Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year New Beginnings


First of all, thank you for all the kind wishes in light of our set back. That was of great comfort and encouraged us in ways that were miraculous. Now that everyone has managed to make it out of the arctic vortex and returned to Los Angeles, we plan to get back to work.

This week, we will be having meetings and setting up a casting session to replace the cast that we've lost. Then, we'll look at the assets we have and start planning a new shoot.

As always, we will keep you all posted to any new developments!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Curve Ball and How to Deal

We should be shooting today. We all worked very hard to be shooting this weekend. We pulled off some deals that were astonishing to give us some incredible production values. All of that hinged on us shooting this weekend. However, some of the cast had obligations that could not be changed. Thus, we are not shooting this weekend. In fact, to put together what we had put together for today will take weeks if not months. We will also be re-casting some of the roles. That will take time as well. Fret not, those who invested in the project through Indiegogo. The actor you want most to see is still attached to the project.

To say that we are disappointed is a gross understatement. We were initially so crestfallen that we considered forgetting the entire project and moving on to something else. However, one of our lead did not think this was a good idea either. He maintained that it gave us a chance to make the webseries even stronger than it was. Like Joe McKay finding a new life after Delphi, we could make something new out of what remained. This view prevailed.

We're going to re-group after the New Year and figure out what we want to do about the vacated roles. We are not going with the suggestion of one of our cast that he can play all the parts, including the female characters. Most likely, we'll run another Breakdown. We'll also have to replace the assets we've lost in not shooting today. To that end, I'm working on a lot of other people's shoots to curry favors that I will use later. The upshot is that we have not given up. Nor will we!

As always, we really appreciate your patience and well wishes. I do pass them on to the cast and crew. Look for our holiday wishes on this page in a couple of weeks!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Creative Coundowns

It wasn't until we got to T-Minus three weeks that I realized I may have been foolish to schedule the shoot for the week immediately following Bent-con.  My reasoning was sound. We get it out of the way before our crew had their finals (they are in film school) and before anyone had any Thanksgiving plans. We were fairly sure we could keep the dates open at the studio for that weekend. All that was in doubt was how well I would be for the proceedings. I wasn't worried about that. If I was in a bad way, we would have almost a full crew that could wear most of my hats. I could be curled up in a ball under the first floor stairs and that wouldn't impact the shoot. It would be a drag though. But the show must go on.

Moderately Laid Plans

We met our crew while working for our Director of Photographer, Israel Lliteras, while they worked on his
Jon (fight), Israel (center) scoping out a set.
thesis film. It was an ambitious shoot. That had been a concern for me and Jon. However, it was apparent from the beginning that they had a reasonable plan. Despite the pages and FX and an actress not showing up and the replacement being late, it was a relaxed set. I was impressed with everyone from the top of the crew down to the P.As. There was no slacking off. Everyone was laid back and relaxed for the most part. It was impressive how much and how well they got through all of those difficult shots. This certainly bodes well for our shoot.

In the weeks after the shoot, I realized that our shoot date may have also been unrealistic because most of the crew being in school. Almost everyone on the shoot was shooting thesis films of their own or working for students who were doing films. I wasn't too worried, because I knew that we had to get the shoot in the can before the middle of December when they would be students no more. As long as we could squeeze in our dates before then, we were cool. Thus, I was not surprised when we decided to set up the application for our film permit that the crew was largely unavailable for the November 16-17 dates. Since this was not a surprise, I had a fall back date. We are getting a permit for the weekend of December 7-8. It works for the crew and it's well in advance of any of them or the cast doing any holiday travel.

Spinning Always Spinning

And there is a benefit in delaying. We were so focused on the convention that we had done very little in the way of prep for the shoot. We would have gotten something shot, but it wouldn't have been the best that it could be. I don't think that the cast or the crew would have felt great about just shooting something. I'm hoping that we can even get a rehearsal in at some point after we finish casting (which I've set up). I'll be talking to my keys probably every day until the shoot to make sure everything is running as smoothly as it can.

I've put some photos at the end of the blog. More photos of the various locations will go up in the next few days. And we'll have photos and maybe footage of the casting with permission as we're planning on having some of the leads read off the actors auditioning.

Apartment bedroom for Demonspawn during another shoot.

