Sunday, September 25, 2005

Floating in a most peculiar way...

Don't ask me what my fixation is with "Space Oddity" lyrics for the blog titles - I guess it's because I've been listening to and relearning a bunch of Bowie songs. Why? Don't know, actually - but for whatever reason glam-era Thin White Duke has been striking a chord in me lately. But I digress...

The storm passed up with little fanfare or effect (save for the fact that we waited in line at Chacho's for an hour to order because it was one of the only plaes with the balls and foresight to open), so we are ready to go for this final weekend of shooting. Thursday we shoot the first bar scene (where the character of BEN dies - oops...SPOILER), and then Friday through Sunday we are on the road. Friday and Saturday we are at the cave, and Sunday we are in New Ulm to do all of the forest stuff.

Over the weekend (while I was bored because everyone high-tailed it out of town) I finished up the official movie site. I'm still updating regularly, so it will probably be in flux until I get the first trailer cut. We also got some press on, as well as on Horror Movies and Madness. Nice. I talked with Shaun/Mike/Jeff a few times over the weekend (they called and emailed to make sure I was okay - well, to make sure the master tapes were okay, actually - but you get the idea), and I found out that Drawing Blood has secured North American distribution. Which means you'll hopefully be able to see the move we shot in Chicago last year in your local video store. We're also talking about getting a website going for that movie, as well as a site for the entire Tripod Films back catalog: The After School Special, My Brother's Light, and The Dirty Immigrants: All For One.

It's an exciting time, to say the least.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Riders on the Storm

So I'm weathering the hurricane at the homestead. The house is boarded up, I've got firepower to protect me from looters/zombies, and I'm about to duct tape the Witchcraft 13 tapes to my chest.

Hopefully this meteorological cluster-fuck won't totally screw up next week's shoot at the cave. I guess we'll see what happens.

In better news, I've been plugging away at the website: The lack of anything to do or anywhere to go is giving me a lot of time to program the site, so maybe I'll get it done before the electricity and internet go and I'm plunged back into the Cretaceous.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I think my spaceship knows which way to go...

It's been a few days, I know. This past week we did some extra makeups for victims in the movie that I'll cut away to for shock value. Those shots will probably be up on the WC13 site when it goes live. Friday night we shot the opening of the movie with Cesar and Anjanette:

The first kill should be a stylish and entertaining one. The edible hearts translated pretty well on screen. Yet another killer job by Ashley Frazier - Makeup Artist Extraordinaire.

Saturday we shot a short scene at my place (the "Ordinary House" location), and then went and killed the frat boys at Matt/Woody/Domingo's apartment complex. Notice the plastic that we had to put up to contain the arterial spray. Nice.

Sunday we returned to the office to shoot the scenes with the cops - those pics should be up soon. We actually got done early last night, and Melanie and I were able to catch dinner with Cesar befor he headed back to the Left Coast.

I'm alternately cripplingly tired and exhilarated these days in regards to the film. Due to disloyalty, ennui, lack of focus or lack of drive, I'm once again forced into wearing the hats of director, producer, assistant director, gaffer, production manager (and occasionally director of photography and sound recordist) all at once. This week I think I might add makeup artist to that for a gag I'm setting up, but that's my own damn fault. At any rate, it's a lot to deal with - then of course you have people get too sensitive and bristle when you get serious and critical with them, which of course makes me seem like a cock. I have to admit that I get into that to a certain degree because due to my nature, it's a lot easier for me to be an asshole than to be nice. I guess I can't worry about hurt feelings at this point - we need to get this movie done. I'm slowly learning a valuable lesson though - next time I'll probably hire professionals and put myself in the hole a little more just to forgo all the bullshit that goes along with working with your buddies/friends/girlfriends. I've already started taking people off of the IMDb page that haven't been fulfilling their duties, and you can rest assured that the movie credits will reflect that as well. I guess I should have learned the "don't work with your buddies" lesson on 'Fade To Black', but I attributed those experiences to the relative green-ness of everyone on the cast and crew, myself included. It's a different story now - I've done this a few times, and I'm getting pretty tired of having to put everyone else on the learning curve.

I'm sure there are people on the crew that want to punch me in the face at times - and I bet those same people think they could make a better movie under the same constraints.

Either one of those would be a neat trick.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Working for the Weekend (sort of)

This past weekend we didn't do any shooting for Witchcraft 13, but we ("we" being myself and Domingo) did travel to New Ulm, Texas to help Richard (WC13 location manager) finish shooting his short horror movie entitled O.M.R. We arrived on Friday afternoon and began setting up. Of course, I started to come down with a pretty wicked cold on Thursday, and by Friday it was in full effect. We began shooting once everyone got there (about 8 PM or so), and went through a few shots, some of which were kill scenes. Blood-filled condoms are always a sure-fire recipe for fun. Sick though I was, we got through it, and got done about 4 AM.

