DAY ELEVEN (Saturday, October 16)
Locations: Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida
Our final day of shooting and we have something like 14 pages of script to cover. The long days and nights are starting to wear on the crew. That first day of summer camp attitude is long gone and folks are generally all business. Mostly the attitude is let’s just get this done. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m as ready to wrap this up as anybody. A person can be in charge of everything for only so long.
On set today is my grandmother, Theodora Viola, namesake of the lead character and the fictional band in the movie.
She made a hat out of plastic vines especially for her visit to the set, so she could hide from the Skunk Ape. “Nana” to me, she has invested in the film and has been my greatest supporter in the world. I sent her a script and a picture of the actors we’d cast and she read the script over and over with the pictures of the actors. She was thrilled to meet the cast and everyone on set was immediately charmed by her. There’s a short scene in the film where Deputy Bob has to clear some old folks from the beach, which was the perfect spot for Nana’s cameo appearance. For her scene, she’s sitting in a beach chair with a transistor radio up to her ear and yelling, “What?! What?!” while Bob repeats his lines about the beach being closed. She’s really great in her role and it turns into one of my favorite moments in the film. Later she says that this was the best day of her life.
Early in pre-production, one flaw in the script was brought to my attention. My beach party rock and roll monster movie has no actual beach party in it-- the climatic party takes place at Hector’s garage. All those Frankie and Annette beach party movies were supposedly full of innocent fun, but they still had plenty of scantily clad girls dancing on the beach. It wasn’t appropriate to ask our lead actresses to don bikini and we needed to increase the “jiggle factor’ for potential marketing’s sake. The solution that Evan and I came up with was to change the scene where Bob tries to clear retirees off the beach-- add dancing bikini girls instead of old folks. It wasn’t until noon on our last day of shooting that we actually got our dancing beach girls. They are the baby-sitting friend’s of friend’s of my mom. We had to remove the belly rings and cover up a tattoo or two, but otherwise they were perfect, complete with period bikinis. We shot the dancing scene and got loads of promo pics with them and Ned Hastings in the Skunk Ape outfit. Not surprisingly, this scene also created our largest crowd of on-lookers. In the end, we shot the Deputy Bob scene with both Nana and dancing girls. Both will be in the final film.