Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009


First day of a four day stint at the mother of all locations, where one third of the entire movie is being shot. It’s 6AM, there is mucho to do, with lots to be loaded in, and two locations to be dressed. Once again we’re understaffed, so everyone is moving like mad to get everything ready.

Then some bad news. One of the actors, who’s in just about EVERY scene at this location, thought his call time was 8PM not 8AM! Dude is down in Orange county wrapping another shoot, but says he can get to down town LA at around noon. Do we re-cast him with one of the crew? Nah, just shoot around the guy and hope to god he actually does get here by noon.

First up, an exterior scene. But before we can start several of the crew have to move their rides because some guy who works in the building next door says we’re breaking the law by parking in front of his place. We aren’t, but it’s the first day, and don’t want to piss anyone off. It also becomes clear that shooting right by the railroad tracks, off a busy street, and under a flight path is going to be HELL on sound. Luckily everything else is pretty perfect.

First scene goes rather slowly. Everyone is still finding their way and the noise problem fully sucks, but just gotta live with it. The actor we’ve been waiting for finally shows(more than making up for lost time with his talent), we scout the area behind the building for our next locations, and once again get bogged down. This time, because there just wasn’t enough time to rehearse, so needed to flush some stuff out. 

Drude uses his amazing logistical skills and finds a great place to get lunch. KICK ASS MEXICAN FOOD!

We move inside, where everyone’s working fast and furious to keep this crazy ship afloat. Each crew member doing the job of at least three. Everything gets lit, dressed, and on we go. The Set General does most of the blocking cuz he’s now running and gunning all the coverage in his head. All we have time for is the absolute minim of set ups to stay on schedule, we’re already way behind, with a hard out. 

That hard out comes, and we live to fight another day.

photos by Suzan Jones 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Our next day of shooting actually began the night before, driving home in the pouring rain, realizing there was no one to let us into the office where we were shooting the next day. A call goes into Donny Paradise. Done.

Up and ready to go the next morning, the Real Deal and Katia start dressing the first of the three rooms being used for three scenes. Of course each one needs to be totally changed. We also have to track down the Hipster extra, who luckily works at the office we’re shooting at.

First up, our first scene with the Alien, so there’s gonna be some make up. Unfortunately we’re once again way under staffed with Suzan Jones our set photographer and make up person also doing sound with Abby on boom. Good thing there’s only one set up for this scene, so it goes by pretty quick, complete with the Real Deal plugging and unplugging Christmas lights.

The Hipster extra arrives, desks have been moved around, fake gold CDs, logos, signs, and cleared posters have been put up. We’re ready for the next scene. Or are we? The Set General comes up with yet another cool idea, resulting in an unorthodox shot you’ll just have to wait for the movie to see.

Our courageous crew moves into the conference room. One of the walls is all glass, so there’s reflection issues galore, especially of the boom. A few flags, cards, and lots of tweaking later, problem solved. Only two set ups here so this goes by pretty quick too, including a little movement with a skateboard dolly.

Gina brings food!!!!!

We then move into the garage where the question of the day is, is there enough available lighting to do some green screen shots with a car? The Set General has borrowed some kenos, the crew holds up some fans, Danger rocks the car(which he owns by the way). It works. 

Jupiter James gets his hard out, the actors leave, the crew packs up and clears out.

photos by Suzan Jones

Sunday, December 20, 2009


It’s our first day of shooting, which happens after already pushing the date back because of 80% showers(a day which actually ended up being a clear one). We’re going for it, exteriors and all. Of course the day starts out with pouring rain. We’re all set up at a difficult to load in location, everyone is available. We have to do this.

The forecast calls for sporadic showers, so start rehearsing, waiting for the drizzle to dissipate. We then discover the amulet prop has been forgotten. A call goes into Kid Friendly, who’s driving the van(another BIG prop) to the location. The Kid has to drive back to West Hollywood, break into an apartment, and retrieve the amulet. Meanwhile, we decide to shoot the scene in the doorway, where the fact that it’s RAINING won’t really matter. The other set is still being built and can’t shoot there anyway because one of the actors isn’t available till the afternoon.

Most of the actors who are there have never met, so workshop the heck out of them, finding a comfortable place somewhat off book. By the lattice of coincidence two of the thespians playing Mexican ‘bad asses’ are both named Gonzalez. Julian Gonzalez looked hilarious in the get up he created for the part, even bringing a matching shirt for his cohort Hector Gonzalez. Would have been pretty funny, but the Real Deal pointed out how one of them had to actually look bad ass. The twin thing didn’t happen.

We then shoot a three page scene in three parts, fighting rain, airplanes, loud traffic, and an amulet that kept breaking. Yet, we get it done!

