Thursday, May 5, 2011

Razor Days Production- Part 2

Monday April 25th- CAVE DAY, continued-

I think Mother Nature thought it would be funny to give us nice weather when we were going to be inside caves all day. After all of the rain the cave day was sunny and warm, of course. But we were determined to have a good shooting day. It was going to be tough but we were ready.

We were joined that day by Henrique Couto and by the end of the day I thought Bart was going to adopt him. Henrique was great both on and off set and gave a hand when he could. Even by trekking into the caves and back up a number of times. We were also joined by Phill Beith, who assisted Scott on the great effects and also made the trek a few times and gave David a great broken nose. This was one of our big cast/crew days and we had a foursome up from Alabama that included Chris Pezzano, who made the awesome knives used in the movie, Mara, who was thrown in and was an great victim, Dan, who was another great victim and worked with Bart, Alan and David on a previous project and Johnnie, who did whatever we asked and helped with feeding everyone. We also had two local women Becci and Moll who were game to help with whatever was needed including carrying large heavy objects, like the anvil, to the pits of the earth and then back up. The cavern managers rounded out the group so there were a number of us. Another long day in the 50 degree damp caves, which was uncomfortable for more than one of us, but everyone got through it and we have some beautiful footage. It was around this time I developed a nice little neck pain, but I figured it was David (sorry David, couldn't resist!)

After we wrapped we headed to a motel close by since we were shooting in Uniontown the next day. After a quick dinner/breakfast at Denny's we headed to bed.

Tuesday April 26th- Today was a big dialogue day. We were shooting at a friend's house that was to be the house of Rena and her sister, Cara, played brilliantly by Alyssa Heron. The first scene of the day was mine and Alyssa's emotional scene and she was great. Again, a wonderful woman to work with and gave me such good stuff to work with that it made it easy for me. After a few more scenes with Alyssa, Debbie, Bette and me we were ready to move outside, so of course it started raining again. Luckily the house had a nice side porch we could move to and finish the shots. We were all pretty tired by then so after the shoot we headed back to Waynesburg for a quick dinner and headed to bed to get ready for the next day.

Wednesday April 27th- MASSACRE DAY- Another big day. In addition to our core group we were again joined by Carolyn, her husband Mikey Haushaulter, who was there to take pictures for us, Lee Wildermuth another great effects artist that we worked with a number of times before, Paul Nandzil, his wife Marie and Vinny Russo. Paul and Vinny were there to get killed, which they did admirably. We also had Paul Hunt and Julie on set getting footage for their Grassroots Horror Documentary. We also had another 2 great effects artist and Stephanie Bartoni. Stephanie again got there early and was, of course, the last shots of the day. Everyone did such a great job that day and things went pretty smoothly. Bette again choreographed a wonderful skirmish with Stephanie, Debbie and me and Bart captured fantastic footage of it. Carolyn stayed at HQ to make a delicious lunch and overall the day went well, especially our four deaths. It was another interesting weather day but it all worked out. Bed felt so good that night.

Thursday April 28th – DINER DAY- That day we were down to the main group but also joined by Kriscinda Meadows, who is writing a piece on Razor Days, and a couple of extras. Stephanie, Carolyn and Mikey also joined us. Shooting had a few hiccups that day but nothing that wasn't overcome and everyone did a great job with the problems that we had. I also found out that there was a problem with a location for the next day's shoot so I spent some down time calling April and Kari Bruno to help us. They were great and really came through and gave me the number of a place we could use. We'd have to rewrite or postpone the scene but we could at least get Debbie and Bette's part done. During this Alan and Debbie were shooting a scene where we had to overcome the music being played at the previous location, The Revolutionaries Cafe. Mike W figured it out and the scene went off and we were done for the night. We headed to dinner at Rockefeller's Grille in Kennedy Township and had good food and GREAT desserts! Then we headed home to get ready for the next day.

Friday April 29th – CLEANUP DAY – this is the day where we had to get all of the scenes and shots we skipped and said, we'll get to it. There were a number of effects, costume and makeup changes so we were jumping. Alan was getting us in and out of costume and changing our looks. Thanks to Stephanie and Carolyn who were again there to out with whatever was needed. That night we also said goodbye to Scott. Since the effects were done he headed home. We sat around and talked a bit and had some laughs but I know I (and a few more) were getting a bit sad knowing that Saturday was the last day of shooting.

Saturday April 30th – LAST DAY – Alan, Mike W and I headed to the B&B to say goodbye to Debbie, who was flying out that morning and Michael V., who was driving her to the airport and heading home. It was a sad goodbye but I knew we all made something great so I felt good. I was also nervous about the upcoming scenes I had with Jeff Monahan. There was some very emotional stuff in those scenes and it was only Jeff and me. No effects or other characters. After breakfast I started preparing while Bart and Mike W figured out with Alan the best order to shoot the scenes. Alyssa came by for the day to help out and Bette stayed around in case she was needed. Jeff got there and the scenes were shot. It was a little tough for me, but overall I was happy with the outcome and getting through it.

