22 December 2008


So far everyone on the production has had an “aha!” moment when they realize why Alan took David’s calendar in the script. It’s a beautiful, seemingly insignificant piece of dialogue that doesn’t catch you as being in reference to something until repeat viewings. I thought at this point all of the major crew and cast had their moment.

Bill had his “aha!” moment on Saturday during editing.

I laughed.

15 December 2008

Learning Curve

When Christopher and I set out to make End we knew it was going to be a learning process. I remember telling him that success or fail, just making this movie was going to make us better filmmakers. Ever since those words came out of my mouth that has been slowly coming true. I am learning a lot.

The first thing I learned is that with a brilliant cast and crew I can accomplish a nearly impossible production schedule. We had some issues, and some fun things to deal with in post, but we did it.

Now that we are in post production I am learning that making a feature film is not all that similar to making a short film. The biggest difference is time – not the length of the film itself, but how long it take to put it together. There is just so much more to deal with and it’s hard to take that into account until you are actually doing it. Let me tell you post production on a feature takes a long time. It’s suddenly become clear to me why post production staffs are huge and why it takes such a long time to finish a feature – even on our budget. I can’t wait to see the finished product but I am going to have to wait. That is the hardest part of post – waiting for everything to finally be ready to pair together into a complete form.

I am also learning that music is a great thing but another layer that takes lots of time and patience. We have not found a composer yet, but those we have been talking to are great sports and seem to be genuinely interested in this film. That is always a good thing to have in a potential new crew member. Again, for a short film music is so much simpiler.

However, despite everything I am learning, even the painful things (like drywall is much more fragile than you think) I believe End is going to be a film worth making and watching. I am excited for the near future when I can show End to all those that worked so hard on it and begin the next and final step.

03 December 2008

Glitches & Other Fun

I haven’t felt this busy yet idle since college. Being in post production is interesting; I’ve only been in post on short films and student films before and this whole feature film thing is a whole different creature. I think I’m keeping my stress level bottled up pretty well though.

One of the funnest things about post production is the technical glitches that always seem to happen and they have been happening to us. Nothing earth shattering has happened so far but glitches are always time consuming; things that sound so simple like backing up footage on digibeta’s and capturing footage become huge hurdles without you expecting them to. There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours capturing footage and quitting for the day to then come back the next day and discover that your hard drive has dumped everything that you worked so hard on capturing the day before. Because of a stupid technical glitch you spend hours doing the exact same thing you did the day before. This is why I do not envy Bill. Bill is my hero.

Whenever technical glitches start happening in post I just remind myself that this would be happening to any filmmaker no matter what their budget. If we shot on film we could find out that part of the negative got scratched or it was accidently pushed or pulled a stop or two while being developed or any other of a million things that could go wrong.

I’ve been very good at pointing out the obvious recently so I have this little nugget of wisdom: all phases of production are tedious and hard no matter how much you enjoy them. What I have been telling my post production crew is the production philosophy I live by. Deadlines are great; but at this phase in our careers it is more important to make sure we have a well made, great project to show than rushing through everything just to make a date. Deadlines come around again, but if we take the time to make sure End is the best possible movie we can make it, then every pain, sleepless night, fit of laughter and technical glitch was totally worth our efforts.

24 November 2008

The Forgotten Story

End - Daniella & Dave
Originally uploaded by mrbosslady
I sat down today and realized I had never written about the day the police showed up on set. I think I should write about it before it gets glossed over in the annals of time and forgotten. This was too scary and funny to be forgotten.

The day was August 23 and we were cooking through our schedule. I mean it, time was our friend. We were shooting a scene in the foyer/front porch of the house. The scene is pretty simple, the characters pound on the door and get let inside and the only real issue is how many characters have to be inside that foyer – 8-11 principal characters remember. No matter how you slice it that is a lot of people in one space and then factor in that there is always 5-9 crew people stumbling around as well. We got to know each other real well.

Despite our space issue everything was pretty good. Our only genuine difficulty seemed to be where we placed the light outside; the cord was right by the door frame and thought it was gaffed within an inch of its life more than once actors would snag the cord or the light and it kept trying to plummet to its doom.

