Creating, "Amanda It Is"
This webisode was shot in the L.A. Theatre in downtown L.A. The L.A. Theatre was opened in 1931 with the premier of Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights." It was a big to do in it's day, with people like Albert Einstein in attendance and most of the money used to open the theatre comming from Chaplin himself.
Now it's used for film shoots and events. The place is brilliant looking and I was stoked to shoot here. We had 3 actors, 10 extras and over 10 crew members. Getting all these people was an effort in itself. I didn't have my trusty Vihang working the camera for this on account of he was back in India. Instead the DP was Sam Rosenthal. Sam is a professional cinematographer and also a fellow tennent at the building that houses my apt. in Hollywood.
Sam had his own four person team, including assistant director, Sean Monguso. A couple of key additions were Nikki Pokow for hair and makeup and Brynna Yentz working the art department. For additional hands, I posted an add on social media sights for production assistants that would be willing to work for the experience and credit alone and three PAs responded.
The returning actors were: Isaac Harrison reprising his role as Paul Masaniello and Scott Krinsky coming back as Richie Caan. The guest star was a female in her 20s. I asked a casting director for some recommendations and of these I cast the actress. We were good to go, seemingly, then we had to change the shoot date. Our prized location got bought out by someone who can pay a lot more than me. So all the cast and crew had to be notified we were being pushed back. A few extras had to be changed, but otherwise people hung in there.
The actress I cast knew her part and came across as very motivated. She didn't get pissy when I told her we had to change the date of the shoot either. Then the night before filming, (7PM) she sent an email to Sean Monguso, the AD, saying she was sick. I gave her a call and it turned out she went to the hospital for some gastro intestinal problem and then had an adverse reaction to the medication they gave her. She was in bad shape, but said she could make it happen. Before hanging up I told her to take an hour to think about it and decide if she can definitely do it and then call me back.
Then I went out to find a ring for Krinsky. His character wears a wedding ring and he couldn't find one. While I was out running around the Beverly Center mall, looking for that damn ring, the actress called back and suggested I find someone else. I could tell she felt terrible about it and was about to talk her back into it, but then I asked when the last time she digested anything was and she let me know it had been a few days. I decided to find a new actress.
I gave calls to the other actors, called friends from various acting classes and for the next few hours (it took me that long to find that fucking ring), I fielded phone calls and looked at pictures of girls' imdb and Facebook pages. Eventually I found the ring and headed back to my apt with no actress for my shoot, which was less than 12 hours away. To top it off, I had ridden a moped to the mall and on my way home it died and I had to push it for a bit. It eventually got going again and I got back to my apartment and continued the search for an actress. Around 11:00 Sarah Alami picked up the phone. She was out at what sounded like a fun social engagement, but said she was up for it. I had a feeling she was going to suck. Her call time was 8:30 AM and she was out drinking. At least I didn't have to cancel again.
The next day Sarah showed up on time, was very nice and really pretty. She had done a lot of modeling, from Maxim magazine to just about everything else. This wasn't necessarily a good thing. Most very hot girls are terrible actresses. A decent looking girl who is a great actress can make you believe she's hot. Sarah was more than decent and strangely enough, she could act. It was a relief. She was off book, malleable as an actor and had a great attitude. Serendipity.
Our first shot however took a while to get off. Call time for crew was 8:00 AM and the first shot didn't happen until a little before 11:00. We started with dolly moves. They tend to take a while and this was no exception. I fell behind schedule pretty quickly and stayed that way until after lunch. At lunch we ran out of food and the crew left for Chipotle. This meant more wasted time and money. I had already thrown down for a large Subway platter and snacks, but they were all eaten by the time the crew got their turn at craft services. I reimbursed them for the food bill at the end of the day.
After lunch we started getting back on schedule. Once it got into evening, Albee the sight rep, told us they wanted us out of the theater. I had to scrap a couple of shots and just stick to the essentials.
Eventually we got the essentials and wrapped. We cleaned up within an hour, leaving the theater at 8:30 PM. I brought the footage to Jason Loughridge of Project 8 Films and he and I worked the edit for "Amanda It Is." We picked public domain music, including a tune by Moby. He has a whole library for independent film makers who want free music. As long as we're not making money off his tunes, we can use it. Thanks Moby.