Bad Travels 3

Liz enjoys life 3 hours into our five hour tour of DFW airport.

Bad Travels 2

That flight delayed almost 3 hrs to repair breaks....if we leave on time well arrive in la five hrs late. OH I'm also really sick too.....yay

Bad Travels 1

Holiday travel woes...sit on first flight for 70 mins during repair before taking off....miss second flight. Rebooked flt 2 hrs later


Camera be mine!

After asking for a video camera for the last five years and an HD take on one for the last two...Liz surprised me with a canon HV20. I was very surprised as it's almost became a joke of sorts each year when I ask for one.

She's the bestest!

see it here

Watch out world....I gots me video capabilities now! It's probably for the best that I didn't have this when we shot DJ Girl...but now I'm ready for the feature. Behind the scenes up the wazoo, baby!

As we're traveling we traditionally give each other one gift in MA and one gift in MD and leave the rest for when we return to CA.  I gave her an UGG hat.  It's cute, but it's seven levels below a video camera.  Fortunately her MD gift is much nicer...shhhhhhhhh!


A few straggling BTS shots

Just got some additional behind the scenes photos from our last day of shooting in October. We built the set to double for the DJ booth in the club and here's what it looked like when you can see off frame. The second shot is a still from camcorder.

From DJ Girl on set

From DJ Girl Foota...

Spin spin spin it

Every movie has a production company. You're not real without one, so introducing our little shell company...black circle.

Black Circle presents DJ Girl...yadda yadda yadda


Zoom zoom!

At age 31, I'd never gone go-kart racing before. That changed on Friday when we went with the fam to Miramar Speed Circuit in San Diego. After three races on the curvy indoor track I was averaging about 32mph and came in as high as second in our group of eight. Not too bad for an out of shape first timer. I got flashed the no bumping warning a few times, but what can I say, I race dirty.

There's no pic of me, but the nice photo of liz makes the point.


Where there's smoke...

So we're just hangin' out at home and then all of the sudden the entire kitchen and living room is filled with a thick terrible smelling smoke. Turns out a florescent light in the kitchen shorted and the plastic was smoldering. It happened really fast and I can't even imagine what would have resulted if we weren't here or if we were sleeping (as this seemed to prove the smoke alarm was broken).

The plastic casing for the tube florescent is in a large wooden rack that's close to the ceiling. I have no doubt that the rack would have caught fire and then possibly the ceiling and potentially entire building had we not been here. And 90 minutes later I'm still feeling nautious from the toxic plastic smoke so if we were asleep with all the windows closed we may have had other health worries as well even if the place didn't burn down.

It's pretty scary how quickly something like that can happen. Two rooms were literally filled with this awful smoke in what must have been only a minute or two as the smoke was billowing out of the light housing. There's nothing you can really do to prevent something from shorting out due to age, but our landlord is going to hear an earful tomorrow about the fact that there's no functional smoke detector in this place.

Of course we were playing Rock Band at the time (more on that later) so maybe the whole fire was simply a result of us rocking just a bit too hard...



I just got an invite to the private beta of Hulu...the new streaming content site being co-launched by NBC and FOX. It's by far the best way to watch tv shows free and legally online. The quality is great and there's just two or three 30 second ads per show. You can even go full screen.

BUT...best of all...you can embed the video into a blog...like this--last thursday's 30 Rock. The quality on the actual Hulu site is much higher, but being able to embed a full network show that aired last night is still cool...

On the site you can even edit a clip from a show and post just that....


Sign up for an invite here.



I stopped by the LA Auto Show today.  It always makes you crave a new car after seeing everything that's new.  For me this year it was the Nissan GT-R.   I wish I had $70K to get one next spring.  (I don't.)

From LA Auto Show ...

Yeah, I know...not exactly a hybrid.



