Wednesday, August 31, 2005

drive-in, Saturday...

For those of you that would like to see the first set of pictures from our filming efforts this weekend, here are a few. If you would like to see more you can click on this link to view all of the fun shots from our "Stone Free Joey" scene this weekend. Apparently I'm listening to a David Bowie song (hence the title) and Anthony is watching pre-season football. It's amazing that we actually get anything done.


Monday, August 29, 2005

weekend five: talking that slow jive...

I'm fairly certain that the New Orleans Film Festival 2005 will either be delayed or (at worst case scenario) cancelled due to the flooding, destruction, and general mayhem that has been dropped upon the Crescent City. Filmmakers were going to hear from the festival on September 1st whether or not they were accepted and/or invited to take party in the New Orleans Film Festival (though I would assume that "we" probably didn't get in with A Cowboy's Silver Lining). I'll just accept it... though it would have been fun to go down there and be included in the film festival. So... we'll wait till the clouds, rain, sewage, and floating caskets clear up to find out what happens. I would hope that someone out there is running about with their camera documenting the whole thing. I'm sure the weather channel, the history channel, and several other cable networks would be interested for a first hand documentary. Sorry, I'm not up for it...
On the other hand, we had a very good time filming our scenes this weekend. Forrest Pruett put a breath of life into Stone Free Joey that made you choke and cough with giddy laughter. His addition of 10 scantily clad women, giggling, and rolling about the room also added to the contagious laughter. Filming went extremely well... everyone seemed to have fun... and we made the scene in good time.
The only moment we got behind filming was when we were waiting on a couple of our actors to arrive from various locations around noon. I won't bitch or complain too much... everything worked out, and it was well worth the time and effort to work all of that stuff into the scene. Joe Smith (a.k.a Robert "Pooch" Puchinelli), took quite a few production photos that we will be able to share with you as soon as I can get home and unzip file. I will warn you that the photos are mostly of women in "comfortable clothes," as they tended to fill the majority of the space in the room.
Soon there were only four of us left... Joe, Anthony, Brad, and I (a.k.a. - J.A.B.I.) were the only people left to finish the shoot for the day. Yeah, everyone else bailed. This part of the production took a little more time. We fought off the poor timing of jets taking off and landing... a neighborhood dog that wouldn't go home... some kind of strange banging that was coming from my neighbor's house... and Anthony bitching about his back hurting (I'm kidding... but not really... he was bitching). We finally figured out how to time the airplanes so that we could squeeze in one long take, I chased off the dog, figured that my neighbors had taken someone hostage, and got Anthony a beer (Anthony is to beer: as Popeye is to Spinach). After a few more shots we were done for the day.
Now I'll have to start going over to "The Studio" during the week to load the computer full of video and start rough-cutting these scenes together. The juices are flowing. I'm thrilled about seeing this come together. It's a funny movie. I just hope that it will be funny when it's done. That all comes down to editing... and timing... and fart jokes. Look for the production photos soon (here and @ ).

Here are a couple of THREADS from this weekend:

BRAD: When do we get to film the girl on girl kissing scene?
JOE: Bevan's head looks like it's going to explode.
BEVAN: Jason, I never thought I would say this... but... take your clothes back off.
JOE: That's not the nipple shot we were promised.
BEVAN: Anthony, I thought I told you to call the airport and get rid of those planes? Do I have to do everything around here? ANTHONY: You could try acting...


Friday, August 26, 2005

it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor...

