Remember the scene in "Living in Oblivion" where filming is interrupted by the sound of an alarm clock beeping? The director (Steve Buscemi) looks everywhere and tears the set apart. He loses it. Right. He was having a nightmare. Well, substitute the sound of an alarm clock for the sound of a ringing cellphone and you'll get a good idea of MY nightmare. Except that I didn't have any doubts about the source of this irritant (and I didn't lose it, either). More on this later.
|I had this image stuck in my head for some reason...|
The first shot was a walk and talk, dollying back. No problem. We get through the scene fairly quickly. The two actors involved (ironically the ones I singled out in part one of this thing) were on top of the material. I thought to myself "This is too easy!". Sadly, it's as easy as it got. One thing that went through my mind was the fact that our "producer extraordinaire" was strangely absent. For someone who demanded as many changes as he did, I figured I would have had to sit on his lap for the entire shoot! That alone should have sparked something in my gut, but hey, no biggie. The time came to shoot our first murder scene (this was a slasher flick after all). A character was to be surprised whist doing his business at the urinal and have his head cracked open on the tile and piping in front of him. Since we had no money whatsoever for effects, I decided to go classy and shoot a close up of a hand grabbing the back of the poor soul's head, then cut to a side close up shot of his head being pulled back and then thrust forward, cutting before the impact to a close up shot of one of his hands grabbing at the urinal next to him, shaking frantically, with a trickle of blood finally coming down his arm. Classy, right? The sound effects were going to sell the whole thing. I was pretty proud of having come up with that. It's one of the instances that people talk about all the time. Lack of money sparks creativity. Ok, I'll run with it. The only problem was that our actor was a bit on the Method side of things. He thought it would have been a good idea to have a cushion in front of his head so that our "stand-in killer" could really let him have it- you know, for realism. Sure! Dedication? Awesome! We were in the midst of shooting the hand close up when the cushion fell off the wall between thrusts. "Poof. Poof. Poof. POCK! Ugh!" Hey! This fucking flick finally had some stars in it! Only problem was that only one poor dude could see them.
In the Beginning was the End: The Truth about Filmmaking. The next few days were concentrated on filming the end sequence. You know, the one I wrote a few days prior? Right. It all took place in a school amphitheatre. My D.O.P. and his minions had designed a truly spectacular lighting setup. It looked incredible. We had every light imaginable, we had smoke, we had access to every nook and cranny. We were there for three days. I went to town with this location. I shot from the rafters, I shot from the projection booth. It was awesome. Except that my A.D. didn't think to clear the seats in the balcony. As I told you, the set looked awesome. So awesome that everybody who had a day off that day came to visit the set. We could see them in some of the shots. Third burst of sharp abdominal pain. But hey, I was living my dream. No biggie. I had many different angles to pick from. Things were going to be fine. Of course they were. Christ, if only I knew...
Days were going pretty well. Some tensions started to rise to the surface. For instance, my actors were still without contracts. As I was, for that matter. One day, they all decided, after speaking to their agent, to sit it out one morning and not show up on set. I decided to chill out with them. This surprised them. "Why is he siding with us? Is he...on our side?" Well, duh! I wanted my actors to be happy. Happy actors mean dedicated performances. Dedicated performances mean (perhaps) a good film. My "producer" finally showed up and they all signed their contracts. I wish I was as lucky. I didn't have an agent making sure I didn't get screwed over. That day was the first day that my "producer" decided to stay "available", i.e.: on set. Literally. We're outside shooting exteriors when "Schmucko", um, I mean, my "producer" is seen walking in the background of a shot while we're filming, talking on his cellphone. I yell "Cut!" and head over to tell him (loudly) to stay off the set while we're filming, as he's just ruined a perfect take. So he stopped walking through shots, but that didn't mean that he stopped ruining takes, oh no! This man did not understand the purpose of having a "vibrate" function on your cellphone. Yes, he ruined many takes with his stupid mobile device. You see, he was still prepping the second film to be shot after mine. He didn't have a director lined up. Somehow, I'm the only one who didn't know better. The days where "Fuckwad", um, I mean, my "producer" wasn't on set went fairly well. The usual frictions were there. My A.D., my D.O.P., and my script supervisor were all friends who had worked together many times prior. Not only that, but all three were filmmakers in their own right. Why was this auslander directing a feature and not them? Yeah. So I had to fight for my way most of the time. But I didn't give up. This was MY thing. Well, what was left of it was mine...
Another surprise was one fine Thursday morning when "Douche Nozzle", um, I mean my "producer" told me that I had to find a part for his "friend". This person was in charge of the sports complex where we were going to film a few scenes. Springing this on me made me blow a freaking gasket. I told him to go fuck himself and that I was going back to Montreal. It was an empty threat as I would never quit this thing, but I would make damn sure that the whole cast and crew saw how freaking desperate I'd become. This man had taken my dream and made me resent it. Keep in mind that I was still without a contract. Unlike my actors, I was on my own. He told me to relax. I told him to eat me. I'd reached my limit. I was at a point where I just wanted to get it done and move on. My heart wasn't in it anymore. Later in the day, when he told me to change a word in the script (apparently, he took offence to a character saying "Christ"), I humoured him. Big deal: it's just a word. I knew I was aboard a sinking ship, I just didn't know how sunk we really were.
I could go on and on and on, telling you all of the massive fuck ups we had to deal with, how Ash punched through a window and wound up in the emergency room (I told you he was "Method"), how "Fuckbulb's", um, I mean, how my "producer's" friend couldn't act to save his life (seriously, he couldn't give me "pain" even if I set fire to the bastard!), bottom line, I signed my contracts THE DAY AFTER we wrapped, nobody (including yours truly) got paid, the film was never edited, and we lost our distribution deal. All I have to show for those two years of my life is a shitty little trailer that nobody has ever seen. And those who HAVE seen it weren't really impressed by it. Apparently, Lucifer, um, I mean my "producer" is STILL looking for completion funds! Really? Go ahead, junior! But, you won't see my name on it. I've already lost too much because of you. I'm not going to lose my self-respect. I would like to apologize to everybody who got onboard this thing. I had nothing but the best of intentions. I wanted to make you proud but I failed. Someday, I hope to work with all of you once again. But, I'll call the shots next time. I did it with Conversion, and I'll do it again. That's a fucking promise.
|...and of "banger".|
|Here lies a VERY bitter man...|