It's 3:51 and I'm itching to leave work.  After the crazy busy last couple weeks things have calmed down a bit and it's all low key at the moment.  One half of the office is watching a movie another quarter have already left and the rest of us are leaving soon.  Last week I was here until after 10 a couple nights so it all balances out in the end.  I'm waiting on feedback on a few projects that probably won't come til Monday. 

I'm sure the 2.5 day long workweek before the holiday will be crazy busy. That's how the cookie usually crumbles.  

Liz is in Boston at a conference so I'm flying solo this weekend.  A few of us are going with the account team and clients to the skybox for the laker's game on sunday...but no other plans.  Maybe I'll go hiking.  Maybe I'll start my new script that I've been putting off forever.  Maybe I'll go see Dali at LACMA.  Maybe I'll work at a soup kitchen.  Maybe I'll go to a political rally. 

Who am I kidding?

Probably I'll sit at home and play Guitar Hero III.  Liz has become a better Guitar Hero than I....so gotta build the skills before she's back especially with Rock Band arriving next week.  Yes we like are pretend music games......a lot.   

I think we're going to get a hybrid after the holidays so I might find time to hit up the LA Auto show.  We'll see.

I really should start that next script though...


Busy busy busy

I've been neglecting my blogging duties if there ever was such a thing.  The day job has been crazy busy lately.  We did a big pitch for Cisco that had everyone in the office putting in extra time and our best individual shots at developing an idea that the client would love. Things finally calmed down a bit today so I got a chance to catch my breath.

As for the movie...Darrin has been really busy but last week he had a bit of time to assemble all the dialogue.  It was great to see things starting to come together.  Hopefully we'll get to the point of a full rough cut soon. Now there's the big issue of music....we have several ideas but it's such a hard thing to settle on because it's such a major factor in the tone we're trying to establish with this thing.   It will come together.



Celebrated the birthday last friday with a few friends at this sorta newish bar in West Hollywood called Seven. Supposedly the place is usually packed but it wasn't too bad when we were there with all the pre-halloween parties everywhere that night. We got some tables and it made for a good, laid back time.

Liz gave me a sweet Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS navigation. It's nice because it's portable so we can use it traveling.  Plus it picks up traffic/accident/construction notices which is essential for the roads of LA.



Liz and I decided to take a couple days away with a trip up to Santa Ynez valley wine country to relax after a stressful couple of months. It was a great time and we came back with a trunk full of vino. The weather was perfect too...until about an hour into our drive back around Ventura, CA...

We had seen news about the fires in Malibu on Sunday morning, but the smoke from those fires was blowing out to sea. We ended up driving right through the thick smoke of a massive fire that was beyond a large ridge from the city of Ventura. These pictures were taken at 2 in the afternoon and it felt like a cross between the feeling of an eclipse and the color palate of a michael bay movie. Very strange indeed. It wasn't until after finally reaching home that we realized the intense wind was fanning huge fires all over the region making this episode nearly as bad, if not worse, than the fires of 2003.


Last weekend stills

These two are my favorites:

From DJ Girl Foota...

From DJ Girl Foota...

Click an image to see the rest.


And that's a wrap!

I've been MIA from the updates for a while now. Between the day job and the weekend project things have been crazy busy. We shot our two pickup dates on Saturday and Sunday and it was worth all the hard work and effort that went into it.

You never get EVERYTHING you need or want, but we certainly got enough of it to give us some nice options putting this thing together. Plus our redo of the opening scene of the trailer that didn't work at Vanguard turned out fantastic.

While many people have helped and continued to help make this thing happen...two people put in the extra effort this past weekend to help out in very thankless ways. First was Todd who designed and helped build the DJ Booth and was on a ladder for a couple hours helping to assemble our set on location. Plus he helped out playing Gunther and as if that wasn't enough he's building our website too.

Secondly (not because she comes second but because I want to close with mentioning her) is, of course, Liz. She ran around picking up stage and speakers, driving a truck, making deliveries, assembling the set, moving heavy gear, sorting out food and doing all the little essential things on the set that someone needs to do or we'd never get it done. More importantly though, she's put up with me being a neurotic and anxious freak in the days leading up to each time we'd shoot. This project wouldn't exist without her and I can't thank her enough.

