Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Still Life" auditions

Auditions for "Still Life" wrapped today and we have our work cut out for us. More great performances to choose from. After another review of the tapes from last week and reviews of today's auditions, we have most of the characters pretty well narrowed down and should be making offers by mid-week.

Had a great time with Chris Zech and Erich Hover at Kelley's Hilltop Lanes for a photoshoot for the movie poster for "Hero Alley". We got some great stuff so we just need to get the pics in front of the designer to put the posters and DVD covers together.

Speaking of "Hero Alley", I had a great meeting with an editor today and we reviewed some of the footage and looked at the shot list, tape logs, etc. and I think we've got an editor signed on. We should know for sure in the next couple of weeks after some of his existing projects get cleaned up.

Things are moving forward.

Four locations and a funeral

Okay, it was actually only one location, and it was a wedding instead of a funeral, but "one location and a wedding" doesn't have the same punch as a title. So Luis and I checked out another location for Mr. Jensen's house for our upcoming short film "Still Life". Yes, that's the official title now. At long last. Anyway, the location is tremendously perfect in so many ways with tons of character in every nook and cranny, ideal for our Mr. Jensen character. We have other locations we still need to see and since we can't afford a giant sound stage or a construction department to build us a set that will get decorated by the prop department and set dressers, we will eventually pick the best location for the script at the right price (free). And hopefully that happens sometime in the next two weeks.

As for the wedding, congrats Kelley and Chuck. May your lives together be fruitful (whatever that means). As for the funeral reference, I do have a habit of purchasing sympathy cards for weddings and this one was no different. I often spend a little time in the sympathy card section reading the various words of solace and understanding and relating them to the upcoming bonds of matrimony and often get a chuckle. So Julie and I are standing in Target reading sympathy cards and cracking up and it occurs to us that we just might look somewhat evil so we attempted to tone it down a bit. I'm glad there wasn't someone there that actually needed a sympathy card for some sympathetic reason as our antics may have taken their day from bad to worse. For all of those friends and family out there that get married in the future and receive the probable sympathy card from me, please accept it in the spirit in which it is given (my attempt and humoring myself and not necessarily anyone else).

Tomorrow’s a busy day (so why am I still up?) Photo shoot at noon for “Hero Alley” posters, auditions for “Still Life” between 4:00 and 6:00 then movie night. Hopefully there will be time somewhere for a meeting with an editor. Should be a fun day.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Audition follow-up

Wednesday night I met with Luis (screenwriter) and Sahra (short story writer) and we reviewed the footage from the auditions on Sunday. My typical format is to provide a list of all of the actors to each reviewer as well as a copy of the headshots and we watch the tape without discussing the performances and everyone rates each actor/actress for whichever character based on whatever criteria the reviewer wants to use (I typically don't direct this part, I let them do it themselves). After we've reviewed each actor, we compare notes and discuss everyone's top three and see if there are overlaps. Typically (at least in my experience) there are a few that really stand out and everyone has them listed one on their sheets, but this one showed an extremely broad base, with just about everyone getting votes here or there. That being said, this one is going to be a bit tough to cast.

We've got some pick-up auditions that will take place on Sunday afternoon at KPP Studios so if you're reading this and want to audition, please let me know before Sunday and we'll find you a slot.

After the auditions on Sunday, we'll review the tapes again and hopefully be able to make some offers sometime next week.

I spent some time today breaking down the script and Luis has spent a lot of time storyboarding and developing a shot list so preproduction on this one is ahead of schedule and things are falling into place nicely.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Bert" screening

Went to a special cast and crew screening of Bert tonight at the Rose Theatre in beautiful downtown Omaha. Bert was written and directed by Scott Beehner who also starred in the independent film. The film was shot last summer in Omaha and starred 89 other Omaha’ns as well. It was great to see all of the familiar locations as well as a dozen different actors that I’ve worked with in the past, and the Rose was absolutely packed. The crowd (including myself) really enjoyed the movie. The comedic timing by Scott was spot on and the editing worked well to keep the story moving along with action and comedic elements throughout. A very successful screening, congrats Scott. Good luck as you try to market your film.


Auditions for "The Dinner Date" or "Flowers For Denise" or "Still Life" or whatevertheheck we end up calling this thing went extremely well today. This was the first set of auditions I've ever held where there really weren't any bad reads. On the one hand, that's terrific, right. All great reads, that much more to choose from. On the other hand, it's always nice to be able to pluck out the really bad ones and carve down the pool a bit. But I guess it's better to have all good performances to choose from and fortunately that's what we have. There are several other auditions planned throughout the week that we'll be getting to and will hopefully have casting decisions made within the next two weeks so we can start rehearsals.

Thanks to all who came out, you all did a tremendous job.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Location scouting

Location scouting went very well tonight. My biggest concern with this project is slowly being alleviated. We found several spots that will work well for the film and one area in particular that sets up our main locations perfectly. Very exciting day. We spent some quality time with the script again tonight getting ready for auditions on Sunday and found some interesting script quirks that we really didn't realize were there before. Nothing bad, just an interesting thing that was unexpected. Who knew. There were also conversations about the wasn't a fight...or an argument...just a conversation...and a difference of opinion. We have time to work it out.

Oh the other successful part of the evening...more crab legs...mmmm.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Movie posters

As of tonight, movie posters are officially underway. We're taking a crack at "Random" first, followed by "Wisdom" then "Hero Alley". The ideas are solid and the execution is forthcoming. Thanks Matt and Stef, I'm excited to see how they turn out.

