Monday, March 30, 2009

Insert Car-hitting-Ben Sound Here

Saturday was spent in movie mode.  The morning was sucked up by Hitman Hardknocks and laughing our asses off at our actors engaged in a sissy fight, yelling whenever a car would be coming and watching our actors destroy a mattress.  

Let me tell you, nothing screams comedy like two grown men smacking each other in the most sissy way you can imagine.   There were several times when Tara and I had to walk away because we were laughing so hard.  It was nice to have Ben and Jim doing comedy for once.   Tomorrow we're going to try and sneak in the scene with Melissa Chapman before it rains.  

After we finished up (only 2 hours of shooting! Woot!) I managed to sneak in a nap before Lily and I headed out the door at 7:30 to finish up her shoot on "In the Dark of the Night."  I was thinking it was only going to be a couple of hours, but we ended up being there until midnight when I finally said "Look, Lily's tired and so am I.  We're going home."  I was begged for 10 more minutes and they managed to finish up.  At this particular point I'm not sure if we'll have to go back or not.  It doesn't look like it, but you never know.  That particular shoot was plagued with problems.   It started pouring buckets of rain on us shortly after we started shooting and then there was the crazy man who thought the "goth" was going to rob his house.  Um, no sir, the goth kid is not going to rob your house.  And our director, who is driving a bling-bling Cadillac Escalade SUV, has no use for any of the redneck-y trash you have strewn on your lawn.   

Oh, and then there was the cop.  This was a Michigan State Police Officer who followed us back from our location to the state line (it was a 10 minute drive, by the way, the cop following us all the way, just pulling us over juuuuuuussssssstttttt before the border) and then pulled us over to inform us that he got a call from a guy who saw people with a video camera, taping some goth kid on his rode and was wondering if we were filming.   Yep, the MSP were bored.  Nice guy, though.  He lectured the director for not having his permits.  (Yes, because you absolutely NEED permits to shoot a no-budget horror flick.)  Lesson I learned:  Don't shoot in Michigan.  They're uber-picky.

Sunday was nice.  Casey spent the day compositing two shots together to make it look like Ben was getting hit by Jim's car.   So far so good, actually.  Much laughing was had.  The best part of Sunday, though, was the fact that we got to be lazy slugs for the first Sunday in a very long time. Ah, I remember what it used to be like to be a slug!  How nice to return to it, if even for a day.   But then, it started snowing and I was all like "What the hell?!"  So, naturally, I decided to go grocery shopping.  Despite it snowing sideways for a while, it was pretty nice to get out of the house.  

Today's goal is laundry catch-up, stop by Meijers and pick up some toilet paper, and then just chillaxin'.  Next week is spring break, so I'm hoping that will bring some sort of silly adventure.  We'll see. 

I must now go.  I want to sneak in some lunch before Jack wakes up from his nap. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wearing the Producer Jacket

It seems like these days everything revolves around BHCP (BigHatCowboy Productions for those of you who haven't figured that out already).  Last weekend we got Small Change in the can and with a few minor pick up shots that I'm not going to schedule until we have a rough cut together, I get to put that on the back burner.  The work doesn't stop, though.  

Tomorrow we're shooting "Hitman Hardknocks."  This will be our entry for the filmaka competition.  There's $500 cash prize on the line along with another $1000 that will go toward our next production.   I think Hitman will be good and funny and I've managed to throw that particular production together in about 4 days.  Not much I had to do, just get people together.  

We may have to purchase a new computer for editting purposes, though.  Our current machine, a re-built something that Casey put together the best he could (which has served it's purposes well) can barely handle the editting that needs to be done.  So, we're looking at potential fixes.  The best solution that will last us the longest amount of time seems to be a Mac Pro tower.  Unfortunately, it comes at $2500.  Luckily, we don't need a monitor or anything else.   It's still $2500 that I'd prefer not to spend.  If I want to get Small Change off to Telluride in a timely manner, it needs to be done.  Anyone want to invest in our fledgling company?  Buy us a computer? 

On the family front things are going well.  Jackson is running everywhere and has discovered chilil cheese corn chips (the little weirdo).  He is starting to exert his independence and if things don't go his way he likes to throw tantrums.  His favorite thing to do at bedtime is now to tuck himself in.  He even whispers "tuck tuck tuck" while we tuck the covers around him.  So far no more escape attempts have been made, but the only time he's ever in his play pen now is when he needs a nap and has gotten grumpy.  He loves to play with Lily and chases her all over the house.  It's cute to watch them together.  They get along really well.   The most interesting news about Jack is that he may have an agent.  I met Brian's agent yesterday and everyone has been saying "Oh, Jack's so cute!"  So I figured why not try and pimp him out and get him some baby-modeling.    Brian's agent agreed and she's going to give me a call next week sometime.  

Lily is also exerting more and more independence and has posted "Do not enter, I am busy." on her door.   Ah, the first bits of the whole tween attitude.   Lily just recently finished some ADR (Voice Over) work for a friend of ours, Brian McLaughlin and she is currently filming a project called "Into the Dark of Night" written and directed by a fellow MAF member, Steven Barnett (who was killed 4 times on Babylon 5 and served as their technical advisor as well during a few seasons).   Lily plays the character or Samantha.  She doesn't have many lines, but is integral to the story.  She's having a blast doing all of this film stuff.  She has announced that she wants to make movies like her dad and mom.    Yup, I have an incredibly talented family and I'm proud of all of them.

Casey is working his ass off these days.  Between film and then Majority,  I really think he needs a vacation.  I'm looking forward to when he doesn't have to do construction anymore. 

