Sunday, July 31, 2005

End of Week 5

I've had one hour of sleep in the last 28 hours. I don't feel it as badly as I did a little after noon. It was a good day of shooting. We did all of Grove's scenes. Katherine Willis, Angela Rambourg, good stuff. The art gallery looked beautiful. All of Kurt's drawings ... perfect. After wrapping at about 1pm from the gallery, the crew went to Lovejoy's for some drinks. I'm wondering if sleep deprivation and alcohol are really such a good combination. I wasn't planning to go but Yen and David were in town helping out and I hadn't had a chance to sit down with them the whole weekend. Those boys are awesome. Hopefully David will make it back next weekend.

We're waiting on getting some footage back. It's in film jail right now. We're waiting for a few checks to clear. I hate this whole part. I'm so anxious to see footage from weeks 4 and 5 so we know if we have to redo anything.

I'm both looking forward to the end and absolutely dreading it. I've fallen in love with my cast and crew in a big, big way. There are going to be a lot of tears next week. I'm pretty psyched about our alternative dance club scenes. It's going to be a dance party USA.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Austinist

It's 3:35pm. I'm in some random coffeeshop near the edge of Hyde Park. I'm working off of about 3 hours of sleep, several mochas and an Odwalla Strawberry C Monster juice. I'm averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night and 3 coffee drinks a day. I JUST discovered coffee last week. I'm afraid that I might really like it. I haven't exercised in almost two weeks and am feeling very slovenly.

Last night went beautifully. Lee Daniel came and ran second camera for us on our stunts. That man is so nice. Just really, really sweet. The stunts went off without a hitch. Savannah backed out of the jump at the last minute but with a good wig, Jody doubled perfectly. Stutter and Jody wrapped late last night after we finished up some wide shots at the Lamar Footbridge. I love those guys. Stutter is an amazing Stunt Coordinator. He put everyone at ease and made me well aware of my limits and options with everything. I just wish I had more stunts in BRAIN BRAWL besides a bunch of thirteen year olds fighting.

I think I just got in a really stupid fight with Mark. He's upset that we're shooting in our apartment and I may not have time or energy to move everything back before he gets back from Dallas. I can't really care too much about that right now. Physically and emotionally, that's my last concern. I love the boy to death and understand the inconveniences I put on him as a result of this film, but there's only a week and a half left. Things will settle again soon.

Alison Coffey did an interview with me last week for the Austininst. It might be the first interview I've done that I don't cringe at.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Drunkenly delirious

The mayor jumped off the Lamar footbridge last night. It was a media frenzy. Even made the front page of the metro section. It was so friggin' weird. It's what everyone's talking about today. Even the El Arroyo sign says something to the effect of "the mayor's friends told him to jump off a bridge so he did". Just crazy, I tell you.

All four of the kids jumped off the bridge last night right before a huge storm set in. They were amazing. The whole night long. We waited out the storm for 2 - 3 hours. Afterwards we did all of the water shots ... otters, nutria, lots of debris and trash. It was pretty disgusting. And we ended the night with all of the jumps onto the scaffolding. I got to jump, twice. We got some really great performances from those guys. Bryan threw up after Glen gave him CPR in one of the scenes. I felt really bad. Not to mention, Nathan, my AD threw up this morning as he came down with the stomach flu that seems to be plagueing my crew. We have to go back tonight and finish up some of the shots that we missed due to the torrential downpour. But it was a good night.

Tonight we have Lee Daniel running second camera out at the Zilker bridge. Hopefully that'll help us with time. After a Vietnamese Coffee and two coffee, banana smoothies I was wired all night long. I'm finally crashing. I felt a little nauseaus on the way home. Probably sleep deprivation. I should really rest my weary eyes now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

50% Chance

Please, god, don't let it rain tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This fictionalized world.

I never intended for this project to be an issue driven film. It never crossed my mind. But in the past few weeks, I've had emails here and there from people sharing their stories about their father, son, brother, friends who have taken their lives. I've never had a relationship with suicide, only a fictionalized world loosely based on an experience from long, long ago.

