Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Measure of a Man: Week 3

July 19-23, 2010~

Commence week 3 of our 5 week shoot!

July 19th~ One of my favorite days started this week out.  Lambchops' big acting debut!  I actually take a good bit of pride in this one because not only did I handle all the arrangement for the lamb I also fought to keep her there against a certain persons wishes.  Let's just say the day started out with a bit of drama...

 Pet Lambchops $.05  Feed Lambchops $.10  Take a picture with Lambchops $.25

Daniel, the PA, took a bit of a liking to the lamb.  He was a HUGE help to me not just this day but all throughout the shoot. 

Blythe, my adorable niece who plays Lizzy gets her chance to pose with the lamb.

The real Mark dressed as Little Bo Peep then...

And Mark, played by Jaden Melashenko, now. 

 **Spoiler Alert**  Lambchops' life comes to a tragic end in the film making this picture slightly ironic.  In the background, the family is mourning at Lambchops' funeral.  Little does the audience know that just feet away Lambchops is alive and well.  It's a good thing it kept pretty quiet.    

One of my favorite things about working on set was getting to spend every day with this guy :)

July 20th~ The next day we spent a hot day surrounded by beautiful cotton fields courtesy of Greg Palla, Executive Vice President of the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association.  We got some great shots and still managed to stay cool thanks to my parents who provided us with an air conditioned RV.

 Cotton as far as the eye could see.  It was beautiful!  The boys were working hard "weeding" the plants.

 The girls, Patricia Lynn played by Madeline Penn, Emogene, played by Jennica Schwartzman, and Mary played by Alana Hamilton keeping cool with their cute hats.

 Enjoying some Coca-Colas after a long days work.

 Tommy, played by Cody Sullivan right after his terrible encounter with "the bees" sitting by Morgan, the make-up artist and the one responsible for this handsome face.  

July 21st~ One day this week we escaped the Bakersfield heat and took a day trip to Santa Barbara.  We shot at this beautiful location called Knapp's Castle where Andy's sister, Molly, and her husband live.

The view from Knapp's Castle

 Andrew all decked out in his steadicam rig.

Watching a scene being shot of Lizzy and Tommy.  During a take a bee flew right by Cody (who plays Tommy)'s ear and he made the most hilarious face, it's sure to make it in the bloopers :0

 Cinematographer Justin McAleece from Blare Media, Andrew Waite and Scott Moffat making the most of the setting sun.

 1st Assistant Director, Nicole McAleece, and Sound Mixer, Zack Allen, hard at work.

A beautiful photo by Josh!  This will probably make the cover of the movie.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Measure of a Man: Week 2

July 12-16, 2010~

On to week 2 of our crazy 5 week shoot...

July 13~  One of our most overwhelming days of the shoot was the day we shot two of my favorite scenes in the movie; the Family Home Evening scene where all the kids got to perform and the Christmas scene.  Just a little FYI in the FHE scene the family does what Andy's family calls "thumbs".  It's a family tradition started by Donald himself where all the family links thumbs and sings a song.  Because of potential legal reasons the family song "We love our family" was rewritten by Elizabeth for the film.  The "thumbs" tradition has been passed down two generations. 

Above is a spontaneous shot of the entire family taken in between takes.

Frank, the Boom Op doing what he does best.

Emogene, Andrew's Grandmother, was played by actress Jennica Schwartzman.  She can also be seen acting alongside her husband in a web series entitled Goon.

 Mother and Son Directors, Elizabeth and Andrew watch intently as a scene plays out.

Next we got to celebrate Christmas!  All the mothers, grips and PA's all chipped in to create a magnificent Christmas in 30 minutes or less.  Quite the feat I might add but very well done!

Actor Jarin Stevens, who plays Donald showing off the bounties of our Christmas morning in July!

Special thanks to the owner of Snider's who generously lent us the antique looking bikes specifically for the purpose of our shoot.

The kids anxiously waiting on the stairs while the Christmas set was being assembled.  We purposely didn't let them see until the cameras were rolling.  It definitely worked!  The looks on the kids faces where priceless and genuine. 

Speaking of Christmas, here is 1st AC Joshua Moore pulling focus on the RED ONE camera.

July 15~ One of our more technical shots was when we recreated the story of when Donny ran over Danny.  Basically our 3 super strong grips pushed this beautiful antique car forward stopping it within a few yards of our little Danny playing in the driving. 

(Below)  Here's a better angle.
And then with the use of what Andy calls "cinemagic" he made it appear that the car was within inches of running him over instead of several feet.  It still made a few people pretty nervous but I promise it was perfectly safe.  
We then ran over just his shirt and put it back on him for added effect.

The culprits, Tommy played by Cody Sullivan and Donnie played by Christopher Slaughter after "running over" their younger brother.

Another interesting scene and a perfect example of some of the excellent talent on our set was this scene when little Sammy gets a bat to the head.

Here our primary make-up artist Morgan is applying fake blood to Sammy's head (played by the adorable Jadon Sand).

 Jadon showed me how professional a kid his age could be.  A little ways into the scene his makeup started dripping into his eyes and his fake tears momentarily turned into real tears.  Most everyone couldn't tell the difference (he's that good!) and when asked if he wanted to take a break he opted to push through instead.  I was proud.

The whole family crammed into the family car before their trip to the mountains.

You may have noticed by now all the amazing vehicles in these photos.  We had an incredible car coordinator, Richard Lopez who with the help of the El Camino Club managed to come up with all the vehicles necessary to make it really look the right time period.

