Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here's a look at the fine folks who are the heart and soul of "The Defiled." A swell buncha folks and hard workers all. Leaving Canada and my regular crew and cast members, I feared not being able to duplicate the sense of 'family' that I had back home. I worried needlessly. Here, in Chicago, I have found willing co-conspirators and friends who have joined Julie and I in creating our inaugural film. As the plan is to make a feature EVERY SUMMER (!), it's nice to know that we have such great friends to call upon.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Here's the fine folks that made Week 5 so much fun. We return to Michael Jackson's hometown next week to film on location at the church and the Post Office. If the pluck and vigor on this show was channeled into a turbine, it could light a friggin' city. We are THE DEFILED and we do not stop!
Mal, our Production Coordinator, leaves us this week to go to China for a month to work. We have all enjoyed her stubborn and ferocious good humor on this show. JDG and Mal have become fast friends and "The Ladies", as they are collectively known, are loved - and feared - at the same time. Mal is a great asset of the show and has worked tirelessly on-set and is the only one to have bested JG twice at 'Scattegories' on our Wednesday night 'Brain Trust' dinner at JG Productions. Travel safe, Mal and come back to us in one piece. We got other pictures to make next year.
Where would we be without AM? An actor, a puppeteer, our on-set photographer, the Production Designer.... multiple talents, always a willing smile and a laugh that can be heard for miles. This is a woman that can do everything and is not afraid to take chances. Gutsy, hard-worked, incredibly talented and off to the UK for school at the end of next month. AM, - the Keith Richards of our little band.
After 11 Days at camera, we soldier on to the end. It's close. In the immortal words of Mr. Wolf in "Pulp Fiction", - "Let's not start sucking our own c*cks, gentleman. " We gotta keep our eye on the puck and keep on going. We still got some long days ahead and we just gotta 'get 'er done.' Here, DJ and JG walk home after a hot and windy day at WJP park in Illinois. We shot around fisherman, pick-ups and all matter of impairments. A wonky day for us all as we left the safety of CL and ventured out into the world. Didn't take us long to get our sea-legs and we are now firmly rocking in the new world.
My wife, my partner, my executive producer - Julie Diana Grant. A beautiful, kind and intelligent leader and mother-hen to us all. Working behind-the-scenes and taking care of business, I am blessed by this woman every day. She's loved by the cast and crew, is funny and always has a kind word and smile for us all. Between on-set Raiki adjustments, pats on the back (and the occasional kick in the ass for yours truly), I can honestly say that JDG is the glue that holds this ragtag family of friends together. MUAH XOXOX.
If you are very fortunate, you get to make films with like-minded and hard-working cats like DJ. This guy just goes and goes and goes - never stops. He's the 1st AD , the Associate Producer and my closest ally. What a fella! He's directing his first big 35mm film next month and is a friggin' marvel. I am so proud to have him by my side. As an educator and a filmmaker, I am happy when my skill set proves to be of use to students. DJ was top of my class at CCC in the Asst. Director's Program that I helped establish and has outdone himself here on "The Defiled." You couldn't find a better collaborator or friend anywhere. DJ is The Man!!!
Here's a good look at the style of design I believe the poster should follow. B/W (naturally) with a "La Strada" feel - the road before us and the endless ribbon of asphalt. We'll shoot the actual shot in two weeks at WJP but this picture (By Alden Moore) is a lovely bit of bizness.
Direct from Crestline Ohio, Roger and his twin Sticky Roger are the unsung hereos of the film. They take it all and never a word of complaint. They do like their downtime and here we see a rare moment of Roger in repose. Lovely fella to work with, doesn't eat anything and is found working every scene. Thx. for coming out, buddy!!
The boys at work as they feed the baby and 'pass the puck' to KL as she has to take on the feeding role. Using the $50 steadicam (a great little device), we rocked through the set-ups and ended up in fine form. We wrapped long before sundown (a first) - the crew was shocked - and BL continues to offer up take after take of thoughtful and caring performance. Incredibly consistent and always on-point, BS and I chat about everything. He's taught me a lot about performance and picked up a few tricks on filmmaking from me. Love working with BS as he is fearless and a man with a great sense of humor. I think it serves him (and us) well. What a rush!!!
Leading lady KL continues to amaze with great acting chops, solid 'hit-the-deck' stamina and is a beauty to behold on-screen. Seen here with co-star 'Roger', mother and child enjoy a bucolic moment in the park. Bloody hot at WJP Park as we shot under the shelter of trees (looking remarkably like Cranberry Lakes). It's almost as if we planned it - hmmmm, we did actually. One of the benefits of advance planning.
Week 5 wraps after shooting in WJP Park and the town of Gary, IN. Rolled with full police support in Gary (better safe than sorry) and we found the locals fun and friendly. We nailed up bodys on storefronts and poked around the ruins of a shattered hotel. Saddest thing found was a battered copy of a "Sweet Valley High" book and several Oprah magazines in abandoned room. Will return to photograph the space at another time. Here I am on set (spattered in blood, naturally) as we prepare to put another one in the can.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Joining Crystal and Jessica in On-Set MU is Kristen, another fun member of Cirque du Face FX - the BEST PHYSICAL MAKEUP DEPT in Chicago. Highly recommended, thse gals rock and can do it all! Book them now for your film before they become WAY TOO HOT!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Here, BS contemplates the mystery of the world with an egg in hand. I don't know where he gets his brilliance from - I just want it to keep coming!! Funny, friendly, ferocious and fearless - the best co-conspirator a filmmaker could have. In this rare, no-makeup shot, you get a peek at the man who drives the show and has stolen everyone's heart. Thank you, BS for your kindness and generosity.