Next comes the editing and an entirely new set of challenges. But the challenge of coordinating and logistics has passed and I think we're in good hands with Darrin on our team to put our little reel together.

Here are some pix from my camera. I'll post some stills soon and we had someone taking more professional looking behind the scenes shots on the last day that will look great as well.



The start of a DJ Booth

Todd came over on Saturday to help design and build the DJ booth that will be the centerpiece for our set this Sunday. It will be covered with black fabric to mask the structure and the flatscreens will be playing a video loop. It also will be at our studio set rather than in our garage.

Gotta love that super loose Costco return policy!


Red Sox vs Anaheim

This was from our seats at game 3 of the Boston sweep to win their ALDS series.


Nocturnal construction

My work parking lot was closed today to build the stages and tents for the massive music/rave--Nocturnal Wonderland.


The road ahead

After reviewing all the footage we've shot and assessing what we need, Marc and I settled on shooting for two more days on October 13 and 14. The 13th will be spent shooting a couple scenes that we hadn't had a chance to get yet.

The 14th, our hopefully last day, will also be by far our most elaborate.

We're reshooting the failed opening scene that we shot at Vanguard. Only this time, we'll be in a studio (well...technically it's a loft, but its also a studio). This will mean actually building a DJ booth from scratch.

As you can see, it's a very stark space:

We have a challenge ahead of us. The current idea is to try to create something inspired by this (skip ahead a bit)

Yes, with video screens and projections. I knew that "no questions asked" costco return policy would one day come in handy.

Now, let's actually do it!


Reshoot studio

Here's a series of pix I took at the stage we'll be shooting in on 10/14.

DJ Girl studio location

It certainly has potential although it's VERY clearly a blank palate. How we design and build the set itself is what will make or break us. We plan to dress it up with lots of over the top equipment, bassbins,2 flatscreens and an HD projector. We may even rent a fog machine.

In any case, it's exciting and as the details emerge it becomes even more so...(and all the people on the outside start asking if they can help--something that will surely be appreciated on this day)


Liz gets her new car

Liz finally picked up her brand new, pimped out Infinity G35 coupe yesterday. After 8 years in a Nissan Sentra that leaked water, smelled like mold, and just two weeks ago finally decided to commit suicide, she's happy to be in such a nice new car. Now if only she'll let me drive it! (for the record, she already offered)

click below for gallery...
Liz new car


At work at Vanguard

Just saw this recently...

Drew "Rukes" Resler, the pro photographer that takes club pix at Vanguard every week, got this shot of us at work in the VIP room.

Here's the reverse angle from the our HD camera...

That strobe flash on the still camera is pretty damn powerful to light that room like that. It looks like two totally different spaces. If we tried walking around with a light that was constantly that bright, we would have been shown the door after about five minutes.

And for the record, while there is NO stripping in DJ Girl...there just might be a little pole dance--fully clothed, of course.


How to end a long day...

Let the neighborhood cat in heat scream at the top of its little lungs right outside your window at midnight.

Despite the annoyance, I couldn't help but become fascinated by the fact that a second, random cat that I've never seen before was just standing there watching the first cat writhe around in pain.

Eventually a neighbor did the old "spray the cat with a hose" trick and I haven't heard a peep since. Probably for the best as those nasty opossum's that live around here would probably love to destroy a weak feline like that.



It's 1:10AM in Westminster, MD and I can't seem to fall asleep. I have a 645AM flight out of BWI and then a day of car shopping with Liz. Driving my rental car to the airport so that means leaving in about three and a half hours....bleh. Don't mind the car shopping part at all...I just hope I can get some sleep on the plane so I'm actually useful.

Oh, and yeah...clowns will eat me.


How to be a DJ

Todd created this little animation of Steve explaining the DJ process to Jamie.

I love when his hands explode. According to Steve, he was describing what happens during a trainwreck to our new-to-DJing actress. I think the actual story must be more interesting and plan to put on my Columbo jacket to get real the scoop.


More stills

The good and the bad of shooting in a nightclub

After finally reviewing all the footage we shot in Vanguard, I gotta say, for a couple of yahoos who didn't really know what to expect from our run and gun technique of shooting in an open popular nightclub, we got a lot of fantastic footage like this (yes, she is wearing a blindfold!):

But, you can't win em all. We also got some footage that's not quite as pretty like this:

Thankfully, 90% of what we shot in there falls into the fantastic category and we're already brainstorming some exciting ideas about how we'll redo the one scene of less desirable footage outside the club in a set-like situation where we have complete control over lighting. That scene opens the entire trailer so it will be worth any effort it takes to get it perfect.

So while I may have been a bit disappointed that everything didn't turn out exactly as intended, I've come to realize that leaving Vanguard with .900 average ain't too shabby. We couldn't set up lights. We couldn't control the venue. Plus we were crunched for time and we had no monitor to actually see footage as we shot it. All that noted, it's astounding we did as well as we did.


A few stills from last wkd

Stills from the shoot look a thousand times better than what my little camera was able to capture. Here's a few from Day 1 just over a week ago.



Wow..we actually did it. We got through both weekends of shooting and it all actually turned out a little OK. For starters, despite our worries and fears, NOTHING went wrong at Vanguard. We got all the footage we expected to get and more. Probably one of the more classic moments was when Gregg, who's playing the role of Gabe--Royer's exboyfriend and sometimes slimy promoter--started giving fake drink tickets to people in the club as we filmed it. This was totally his idea and it played really well. I'm curious to know what happened when these poor saps tried to get a drink at the bar with one of these things.

We had a few hiccups today regarding The Standard. But in the end we still got our crew up there and got some gorgeous footage at this really spectacular location. We didn't get footage of Royer behind the turntables because the roof mgr shut us off. He was under the impression that we were only shooting the DJ, all our following of these two girls around the space probably gave it away as something else. He informed us that the location costs $30,000 per DAY to use and then we were done. Check out the cover image for DAY FOUR below and it's clear how even just the bit of the gorgeous footage we got up there will play beautifully. (And...as luck would have it, it poured rain about 15 minutes after we left so even if the manager had been cool with it, the Gods thought we had better places to be). Back in Hermosa we spent the rest of the afternoon shooting the girls rollerskating at the beach in some funky retro gear. They looked great and it'll work really nicely in a montage.

So that's it for this phase. We shoot a day or two more in late September but with four days wrapped, this thing is looking very, very promising.




Everyone needs to pray to the gods of indie film

Did the walk through at Vanguard tonight. Half of me is relieved that we got things sorted. Other half of me is as nervous as can be that the whole thing will be a disaster or we'll be thrown out for being disruptive. Only time will tell. The fact that we're able to shoot in there at all is a massive achievement in and of itself.

So tomorrow between 830PM and 3AM pacific time (1130PM to 6AM for you fools back east) we need everyone we know to be sending good thoughts, energy and wishes. I've never been one for the mumbo humbojumbo, but if there was ever a single time to try and use it, that time would be now.

And just to be clear, my anxiety about the shoot tomorrow night at Vanguard is not a negative reflection on the shoot as a whole. If we walk out of that place with not a single frame of usable footage, we still will have enough good stuff to make this work. But it doesn't matter, because this whole thing has power behind it and tomorrow night we're going to rockstar that place. Look out world, here I come!

Start at 1045 tomorrow morning. 9 hours from now. And then we shoot for 9.5 hours before we even arrive at the club. It's going to be a loooooooooooooooooooong day.


What a busy week...

Wow...I intended to write some sort of long descriptive account of the shoot last weekend but it just never came to be.