We decided to have one more dinner out and then we said goodbye to Jeff, Alyssa, Bette and Chris. Another sad parting but good in a way.

Sunday May 1st – BACK TO THE WORLD – Everyone left that day. We drove Alan to the B&B for one last breakfast with Bart and David and after some hugs and thank yous and pictures the 3 of them headed home. Mike W. and I went to get new phones (I can't believe I went over a week without one, during a production no less!) and visit our much missed families. We spent the rest of the evening playing with our new phones and since it was our anniversary we got Wendy's Drive Thru- all we were up for at that point. We then spent the next few days mostly on the couch trying to get up the energy to put the house in order or get pictures up.


I'm sure there is much I missed in there, like Bette teaching us basic stage combat and giving everyone Syphilis, David almost literally laughing his ass off, watching movies and so much else. Maybe details are there but what I am left with is the feeling that we made what will be a great movie, everyone I mentioned and so many others are responsible for it and I am so grateful for every single person who was there, called, sent an email or Facebook message or supported us over the years. This project would not have been able to be made without all of them and I think we would have missed out on a great endeavor. This movie was a long time in the making and everyone contributed to make it better than I could have hoped for. On a personal note I again want to thank Debbie, Bette, Alyssa and Jeff for helping me reach Anita and making me feel good about her portrayal. And of course Mike W who guided us all along the way so well.

Keep a look out for Razor Days information and thanks for reading.




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Razor Days production

It is Sunday May 1st, 2011 and Razor Days is officially wrapped on principle photography. Right now I'm exhausted, exhilarated and eager. The shoot was such a great experience but this was the first time that a Happy Cloud Pictures production was shot all at once. For those of you who have been on previous HCP shoots you know that we usually shoot a feature over at least a few months. With the exception being Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation which was shot over a couple of weekends. But never before have we been able to get out cast and crew for more than a couple of days at a time. How different it is.

It is now Monday May 2nd- I was a bit distracted by the news of Bin Lauden's death. Whew, what a night. Whatever your feelings about the situation you have to admit it was big news.

Back to the blog…

Tuesday April 19th
Mike Watt and I met up with Michael Varrati and Alan Rowe Kelly and brought them back to Razor Days HQ (aka our house). Michael V. (keep up, there are a LOT of Mikes on this shoot!) is a member of the cast, as Nicholas, and also publicist, set shrink, etc. Alan was going to serve as line producer and ended up doing that job as well as costuming, cooking, makeup, hair, den mother and a few other jobs as well. Both guys were invaluable to the set and I cannot thank them enough.

Wednesday April 20th Mike W went to work and Michael V., Alan and I spent the day going over costumes and props we would need, organizing what we had and trying to plan the next couple of weeks. We ran into town and started picking up food and supplies then headed back to HQ to arrange everything. When Mike W. got home we finalized costumes and planned the next day. Only two days in and we were getting a lot done.

Thursday April 21st Mike W. again had to work, but only part of the day. Mike V., Alan and I went out to finish buying food, bought costume pieces and other supplies we needed. Since most of the cast and crew were coming in that day Alan was preparing a nice meal and we wanted to have everything ready for the next day's shoot. After we returned home with a car FULL of purchases and put them away we waited for everyone to arrive. First to show up was cast member Bette Cassatt, who played Rena, and her husband Chris. Chris works for and the two of them, with Shane Peterman the PR manager, arraigned for lots of goodies not only to be used in the movie but also for us to play with on and off set. We met Bette through filmmaker and friend Eric Thornette (Shockheaded) who had been telling us about this wonderful actress for a few years. When we were searching for a Rena, Eric kept telling us to watch the rough cut of his newest movie where Bette starred and also made costumes (and a billion other things!). When we finally watched Eric's movie we immediately thought Bette would make a perfect Rena and got in touch with her right away.

A little while later we got the call that Bart Mastronardi, our cinematographer, David Marancik, playing Leonard and lending a hand, and Debbie Rochon, playing Jessame were close. We jumped into our cars to meet them at So' Journey Farms, the local Bed & Breakfast where they'd be staying for the next 10 days. After introductions to each other and the B&B hosts, Sandra and David, they found their rooms, dropped off their belongings and followed us back to HQ.

We had a wonderful dinner, thanks to Alan, caught up and discussed the production. Mike W and Bart assembled the jib and Bart looked at the new Kino Flow he ordered and had delivered to our place while Bette, Debbie and I tried on costumes and Alan organized them based on day. After chatting and planning for a while The B&B-ers headed to get some needed sleep and Mike W., Alan and I checked last minute details and headed to bed.