The email we received this morning was from a woman who's son took his life last year after a battle with drugs and mental illness. She sent photos and links to several websites she created in memory of him. I just had no idea how many people this affected. I'm nervous. I'm nervous that I won't do justice to the subject matter. I'm more afraid of people who are in the aftermath of a loved one's suicide watching the film than I am of Sundance programmers and distributors.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

End of Week 4

It's Sunday night. 9:16pm. Week four is over. Rhett wrapped today. We wrapped Nathan Zellner's house and Will's house. Only two more weeks. How very sad.

We're prepping for the bridge nights. Did another scout today of the Lamar footbridge. I'm really confident about it. We'll see if the mayor really jumps or not. We'll find out tomorrow. Suzanne goes in front of the city council to get all of the logistics worked out. We shall see ...

I love my people. Love them! I'm watching interviews that Tracy did with them yesterday. Watching Gerald do the nitty gritty dance and Adam do the robot to New Kids on the Block. Listening to Colby's sweet southern drawl as he talks about lasagna.

Mari, our second AC, got to shoot some establishing shots on Friday. That might be one of the highlights for me. Watching her grin from ear to ear and dance around the camera as she set up shots. I've never seen someone so excited about something. She's so cute it kills me. Moments like that make this all so worth it. So many people are getting a chance to learn and teach and grow. I love being a part of that.

Friday, July 22, 2005

False figures.

I made Stacy and Jim stay awake way too late last night. I couldn't help it. We were watching footage and I just get really excited.

The three of us scouted the bridges again. I feel like we revisit them every few days. Jim's worried about the wide shots. He's trying to get some helium balloon light or something like that. I'm able to wrap my brain around them more. Those are pretty daunting days, but I'm sure we'll manage just fine. Stutter's taking the kids for jumping lessons on Tuesday. Standing on the Barton Springs bridge last night ... I was almost tempted to jump. It doesn't look so terrible afterall.

We're getting more and more press. Yesterday the Statesman printed our hypothetical budget of $200,000. I was pretty upset because a) we don't have even close to $200,000 right now and b) if we did it's not public knowledge. AND if we did have $200,000 people would be paid a lot more money. It bummed me out that this huge false figure was slap dab in the middle of the paper for all to see. It bums me out that we don't have more money to pay people and be able to afford fancy equipment. Regardless, we get by. We're doing the best we can and we're making a kick ass movie on little to nothing. We're pretty damn resourceful.

Ok, must go find out why Stacy's not here to pick me up for the shoot yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No Jumping

We start up again tomorrow. I'm afraid of the pending rain. As much as I'm really loving the weather, it could set us back a little. I just hope the gray skies continue without the actual precipitation.

I've been working with Stacy on getting a loose website together. Here's the beginnings of it ...

I get more and more excited each day. I could sit and watch the footage over and over. I had a nice cup of tea with Nevie today to discuss how we'll be editing and getting everything ready for some festival deadlines coming up. I'm anxious. I'm anxious and giddy about all of it. I have a great feeling in my gut about all of this.

I wish I could upload some stills but I can't figure something out about how to do it. That's my technical illiteracy side coming out.

I also changed up my Absence of Wings site up a little. Damn that Mike Slack takes nice pictures.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Infectious smiles, Confidence, Flirts and Intelligence

We're at the halfway mark. I know the next three weeks are going to breeze by. I'll be a heap of depression once this is all over.

So it's confirmed. Mayor Will Wynn is jumping off of the Barton Springs footbridge for us. It promotes him, it promotes us, it saves us a bunch of money that we really don't have. So it's a win, win situation. He seems like a super nice guy. What a strange scenario.

I got about eleven hours of sleep last night and I'm still exhausted. I have that raspy, not enough sleep voice right now.

From here on out, it's pretty much about the kids. We have a few more scenes with the Turners and Grove's mom, but that's it. I love my kids. To death. They're all so amazingly cool ...