Work has been crazy busy. The one week when I probably could have used for things to be slow has of course been the polar opposite. In the last five days I wrote six television spots for Jitterbug and rewrote the entire instruction manual for their phone. It's been exciting work and I'm glad to have projects like this to do...just gotta love the timing. Oh well. The ads get presented to the client next week. Here's to hoping they actually like one.

And when not working, it's been prep for the shoot this weekend. I tell you what, it's going to certainly be interesting. Saturday night we shoot in Vanguard and there are soooo many variables beyond our control that it's going to take a good amount of luck to walk out of there with everything we need. Not to mention the 1500 people who will be there just looking to have a good time. "OOOOOOO CAMERA...LET ME STICK MY FACE IN FRONT OF IT AND SCREAM!" On Sunday we'll be at another big party...this time outdoors on the roof of the Standard Hotel. You'd probably recognize the place even if you've never been there as countless shows, movies and commercials have been shot there. We happened to have a lucky set of convenient circumstances that will allow us to get some fantastic footage for free.

I'm less anxious going into this wkd even though there's a lot more that can go wrong. It's good to have a few days of shooting behind us to know everyone involved is capable of pulling it off. Plus it's nice to know that even if nothing we do at vanguard works, we'll have enough stuff shot elsewhere to make at least something work.

I'll pull some stills from the footage to post when I have a chance. It looks really good. A lot of work went into what we did last weekend and it was entirely worth it. How we pulled off making a ghettofabulous pool look like a hollywood party is still beyond me but we somehow did. And without Liz running the show at the house and doing all the little things I couldn't do all week, it would have never happened. No one else would run to 15 stores looking for rollerskates on a Friday afternoon. If this was a real feature with an actual budget, Liz would have been doing the jobs of three assistants. I'm incredibly blessed to have her do it...and while she'd never ask, I'll be sure to figure out a way to make it up to her when this is all over.



Took a lot less pix today...but here they are...



Check out the album from today's pix. I'm exceptionally happy with how it all turned out. Lots of stress and a bit of drama but we got some insanely good footage.

This thing is gonna rock. I'll post more pix after tomorrow's shoot and write about it all monday after I breathe.

DJ Girl


T-Minus hours

As we crunch down to the start to this saga that had a seemingly endless prologue I'm excited, nervous and a little scared. It's been an interesting day of ups and downs in much the same vein as every day this week.

By day's end, we had our makeup artist for sunday confirmed...making it the last outstanding item for the weekend.

Now it's time for bed before an intense morning of prep, followed by an intense afternoon of party. Let's just hope our party guests understand what it means to shoot a movie with dialogue (HINT: It means no music).

So here they are...the cast of DJ GIRL

Jamie Tisdale is Royer Adams

Sierra Fisk is Davina DeVine Phillips

Brendan Hines is Dylan

Mikka Dergel is Mona

Gregg Rogan is Gabe

Todd Herman is Gunther


T-Minus Two Days

We had our final pre-production meeting today and surprisingly everything seems to be going smoothly. *knocking on wood now* Everyone is ready to go on Saturday. We got a fabulous hair and makeup person today so that's taken care of. We went through the shot list and seem to have a good grasp of what we need.

As for Sunday I just need to confirm hair and makeup and we're otherwise good to go.

Liz has been a godsend helping to prepare the house for the shoot. As I have the day job goin', this wouldn't be possible if she wasn't on school vacation and willing to help so much.

I'm not so much stressed now as I am tired. Sleep is for the weak.

Day after tomorrow!


T-Minus 3 Days!!!

So it's official. We've officially landed Vanguard for the date we need to shoot there.

I know, I know...last week I said kinda the same thing. But our approval was for the 18th and since needing to switch to the 25th we've been in an assumptive mode. As of today we're in a confirmed mode. How we pull off what will be an exceptionally challenging shoot in the midst of a live, open nightclub as a couple of inexperienced filmmakers is another question all together.