Like I said, a group of actors were staged outside the house and pounding on the front door yelling to be let in. We had to do this quite a bit because the scene required a lot of coverage. After one take we opened the door after I yelled cut and I heard an actor laughing and saying the police are coming. I laughed too, it was funny – police interfering with the walkers. Funny ha ha. Then another actor said it again – the police are coming.

That’s when I realized they weren’t telling a joke. The police were coming up to the house.

My brain went into panic mode. Less panic than when we broke Susan’s wall, but still panic. I bolted out of my director’s chair and made a bee-line for the door shouting for Christopher – who couldn’t hear me because he was hooked to the boom with noise canceling headphones on. I think someone kicked him so he flew down the stairs and followed me out the door where we met about four uniformed officers with hands on their guns.

This is where it gets funny.

We had thought to warn all the neighbors on David & Susan’s cul-de-sac that we were filming and would have a fake rifle on the balcony, etc. – neighbors even asked us questions and wanted to be kept up to speed on the progress of the film once it’s done – but we forgot about the neighbor’s behind the house. These neighbors never even crossed our mind.

Evidently, a retired officer lives on the block behind David & Susan and when he heard all the screaming and pounding he assumed someone was breaking into the house and called the police. So the police came and barricaded the street and made their way down to our set because they thought we were doing something illegal. I can’t even imagine what they thought when they saw a bloody crow bar, shovel, etc. being wielded by the actors.

Luckily Chris and I have experience with law enforcement to cops don’t make us nervous like they do most people. The situation was easily diffused, but it was scary for a little while there. They totally could have been morons and tried to make us shut down for the day. The good thing for us is that the cops found the situation funny.

OPD might deserve a thank you in the credits.

28 October 2008


As I prepare (and look forward to) switching hats from Camera Beth to Sound Beth, lemme fill you in on the details.

Going to film school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just wanted to work in movies and I was good with electronics. My youthful adventures with the family camcorder and me constantly carrying around my tape recorder never came to my attention as fore-shadowings for potential movie-related careers.

I knew I wanted something technical, and when my first film teacher in my first film class called us all (earmuffs Lauren) "fucking idiots" for wanting to be writers and directors, I took offense because neither profession had entered my decision making process when applying for film school. (My comments and experiences as a cinema prod major is a whole different blog).

But I didn't quite know what. I just started playing with whatever was around. At first, it was taking all the camera training sessions available. Then I found myself in an unusal extraciricular: radio.

The DJ I trained with (Jake Kuebler, currently on air in San Fran), was head of on-air production for the station. He was awesome and super nice to me, so I kinda followed him into it and joined the production team.

Now, I had never heard of Pro-Tools. Never thought of sound design. This was New World 101 and it was a pain in the ass. I struggled as I tried to learn the simple little digital editing program and little board in the basic audio lab. But, after many hours and Jake's support, I started to pick it up.

Well, like an idiot, I thought I was qualified enough, so the next year I applied to take Jake's place as Production Director.

And I got it.

So I spent the next year of school slowing, but surely teaching myself advanced pro-tools and whatnot. I became a pro of patching, cutting, and had so much fun putting my own voice in EVERYTHING, but disguising it enough noone knew.

During this time, I continued my camera interest as well, but I had trouble getting on student crews, so I opted to do production sound instead. I was the master of the boom and DAT player.

By Junior year, I was the local sound editor. Everyone came to me for promos, breakers, cutters, sliders, openers, you name it. Nearly everything on the school radio was mine. And then something interesting happened: I found that my school offered a post-sound prod class. I was in right away, one of ten students, and the only girl (of course).

When I came to LA, I got onto a crew as a boom op/prod sound person, but the director never made anything (and now lives in Florida). But through her, I met a local sound designer who let me intern at his studio. That's where I worked on my first feature, "Night of the Living Dead: 3d" which came out in 2005. (Come on, you know you all saw it).

This feature got me onto IMDB and while I enjoyed the opportunity, I had to find paying work and left the studio.

