Sassy Women Shooting

I forgot how much I love directing! I have not directed a major production since fall of 2015 (yay Death at the Opera!). This weekend, however, I had the privilege of working with a talented crew of people creating beautiful art.

Sassy Women is about Callie, a wild young thing with a tongue as sharp as barbed wire who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and stumbles through life with her head held high. Her landlord and housemate, Ellen, sees her potential and tries to invest in Callie, illiciting contempt. When a charming cowboy comes into the picture, Callie’s wayward path may lead her into despair.

I am very excited about this production. My actors and actresses are all extraordinarily talented. I am going to start cutting it tomorrow and can’t wait.

Here are some pictures from the shoot:

 

 

Film Noir Shoot

My latest project, which I’m very excited about is a short video I am completing for one of my last film classes. My original plan was to film a short in a car, but underestimated the difficulty of doing this without a steady cam. Due to time constraints, I threw together a quick film noir using my sister and fiance as talent. It was so much fun to experiment with this film style.

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Current Project: Alyona’s Eyes

Read my previous post on Alyona’s Eyes here.

Alyona’s Eyes has reached the editing phase. The Soviet-themed movie has come out to be roughly twenty minutes of intense footage. I have been working with the writer/director/editor (Christian Yonkers) to help him finish up the rough cut. He has truly impressed me with his quick editing abilities. The score was just finished a couple days ago, so we are shaping up to be done in time for the premiere at SAU’s Will Shoot For Credit event.

The link to watch Alyona’s Eyes will be posted soon, as well as an update on its reception at the event!

In Process: Alyona’s Eyes

Eleven and a half hours of on-set duties, not counting clean-up and set-up of scenery was what I did with my weekend. On Saturday and Sunday I was privileged to help out on the shoot of Alyona’s Eyes, a film set in Soviet Russia.

This film is being produced out of Spring Arbor University’s short films class, a production group affectionately named  Will Shoot For Credit. I have been along for the whole process, helping edit the script, brainstorm locations, assembling sets, and, finally as of this weekend, fulfilling my role as primary Assistant Director on the shoot.

My duties on set were typical for an AD: keeping the crew on schedule (we started late due to missing tripod plates but ended early so I feel accomplished), ensuring that the director received sustenance throughout the day, and tracking our progress on our shot sheet.

Alyona’s Eyes was written and directed by Christian Yonkers. Christian works for a newspaper company out of Hastings and is an accomplished writer. This was the first film that he directed, and, ironically, was one of the most complicated films produced by Will Shoot for Credit. The shoot went off smoothly, however, and I am looking forward to the final project.

I will be posting a link to the video once it is premiered, so keep an eye out for more info on Alyona’s Eyes!

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Part way through the construction of our Soviet office. One of our KGB officers and our costumer/props mistress/extra having fun.

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Inside our interrogation room.

Forget Me Never – Marjorie Yarmer

Charming, even in a wheelchair, Marjorie Yarmer presented herself as a delightful focus for an assignment for my film directing class at SAU. Marjorie was a talented teacher, and incredibly learned, holding multiple degrees. While suffering from dementia when I met her, she still offered a startling display of vivacity and clarity.

Before I conducted the preliminary interview, my idea was to focus in on a specific aspect of Marjorie’s life – namely, her romantic journey. I always love hearing the older generation wax eloquent about their high school sweetheart or the person they fell in love with and spent decades married to. However, upon talking to Marjorie I discovered that she had never married. Nevertheless, I still found my love story.

This was the story of a mother-daughter bond which was so incredibly strong that they lived together until her mother passed away. By the end of my informal interview, it was clear that I had found the focus of my project. I’m a big fan of Gilmore Girls, but this relationship even rivaled Rory and Lorelei’s. As Marjorie spoke about her mother, I felt deep respect admiration, and heard of a woman who knew how to make sacrifices for the well-being of her children.

Besides being a teacher, Marjorie also had a painting hobby and the portrait of her mother featured in the piece was painted by Marjorie.

 

 

 

Sex Talks

Last winter I needed to create an entry to a film festival for a class I was taking. In the cracks of my crazy schedule (I was finishing up Death at the Opera) I found time to create this short film for a festival I had found online.

I called six of my friends into the studio and interviewed them about the first time they heard about sex, and gaffes authority figures had made while awkwardly trying to side-step words like penis and vagina. The results were hilarious. I cut them together late one night between questions from my film composer for D.A.T.O., who was working on that piece next to me.

I ended up missing the deadline for the film festival, but we padded the time of our yearly film event at my college with Sex Talks. The audience loved it…about as much as they loved D.A.T.O, which I had poured an enormous amount of time into…

Sex Talks went on to three different short films, the Tecumseh Cabin Fever Film Festival, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Michigan Chapter Student Production Awards, and the Royal Starr Film Festival. It won the grand prize at the Tecumseh Cabin Fever Film Festival.

Beyond this, Mlive wrote a story on the piece. They quoted me directly, and so I sound like my typical scatter-brained self, but I was still incredibly honored.

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Of all of the film festivals Sex Talks was featured at, I was most honored by the Royal Starr Festival which was an international event showcased at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak.