Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pirate Shirts, Guns and Bikini Inspectors -- The Search for Props and Such

I was looking at pirate shirts this past week. But that isn't really anything new.  In all honesty, I look at costumes quite often. There is a shop called Robinson Beautilities that is on one of my shopping routes. It is a make-up, wig and costume supplier to the film industry. It's a large store for a place that isn't really near any of the studios. I've rented a few costume pieces from them, but mainly I've bought wig and make-up supplies.. The staff is very helpful even for those who have no clue about what they are looking for. This day, I was looking for ideas for period costumes. We have a teaser to prep for and not much time in which to get it done. Browsing helped me figure out what we should and shouldn't try to do. Incidentally, I'm not thinking of making Simon a pirate. It's just that shirts from that era are almost universally called pirate shirts.

Last week, I had a chat with my cast about the teaser shoot. We have set a date for August 16th and 18th . I briefed them on what we had in mind for the script. The reaction was very enthusiastic so far. Hopefully, when they see the actual script, it will match what I have conjured for them. The big challenge is how to spark an interest in potential viewers who have never seen the film while giving a clear and compelling idea of what the webseries will be like. All this has to be in a zippy two to three minutes. The amount of time really isn't the problem. I've learned from shooting and editing my cooking videos that a whole lot of information can be imparted in a surprisingly short amount of time.

The running time is not the issue. It's that we are covering a lot of elements of the webseries. Thus, we have to shoot quite a bit of material in a relatively short amount of time. The script might be five pages depending upon how much description there is. The devil is in the number of scenes in those five pages. Jon has a plan about a framing device that could save us from filming every little insert. We have two sets of actors to shoot. There are Garett Maggart and Owen Szabo – Joe McKay and Simon Molinar in one part, and Jack Donner  and Donal Thoms-Cappello – Richard Bassett and Ethan Saybrook in the other. Minus the time for make-up and wardrobe, I figure we have four hours of shoot time with each of them. By the way, Donal Thoms-Cappello is one of my actor from Cook Like a Uke. His episode was Beef Curry and Beer . Technically, he's the first professional actor I've ever directed. Fortunately, Jon will be directing the teaser.

Time will be a challenge, but there is a more important aspect of the teaser that we will have to fulfill. Just as the teaser must give the viewers a clear and compelling sense of what the webseries will be like for the viewers, this shoot has to give the actors a clear, compelling and positive experience of working on it. To that end, we are doing many things in the pre-production for this shoot. First, the script has both meat for the actors to sink their teeth into and dessert for them to enjoy. I've already thought of some 'bits of business' for the Bassett/Saybrook scenes that harken back to the original film while establishing a new continuity. I've run some of the ideas for the McKay/Molinar scene with the actors and feel confident that we're on the right track. We hope to get the pages into the hands of the actors sometime next week, so they can give feedback before the shoot. In order to pull this off in the allotted time, we're going to have to block out as much as possible beforehand. We won't have an opportunity to to a table read and rehearsal. Some of the cast are not available until the week of the shoot. But this is a very short script where the actors will work in pairs. We should be fine if everything is thoroughly blocked out.

Even though we don't have a script yet, we have enough to go on that I can start ordering costumes and accoutrements. Some of the items on Ebay may take a while to get here. I had to find a replica gun for Ethan Saybrook. That wasn't very difficult in this town. The problem came with a badge and ID. I don't know how many different terms I used for the search before FBI ID brought up something other than Female Bikini Inspector. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, that is lame. The guns were an interesting dilemma. I wanted replicas with a weight to them, but I didn't want guns that fired anything like a real bullet. Even guns that fire blanks can be dangerous. These guns are pure props. They look absolutely real but don't have a mechanism for firing anything. So, Saybrook can look like a proper bad ass, and there will be no accidents. Thus far, the props budget has been within reason, and we should have everything in time.

I won't reveal anymore about the costumes. Those details would be big spoilers for what will be in the script. I'll be doing some location scouting in the upcoming week. I'll share some of those photos in the next blog.

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