While working at Paramount, I found the courage to come back to camera, the department that didn't embrace me in school, but I knew interested me most.

It's funny, people always ask why I don't pursue sound instead of camera, because sound is what I know, and honestly, it's what I'm more experience and currently, better at. Truth is, I like sound, I am good at it. I'm more confident as a sound designer, but hours spent in those sound-dampened studios, hours flying by, no concept of days or time, listening to the same scene/dialogue/line/word/syllable over and over and over again, gives me a headache. I love it, but only in small doses. A career in it isn't for me.

So yes, I'm a Sound Designer.. always will be. But now I'm a DP too and I can live with being both.

24 October 2008

Memories Make Good Improv

So now that the actual filming process is over, everything feels more disconnected. At least it is, excuse me, it was like that, for me, up until a couple days ago. I walk in to one of my conservatory[theatre study] classes and notice that everyone is sitting in a circle, definately not our usual way of starting the class. But then again, I had been absent for 3 days, things could have changed. So I walk towards the circle and plop down next to my good friend Collin. He smiles at me mischeviously and that's when I realize, this isn't going to be a normal class day.
I then notice a corner of young adults convcersing quietly in one corner of the room. I proceed to ask Collin who they are but shut my trap when they turn to adress us. They go on and on saying how they are part of a national performing improv group and are doing a 4-class workshop with us.
Ahhhh...improv, that's why Collin smiled so devilishly. He's in on the secret you see. He knows I love to watch improv, the key word being, 'watch'. Doing it however, is a completely different subject. I sighed and got up to work on the coming assignment. One of the coachs starts eplaining the assignment, he tells us, 'you are going to think of a story, one of not much importance. And then, you are going to fabricate some details, just to add some comedy, and then at the end of the four days, you will perform'. Okay, I could deal with that.
I started thinking back to summer, since nothing from the school year had caught my attention. And I thought back to right before the filming process. When we were all ready to go, all there, and all of us had met each other, except Pearce. But I digress, he did already know some of the cast members from previous workings. However, I did not have the pleasure of his aquaintance yet. And it just so happens that Pearce had a little trouble getting to us, being in Canada after all, with all pieces in tact; luggage, etc...All I could think of was, stupid airport. And so I decided then and there, that this would be my group's improv piece. I was lucky enough to get a lot of the good improv-ers in my group +Collin[he's good too]. I told them the story and togehter we fabricated some details to Pearce's journey home to us. All from drunk men in the security line to angry british people complaining, and finally coming to the film...at exactly the wrong time[will go into detail at a later date]. I don't know how this idea popped into my head really, it was just a random story I remembered, but I must thank Pearce. As of right now the scene is going really well.
And so, after my long babble of a blog, my little thought is out. Just thought I'd share the little story. I'll be sure to give an update on how the performance goes, cross you fingers, maybe I can get it taped. Alright, well I'm off for the night, I've got a seven and a half hour rehearsal tomorrow and there isnt time for sleeping there.

And until that later date, signing off.

23 October 2008

Composer Search

Originally uploaded by L'il_Birdie26
There hasn’t been as much to write about lately as there was while we were in production; what can I say? There’s a lot to say when you’re smashing through people’s walls by accident, dealing with broken air conditioning and twelve page scenes. Everything in post is a different kind of meticulous process. It’s a very good process but one that seems so slow, but that could also be because we shot a movie in eight days...everything seems slow after that.

Christopher and I have been on a mad hunt for a composer for the film. There are a lot of them out there let me tell you that. It has been a blast listening to the different styles and voices that each composer has so far. I can’t wait until we reach a decision and I can add one more piece of the puzzle to End. I am a firm believer that the right score from the right composer will make the film even more dynamic than it could be otherwise.

09 October 2008


So I’m keeping my fingers crossed and not saying much but we have been having some semi-good news about things surrounding the film. I have a goal in mind for a completion date that no one has panicked about so far, but to not jinx anyone I am not saying what that is. Those of us involved in post know it, those not involved in post don’t need to know.

My next big hurdle is getting someone locked in for music, because I really do think that End would benefit from a score. I truly do. The movie needs it.