Apartment living room for Demonspawn during another shoot.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Video Interlude

This little video was shot in July when we were working on a film in the Hollywood Hills. We plan on using that location and the grounds around the nearby LA Reservoir, so I thought it would be fun to see the crazy road that must be used to reach this beautiful place. I tried to upload it, but Blogger wouldn't let me, so you'll have to follow the link:

More news coming soon! Meanwhile, enjoy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Latest Script Details and Shoot Date

Okay, we are about to give details about the new script. This will be a SPOILER filled extravaganza. We are keeping the themes of Simon's past relationships and the nuisance for him when vampires become popular in pop culture but with a far more terrifying backdrop than originally planned. Since we will have far fewer episodes in this arc, we thought it best to amp up the jeopardy and the action as quickly as possible. Alas, I have no pretty photos for this post. For those of you who will stop reading here, the shoot begins 11/15/2013.

The focal point of the jeopardy and terror is Special Agent Darabont. He is sent by Delphi's leadership that has been increasingly frustrated with Agent Saybrook's strategy regarding Joe and Simon. He is from the often rumored FBI special forces and quite a scary specimen even to a seasoned agent like Saybrook. However, After speaking to the man, Saybrook determines that his focus is on obtaining or neutralizing Simon and not on obtaining Joe. This suits Saybrook just fine. He has every confidence that if all hell broke lose and Simon was in trouble, Joe would slip away in the mayhem and disappear. He makes one more assumption that proves to be more problematic. Saybrook believes that Darabont has been fully briefed about what Simon Molinar is and is capable of doing.

Meanwhile, Joe and Simon have recently settled into a new town not far from where Saybrook and Darabont were meeting. There is tension between them about Simon's feeding. Joe wants to know when he is and Simon is convinced that is a bad idea. The fight ends in a stoney silence. At some point, Simon tries to break the tension by making dry quips about Twilight and its fans. Joe finally asks about eras in which vampire fever raged. Simon admits that this time reminded him strongly of when Dracula was a play and there was a woman that figured out that he was never seen in daylight. She wanted him to feed on her and make her his bride. Simon wouldn't, because he didn't believe that would work. Ultimately, the girl killed herself. He felt bad that he couldn't solve her problems with a thorough rogering. He goes on to say that he is glad that they are on their current quest, because the Twilight fans are very imaginative and have the internet to fuel speculation. Joe finds that somewhat mausing. The tension was eased for the moment.

The next day, Joe sets off to get a job at the next university. Simon is busily setting up their home only to be interrupted by Darabont. A Bourne Identity  type fight happens throughout the apartment. In the end, Simon's rising blood lust fuels enough strength to feed on the man until he is lifeless. Just then, Joe enters the apartment. He takes in the carnage and destruction and blood and decides that Simon is being a psychotic wise-ass that never wants to lose an argument. Simon blinks at him before asking for help getting rid of the body.

End Episode One

Monday, August 26, 2013

On Being Crafty and the List of Impossibles

It gets real for me when I start buying things like clothes hangers. That means that a shoot is nigh more than anything else. Of course, there is a script and a vague kind of schedule, but beyond that, there is an agreement between all of the disparate parties we've assembled that this will happen relatively soon. When I know this is a certainty, my mind jumps to things that have been a source of problems during past shoots.

I can't say it often enough. If a film has a tiny budget, it behooves producers to make sure that there are some amenities that make the actor feel like they are appreciated. We don't have a wardrobe person, but we should still have their costumes set up in their changing space in the best way possible so that they can be easily seen and used in proper order. That means clothes on hangers in the order worn. There should absolutely be dressing rooms available. Barring that, there should be a comfy room to hang out and run lines.

And then, there is the crafty and food issues which brings me to toasters. On both The Privateers and DemonUnder Glass, we didn't have the right or enough appliances. We had great coffee makers, but no electric kettle for hot water. We had a microwave but no toaster oven. You really need something to toast bagels or properly reheat a slice of pizza. These items seem unimportant compared to the script – and in some ways, they are not as important. Yet, I was still running around like crazy in drug stores in the middle of the night to make sure we had them on the craft service table the next day. Thus, I am picking up hangers and pricing small appliances for pick up very soon. It's great that it is back to school time. The sales are fantastic. What happens to the appliances after the shoot? We used to give them away to a member of the cast or crew or to a thrift shop and write it off. But now that we have a home for the production company, we'll just store it in our trash barrels (one for glass, one for paper and one for plastic and one for garbage) until the next shoot. I also must address the List of the Impossible ®.