Friday April 22nd- FIRST DAY OF PRODUCTION- Alan, Mike W. and I headed to the B&B for a wonderful breakfast provided by Sandra. Most productions are lucky to get anything other than pizza and fast food. This one we had home cooked, fresh from the farm breakfasts nearly every morning. Along with hot coffee and blended OJ we filled up for the day ahead. The nine of us headed to HQ to meet up with effects artist, Scott Conner, and assistant and jewelry-maker extraordinaire Carolyn Hausehaulter. Then the 11 of us took a long trek (about ¼ mile) to our first location, our neighbor Scott and Jennifer Adamson's barn loft which would become Jessame's apartment. Bart and Mike started setting up the first shot while Debbie and I rehearsed. The rest of the cast and crew were being entertained by Jen and her son, Ian. Jen was a wonderful host not only letting us invade her house due to the chilly rain (this chilly rain became its own character by the end of the shoot) but Jen also made a delicious lunch and kept the cast and crew in hot coffee.

Shooting that day was long. Mike and Bart quickly got the hang of working together while Debbie, Bette and I learned to work together and Mike. Mike and I worked with Debbie many times but this was the first time we were able to have her on set for more than a couple of days. It was great to be able to work off of her and really get into my role. Felt so good to trust the rest of the production to everyone else and act. Debbie and I did a couple of scenes and then Bette joined us. Since we had never worked with Bette before we didn't know what to expect. She was diligent about her character and determined to give her best performance. As an actor it was great to be able to work with two actors who were not only great when they were on camera but gave so much when they were off camera as well. My favorite part of the day was a scene that was supposed to be for visual only under voice-overs but Debbie, Bette and I improved a fun little scene that we ended up putting a few lines in.

The day passed and when we wrapped for the evening we went to dinner to relax and eat. Everyone seemed happy with the days shooting and we were all tired so off to bed to get ready for the next day.

Saturday April 22nd – SECOND DAY- After another great breakfast we were joined by Jim Steinhoff at HQ. He brought bagels and lots of help. We spent the morning shooting a scene with Debbie and Jim- which I didn't see since Bette and I were rehearsing our next scene with Michael V.- but I according to all it was great. Then we shot Bette and my scene and another scene with Bette, Debbie and me. As we headed back to the house for lunch/dinner the clouds rolled in. I was nervous since after dinner we were shooing a big outdoor scene with the three of us that included a fight between Debbie and me. Bette worked with us on the choreography and when we had it down we headed to the location (across the street- I love living here!) as it started to drizzle. We waited in the car until a break in the rain and then we rehearse our scene. After a couple of run-throughs the camera rolled (with Bart under a tarp held by David, Scott, Jim, Mike V., Mike W and maybe others) and down came the rain. I don't remember which of us decided that we'd keep going but before we knew it Debbie, Bette and I were doing our big scene in a downpour. The beautifully choreographed fight was scrapped (sorry Bette!) since the footing was awful. Mud and gravel aren't the best if you don't plan on shooting in it. We figured out a variation and continued with the scene. After a while Mike W told us to scrap the script and improvise. That led to much struggling, screaming, tussling and a beautifully haunting shot when Bart followed Bette while Debbie and I fought in the background. Working with those women was so fantastic! The give and take between us for that scene and others felt so good. With Mike W. giving us what he wanted and trusting us to go there and us trusting Bart to get what was needed I was really enjoying the scene. It also felt good to get in out of the rain clean up and have some hot tea.

Another long day but so worth it. Headed to bed to get some rest and prepare for the next day.

Sunday April 23rd –THIRD DAY (Easter) - Another early start and another long day. This was a heavy day for Debbie scene-wise. We did a few smaller scenes and finished with a scene I can't wait to see with her alone in her apartment. While Mike W., Bart and Debbie were shooting the rest of us organized the costumes and started what laundry was needed. By this time I hadn't seen my cell phone for a few days so I did a little hunting to no avail and prepared for the next day.

Monday April 24th – FOURTH DAY – CAVE DAY! – This was the day I was both looking forward to and dreading. Since it is getting late and this is long anyway, I'll end here and tell you all about it tomorrow…



Saturday, March 19, 2011

My first blog using Microsoft Word Blogging

As I was opening a new document in Microsoft Word 2007, the choices were to open a new blank document or a blog. I've never opened a new blog before so I decided to try it out. I'm not a big blogger so I am not up on all of the new ways to blog. Or actually, old ways since I'm sure some people will point out I am using Word 2007.

This is not going to be very long or informative. I just wanted to try it out and see what the difference was in posting it directly to my Blogger account or creating it here and posting it.

If anyone can let me know if I'm missing any wonderful features, let me know.