Coyote Radio Theater
Now, Do the “Sexy” V!
Years ago, back when Angie, Christian Smith and I were part of Coyote Radio Theater, we scored this Big Gig – playing the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff. We knew we needed a great poster for this gig.
And for that, we needed some very good photos. There weren’t that many great photographers in Prescott back then.
We’d heard of Christopher Marchetti, of course.
He was this fantastic photographer who did the big league stuff – swanky shoots for catalogues, bands, etc. His studio is on the top floor of the old Masonic Temple – the ceremonial room, in fact, with thick carpet, richly ornamented ceiling, scads of cutting edge equipment, design forward furnishings, etc. I mean, if there ever was a Bond Villain who was a photographer for Paris Vogue, his lair would look a lot like this.
So, out of our league. But, it never hurts to ask. So, we did. And he said yes. We had a great shoot with the various wonderful oddball voice actors who were going to bring these radio theatre characters to life. Chris really took in that odd energy and found ways to get it in the photo. Our performers really opened up to the camera and we got some of the best photos we ever had of the group.
Here it is, years later, we’re making our first Crest Top movie, “The Dead Votes Society,” a satire about politics in Arizona, adapted by Angie, Christian and I from the original radio sketch.
Angie, as these things usually happen, HAD AN IDEA. “What if on the movie poster we had this grave and the hand of a zombie is coming up out of the grave and its making that “V for Victory” sign with its zombie fingers and we superimpose the title of the movie, “Dead Votes Society” with the V in Votes being the zombie fingers making the V for Victory sign?
Once again, we needed a really excellent photographer – since this poster will be seen at film festivals all over this great land of ours. By great good fortune, Chris Marchetti contacted us about the same time and offered his help on this project. Angie is excitedly telling our good friend, graphic designer Tres Ikner about our luck working with Chris Marchetti again. He says, “I love that image. Who’s doing your poster design to go along with that image?” Angie shrugs. Tres taps his own chest and nods knowingly. Holy cats, we know the coolest people.
So, we leap into action. As producer, Angie recruits one of our zombie actors, the very expressive Cason Murphy, to be our Zombie Hand Model.
Production Designer Penelope Davis develops a two by two shallow box that can have sod laid across the top, a slit made in the grass and a tube run up at an angle for Cason to extend his hand up through the sod. Then, Penelope puts together a zombie distressed fashion shirt and jacket sleeve, which, in combination with her application of the zombie make-up designed by Ridge Gallagher, make for a hand that looks like its coming back from the grave with something to say.
As director, I managed to find damn near the last piece of sod in Arizona. Who knew they stopped making it in winter? The folks at Evergreen Turf in Chandler, AZ were incredibly helpful with this bizarre request.
It all came together on Saturday, in that fantastical loft at the top of the Masonic Temple. Once again, it was a pleasure to watch Chris Marchetti work – his intuition with the shot is only matched by his patience as we figured out how to get an image that was at once easy to read, funny and maybe a little profound in its own silly way.
By the end of the shoot, Angie was standing next to Chris and shouting suggestions to the unseen Cason under the sod box.
“Do a sleepy V . . . do a happy V . . . do an angry V . . . ” And Cason’s zombie hand would change right in front of us as Chris clicked away.
By the time we got to “Do a Sexy V!” we knew we had it. Can’t wait to get the images to Tres for the movie poster.
What a fantastic ride we are on!
¡Viva los Zombies!
Sunday night, Angie (Madame Producer) and I (Herr Director) met with our good friend Matt Jackson (musician/composer/sound engineer) and went over the rough cut of “Dead Votes Society.”
This was the first time Angie had seen my rough cut of the short. As you may remember, she’s doing her own cut, so we can compare and come up with a version that uses the best from both of our approaches. And doesn’t lead to fist fights in the editing bay.
It was also the first time Matt had seen the rough cut. In fact, its the first time the three of us have worked together since the days of Coyote Radio Theater on KJZA. We’d had a great time doing that, we respect the man and knew he worked in a simular comedic vein to Christian, Angie and I.
Earlier in the process, Matt and I had talked about how we’d like to approach the project. We decided he would write and create the music, and oversee the post-production sound at his studio. Premiere Pro 6 and Pro Tools 9 HD would be the software of choice.
First, we watched the 10:40 rough cut just for fun and to see when the laughs were coming in at this point. Thankfully, there were some. (Hey, after all this editing, its difficult sometimes to remember where it is funny.)
Then, we watched it a second time and took notes. We agreed its easier to adjust the length of the music, so Matt is going to rough out the music cues while we still are futzing around with the editing. We came up with some musical ideas for Matt to explore.
We talked about how to solve the unwanted background sounds on the Square (more on that later).
I love working with talented people. More importantly, people who I enjoy hanging with, just as much as I respect their work. Feeling a great 2nd wind coming on!
What’s It Like On The Set of “Dead Votes Society?”
Sean Jeralds (that’s him in the black turtleneck) has performed in a lot of comedies over the years in Prescott, AZ. Besides many farces at Prescott Center for the Arts, he was a cast member in the last Coyote Radio Theater group on KJZA.
So it was especially fun to have him on this shoot – an adaptation of a CRT sketch – playing a completely silent cameo as “Nervous Guy #1.”
Here’s Sean’s reaction to a day spent shooting and re-shooting 6 shots of scary comedy.
“WOW! What a competent, professional, well-planned and executed film shoot – that’s what it was like working with the team Angie and Andrew put together for filming of DVS. No detail was overlooked; from the catering to costuming, everything was dialed. I’m not sure what I liked most about the day, but my choices are 1) getting “glycerined up” by Penelope, 2) being drooled on by Cason, or 3) Watching Tiffany trying to keep a straight face. It was a great time and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Break-a-leg Team DVS!”
Awww, shucks! (repeatedly stabbing right toe into the carpet) What a great cast and crew we have on this film!