I believe in the talent and determination of both Beth and Bill to get things through, and I think End will be fabulous because of it.

17 September 2008


In 2005 I took a position as a studio page at Paramount Pictures. This job was amazing and life changing for me. For the first time I was completely immersed in film culture, I was seeing backstage of TV shows and movies, and I was meeting great people. About five months after I started at Paramount a new class of pages was brought in and among those new pages were Caryn Hayes and Beth Wallan.

What I have come to realize after spending a few years working around the peripherals of Hollywood is that I am one of the few, genuine native southern Californian’s who is trying to get into the entertainment industry. More often than not people from far outside California flock to Hollywood as it is still the stuff of dreams and movie stars. Beth & Caryn didn’t come to California to chase celebrities, but rather because each one had high aspirations to conquer the film and television worlds; Caryn wants to be the powerful TV writer, producer and show runner, and Beth wants to make her mark as a formidable DP.

I don’t think that Caryn, Beth & I knew we were going to want to work together to pursue our career goals when we first met; the only other creative partner I’ve ever had is Christopher and that partnership is vastly different than my partnership with Beth & Caryn. However, since 2005 the three of us have always jumped at a chance to help the other with projects or de-stress at a round of laser tag. My current creative life would be a heck of a lot harder if I had never met Caryn and Beth; I am very thankful that they both came to this state and decided to be pages so we could eventually get to where we are now.

In August of 2005 Beth arrived in California from Alaska, and Caryn arrived in California from Louisiana. Typically they each throw a little gathering every year to celebrate the accomplishment of defying convention and picking up and moving to Hollywood to pursue the dream. This year neither Beth or Caryn could have their celebration; they gave up that little tradition to work on End; I hope that they enjoyed having a project to work on as much as they normally enjoy celebrating their arrival to this state.

12 September 2008

A Little Behind..

Okay, so I haven't blogged in awhile. Juggling a day job, weekend drives to OC, and shooting all weekend, kind of forced me to put on the blinders, knuckle down and just do the job.

It's the one thing I do hate about this kind of juggling act. I would rather have my head up, enjoying the shoots and time on set instead of just focusing on how much sleep I'm not getting and trying to not let the work-week stress interfere with the weekend fun.

Man, I need to get out of the office life. (Megan too).

So, now that the shoot is over, I was looking back over the year and realized End is the 10th project I've worked on. It's the 7th I've shot. But 10 projects this year.. it takes me back to May when I was actually carrying around 3-4 scripts at a time.

And all the while, maintaining this exceptionally stressful day job.

I am a fortunate person and I am pleased with nearly every project, and would love to see #11 hit in October (Caryn), but I would give anything to get paid to do this so I can JUST do this.

Megan had a pic of a ball of rubber bands. Unfortunately, everything around my desk is labeled confidential, so I can only assure you my cubicle life is NOT the big plan I had for myself when I ditched the home state and decided to endure the high-level field that is filmmaking.

I am just so looking foward to that glorious day when I can sit by a pool, sipping a daquari, rememebering how much I used to whine about the day job, little knowing those days would soon be behind me..

Ah, what a sweet daquari that will be..

When It's Over...

I remember going to school after a weekend of read-throughs and talking to my friends. I remeber them saying, "So, when it's over, what are you gonna do?" And I remember saying, "When it's over....I'll probably go back to the same old thing. I mean, nothing will have changed, it's just some more experience." And man was I wrong.

I went back to school, after it was all over. Friends I hadn't seen since last year greeted me with friendly hellos, just like the same old thing. I went through the first half of the day, just thinking about what I had done, how much I had accomplished, and almost getting in trouble for not paying attention in class. And finally, it was lunch! I had seen my other friends at lunch last week, but they were short, not everyone was there due to schedule and book mishaps. So today I walked out to lunch expecting it to be like every other day...

I noticed when I set my backpack down that everyone was there, standing in our little formed circle next to where we ate. They were all laughing, talking of summer memories, and how they already had hours of homework. I walked up nonchalantly and just started giving imput on whatever the conversation had turned to. And my best friend Nicole flipped out, "LAUREN!" shey yelled. Sh hadnt really seen me to much the summer and I was glad that my busy schedule hadn't offended her.