I truly think that everyone should own The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Bowie's body of work but there are some personal favorites from the collection. This album might be the most recognizable sound for the general public... but for those that gain a fair amount of pleasure from actually listening to Albums, Ziggy Stardust is a fantastic pinnacle piece of the collection. The side one/track one title is Five Years. If the album starts off like that follows through a magnificent work of art... hits a smooth apex with Lady Stardust and concludes with Rock & Roll Suicide and you enjoy each and every swell of sound then you can imagine the connections that an individual can make with the joy of a single song... which brings me to the point I've been desperately trying to get to.
Music makes a movie. There are certain emotional strings that are pulled when the guy races against time and all odds to hold his big 1980s "boom box" high above his head and play "In Your Eyes" to Fraiser's sister (you do know that was Fraiser's dad in that film right?). It's cheesy... but it works... and from that point on John Cusack was the only man that women were looking for. Unless you wore a trenchcoat and liked Peter Gabriel, you were screwed.
If I had money to put forth in our current film adventure,
d i v i n e m a n i p u l a t i o n o f t h e t h r e a d s,
I would more than likely spend the vast majority of such said funds on purchasing the rights to music for use in the film. For those that have bore witness to my personal music collection, you might imagine that I have a few ideas on what to use in any situation. With the addition to Satellite Radio, I've been thrust into a new realm of musical tastes and knowledge. I could make a movie soundtrack with artists that no one has ever heard of... sparking an interest in independent labels, independent movies, and emotional connections to music and artists that had been lost in the fray.
All artists want to share a gift with those that care to take it in as art. As John Cusack would further his career through "rom-coms" he would take on a character that knew about the subtle art of making a mix tape... and what is a movie soundtrack more than a well thought out mix tape?
Anyway, someday I would like the freedom to be able to take on such a daunting task. Until then, I'll have to score the film with beats, drones, and jazz influenced experiments. In the meantime, I'll keep purchasing albums and waiting to use Bob Dylan's "All the Tired Horses" in my "barhopping script" opening sequence. Stay tuned, this weekend is another Saturday full of filming.

Monday, August 22, 2005

weekend four: can we get some more?

I think it would be fair to say that everyone has been very pleased with what we're getting filmed on these magic Saturdays. So far, we've made each and every one of our scheduled shooting days. As a matter of fact, most days we've finished earlier than expected. That certainly says a lot for the hard work and dedication of the individuals that make up this Family known as Rusted Sun Films. Everyone works hard and makes sure that we get exactly what we think is a great take (and most times even better than we had imagined). Thanks again to all of those that gave us some of your valuable time on Saturday. Soon, we might start working on Sundays as well (if for some reason we feel that we can squeeze all of that work in without running into a brick wall of exhaustion). It takes it's toll... but it's all for the love of doing it.
Now, we filmed a scene at a bank (that wasn't originally scripted... but still quite a fun little addition). There was a misunderstanding with a scene that involved passing a note to the bank teller that became a little more heated and a little more humorous with each take. In the scene, ASH is supposed to ask the bank teller out for a date. Because the scene wasn't scripted, the actress didn't know that was the case (she just thought it was supposed to read "This is a robbery"). So, naturally, when she read a note that said "Would you like to go out sometime?" hastily scrawled across a sheet of paper... she thought that I was asking her out. It got a good laugh. Of course, she thought I was a sleezeball for about half an hour... but it's all about the punchline, right? Oh, and Brad got his cameo appearance in. Thanks to Kevin, Arnold, Dayna, Charlee, John and Tiffany for making a shoot that was supposed to be fairly quick and easy stay fairly quick and easy. And thank you for returning my cash. Special thanks to the Bank president and staff that were nice enough to work with us on the shoot (I don't know if you wanted the name mentioned so I'll leave it as BofB).
The evening shoot was a little more taxing (no pun intended) than the Bank shoot. The main reason is that while we were in the bank, there was air conditioning. While we were shooting out by the church... it was warmer than Satan's balls. Everyone was drenched in sweat, there was a wedding at the church we had to "wait out," the battery on the camera was running low, the tape was running low, people kept driving by with their windows down blaring beats from the Hustle and Flow soundtrack (I shit you not), drivers honked horns (some even stopped to ask what we were doing-- as if the camera, tripod, and boom mic didn't instantly give it away), I got my ass kicked a couple of times by actors, managed to bruise something around my hip, but managed to make it all work by the end of the evening. We got some pretty fantastic stuff when all was said and done. Bob, Michael, and Eddy were great sports for braving through the oppressive heat that crushed the entire city on a steamy Saturday night.
Anthony, Brad, and Christine get major props for making it all happen.
Try to beat the heat kids... next week my apartment will be transformed into a "stoner pad" for our first shoot with Stone Free Joey, his harem, and boner roommate. Hurrah for Indie movies.


