We were delighted to read that San Francisco, the site of Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, was heading for a high of 70 degrees this weekend. So we mailed off our exhibition copy of DVS and packed our bags, we’re off to the somewhat more sunny big city.
Angie has been laboring over the color correction for the film. As usual, she is learning, doing, learning some more and trying again, separated only by the lengthy data processing required by our elderly Mac Mini (hours and hours) and hair-pulling when she watches it and realizes its not quite what she was trying for. Deep admiration for the ever hard-working Madame Producer.
This copy is a Blue Ray disc, per the festivals request. It makes such a difference!
Looking forward to seeing friends and maybe some new fans at the New People Cinema in SF’s Japantown this Sunday.
If you see us after the filmmaker Q and A, come up and say hi. Or the even hipper, “Viva los Zombies!”
(Angie, our good friend the Reverend Dave Chontos, and Andrew at the step and repeat wall of the 4th Annual Prescott Film Festival)
The past three weeks have been a blur. We not only prepped our exhibition copy of the Dead Votes Society but acted as department head volunteers at the Prescott Film Festival. By the time the festival was underway, we had to remind each other to do the fun stuff filmmakers get to do: sign the poster, hang out with other filmmakers, get our picture taken with people who enjoyed the film. We had a great time at the first film festival Dead Votes Society was accepted to. More on that later.
In the process, we learned a lot. Stuff like…never get so focused on the big picture that you neglect to make posters and post cards of your film in time to distribute them around the festival. Always take the time to review the projection of your film with the tech crew, even when it is part of a package of other shorts, and check in with the screening host to make sure everyone’s on the same sheet of music.
The purest pleasure of the whole thing was sitting in large audiences to hear the laughter. It not only makes you feel good, but you start to understand the movie better.
We learned that a larger audience gives you a better idea of how well the comedy is working and where the comic beats are for the audience. Watch a comedy with three friends and you get laughter from only what those three people find funny.
At our world premiere in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, on July 24,2013, we had over 400 people in the audience. They laughed long and hard. Maybe hearing lots of people laughing near you puts you in a laughing state of mind? Maybe a larger audience gives you different people who laugh at different things? Doesn’t matter! The laughs were big and genuine and we were happy to hear them all.
At the second screening, on July 28th – in the smaller Yavapai College SNW Community Theatre – the room sat 200 and they were sending out for extra chairs as the lights went down and people kept trying to get in.
Both times, there was a nice Q and A afterwards and a chance to share the stage with Prescott filmmakers Holly Rillovick, Ryan Moser, Greg Smolarz, Sam Coodley, Ken Gregg, as well as festival MVP Forrest Sandefer (three movies in competition, either as director or DP!)
All in all, a great first festival experience. Now, we do a little more prep, upload the screener to Withoutabox and start offering our little zom-com to festivals for the coming year. Viva los zombies!
That’s right! This year’s Prescott Film Festivalwill feature two screenings of “Dead Votes Society,” the hilarious and chilling new zombie comedy shot in Prescott, AZ.
The “Dead Votes Society” World Premiere happens Wednesday, July 24th, starting at 6pm, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. “Dead Votes Society” is part of “Prescott on the Big Screen,” a showcase of independent short films shot right here in Everybody’s Hometown. We’ll have Q and A with the film makers afterwards and a chance to meet the cast and crew.
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!
Perhaps you are beginning to tire of our endless posts about editing in Premiere Pro (CS6)? Don’t blame ya. Felt that way Day Three myself.
And yet . . . as Benny Hill would say, “Learning . . . Always Learning.” Today, I have rough-cut footage for the whole piece running at 8 minutes. Slowly, I nip and tuck at the transitions, a frame away here, a frame away there. I see friends and feel like we spent the whole night together but it was just their image scampering around the editing screen, “Back and To The Left . . . Back and To The Left!” I re-did the last 5 seconds tonight, totally changing the rhythm. Fascinating.
I find myself getting giddy when I learn a new shortcut – currently Grave Key is my favorite. What’s yours?
I start to look at the material, the look and feel of the piece differently. My god, there’s so many ways to approach the flow with these. And that’s before we smooth out the audio and make soundtrack music. Its overwhelming, in a good way.
And, may I say, God bless the Cut-Away Shot! Young film makers, you cannot have too many of them. Seriously, they are miracles of coverage and will save your butt. ‘Course, as the older, wiser Spielberg would even admit, you don’t HAVE to use them all in the final picture. But, they are golden for getting you out of situations like a nightmarish repeated jump cut dead end.
So, the battle rages on. We are winning. Matt Jackson will start writing the soundtrack around December 4th and this is all very exciting. Viva los Zombies!
*AZ legislature candidate Blaine Walpole, portrayed by the hilarious Kevin Goss. Photo by Denise Elfenbein.
Principal Photography for “Dead Votes Society” wrapped yesterday afternoon as DP Forrest Sandefer raced against the dying sunlight to catch the last shot of the day.