Glen (Eric) - the all American, good looking kid who seems to excel in everything he does. Charming, the kind of smile that every teenage girl will swoon over. Basically he is his character.
Bryan (Zak) - super intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, completely introverted and sweet as anything. Very much his character minus any sort of drumming skills.
Savannah (Grove) - outgoing, flirtatious, sweeter and much gentler than her character. There's not that tough, bitterness about her that my friend Gena exuded at sixteen.
Katie (Lindsay) - The character of Lindsay is pretty much me when I was that age. Katie is that overly shy, quiet, girl that never raises her hand in class even though she knows the answer. I like Katie a lot. She has a confidence about her that I never had growing up.

I did really well picking my cast.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Day 12 - JOB

I'm delirious. Stacy and I made our appearance at Tom Copeland's retirement party last night. We had a mission to talk to the mayor of Austin, Will Wynn. We've been trying to get some fees waived for use of two Austin bridges. Mayor Wynn was super nice. He said he would jump off a bridge in order to help. He had a beer in his hand so I'm noot sure how serious he was. We shall see. We stayed too late last night and I only got a few hours of sleep before being on set.

It was a good day. I felt like I could think more clearly without a million extras running around. We picked up some shots that were out of focus from the first weekend and finished up with the scenes scheduled for the day.

It was Michael's last day. I'll miss him. I really loved working with him. And he gave me a fantastic performance.

It was Beatrice's last day too. We lost her to The Cassidy Kids. I hope they realize how lucky they are.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Day ... Not sure what day we're on anymore

8pm on Saturday night. Going to Tom Copeland's retirement party. I'm sooooo tired. Been up since 3:30am. The shoot the past two days has been nutty because of working with so many extras! The last scene we did today with Leslie, Michael Emerson and Michael Conway was really beautiful. I'm finding that I love the quieter, simpler scenes.

Got interviewed by KXAN yesterday. I suck at interviews. I'm just horrible at them. They ask me to sum up the movie in a few sentences and I find myself stumbling over words, making no sense whatsoever, and probably sounding really stupid. Luckily it airs at some obscene time on Tuesday morning. I'll be sure to miss it. I should just decline any interviews from here on out. That wouldn't go over so well with Lorie though.

Mark bought cat litter yesterday. Poor Pork Chop was having a hard time of it for about two days.

Tomorrow's Michael's last day. I'm really going to miss him. I was talking to Stacy tonight about having "imposter syndrome". That's what she calls it. I think sometimes certain people don't like me. Or maybe not that they don't like me, but that they've figured out that I'm really not a good director afterall. I get doubts about myself a lot. For some reason, more so this past week. I need to slap myself out of it.

I'm probably not making much sense on this entry. I'm almost falling asleep as I write this. I don't want to go to the party. I don't want to make small talk and tell everyone about the shoot. I don't like big social events. I'd rather stay home and stare at my wall and listen to music.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Raspberry Tea and Laptops

I thought I was going to throw up this morning. I took Mark's laptop to Quack's to work on film stuff. As I was sipping my raspberry tea, I jerked and tea poured all over the keyboard. After a few minutes, the screen went blank. Agh! There are certain items of his that I'm destined to destroy. That laptop is one of them. I've already cracked the side and bent the wireless card. Luckily I have good friends in the systems administration department at work. Mike Brown fixed it in two seconds flat. Thank god for sys admins. They rule!

Savannah, Jentri and Adrienne are going on KLBJ next Tuesday morning to talk about the movie. I'm not even sure what kind of music KLBJ plays. KXAN is coming to the set on Friday. Of all days too. It's going to be the craziest with 50 extras and huge parking lot scenes. Lorie's all over this press thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cat Litter

It's frustrating and upsetting how much making a film takes its toll on a relationship. It's a test of devotion, I suppose. It's been really hard. I literally have no time outside of making the movie and my day job. And I'm functioning on very little sleep. I haven't had time to get cat litter in a week. That seems to be a point of contention between Mark and I. It's the smaller issues that mask the much bigger ones. We had a long talk last night. It was inevitable even though I could barely keep my eyes open. It's a talk that we'll probably have again and again before this is all said and done. I love my boy to death. And he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. It's just hard to find any sense of balance at this point.