The List of the Impossible is my own name to the elastic, seemingly trivial yet vitally important list of items that an actor, a director or various crew people may need. No one has this disparate grouping of items normally. No one. But film is a strange environment and sometimes requires a sack of goodies that would rival any in a video game. It can be a highlighter (you must have a variety of colors because the actor may hate yellow). I've been asked for cough drops (also keep a variety from the candy type to the all natural), band aids, antacids, herb tea, tooth brushes or dental floss, safety pins, mints, gum (mint and cinnamon for both of those and the dental floss). I had a lot of those items during the last shoot I worked on though it was not my job to be the List Keeper. I don't mind wearing this hat. I am a maniacal list keeper anyway, so this is easy. It's just weird when the bags of strange stuff start piling up around the apartment. There is only one item that I refuse to stock from the List and deliberately make difficult for actors to get – cigarettes. I feel almost as strongly about energy drinks, but I won't not carry them – yet. If they continue to make the crew cranky and a little crazy, I may ban them from my sets.

I assemble these things well in advance, because once the train gets going, there is very little time to think about anything more than the stuff that is on camera. Please note, that this is true only when it is a tiny budget. In big budgets, there are people assigned to fill these lists and get these appliances for Craft Services. The list for Craft Services itself is a whole other matter. I deal with that as a function of feeding the cast and crew. Since I am now a pro-am chef (I am being paid to cook on a limited and exclusive basis), I will be feeding them as well as running sound and other production tasks.

Next Time – What is in the new script?!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Updates from a Hollywood Mansion!

I don't like to be too personal when I write on this blog, but the personal has intruded in the progress of the web series in the last few weeks, so I thought I share some of the mayhem that's been going on. We've had some set backs with the production that coincided with some personal issues that caused us to seriously think about pulling the plug on the productions. But our leads told us to wait, take a breath and look at the problem on another day. We did and some amazing things began to happen those amazing things lead to some other amazing things. Within a few weeks, we were back on track. I also got to meet some Trek stars. Usually, that would be for my personal blog. But this may be relevant to Demonspawn as well. That part of the story is still unfolding..

I look back on the last two weeks with excitement and exhaustion. I've had trouble doing a blog about it, because I still don't know how I feel about it. Let's start with the good stuff. I survived almost a week on shoot that was 12 hours overnight (6pm to 6am) in a 4 story location where use of the steep staircase was mandatory. The whole prospect was frightening. I can have so many issues that can keep me from really getting out of bed on any given day. I still never know when that day will be. But there were many reasons that I very much wanted to work this shoot. The most important reason was to prove to myself that I can do the work in some fashion. I knew that I couldn't run around as I once did, but I could do some things. I was very grateful to the producers to be given the opportunity.

No Place Like This Home

Some of the crew remarked that it would be cool to live in that mansion way up in the Hollywood Hills. I was not among them. It wasn't a house that was built to live in, actually. It made absolutely no sense as a house that one lives in. I later found out that it was built as a location. I mean, even the most vain individual would not have a four station professional make-up room with a pro wardrobe room attached. There were even two private toilets off the make-up room. It was set up for actors. But that's good, because there was a lot for the director to work with. The setting even made me want think about how we could do bits of Demonspawn there. Most of the rooms that faced the east had these gigantic electronic black out shades. I could see Simon Molinar totally renting a place with that many large windows as a lark and because no one would think of him renting such a place. I actually had a chat with the very nice young men who were running the location about a short shoot there. That kind of location can really sell the notion of a hero with deep pockets. One scene goes a very long way. Here is the house in all of its glory though there are many rooms not shown. Where the sister property is the one I think would be more to Simon's tastes because it has more woods and darker colors. I just see Simon as liking that more.

Our Director of Photography was also working the shoot. He agreed that those houses had possibilities. He also told me about a location just up the block from the houses that could solve our long standing problems
with where to do certain scenes that required a more isolated location. The Los Angeles Reservoir was just up the hill from where we were shooting. It is an astonishingly beautiful vista in such an urban location. And there were little hiking paths that were ideal for part of the script. We could use one of the houses as a home base for that part of the shoot. That would save us from renting trailers. We'll have to see though which is cheaper.The house has the advantage of kitchen space and many, many bathrooms. I'm a girl. I can't help thinking about these essentials.

The big development is that we have a stable location for casting, rehearsals and for some parts of the shoot that are well within our budget! It can double for any number of places we need, and we have a professional space to work out of for the duration. Of course, we still have scheduling issues. Our leads are busy in one direction. Our crew is busy in another. The next few days will be spent coordinating schedules that bring us all together. Doing that though will be far easier with these new assets and this bitchin' new script.

We hope to introduce you to new actors filling the open roles very soon.  Meanwhile, Check out these photos from the house!

My 'office' for the shoot.

The kitchen is bigger than our apartment!

The view from my 'desk' in my 'office' at the shoot.

The Living Room!