CHARLEE: "I didn't know what to think of the first one and then he did it again. I mean, he's doing this and his girlfriend is right there."

JOHN: "Code Green, pepperoni and cheese... no anchovies"


Monday, August 15, 2005

weekend three: what's it gonna be?

You have to be able to laugh at yourself. This weekend, like many of the previous weekends (not to mention many a weekday, weeknight, random conversation and all the like) I was asked the magical question for the next-to-millionth-time, "So what's your movie about?" When we did the last film, A Cowboy's Silver Lining, I came up with a few answers that seemed like a fair explanation of a dark and strange tale. Divine Manipulation of the Threads is a little easier to explain... and you would think that (as the writer and creator of the script) I would be able to give a well detailed description of exactly what my film is about. Here is the typical response and conversation that I give to those that may ask:

"It's basically a comedy that revolves around a Heist."
"A heist?"
"Yeah, a heist... a bank heist"
"There is a group of four that is trying to hijack a $70 million dollar bank transaction. Throughout the film you get to see that everyone is trying to screw each other out of the money. They're really just a bumbling bunch of idiots... but you later find out that there was a devilish plan designed by the main character to take care of all of his problems."
"So it's like Ocean's Eleven?"
"No... yeah... in a way... but it's not really... there's a dance scene."
"That sounds interesting."
"It will be funny. I had to promise to make a funny movie after disturbing everyone with A Cowboy's Silver Lining."

So, that's the general feel of the explanation and the typical responses. I'm sure that it wouldn't change too much if a film exec. asked what it was about. So, we finished off a couple of more scenes and pages with this weekend's Saturday shoot. Ralph and I had some fun, Joe was great as usual, Sara made a very interesting waitress costume (by hand)... it was really hot... I ate two props (ham sandwiches)... drank Ralph's beer... "got bitchy" about shooting in the 98 degree heat... cursed at trolleys and motorcycles... screwed up numerous lines... but most of all, we had a great time and that's why we do this thing called "playing movies." If we didn't love it, I'm sure that I wouldn't be able to get any of these guys together on the weekend. A lot of great people put a lot of their important time on the line to support each other and take a stab at living the dream.

So here are some of the threads from this weekend's shoot:

RALPH: "He's....Bevan's touching my pineapple"

SHAUN: (Ralph and Bevan mess up lines) "We're through with the stand-in's,bring in the actors"

BEVAN: "These are just pick up shots" (of the plate of food), SHAUN responds: "Where are the lines?"

RALPH: "Give me a Bruce Willis frame to hide my lack of hair," BRAD responds: "Can't we just get Bruce Willis?"

RALPH: "You tongued my Corona"

BRAD: "My Thong String is getting wet"

BEVAN: "fucking trolleys... fucking motor cycles"

SHAUN: "You tell Anthony that I don't tell him how to push the red button on the camera and he doesn't tell me how to point the damn microphone."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

you know it's hard out here to be a pimp...

I can't tell you how many times I've been standing on a sidewalk, getting out of my car, or just walking across the street and been bombarded with the license plate rattling bass lines from the Hustle and Flow Soundtrack. The entire city (including rednecks in pickup trucks) has been taken over by the friendly local aura of this "thug life" flow. I'm just blown away. Now, I'm sure it's happening all over the place but Memphis doesn't really do the iPod thing... we prefer to roll through town with our windows down (in 110 degree heat mind you) so that we can share all of our current musical tastes with the good hearted pedestrians of the city. It doesn't matter if you're at work or at home... we'll find you and make sure you can hear "Whoop that Trick" for the fourth time today. I'm not mad or even disturbed... I truly find the cross-over fascinating. I might have to go out and get some "Gol-teef."
Now, on that note... I'm "tied-as-hell," meaning that I've had about 45mins of sleep within the last two days. The day job has magically turned into a day-overnight-evening kind of gig. There isn't any big breaking news to share, I just happen to be the photographer living near the general area of Orange Mound homicides. I think that would make a great CSI series.... CSI: Orange Mound (starring Sam L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Eight Ball). I still think that hiring Ashton Kutcher to make Knight Rider into a movie would be a fantastic money making idea too. Aren't any of you MTV music video directors up to task?
I'm very excited to see that F.F. Coppola is finally going to do something with the rights to Jack Kerouac's novel, "On the Road." I have to find a way to get involved with this film. It has been a dream of mine to make a Kerouac book into a film. However, "On the Road" has been in pre-production hell for around 40 years. On the other hand, I would cherish turning Kerouac's novel, "Big Sur" into a motion picture. Maybe by the time I can get those wheels in motion (I'm very serious about this) I'll be old enough to play 'ol Jack's role. I could probably pull it off now but I've got to work on my slurred Lowell, Massachusetts accent.
We'll be filming on Divine Manipulation of the Threads again this weekend. I should go rather smoothly. I was quite surprised about how well the last shoots went. We never really had much time to rehearse them (actually we didn't rehearse at all) but everything went smoothly. I was pleased as punch and I'm sure that the saccharine sweet smile stretched from cheek to cheek will continue on through the weekend. Now, I've got to go screw up the NEWS.