It has been a hell of a project so far and it was a hell of a day to get it all done. 18 set ups in 7 hours.
There are waaaay too many people who gave so much of their time, effort and amazing abilities to give them all the credit they are due this hot minute. Over 60 people crowded the north steps of Prescott’s historic Courthouse, where politicians from Goldwater thru McCain have played out their political drama. On Sunday, October 28, 2012, we played out our satire of the same high drama
I will say that the cast, Judy Stahl, Dino Palazzi, Kevin Goss, Jody Drake and our herds of extras went above and beyond with their focus, their flexibility and comic characterizations while working in such a public place.
The crew was astounding – from Max Kornhauser’s creative and tireless fight choreography to Forrest‘s on the fly lighting and re-lighting of the shots to pull them off, Chad Castigliano and Matt Montgomery and Deb Gallegos racing from one side of the set to the other getting scrims and lights swung ’round, Cindy Nichols running up and down ladders and keeping the clapboard clacking on time, Penelope Davis – ladies and gentlemen, the amazing Penelope Davis and her crew (Chelsea Stone, Sylvia Boyer, Jasmine Castigliano, Dori Mion, Ginney Bilbray, Andrew Pigeon, Susan Crutcher and Debra Klein Duncan) who turned out such amazing make up designs for our zombies and “normies” with such incredible speed, Phil Hammon and his crew – Nick Stecki and Jerod MacDonald-Evoy – dealing with an ENDLESS stream of motorcycle choppers, dogs and yes, at one point a freaking wandering saxophone player, Cynthia Kitts Sobo keeping the shoot flowing with her assistants Terri New and Kay Pifer, all three of our extra Wranglers – Dan Seaman, Coralie Cole and Cole Lahti for organizing and leading their herds of people through shot after shot, and finally our stalwart, Sean Souva who not only detailed the script continuity with a meticulous eye but came early, stayed late and worked his ass off.
Truly, without our hardworking cast and crew, Angie and I would still be sitting around the breakfast table going, “You know what would be cool?” “What?” “We could make a movie!” “That would be cool!””Yeah.” “What’s on television?”
Thank you all and it’s off to post-production. Viva los Zombies!
Two weeks ago, Carie Hughes (lying down in the picture to the left) portrayed the hapless Poll Worker charged with teaching zombies how to use a voting booth modified for their special needs. Needless to say, it didn’t end well. But, in terms of our shoot, it went awesome, with Carie turning in a great comic turn. Here’s her take on what it was like on the set:
“WOW! What an Amazing day, at the day of the shoot as the poll worker. This was my first time acting in a movie and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how it all worked, but once I arrived and got to make-up then costume I was ready for more. I so enjoyed watching the crew prepare and set up for each shoot. I was so impressed how well they worked as a TEAM.
When it was time for the Director to direct us to his visual of the scene I was so Excited I could hardly contain myself. I loved hearing “Rolling!” then “ACTION!” Each take I got more into it and wanted to give my very best. Working with the 2 Zombies was so cool make-up can make them be so Real.
My final scene was a great test for me on my patience. Laying on the concrete floor for a period of time with blood, guts and other special props was so Intense! The time and preparation for this one shoot was long but fun. I have to admit I loved having all the attention on me, I truly felt like a star:) For the last take it got really messy, but I mentally prepared myself to keep on acting even though I knew what was coming. Once the blood started to shoot everywhere I tried to stay in character. I was thrilled to hear Andrew yell Cut! I couldn’t see a thing but from all the laughter I knew it must have been a keeper:)
I had so much fun and laughed so much- I look forward to the next… I totally have a new outlook and appreciation for the filming Directors and Actors.”
(Production Designer Penelope Davis does last minute touch up for actress Joanne Robertson as fellow actor Parker Anderson unleashes his charisma at the camera.)
Joanne Robertson, star of many, many productions at Prescott Center for the Arts, wrote us this note, fresh from shooting her scene as news anchor Melissa Blonde in “Dead Votes Society.”
“So what did I do today? Got to watch a team of very talented filmmakers doing what they love to do. Got to be directed by Angie and Andrew, who really get this acting stuff.
Got to hang out with Parker Anderson who was the source of continuous laughs. Got to know some really cool people like Penelope the production designer and latent actor (ha ha.) Got to hang out with some long-time friends like Arnold who I really respect. From beginning to end, a top-notch, professional and VERY fun time.
Thanks you guys for the GREAT day! Break-a-leg on the remainder of the shooting… Can’t wait to see the movie. It’s gonna be great!!!”
Don’t forget, if you’d like to be an extra in the climatic last scene of Dead Votes Society” on Sunday, October 28th, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Fine Print) Sorry, no one under 18 years old. Must be available from 8am to 6pm on that day. This is a volunteer position. We will, however, feed you and give you screen credit on the film and IMDB!
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!