Our good pal and fellow cohort Gina brings over a wonderful lunch of homemade pasta .

Next up, a scene taking less than a minute of screen time, with a set that took about three days to create. The Real Deal, with help from Katia, created a dark carefully crafted lair for the Lord of Evil and Darkness in an empty room in the Kid Friendlies’ basement. An important scene establishing one of the lead characters so it had to be spot on, which it was! Lord Deal even went so far as to contact a coven, meeting up with the best witch in the world to get the props necessary to make everything authentic. We blocked the scene to get the angles of coverage necessary for Neil the Set General to best play it. One problem, the pagan alter is not in a place where it can be properly seen. We have a great respect for our pagan friends so moved some things around and wha-la, the alter is now in the shot. But the part of the set looking through the door isn’t, which was a bitch to get into this location. Can’t movie that. The actors do their thing, and it’s a wrap.

OR IS IT. It’s dark, POURING rain, and we need to load out down a long, narrow, dangerous set of concrete steps. What a sight, including four foot eleven sister Abby hauling a large table down the treacherous steps in a big ‘ol rain coat as buckets of water pours on down.

photos by Suzan Jones

Saturday, December 19, 2009


In no particular order:

Neil Lisk -THE SET GENERAL - Superstar star DP of 15 features and counting

Rob Howeth - THE REAL DEAL - Producer and Production Designer of the gods, dude’s been doing this over 20 years

Pia Helm - LADY DEAL - Behind the scenes goddess, all over the set and all over the schedule.

Kelly and Suzan Jones - A LOVE STORY - Sound, Make up, Lighting, Set Photography, extra camera, our two person wreaking crew.

Zeke and Decklin Jones - SET KIDS - Holding stuff up, fanning smoke, hanging with Santio, and watching for trains!

Russell Scott and Pat Young - THE JET SET BOYS - Executive producing, resource throwing, marketing maniacs.


Katia Kaplun - FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE - Art Director who can make anything from anything.

Louis Iacoviello -YAK ATTACK - Ass kicking and acting.

Nick Blake - COUSIN NICK - Set Swing man, another 20 year plus movie guy, who does it all.

Abby Verdi - SISTER ABBY - Film student workaholic, filling in everywhere!

Gina Amodeo - THE BLONDE WONDER’S MOTHER - Providing locations, food, cat, and the blonde wonder.

Ben & Rachel - THE KID FRIENDLIES - Locations, wardrobe, props, Van, acting, reliability you can take to the bank.

Andrew Kastner - DRUDE - Web master, food getter, momentum keeper.

Hector Gonzalez - ONE HALF OF THE GONZALEZ BROTHERS - Real Deal right hand man, actor, moving muscle.

MORE coming for round two!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

5 days in

Round one of shooting has been completed and we’ve now got about one third of the movie in the can. There’s been some set backs, lots to fight through, but by sheer will are doing it, and doing it well. Our little crew has become a machine with EVERYONE covering multiple tasks and positions. It’s been non-stop work, when not waiting for the rain, planes, and trains. Each person on this shoot matters, motivation, sprits, and talent is high. Day by day recaps on the way


Spent my first day on set yesterday. The sets were great, the actors were excellent. This movie looks gooooood! We should have a cult classic on our hands. Cant wait to see it come together in an edit.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Man for all Seasons

Rob “the Real Deal” Howeth... is EVERYWHERE! Building sets, making schedules, driving trucks, buying beads, emailing covens, meeting witches, casting roles, finding lights, painting walls, predicting the weather. He’s got a lotta trucks, a lotta props, and a LOTTA movie making knowledge. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Some sets are so ‘there’ we can just show up and go. Others, are being built from scratch. The DP is English, Art Director Russian, Production Designer the Real Deal, who's also going to visit a witch tomorrow 'cuz that's what he does. He gets into character as much as the character does.

Monday, December 7, 2009


As she has since the beginning of time, mother nature is having her say in this production, raining out the first three days of shooting. Yet like every set back thus far, what seems like bummer actually becomes something positive. In this case, the extra time our stud British DP gets to meticulously go over the whole script with our stud production designer/producer/first AD/just about everything else Real Deal. These dudes work ALL THE TIME and listening to them discuss the the look and feel of the film is something like Browning and Keats waxing on poetry. Really, those few extra days are paying off big time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


There’s those who feel the need to motivate every line, craft every gesture, create a back story for each article of clothing their wearing. Others just show up and play make believe. Our ditty has three in all but half a page of the script, that’s a lot of acting. Making a movie is similar to mixing music, each element representing a different part of the spectrum, we’ve been working on balance, picking spots to pop, finding those undercurrents and places going on underneath the story. It has to feel real.