Unfortunately, I had to drive back in for a meeting Saturday morning, and then drive back out to New Ulm on Saturday afternoon, so I got home about 5:15 AM. Woke up about 2 hours later and handled my business, then headed out to New Ulm again to shoot some more. In my absence, Domingo was the fill-in director, and he seemed to have done a good job. Once I arrived we shot a jump scare and an assault/lynching scene that was pretty choice. I was still feeling crummy, but the entire O.M.R. gang was so gracious to us throughout the shoot that it made things a lot easier to get through. People were constantly thanking us for coming out and shooting on our weekend off from WC13. Gratitude is not something I'm used to (only blame - especially if it's something having to do to with an access television show), so it was nice to have people simply say "thank you" for once.

After the shenanigans we ate ribs, I regaled the crowd with some Embarassing Mel Stories (TM), we talked about a lot of eighties television, and then watched the Dukes of Hazzard pilot. I fell asleep in my sleeping bag about 2 am, woke up about 7:30, packed up the equipment, helped clean up, ate breakfast, came home and slept for a while longer. Then of course, I got up and started working on this coming weeks shoot schedule and shot list for WC13. It should be a good bloody week - we're doing some insert deaths on Wednesday night (mainly for some insert shots), and then the big intro kill scene on Friday night.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Day 7 Pictures

Whew - it's patently obvious that I need a haircut.

Also, the site has posted some pictures from the set:

This week is laid back, as we are sort of taking the week off of shooting WC13 to help Richard Boatto finish shooting his movie 'O.M.R'. We start WC13 again next weekend.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What's Tha Deal ?!?

Whew. Four days of some type of shooting or another in a row. Let's recap:

Friday night was our first shoot at the office location (Spanner's Office). We shot the scene where we are introduced to Will Spanner in this entry (and subsequently set up Laura's [Falin Profitt] character goals), plus two more scenes involving Will and Laura - one of which is somewhat of a "love scene". More of a dream sequence, really. Everything turned out well, and we were done by midnight-ish. Here are the photos, courtesy of Kenneth Haner:

Saturday we met up for a quick shot of Spanner entering Eldridge's house. For the exterior of this shot, we used Director of Photography Will Molina's apartment building. The' Witchcraft 13 Curse' was in full effect - as we pulled up to the house, some guy fell off of the roof. Why was there a guy on the roof, you ask? Because the crackheads that live in the apartment next to Will had set their apartment on fire the previous evening, and while Will was sleeping soundly at his girlfriend's house, back at home his door was being kicked in by the fire department. Nothing was missing or damaged, except for the door frame (and the smell of smoke that permeates the place). After investigating the damage, we got the shot.

Since shooting began, this brings our current 'WC13 Curse' count to:

1. Me being broke (near-destitute)
2. Domingo's car breaks down
3. Joel gets shingles
4. Will's apartment nearly burns down
5. My truck gets sideswiped by some rich girl in daddy's BMW
6. Will's tire explodes
7. Two separations and one pregnancy among the cast and crew

And who said doing the 13th entry in a mildly Satanic series revolving around witchcraft was unlucky?

Later that evening, Domingo had a small get together at his apartment poolside. A few of us showed up and we didn't manage to break anything or get sunburned over the course of the party. Nice to be able to unwind a little.

Sunday's short shoot just might make the movie. We just shot a short insert scene of Keeley (Roxy Vandiver) being revealed in the bedroom window as Will and Dolores are having the sexual relations. It's set up as a bit of a shock, and it came off quite well, especially considering we had to deal with actor nudity, blood, fake rain, and simulated lightning. What happened was this: last week, it actually started raining for real while we were shooting at the 'Dolores' House' location - and you can hear it and see it on the footage. So...I had to think of a way to maybe tie the rain in somehow, and visually reference it later in the movie - this led to me thinking "what if someone were in the rain outside?", and then "what if someone were in the rain outside covered in blood?" and so on and so forth. Roxy was very cool with all the weird shit I wanted her to do - like be naked and covered in blood - and it turned out phenomenal. She's definitely a huge asset to this movie, that's for sure. We'll have to find a way to involve her in the next one. Here are pictures of the scene - there's nakedness and gore in most of them, so be warned:

Today, we shot the remainder of the office footage (with the exception of the shots involving the cops - that's later). Everything went smoothly with that - we began at 12 noon and ended about 3 PM. Now we're getting on the Mel House Shooting Schedule (TM). This coming weekend, we help Richard shoot O.M.R. in New Ulm, and then next weekend it's back to WC13. When next we shoot (September 16), it will be a few gory death setpieces. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 01, 2005