I think that's about it from our end.  It's been busy, but it's been fun.  Now, if Casey and I could get a second to breath and have some fun and maybe some alone time, that would be fabulous. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am cranky.  I took a nap this afternoon because I was starting to get snippy at Lily when she came home from school.  I tried to make Jackson take it with me.  While he did finally crash with me, he didn't do so for very long and I was even more grumpy when I woke up with massive quantities of baby drool on my sleeve.  I am hoping to go back to bed very soon (it's nearly 11).   I also have to wonder if I may be coming down with something because I am quite achy all over.  In fact, at this point the only thing that doesn't hurt is my head.  

I will now give Jackson the cheese he is requesting, drink a glass of milk and then off to bed with me.   

The good news, though, is that all of the footage from our Sunday shoot has been imported as has the sound and well... Simon and Ben sound like NPR announcers.  It's FABULOUS.  

Here's a taste of our upcoming flick.  It's just a picture, but yeah...  Pictured below are Ben Miner (on the Left) and Simon "Pete" Frederick (right) as Garrison and Mr. Buckley in our new film, "Small Change."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Under the Big Hat

Ah, return of the blogging Jess!   What? Do you mean I actually have time to stop and smell the roses?  Not really, but I've been feeling neglectful and I have a few stories to tell so I figured why not? 

I'll start with family stuff.  Jackson has adopted "Cheese."  Cheese is his stuffed dog.  He picked it out when I took my friend Brooke shopping post divorce finalization.  He had to have the dog. Wouldn't put it down. 
 So, I bought it.  It was $5 well spent.  Almost immediately he started hugging it calling it "Cheese."  I have no idea why it'
s name is Cheese, but that is it's name... so Cheese joins t
he throngs of stuffed animals that have taken up residence in our house. 
 In the past week since we got it, Cheese has not been put down with the exception of the day and a half it was over at abuelita's house in which Jack moped around the house asking "Cheese?"  Cheese was quickly returned and off he happily went. 

The other thing that Jackson has discovered is that he can get out of his playpen.  I have a little houdini on my hands.  The first time he did it, I didn't even hear him.  He managed to collapse one of the sides and climb out (which he's also climbing on EVERYTHING now).  He got an empty two liter bottle, came up behind me and whacked me on the back and started laughing hysterically.  Naturally, I chased him around the house, much amused, and finally tickled him.   The kid amazes me on a daily basis.  He also has learned the word "juice."  Now, whenever he's thirsty, he throws his sippy cup (the kid may have a future in the major leagues) and yells "JUICE!"   He does, however, say "tanku" his version of thank you, when you hand him back the full sippy cup.   Cute cute cute.

Lily is doing well.  This has been ISTEP week.  I spoke with her teacher on Monday before the test and we both had a bitch session about how ISTEP is completely useless and tells you nothing and that now a days most kids fail ISTEP because a) the test is completely subjective and b) they purposefully try and trick kids with wording.    One of the questions the teacher gave me as an example ended with the words "Justify your answer."   WHY WHY W
HY would they put that on a THIRD GRADE TEST?!??!?!!??!!  Yes, ISTEP is stupid.  Everyone agrees it's a waste of time.  Make it go away, please.  

Casey is still working.  He's pulling double duty between Majority and our Production Company.  I'm hoping that one of these days we can make some money with the production company thing and get his ass out of construction.  We're working on it, that's for sure. 

Film stuff... this could be long.  

Right now I'm working on three main projects.  Well, two main projects and the th
ird is just to kind of flex my producing muscles.  The last one it turning out to be... interesting.  I'm still not 100% I want to do it but I'm going to just because I think if anything it's good practice for my newbie producing skills (which, from what I've heard are uncomperable to anyone else's in the area... David O. Selznik kiss my ass thank you very much - Casey says I'm Selznick on PMS when I'm on top of my producing game and I take that as a compliment).  I also just finished up the Mid America Filmmakers Winter Screening last Friday which was pretty cool.  I got the head count last night at it was 73 people!  Rock on!  

Project one would be our film, Small Change, which we have slated to shoot on March 22nd.  Last night we did the whole wonderful Pre-Visualization thing and that went really well. 
 Casey story boarded out all of his shots ala Rodriguez and while he was doing that - 
using myself and Tara Eary (our lovely Assistant Director) as the mock-actors in the scene, I amused Tara with various clips from  (an amusing site, go check it out and then buy me that blender).   Small Change info is up on our website, so go there.  In case you haven't been there, it's Thank you, come again. The pic is actually Casey doing setting up the wide shot. 

Project two is the new South Bend Film Festival, which is now named "The River Bend Film Festival."  Yeah... I'm not happy but I'm not going to go into it.  Let's put it this way.  Things need to be a lot shinier and a lot prettier before any advertising can get done and I'm wearing my stilletos to the meeting this afternoon so I can kick some ass.  Yo.   I'm involved because Mid America Filmmakers is the main sponsor and I'm the Vice President of Mid America Filmmakers, so yeah.  OH, I've also been elected "Filmmaker Liason" which means I get to schmooze and cater to the filmmakers that are coming in and give them packets and gift baskets.   I'm actually looking forward to this because I am a very social creature and well, it gives me an excuse to dress up and look pretty. Yes.  I like to look pretty.

Project three is a "horror" script.  I use that term loosely because there's nothing really scary about it.    This one I don't have much to say about because, well, it's in it's infancy and I'm just producing this for fun, so yeah.  It's practice. 

That's about it on our end of things.  I hope you've enjoyed my gigantorpost.  It has taken me roughly half an hour to write (and I was baking cookies during that time, too).