car also.

We put police lights on both and I figure that in order to sell it we’re going to have to have the lights on as they drive around the corner.

The crew is a little lazy again—really starting to slack off. I run around trying to get things organized, and I find my $800 telephoto adapter in a prop box without its case—it’s dirty and maybe scratched. I wig out and go inside and yell at the crew. I’m getting pissed at how shoddy my equipment is being treated. The shit cost me a lot.

Meanwhile, Johnny Alonso hasn’t shown up. Someone calls him and he says he thought his call time was 8pm, not 3pm. He says he’s on his way.

We need tape to put the police stripes and police lettering on the side of the car. The crew asks Frank if he has any and apparently he says “That’s not my department. That’s grip and electric.”

I don’t know what he’s thinking. What he should be thinking is that we're all in this together.

I don't think he realizes that people have been getting irritated with him. He takes a smoke break every five minutes, often doesn’t know his lines, and is very cranky most of the time.

After we get tape and fix the cars,  we’re ready to shoot--almost two hours late. We have Steve and Stull pull the cars around the corner and then drive them into the scene. We do it three times. There’s a funeral or something where firemen and whatnot are coming out and we have our cars cutting through that.

Then we move to shoot a scene down the street with the van and mark. We have one pinhead crewmember who’s walking around with the axe, Frank has his badge and gun on, and all of a sudden a cop pulls up.

He’s pissed. He asks where our permit is. I refer him to Frank. Frank comes down and tells the guy we have no permit. Meanwhile I tell Mun to keep rolling ‘cause I don’t know if we’re getting shut down or not. The guy says he has to call it in—we may get fined for not having a permit. He says we can’t take weapons or badges or anything off Frank’s property. He also tells us there’s an ordinance against anyone in the city wearing a costume or a mask who’s older than 12 years old.

I’m thinking---uh what?

The guy leaves—says the administration will look at it tomorrow and decide if we get fined or not. He leaves, so we move onto Frank’s property and shoot some interior stuff with Johnny and Mark.

Then the tough stuff. We set up for the shoot out front. The stuff we technically are not allowed to shoot, now that the cop has shut us down.

We start shooting, but stop everytime a car comes down the street—Frank hides his gun and badge and we wait. Also, we have a crewmember across the street turning off the light every time he gets the signal that there’s a car coming. It’s very slow work, and we all feel like 16 year olds sneaking out to look at the Playboy hidden in the tree house .

We get the shots though. But we fall behind.

The last scene of the night is Jacky and Frank busting out of the basement. Me and Ziegler accompany them downstairs. After the last shot I run full speed out of the basement and RAM my head into the low ceiling so hard I see a flash of white. My head begins bleeding shortly later.

After we’re done we take off to get breakfast and I hear some unsettling stories about Frank. He appears to be coming apart at the seams. I don’t know how to hold him together.

We only have three more days to go, but Jesus, he’s killing me. I know he’s got a massive amount of shit on his plate, but without him playing a convincing Peters this movie will be dogshit. So I need him to hold it together.

We have no room at his house for everyone so I leave and get a room at the econolodge again. Home away from home. Same room even.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

June 4th: Day 15

June 4th
Got six hours of sleep. I get into a tie and slacks because I’m doing my cameo as a detective today. We set up pretty fast—Ron, John and Luke are also detectives.

Ron, Luke, and John. One of them actually brought his own real gun.

Believe it or not we get done on time—our only snafu is that Jared forgot to start a new scene on the audio recorder so he apparently taped over last nights audio.

Holy shit, does that suck. I may have to get Jay back from new york to loop his audio. He played one of the cops who has dialogue at the end of the movie.

We move to Annapolis, stopping by Fuddruckers for a great burger. John Bailey meets us at Luke’s work, which is doubling for a doctor’s office. We get through that scene pretty close to on time.

Frank’s forgetting all his lines and he falls asleep on the couch when we’re shooting John—then he proceeds to snore through the scene. Nice.

Off to Luke’s house—Frank says he got lost, and is getting nasty phone calls from his soon to be ex-wife. Frank takes an hour to get to us—we’re like 5 minutes away. We think he fell asleep outside in the car.