More to come soon...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Movie night

Movie night was a tremendous success, and thanks to all who came out. We actually had eleven people over tonight, and for those of you who have been in my living room, know that that might be pushing it a bit, but we made it work. If I got rid of some speakers I could probably fit a half dozen more people, but I don't really see that happening any time soon.

We all watched several of the short film entries for OFF'07 and everyone seemed to have a great time enjoying and discussing the various film styles and topics. What was also fun was the amount of filmmakers in attendance and the discussions of all of our various upcoming projects. We are a busy group of people, but if we didn't all love it so much, we probably wouldn't be doing it. I can literally talk films and filmmaking for hours, as evidenced by the fact that the last person left about 7 hours after the first person showed up tonight and I'm supposed to be at work in about five hours. Ultimately worth it.

We were able to have a lot of discussion about our upcoming short film "The Dinner Date" (working title) as at least five of the people in attendance tonight will be on that crew. Should be fun.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I spent some time on a film set tonight. The independent short film is titled "Coultergeist" and was written by Brent Spencer and Jonis Agee. If you chuckled when you read the title and thought to yourself, ha, I bet it's a story about a couple haunted by a ghost in the form of an Ann Coulter doll...ummm...well you'd actually be right. It's a pretty funny script and was very much written for the space it's being filmed in which should make it a pretty tight production. The two leads are drama students at Creighton and both were turning in fantastic performances, and it's being DP'd by a film student from a film school out in Connecticut who's doing a great job as well.

They will continue filming tomorrow (I will be golfing and playing poker ALL day) so hopefully the production cruises along nicely. They plan on wrapping some time during the week and Brent has a pretty aggressive completion schedule so the film will be ready for viewing sometime in the next couple of weeks.

So...about that golf and poker...I get together with guys I went to school with every year for 24 hours of golf and poker and this is that weekend. Wish me luck. I will sleep when I'm dead.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"The Dinner Date" - open casting call

We are having an open audition for six characters: two leads, two support roles and two bit parts. If you or anyone you know is potentially interested, please feel free to come on out or forward this message along.

The film is tentatively titled “The Dinner Date” and will be shot sometime in late September or early October over a two day period (Saturday/Sunday) in Omaha.

The roles are as follows:

Lead roles:
Chad (25) - Just moved into the neighborhood. A bit timid, but curious. Coming off of a recent breakup with his girlfriend and ready to start a new life. A freelance writer, he’s always keeping his eyes open for new and interesting things.

Mr. Jenson (60) – Chad’s quirky next-door neighbor. Mysterious and odd.

Support roles:
Annie Mea (40) – Chad’s “festively plump” next-door neighbor. The neighborhood gossip, always watching.

Smith (20’s) – Chad’s co-worker. Wiseguy, always looking to crack a joke.

Bit parts:
Marrie (voice over) - Chad’s ex-girlfriend (studio only)
Denise – Chad’s fantasy girl

Open auditions are being held at Reel People Models & Talent at 920 Pierce Street, Omaha, NE on Sunday, August 20th from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Sides will be provided on site. For directions to Reel People, I always recommend This will be a low budget, independent short film so the roles are unpaid, but completed DVDs will be given to cast and crew for your resume and reel.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New short film project

Things are moving along nicely on our upcoming short film project. Luis has really taken the reigns and is pushing each of the major preproduction elements forward which takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of me (which I like).

We are currently trying to decide on a working title and we're getting some studio timed scheduled for auditions sometime in the next week. Check back in the next couple of days for specifics relating to time and place and the types of characters we're looking for.

The biggest hurdle (once again) seems to be locations and Luis' capable shoulders are currently bearing 99% of that burden, at least for the next couple of weeks until I can get some more free time available. This film is also very prop-heavy and since it's Luis' script and since he came up with all of those props in his head, he gets to be the one scrounging around looking for them. Again, at least for the next couple of weeks. We're tentatively looking to shoot this over two days, sometime directly after the Extreme Film Festival (more on that soon too). Check back.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just when I thought I was out...

They pull me back in!

So much for taking time off of filmmaking. I am deep into preproduction on yet another short film; don't ask me how it happened. Okay, go ahead and ask.

I've been spottily (yes, I said "spottily") attending the two different screenwriting groups here in town and have been getting more actively involved in the writer's world. One of our regular movie night attendees has recently written a short film script and approached me about filming it. After reading the script and previsualizing the film, I'm in. It should be a lot of fun to shoot so the writing can wait, right?

So the short film is as of yet untitled, but will be based on a short story by Sahra Harding entitled "Mannequin Lover" and Luis Jimenez loosely adapted it into a short film script. It has some extremely colorful characters and some very over the top circumstances that should translate very well to the short film medium. I'm very much looking forward to getting to work on it.

As you can probably guess from the short story title, there may be some mannequins involved in the film. Given this, Luis and I went out mannequin hunting today and came across a veritable goldmine. Oh yeah, it was one of the creepiest experiences I've ever had in probably the creepiest place I've ever been (and I have the photos to prove it) but ultimately it was worth the initial horror of the place to discover a treasure trove of young ladies.

And speaking of pulling people back in, we got FORMER filmmaker Jason Levering to offer his filmmaking talents as well. It will be fun working with Jason again. More on casting and crew over the next few weeks.
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