Monday, July 11, 2005

End of Week Two

I cried pretty hard yesterday. Partly from Bryan and Michael's performances in the scene when they finally have it out, partly because at that moment, I felt the most connection to this film and this story and everyone involved and partly because I was tired. After watching Bryan break down on camera, I could barely utter "cut". Tracy had to call it for me. I went outside and sat by Jim's van and cried for a little while. I'm sure some of it was from exhaustion, but for some reason, everything hit me pretty hard.

When I first decided to do this film in January, I pretty much knew that I would cast Bryan Chafin in the lead role. He has this wonderful naturalism about him that I love. We'd worked together on cicadas and Pilot and Olo already. When we did Pilot and Olo together, it had been about five years since I'd seen him. All of a sudden he was six feet tall, awkward, quiet and self concious. It was strange. There wasn't anything big or emotional in the film, just a quietness that with the stage of his life that he was in, worked perfectly. When I started auditioning everyone for jumping, I realized I was going to have to push Bryan into the more emotional scenes. Even when we rehearsed, I could see it. Sometimes, I feel strange about it. About how to communicate what I need or what I want. Yesterday I didn't hold back with him. I knew and he knew that he could do better. It ended up being the best performance he's ever given me.

I've learned a lot from Bryan. And from Michael and Anne and Rhett and everyone. And I'm super grateful. They've been teaching me how to be a better director. How to bring pieces out of them, that I didn't know I could. They've given me more than I could've asked for. With Bryan yesterday, I was proud. Very, very proud. I love that kid.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Day 6 - JOB

Tracy and I came up with some really cool dances to correspond with the shoot. We came up with "Hot Set" dance, "Costume" dance, and "Quiet on the Set" dance. My favorite is the "Hot Set" dance although Lisa gets sad when we do it because she thinks we're making fun of her, but we're really not. We're just being stupid. It's a good dance too. Lots of jazz hands.

It was a super fun day. We finished early and got an extra scene out of the way. The funkin (fake pumpkin) looked so real on screen. Art department had to whip up fake innards of a pumpkin. Combination of spaghetti squash, acorn squash, canteloupe and food coloring.

Sunday starts our theme days. Headbands and wristbands.

I don't want this to end.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Day 5 - JOB

The days just keep getting better and better. The crew and cast just keep getting better and better. I'm really excited about a shot of Glen Powell that we did today. It's a really beautiful dolly shot of him crying on the side of the house after the funeral.

We got footage back today. Mostly from all of Friday and part of Saturday. It looks really nice. We get more back tomorrow. I'm really excited to see the stuff we shot of Mrs. Nelson in the garage.

There's no substitution for film. It just looks so damn good. After shooting on mini-DV for so many years ... I'm in heaven with the grain and the soft focus backgrounds. It's gorgeous.

I'm upsetting my boyfriend these days. I woke up last night talking to Rhett and Richard in my sleep. Ugh.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Something that made me happy.

When Stacy was relaying a story to me and she told me that someone was asking why she was working on a film that wasn't hers. She replied, "jumping off bridges is my movie too". :)

Got to be startin' somethin'

I'm ready. For a new week to start. We've had our crew meeting to go over what went wrong, what was brilliant, what we can do better. And I have a rehearsal with Bryan and Michael tonight to go over their break down scene. After that, I'm ready to go again.

I woke up last night, stood up in bed and started talking to my boyfriend because I thought he was Richard setting up a shot in my bedroom. And I kept wondering to myself why there wasn't enough light for the scene. I have a feeling there will be many more dreams about the film and production. When I was filming cicadas I was actually sleep walking and talking to Jim in my sleep. Telling him how and where to set up the shot. How funny I am sometimes.