 The heat was a major issue.  I don't know who took this picture but I'm glad they did!  This week we spent a good bit of time outdoors and unfortunately this was a typical day during our shoot in Bakersfield.  Even when filming inside we had to keep the air off in order to keep down the noise.  Next time we may want to rethink filming in the middle of summer.

July 16~  One thing you have to know about working with kids on a film is that they have a very limited amount of time they can be on set working, hence the following picture.  In an attempt to save some time one of the grips turned an ordinary apple box into a stand-in for little Mark.

Elizabeth directing a scene between Emogene and Mark.

Here's the chocolate cake that Sammy eats in his infamous scene.  Shhh...  it's not really homemade but it was delicious.
A rare photo of me on set taking a break from paperwork.

Our amazing editor Kim!  She's so good that by the end of the shoot we had a rough draft that you could watch from beginning to end.  She also works for HDM and we are so blessed to have her.  

 One thing I'll never forget is all the kids+moms crowding around Kim's computer to watch their work from the previous day.  You could see them get excited about watching themselves on the screen.  It was cute.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Measure of a Man: Week 1

July 5-9, 2010~

I guess it's about time to catch up on all the things that have happened in the past several months.  I've been wanting to talk about the film we shot last summer entitled "The Measure of a Man" which I'm sure by now is not news to anyone but for memories sake I thought I'd write about my experiences. Most of the pictures I'll be posting are a compilation of pictures taken by 1st AC Joshua Moore and various moms and actors on set.  

Life on set is... wow, a bundle of emotions!  I had no idea how much work, energy and time went into making a film.  After watching Andrew produce two films prior I just assumed it was going to be easy.  I was wrong.  The complexity of orchestrating such a project and making sure that everything runs as smooth and efficiently as possible is pure anxiety.  Plus the hours are crazy and being away from my kids was a trial in itself.  But at the same time it was one of the most fun, entertaining, fulfilling and rewarding experiences in my entire life!  I was honored to be able to work on set and held the self proclaimed title of Production Coordinator.  My job primarily consisted of anything paper related from player contracts, to personal releases, to work permits.  The first few weeks I got to break up a few fights and on more than one occasion managed to "keep the peace" and save the shoot.  I also got to do the daily call sheets which kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.  I coordinated with everyone and made sure every single person on set had the details they needed to do their jobs.  I even did some location scouting and managed to arrange locations for the shoot.  To be honest when we started I had no idea what my job entailed but I learned to adapt and ended up doing a mix of jobs necessary to getting the film shot.  I ended up learning A LOT about the film business as a whole and I'm 100% more prepared for the next one.  Just as important I also learned a lot about myself.  On several occasions the job forced me, out of necessity, to step out of my comfort zone and in doing so I found I was capable of things I never thought I could do before.

Enough about me, let's talk a tiny bit about our primary location.  Finding the perfect house to film at was tricky...  I can't tell you how many long hours I spent, kids crying in the backseat, driving up and down the streets of Bakersfield in search of that one perfect house.  We actually found a couple that would work but there was always that one thing that just didn't work.  With the shoot just weeks away our search was starting to look a little hopeless then a friend of ours, Jeanna, mentioned that a friend of hers owned a house on Sunset St. in the Oleander Area.  Andy questioned her further as she described this house which matched to a T the house he grew up in as a kid.  Turns out this two story house at the corner of Sunset and Myrtle IS the house Andrew grew up in and not only that it was the perfect location for the shoot.  I still don't know what the odds are of something like this happening but let's just say it was one of many miraculous things that happened during the entirety of the shoot.

The Sunset House, our primary shooting location for the film and home base for 4 out of 5 weeks.

July 5~ The first day on set was rehearsal day.  The actors had a chance to practice their songs, get fitted for wardrobe AND get sweet haircuts courtesy of Grandpa Waite.

Jarin & Blythe in wardrobe

Our wardrobe was great thanks to Amber who stepped in at the last minute after our first costumer bailed on us.  She did a great job and really saved the production from the majority of our wardrobe disasters.  

This was the first time everyone got to sing together on camera.  In the above picture Elizabeth (Director) is rehearsing with the group.  Aren't they cute?

"Mr. Bailey, your children were digging in the neighbors yard again, his tractor fell in a hole"...
The policeman was played by Ryan Schwartzman, our leading actresses husband.

One of the many production meetings.  Looks like it's going well...

One of the days I had to make a trip to LA to pick up some equipment.  Inside the store I saw the below movie poster for the film "Fuel".  It's a film by The Dreaming Tree and was partially shot here in Bakersfield.  Andy assisted in the sound department for this film.

2nd Assistant Camera, Sam, getting creative with the production state.

By the end of the first week we were 100% on schedule, which I'm told almost never happens!

Week 2 to be continued in the next post...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pink's Hot Dogs

I can't tell you how long I craved a Pink's hot dog before I ever even tried one.  You see, I love hot dogs and after watching an enticing episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay against the landmark hot dog restaurant I decided I was going to eat there someday.   

 Flash forward to this summer Andrew and I had to make the trip down to Hollywood to pick up some equipment and get permits for the film.  We happened to drive by it and voila! we're standing in front of the Pink's stand.  I naively ordered a chili dog and immediately wished I had ordered something more original like a "Martha Stewart Dog" or a "Huell Howser Dog".  It was pretty good...  Not the best dog I've ever eaten but it was alright and now that I have proof I've been there I can now end my craving for a Pink's dog and pass this one off my list!