8.03.2010

FILM: Scream Until You're Hoarse: Bloodshot Eye of the Storm

VH1 had a show called "Best Week Ever", right? I never watched. Was every episode just a build-up to the week of July 18th, 2010? Cuz... Best. Week. Ever. It's taken me this long to finally post something about it because laying in bed, staring at a screen and pecking lettered keys just can't compare.

Honestly, I'm not even sure where to begin, what to focus on or what to skim over. Being on the most professional film set I've been on yet and being one of the key creative minds behind the product? Yeah. This is what I was conceived for.

Pretty much every single crew member involved brought all the capability we could have begged for and more. We didn't end up getting a cinematographer proper but Birdie's co-worker Hoss stepped in as gaffer, making our extensive shotlists manageable. Along with Hoss we had a number of good folks coming and going to operate boom and schlep the heavy stuff.

Before the camera, each of our five primary cast members knocked their roles out of the park. Lily Hazelton brought such natural vibes to her character at times her performance felt improvised. Actually, certain portions were indeed improvised as she was always thinking up little changes or additions. Her counterpart, Lily Kelly, brought comic class to the table with highly animated body language and a real bite behind her dialogue. Elisabeth Schlussel Hazelton (no relation to the initially-mentioned Lily) delivered a dynamic theatrical presence and wasn't afraid to put a touch of madness behind her eyes. Her father, Steven Schlussel, really embraced his small part as the innkeeper and proved that even public access cooking show hosts can really act, too! Then, of course, Jim Raposa. Jim is another we know the project wouldn't have happened without. He constantly strived to improve his already fantastic performance, provided a fantastic energy on set and stuck around to mentor even when he wasn't needed on screen. The camera loved them all and I'd be honored to work with any of them again. Can't muster anything but compliment for the extras in their two scenes, either.

The first day of shooting was pretty nuts. We purposefully scheduled the most difficult, unwieldy scene first for a variety of reasons and it nailed both Birdie and I almost unawares. We muscled through, the enthusiasm of the cast and crew helping us along, but it was, at times, a challenge. Looking at the dailies galvanized our own enthusiasm, though, as we realized just how happy we were with the footage we were capturing.

Day two and three were easily the highlights of the shoot. Our energies were at their highest as was our confidence. We even threw in a few last-minute re-writes as seeing certain aspects of our screenplay materialize physically brought to light new ideas. The one potential issue was that we were falling just short of our shotlist goals each day, requiring an extra day of photography to be tacked on to everyone's schedules. Thankfully this was within bounds and although after five late nights in a row fatigue was beginning to creep in, we and the team knocked it out and got what we needed.

I couldn't be more proud of the work we've done. Never have I felt so satisfied with an accomplishment as I did kicking back at Mulligan's (who provided two days' worth of delicious and filling craft services) with Birdie, Jim and Bill Muench after the shoot, eating cheese-smothered jalepeƱo nachos and guzzling "mighty mugs" of stout (oh, and an appletini for good measure) while discussing future collaborations.

Now, as Birdie edits, we're working with a composer (a high school drama instructor of mine, actually) for an original score and planning specifics for secondary photography involving the film's monster. Elisabeth Schlussel Hazelton will return for a barn-based scene with this monster, who will be played by one of our boom operators. In an unfortunate coincidence, Elisabeth and the monstrous boom op are the two who had allergies act up in our premiere barn shoot! They're both troopers, though, and hopefully we can get them in to and out of that shoot (which will likely take place this October) before their noses fall off. Man, I can't wait to get back up there, working on our movie again.

I'm sure I'm leaving things out, but thar be the very basic rundown of principle. Further updates will arrive as secondary develops and comes to pass.

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