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Sunday, January 2, 2005

New Year's Reflections, Travel Day Recap

It’s a new year and I guess it’s time to try to reflect on Stomp! Shout! Scream! Two years ago, there was only the idea that I should make a beach party feature film. One year ago, there was just a script and a business plan. In January, I starting fund raising in earnest, meeting with lawyers, trying to get a contract in place. In February, I started meeting with casting director Amy Barrat and collecting head shots. In March, Rob Gal recorded Catfight!’s original songs for the film. With only 20% of funding in place, we went forward with two (long) days of casting in May. One month later we had a cast in place and I was picking up all the extra editing and producing work I could find. By September, it looked like the film would have it’s $100,000 budget, and I spent a weekend in Florida location scouting. And October 4-16, we shot the damn thing.

For most of the process, it was just me making phone calls, asking for favors, pushing this thing along. Nothing was exactly easy (I talked to 8 different lawyers before I found one who would write the contract I wanted), but every few months, there was an energizing step in the process-- hearing the original songs, seeing actors read the script, finding the perfect motel & beach locations, having band practice with the actresses. It’s hard to put any true perspective on what I’ve accomplished to this point. A whole hell of a lot in some respects, but really nothing if the film doesn't get seen or isn't really that good. This is why I don’t like to look back and reflect. Tying to focus on the big, big picture makes the process too daunting, down right overwhelming. I’d rather just go back to my basement edit suite and make the smallest of decisions one at a time and keep doing that until it’s done. Worrying about weather it’s a great piece of art doesn't do me any good, I have to just keep working and making it the best I can.

Another daily recap.
Monday, October 11
Travel Day
Producer Arma Benoit secured a passenger van to accommodate the cast and crew who didn’t take their own cars on the 8 hour trip from Atlanta to Bradenton, Florida. Cinematographer Evan Lieberman and I take the van so we can work on shot lists for the first several days in Florida. The highlight of the trip is stopping at the most appropriate of all truck stops on I-75. Once we get to Florida, we have to spend way too much time figuring out who is sleeping where in our triplex beach house. Thankfully, Assistant Director Alex Orr sees our plight and takes over. It’s his job to be the bad guy when necessary and this is a great occasion for him to do just that. A few crew members will have to sleep on couches, but once everyone gets there, it’s a free-for-all and the summer camp attitude takes over.

To escape the chaos of people arriving, Claire Bronson and I jump in someone’s car to find a convenience store for supplies. I dump all my stress on her and immediately feel better. On our way back to the crew beach house/ compound, we pass Art Director Lisa Yieser and her assistant Scott Dupree in the ‘60s station wagon that they’ve driven down from Atlanta with bad breaks. They’re turning around in the middle of the road, lost and frazzled. Just then she calls me on my cell phone and asks where I am. I hop out of the car and tell her that I’m the guy in the road walking toward her car. I get in with them and take them to the compound.

A huge thank you goes to Amanda at Edge Sharff Properties who gave us an incredible deal on our production housing. While I wish I could stay with the majority of the crew, Arma, Evan and I will sleep at another beach house which also serves as our production office while in Florida. Stories of the crew staying up all night, every night, to see the sunrise, make me thankful for the privacy and the precious few hours of sleep I do get.

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