With so much to shoot and so little time, JG had to bring in B-Unit to do catch up and super-star insert work. Here DJ reviews his 'big splat' with Alden Moore, Kara Continuity, Almir Limaj, Tim J (not seen) as JG looks on. DJ did such a great job that he ended up shooting with principal cast members BS and KL on an extended dolly shot sequence in the woods. JG better watch out - these young filmmakers are gonna take over the world sooner than he thinks.
In the film world, we had a 9 light which is 9 lights in a grid - old school but effective. For this film, we have a 10 light - 10 mechanic lights bought on Ebay for $35. "Brando" Comerford, a fellow fan of John Alton and his seminal book, "Painting With Light" proves he as good as the real thing as he lights and creates black and white magic with the simplest of tools. Way to go, B. Keep it up!!
New to set this week are Charles Gardner (not pictured - see him in "Screw The Pepperoni" or "Milk Run" by Julian), Jessica Thigpen, Zo Zozack, and Kyle Dones as a group of 'non-infected' cast. What a pleasure to have - Zo had worked with Julian on "Maidenhead" and both Kyle and Jessica had been in the Conservatory Class at Act One with JG. We'll meet up with them again in Gary, IN later this month. Thanks to everyone for a job well done.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
KL joins us on set this weekend. What a fabulous leading lady. Beautiful and great acting chops. A blessing. We shot out the Ghouls and Sally (aka Tongueless Lady) - although Almir will return for chase scene with BS on Aug. 8. Tired and happy with everything. Am at Act One all week teaching the Intensive Film Workshop so we can afford to make the film. Am happy to be able to do so. Much hysteria as I fall ass-over-heels on wrap night wrapped in my space-age skirt. All is well and everyone in GREAT shape. Alden M once again proves to be a Jill-of-all-Trades and a magnificent help in Set Dec and Props. Will be giving her the Production Designer credit under Elizabeth Alden so as not to confuse the punters! We are almost halfway through (how time flies).
Friday, July 10, 2009
Have just completed next shotlist for this weekend. 144 setups over 2 days. A big job but we're up to it. I've scanned all my shotlists to date and will post them here at some point for those that are interested. Don't expect fancy drawings and illustrations. Shotlists can be dangerous - as you get caught up in a certain look or style and end up chasing your tail trying to achieve a shot. It's far better to have thumbnails that you can distribute to your cast and crew and then embellish as you go along.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
It's official. We exist (according to Variety). Our production office contact info is as below and our dates are listed. So... film production in the Midwest continues unabated.
Monday, July 6, 2009
BS continues to amaze and delight as we venture forward. We are 5 days in and 1/3rd of the way through the film. All of the cast are super - but BS adds the heart and soul to Yar and Son. As I watch the dailys with my producer, she is amazed and delighted by what we've captured. You feel for Yar and believe the interplay between father and son. I'm very proud to work with BS and look forward to our continued collaboration as we bring the film to life.
Puppet Master AM has a lot to contend with. A rubber and a silicone baby c/o RK and his Creature Shop. We're getting ready to add some lovely additions to the weeks following (all hush, hush and super-secret). Just know it involves lots of fun manipulations and contortions. We learned that both babies are actually very flexible and squeezable.
More fun and sun at Cranberry Lakes. Hot and sticky all around as we washed up as best we could. Going through gallons of blood and ultraslime. All in all a good time had by all. Heres, Assoc Prod. and 1st AD DJ washes up after a particuliarly sticky event.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
EP Julie and Prod. Coord. Mal work on set filling the intestines with marshmallow fluff - for the 'ero-gro' scenes sucking on the guts of a dinner found in the woods. Lots of laughter and fun had by both as they rolled, pushed and manipulated the ropey goo.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
We have 10 Gallons of Blood for the film. 5 edible. 5 Non-Edible. Here Assoc Prod/ AD DJ and AD Brando prep on of the blood bottles we fill constantly on set. The birth gusher scene is a real standout. Absolutely disgusting - and lots of fun. When I look at our Shanty set, I am reminded of "Cannibal Ferox" (the Italian inspiration) and all the great savage Mondo films from the 60's and 70's. In a lot of ways this film is a chance for me to go back and pay homage to the film greats that influenced me. A tip of the hat to Deodato and the boys.
Just started looking at the shoot. Holy crap! It's good - cinema, good! Am reading a book on Sex and Eros in Hell about Japanese cinema and our world is as visceral, as cruel and as damning as the worlds they created. As my inspiration for this has always been the Japanese cinema (Kurosawa), the French New Wave (Goddard) and the nightmare realms of the Bros. Quay, David Lynch, Jodorowsky, et al, I am thrilled by our output.