So we set up and get through the night—some okay stuff but I’m worried that Frank is falling apart.The strain seems to be getting to him.

Done by 2:00am, so I stop by the store to see what’s come out and write a rent check. Then home to do this diary. In bed by 4am.

Postnote: In the end, yes, I had to get Jay back for his dialogue as well as Vin. So if you see the last scene of FOC, EVERYTHING is looped. The firetruck, the talking, the ambient...I think it came out okay though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

June 3rd, 2006: Day 14

Me, going over the shooting script, with Stewie doing a handful of nothing in the background.

June 3rd

Wake up to find it gray and rainy outside—the new weather forecast says scattered storms for the next 5 days. Wonderful.(I always hear Tom Atkins in “Night of the Creeps” when I say that)

We don’t start shooting until 1pm, but I had to check out of the hotel today because they’re booked for some Nascar event. So I sit outside the hotel using their internet for an hour and a half while I wait to show up on set.

Then I head to Frank's—it’s all interior stuff  between him and Jacky. We’re gonna start shooting and Jared informs me that the mixer definitely doesn’t work. I’ve had this mixer since “Hunting Humans”—it’s great. Really cleans the audio.

So I panic a little—I’m not sure whether the sound will match. We start shooting anyway, and I make some calls. I find a store in Wheaton, so Luke calls his wife Nelly to see if she’ll go get it. She has to drive a half hour one direction, then an hour the other.

She does though, and we get the mixer. We redo the audio, then pack up to go to Tuckahoe.

The scene with real police lights, an ambulance, and a fire truck!

We get there and there’s a fire engine, a paramedic truck, and Mark has all the police light racks working—on top of cars they totally sell the scene. I try to organize the would-be cops while they park the cars in position for the final scene.

And I’m speechless when Jared tells me the mixer we just bought doesn’t power up. It’s just like the other mixer, and we’ve owned it for barely an hour.

I’m pissed, but we have to move—after this scene we have to pick up 76b, then head across the bridge to get some sleep—we’re to shoot at 8:30am.

Waitaminute, that guy looks familiar...(Mark Lassise doing double duty as a cop)

I get to the scene with all the cars and flashing lights and people, and it’s impressive. Looks like a real crime scene.

We shoot, but it takes us as long as I planned for. I was hoping to finish it faster, so we could start 76b but so much for that.

We say thanks to everyone and then try to get all the cars out of the way so we can set up for 76b. By the time we’re ready(Mark played an extra in the previous scene, and then he went to get something to eat, so now he was late getting made up) it’s like 1:30am.

It starts bad when I find out that my lead actor, who is supposed to kiss my lead actress in one of the final shots of the movie,  has a cold sore. So there will be no kiss. I believe they call that an omen.

We move as fast as we can, but it’s dark with no HMI’s(we had to return them—we only had them for a limited time, and this scene was supposed to have been shot already).

Everyone is exhausted. Then a mini-disaster.

We’re doing a shot where the gun is in foreround and Frank points it at Shivers and fires. I’ve loaded it and handed it to Frank, but apparently he’s forgotten that you don’t pull the trigger until I say fire.

He clicks the hammer when Mun and me are hunched over the camera. Mun freaks out when the blank FIRES off; he’s closer than me, and my ears are ringing loudly. He cusses and stomps off, and I hear stuff being broken at the meeting hall.

A couple of people go over to talk to him, but I have no choice but to keep shooting with the B camera. Joe gets some shots, but I’m not sure if it will match. We’re shooting blind, and I'm not sure if he framed Jacky right or left, so I don't know which way to now shoot Mark so it matches.

(After note: I picked wrong--watch the movie at the end and you may be able to see, as I had to flip Jacky in post. Couldn't flip Mark because you'd notice his smile would be on the wrong side of his face)

Eventually Mun comes back; he’s okay, but you can tell his heart’s not in it. We finish the scene, though we’re missing shots, and we wrap at 5:00am—we start packing up and by the time I leave it’s 5:30am. If I get to my house by 6:30am then we’ll have two hours to sleep.

I decide to call off the first scene so we can have a little sleep.  I drive home and fall into bed.

Slackers Mike Baldwin, Mark Lassise and Jared Noe