Monday, August 08, 2005

weekend two: the electric boogaloo

Some of you might remember the laughable problems that took place during production of Rusted Sun Films' last feature venture, A Cowboy's Silver Lining. For those of you that aren't privy to the way I bitched and contemplated the astounding absurdity of these obstacles, you can check them out on the Official Rusted Sun Films website, or just ask one of us sometime. It made for an eye opening adventure in the trials and tribulations of filmmaking.
So, this weekend we had our first of many "scene shoots" for our next feature piece, Divine Manipulation of the Threads. We started early, had some great takes, a few bloopers, a lot of laughs... had some issues with neighbors mowing their lawn... and that was all before 11am.
We had a layover until our next shoot was to take place. We took some time to set up Anthony's television like a monitor... bought some headphones... ate some cheese...
Somewhere around 3:00pm a nice little typhoon rolled through our Bartlett location. The power flickered here and there... and then knocked power out for around three hours.
Joey Joe Joe (Joseph B. Smith) showed up to shoot and we couldn't get started until 7:15pm. We thought that if Anthony could learn how to breakdance (The Electric Boogaloo) that the Gods would smile upon us and bestow the house with the much needed Amps required for actually shooting a scene that day. No luck. Thankfully, the rainstorm cooled off the temperature to a bearable degree. I make note of that because we were shooting in a garage (which will be used a couple more times for a couple more shoots). We finished up the shoot within two hours, put the gear back in all of the cases, I managed to pull my back, and then we talked about the beginning of "The Threads."
Ralph Hatley (a.k.a. The Guitar Man) had an idea... To make note and keep a tally of all of our laughable and often idiotic sayings during the production portion of the film. Here's what we've got so far:
1. "Mrs. Mifune's hat looks like a condom's reservoir."
"oh crap, it won't stay on...nail it, gaff tape it, glue it with gorilla glue, staple it...."
2. "The last time I did that was in Prison... I mean, uh... Church."
So, that's the news so far. We've got a few more weekends scheduled and ready to roll. It's been long shooting days with very rewarding material. We'll keep working on it... be ready to laugh...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

kickin' the sickness...

We pushed back a Saturday night shoot to a following Monday and guess what? I got super sick on Sunday. So Monday's shoot had me sweating it to the oldies. I had to push forward with the production because I couldn't allow myself to make any excuses. I couldn't allow these "pick-ups" to be pushed back again to some other day. I don't really like it when we can't get things the first time. And pushing things back just because "I" don't feel good wasn't a good enough reason. I didn't have to be on camera. All I had to do was find a few good shots of Churches and BBQ joints, take some more DayQuil, a zinc pill, some OJ, and sweat out weird dreams of Ninjas until 8am the following morning. Now, if I had to be on camera, that wouldn't have worked. I've lost my voice due to all of this sickness.
However, this Saturday as long as no one else is deathly ill, we will be shooting two scenes and continuing on with this wonderful thing known as Divine Manipulation of the Threads, Rusted Sun Films 2nd feature endeavors. Hopefully this film will catch some more attention, catch some laughs, win some awards, and keep us from having to sell shit through infomercials.