Information on Mari Muerta — the follow-up to The Hank Effect — is up! Please visit t-partyfilms.com for details.
The scene where Floyd explains to Hank and Cheryl what the heck is going on.
PG-13 for a line of dialogue that just couldn’t be changed.
Wow. Just wow. Together, in just two days, we shot a ten-minute movie with a ten-year-old, special effects, and a scene in magic hour.
Here’s a quick refresher of what we had working against us this weekend:
– Tiny, convoluted location
– Competing for resources with a school production and a PAYING production
– Pre-production restricted by, you know, academics, day jobs, and the dozen movies we made at school this fall!
And a reminder of what we accomplished:
– Preserving a peaceful, friendly atmosphere
– On Sunday, going from forty minutes behind to on time — AFTER ADDING FOUR SHOTS!!!
– At least ten setups that combined a child actor AND a special effect
– Damn beautiful shots
– Killer wild lines
– Getting every single aspect of our complex, multi-note setups FLAWLESS BY THE SECOND TAKE
This kind of success just does. Not. Happen. And every one on this crew contributed something that made this movie even
better than I had imagined — I hope you each know specifically what that was, and if I haven’t told you, I will soon.
A thousand million thanks. I’ll be telling stories about this weekend for a long time.
We wrapped about 5 PM, and it’s about 6 as I type this.
I am shell-shocked in the most delightful way. I wept during one beautiful take as I watched my beautiful actors kiss their beautiful kiss in my DP’s beautiful shot, because I loved these characters and I knew I was never going to see them again.
I hope that’s a good sign.
I am happy behond my wildest dreams. For no reason other than their own gumption, about thirty people came today to work their asses off.
The whole reason I started trying to do this movie was because I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside all this talent. Even if I never get another chance to direct a movie, it was worth it. It was unforgettable.
If today had been the only good day, it would have been worth it. If yesterday had been the only good day, it would have been worth it. If Thursday had been the only good day, it would have been worth it.
If the shoot had been miserable and only the rehearsals had been enjoyable, it would have been worth it.
If the shoot and the rehearsals had been miserable and only the pre-production had been educational, it would have been worth it.
But every hour of this production was worth it, and I am proud of and pleased out of my mind with everyone who threw their time and sweat into The Hank Effect.
I’m working on a theory about directing. Growing up, y’ever make sugar crystals? You pour hot water in a cup and mix in sugar until you can’t mix in anymore. Then you tie a thread to a stick, prop the stick on the cup and let the thread hang in the water.
Then when the water cools, the sugar settles out onto the thread.
A director is just the stick. The stick’s only job is to understand the story, which is the thread. If the stick is lucky, she can get all these floating molecules of talent to do little trust falls onto the thread. All together, they can make something beautiful.
I hope I’ve done justice to all my talent molecules. I can’t wait to find out.
In twelve hours.
For comparison, Rachel (the DP) used thirty-eight shots for the entire 10-minute she DPed last term. Which she had three days to shoot.
Why did I have so many shots? I thought my skillion tiny dialogue scenes made things easier. People talking is always easier, right?
Easier on production (location, budget, cast) but not easier on the DP.
Forty-one shots. Without a bead of sweat or dirty word.
That is all.
I gotta give some daps to crew members. Are you ready?
- Carrie Rohm is doing hair and makeup, to make hotties look hotter, other hotties look less hott, and 20-year-olds look 25. She made our grocery store hottie, Whitney Berry, look so hott my eyeballs nearly melted out of my skull right in the middle of Fresh Market. And when she sent Ryan and Drew out from being oldened into 25-year-olds, I was all like, “I don’t see a difference. But now I find you age-appropriate dating material. Weeeeeeird.”
- Rachel Keown is my DP, and Jesse Hoffman is her gaffer. Rachel’s hobby finding secret ways to make decent, workmanlike shots into totally sick-amazing shots.
And she is very genteel about offering suggestions that improve things dramatically. Like, “Hey, Tory, could you do me a favor? Take a look at this… this is what you wanted me to do… and this is a choice that adds humor, exposition, visual interest and a character moment. But I’ll do whatever you want, it’s koo.”
But Rachel plus Jessie is double-double. Quick story: Setting up a shot in the bagel store. The room darkens as a cloud passes over the sun. Rachel looks up at Jessie, DOESN’T SAY A WORD, but Jesse’s already halfway toward the door, saying “I’m on it!”
What is she up to? JESSIE CONTROLS THE SUN. I know, I’ve seen her do it!
- Jenn Hutchins is my art director, with her most excellent partner in crime, Cait Rockwell. Me and Jenn work together a lot, so I hella take her for granted, which is fun for me but a bit of a pickle for her. I often feel like we share a brain, so I get all confused when something in my brain isn’t in her, like, oh, I dunno, a brand-new prop in a last-minute rewrite. Hypothetically.
- Aaron Hammersley is my 1st AD. Gee, I wish I had an example of how important he is to this shoot. Hmmm. Is it how we got 1 5/8 pages and 12 setups in three-and-a-half hours? Is it how we got our first shot on our first day in half in forty-five minutes? Is it how we were wrapped on our second location with an hour to spare? Is it how we gained a whole ‘nother hour at our third location? Not sure. Hmm. Gotta think about this.
- Even the sound team is deadly. Some sound teams can get slack, cos they tend to get treated like an afterthought in the get-the-shot, get-the-shot mentality productions get into sometimes. But without sound? Without sound? YOUR LIFE IS OVA.
On day one it was Joe Morgan mixing and Matt Wheatley booming (tho Matt Wheatley was doing both for a while, daggum school happening during my shoot, the nerve!) and they’re always exactly where they need to be. ALWAYS. If it’s blocking, they’re there figuring out where to be. If it’s rehearsal, they’re in there testing positions, Matt with his arms over his head burning out his deltoids just the same as if it was the real deal. If it’s MOS, they’re in a car getting wild lines. Un. Stoppable.
- Luke Helmer’s doing crafty. Dunno if I mentioned this, but getting Luke Helmer to do crafty was the exact moment in thie production where I went from thinking we weren’t going to pull this off to thinking we were. Luke does this thing where, as the shoot wears on, he makes things like PBJ and cuts them into little tasty pieces and walks around set offering them to everybody who’s too busy to get to crafty. I dunno if you know about being on set 12 hours (no pee!) but being offered a cup of coffee or a nip of cheesecake or wedge of PBJ changes everything. Maybe more than it should. But it does.
- Ooh! Ooh! I KNOW WHO I’M FORGETTING! THE PRODUCER! I asked Spencer White if he would produce this thing on Tuesday. Our first day of shooting was Thursday. Despite finals and portfolio review, he got up to speed in about forty minutes, moved, shook, and unleashed a network of resourceful first- and second-years to secure three locations and three meals in two days. Sick-ass.
My brief tenure as producer of this movie introduced me to the study of psychology, meticulous planning and Zen Buddhism that is required of a producer. Spencer has those things. Spencer saved my ass. That’s all.
I’m forgetting people. I hate forgetting people. I haven’t even started with the people who helped finance this thing, or the script sup, or the locations that let us break their groove… but I gotta go to a screening now.
Oh and BTW I talked so dag much the underside of my tongue got sore from rubbing on the back of my teeth. I pity the crew that’s got to listen to my dag voice all day. No, wait. I LOVE THEM.