T-Minus Five Days

It turns out the last minute actor issue has been resolved as favorably as could have been possible. Thanks to some generous schedule shuffling, our original cast remains in tact. What a relief!

Prepping our house for a party and a shoot has been a unique exercise. It'll be interesting to see how it all goes down. Liz is taking on the role of party host because it's far too much for me to handle solo.

And now I'm just overly tired...


Blank canvas

All I know is that I can't get a record contract, we cannot get a record contract unless we take those tapes to the record company. And granted, the tapes themselves are a uh um oh, you own them, all right, but the magic that is on those tapes. That fucking heart and soul that we put onto those tapes, that is ours and you don't own that. Now I need to take that magic and get it over the record company. And they're waiting for us, we were supposed to be there a half hour ago. We look like assholes, man.

-Reed Rothchild, Boogie Nights

T-Minus Eight Days

Well I had an update written yesterday but I pulled it. I'm not going to go into why right now, because there's more important things to focus on. What I will say is this, today was one of the more stressful days I've ever had as we had an unexpected crisis where one of the lead cast members needed to be replaced last minute.

Let me tell you it's not even remotely fun to deal with trying to fill a role last minute when you have a busy day job and no official resources like a casting director to help. I've been stressed enough as it is, leaving work and either going to a preproduction mtg or just working on prep stuff at home until well past midnight. When I found this out I actually had a moment where I was ready to give up--for personal reasons and the overwhelming nature of the whole thing. I slept on it and decided in the morning that all I can do is forge on and deal.

So today I pushed forward and we'll try to figure it out. It's added a pile of extra work at a time when I couldn't need it less but way it goes with the world of independent film. Fortunately I have friends that jumped the second they heard the news and put out an APB to help us find a replacement. We're talking to one actor on Sunday and there's a few more that I hope to meet this wkd as well. I can only hope that one of them is actually right for the part.

As for the personal side of it, I'm kind of numbed by the whole thing. Not really sure what to make of it all. I can't really get upset now because that's an additional distraction I don't need. We'll see how I view these events in three weeks when these four days of shooting are behind us.

Fortunately I have some friends that have practically thrown themselves into this to help me in every way they possibly can...often without me even asking. I'd never get this done without them. I've only been talking about this for nine months so it's good to know there's people there when I need them most.

OK....enough about the sucksauce....

Marc and I had a fantastic meeting last night and I'm feeling more and more confident about our ability to pull this off. The list of little things to do seems to grow when it should be shrinking, but that's OK.

Tomorrow we have some details about how many people to hire for sound to deal with. Our DP thinks we need a twoman crew and I don't think we can afford it. But bad sound will kill us, so we need to sort that out. Don't even get me started about how we'll get good sound in Vanguard. That's week two...I can't think about it now!


T-Minus Ten Days

We decided today to shoot the pool sequence at my house on day one. It's a relief in some ways because we have complete control of the location. It's a challenge in others because we need to throw a party and make sure all our friends acting as extras are having a great time. 11AM is early to convince people in LA to show up for something, we'll see how well that works out.

As my post a few days ago indicated, we did have Vanguard secured for shooting on the 18th. Unfortunately, as things must always be difficult, the lead performer that night is a band rather than a DJ and the stage will be set up in an unusual configuration that won't work for us. The name of the movie is DJ GIRL, not BAND GIRL, so having a stage filled with keyboards and drums wouldn't be appropriate. We're hoping to shift that shoot to 8/25 so keep your fingers crossed that we'll secure clearance.

Ten days, wow.


On August 19, we will be shooting here...

From DJ Girl recor...

Steve Chipman, Location Manager

His day job may be COO for Mobile Storm, but it seems our height blessed friend also has an ability to convince people to do what had previously seemed practically impossible.

I don't want to go into specifics until everything is confirmed, but should it all pan out, our amateur location manager will have saved the day.

More to come...