I was buying Gift Certificates at Alamo Drafthouse about two hours ago and a woman recognized me. She asked if I was Kate Chandler. I said, "Kat". She told me she had auditioned for the film and she was so happy that a woman was making movies in Austin. I smiled the whole way back to my car.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Day 4 - JOB (Evening)

Week 1 is over. I'm pretty bummed. It went by too quick. I know that the next five weeks are going to fly by. After I finished my first feature film, cicadas, I was depressed for a whole month afterwards. I missed my crew and my cast dreadfully. Those familial ties have already started with this crew. They're unbelievable. I've been complimented many times already for their kindness, hard work and talent. Somehow, Stacy, Lorie and I got really lucky . They've gotten me through four days of shooting. And we're only behind by one scene and two pick ups. We can easily get these next week, no problem.

We wrapped Anne Nabors today. This woman is phenomenal. I've already decided I want to write something for her. She's such a joy to work with. And talented. She was great in rehearsals, but she exploded on screen. Her and Michael had some wonderful scenes together today. My favorite perfect scene that I was so excited about in rehearsals made me scream with joy after I yelled, "cut". I was so blown away.

I'm listening to the CD I had Karen burn for me of a bunch of songs I wanted the kids to listen to, to get in the mood of the 90s ... My Bloody Valentine, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lush, Cocteau Twins, The Sundays ...

We get footage back on Thursday. I'm dying with anticipation.

My cat misses me. He's freaking out.

Day 4 - JOB (Morning)

It's 4:45am. I think I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night. It's been some time since I've gotten that much. I feel awesome. That reminds me. We have this really sweet and funny P.A., Adam, who cracks me up. I think this might be his first filmmaking experience. He's eager as anything. He's running around all over the place, screaming "Quiet on the set!", vacuuming, setting up craft services, getting water for actors. He's really great. My favorite quote of his so far ... Yesterday he mentioned that he was a Republican. "But I'm open minded. And I'm awesome."

While we've been shooting inside, the grips are outside building all sorts of things. Everyday, when I go for water or air, they're hammering and nailing huge boards and contraptions. I'm scared that soon, they'll have built a new house next to Will's. They're sort of crazy like that.

Today is Anne's last day. I'm pretty bummed. I really love her. We bonded a few weeks ago when we had coffee one morning at Quack's. We share a lot of the same favorite books and movies. I gave her some Sixths and Magnetic Fields records to listen to after she discovered Stephen Merrit from Lemony Snicket books on tape. I love working with her. She's a wonderful actress. Really, really, really talented. Not to mention, she's such a sweet lady. She wants to rewrite several flashback sequences so she can come back and shoot more. She almost has me convinced.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Day 2 - JOB

I think we reached record temperatures in Will's house today. It was like a sauna. Oh my god, it's hot in there. BUT to make up for it today, we had Amy's ice cream as a treat. :)

Another kick ass day. We caught up and got all of the shots that we lost yesterday. AND we were only half an hour late after catching up. Everyone is working so hard! The crew has hit a groove.

I ran through about seven rolls of film the first day. Stacy gave me a little talking to about that. I needed to chill out on how much I was rolling. I only shot 3 today. I'm learning how to be more lean using film.

More great performances. We had a huge scene with seven actors. About 3 pages long. I tossed out my storyboards on that one. I was super happy with the shots that we pulled off. I think it'll cut together really well. Nevie's been popping onto set here and there which has been wonderful.

Our stunt coordinator visited the set with our stunt woman. After shooting we we went and visited some bridges. We decided on a bridge near Zilker park. When we got there to scout it, there were three boys jumping off the bridge. We had them jump off so we could test angles. It was awesome.

My boss, Mary visited and brought us tons of food to help us out. It was so sweet. We're feeling very loved.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Day 1 - JOB

Got an amazing performance from Anne in a therapy scene.

It was hot. Hot, hot, hot.

My crew, kicks ass. I almost felt lost not moving C-stands around.

A few mag issues. We might have lost half of a scene because of mag issues. But if we didn't, we got everything on the schedule and only ran about half an hour late. Not bad for the first day.

Tomorrow we'll be faster. We'll be quicker and more efficient.

It's been fun. Loopy and fun.