So we continued to talk, even though we only had five minutes of lunch left when it happened. One of my friends turned to me and asked, "So how'd the whole movie thing go?"
"It's still going actually, we're almost done. But it's really no big deal. I mean, when it's over..." I paused. Flashbacks of the weekends of filming ran through my mind like a real of film. I heard everyone's voice joking about some random comment that someone had made. It changed then, to when we were filming the scene when everyone arrives at Molly and Matt's house. They kept flashing and I was finally pulled back into reality when Tessa spoke, "Lauren?" I smiled slightly and continued, "When it's over, things will have changed. I dont know how to explain it to you guys, but, I just have a feeling things will be different." BINGO!

I realize, now that it's over, that things have changed. This experience has changed me, as an actor, and as a person. I now get a better perspective on things, frustrating problems, the loss of a loved one, the relationship between family members. All because of a little fantasy called END. I don't know if I can explain it any better than that as of right now. So for now, thanks, to everyone who made this possible.

I'll get back to you. But for now this is it. This is the END.

08 September 2008

The photo shoot

Well... I don't know if it was just me, or the sadness of the experience being over or what... But that photo shoot seemed pretty grueling... I was pretty tired I think from the early 1.30pm call time and someone took the last energy drink right before my eyes! I was shattered by the time we were done... I supposed that it didn't help matters that for every photo I was tensing my arms as much a humanly possible so as not to be dwarfed my my much manlier cast mate. Or that we were passing around cards etc to sign for people in such a stealthy way that EVERYONE knew what was going on... Like I said maybe it was just me but it felt like we'd just done another days shooting... I wish :(

Bring on the editing, bring on the poster, bring on the... END! 

Then bring on the sequel ;)

06 September 2008

September 6

So here I am and the clock on my computer is telling me that it is offically Saturday and as I am exhausted I should be sleeping. However, as I sit here avoiding sleep I can't help but feel like I am supposed to be on set tomorrow. I know that I am not, but I feel like I should be.

Tomorrow Susan and David will wake up knowing that they are not going to be invaded by actors, equipment and crew. They will be able to go about their daily lives like before we swarmed them, broke their wall, drilled holes to instruct barricades and drenched every surface with fake blood.

Susan said she'll miss having the bustle, creativity and energy around and I have to say that I echo that. I am about to go into that lonely place a director goes - post production. As excited as I am to begin seeing Bill edit this footage into a feature it is something that I will be mostly on my own on. Bill will edit, Beth will do sound, someone will do music, and eventually the film will be complete, but I will no longer get to dwell in the constant presence of all the people that came together durring production to pull my vision out of my head and make it a physical reality.

I know this is part of being a director and I love it, but I also loved being on set because the people that were there made it an amazing place to be. I do wait excitedly for the hurdles that lay ahead, and I hope that I do not let anyone on this project down but in the end deliver the feature that I know it can be.

05 September 2008

Can't, my director will kill me..

Well, I've had a few days now to weigh in on how I feel, now the shoot is officially wrapped. At first I enjoyed the knowledge that I no longer had lines to learn or a shirt to wash blood out of. But I also knew that the main part of my life for the last month was over... I can't imagine how Megan must feel! Because truth be told, there is a certain pleasure that we actors take in the small sacrifices we make for our profession. I loved learning lines all week long, staying out of the sun so as not to have a tan disrupt the continuity... same goes for the beard growing, whilst it was a pain... It really is a pleasure to be able to have these "problems" I shaved, cut my hair and laid out in the sun this week and all that freedom sucks! It was great being able to tell my friends "sorry can't come to the beach my director will kill me"

I didn't get chance to see much footage as we were filming but having worked with Beth and Megan before I'm confident it will be supreme. I can't begin to describe how excited I am to see this film. From the moment I first read the script I wanted to see it. Knowing that it is only a couple of months away is dead exciting! But as for me, well I'm back to being unemployed now... such is the life of an actor... Back to searching through websites looking for the next gig... Man I miss END already... it hasn't even been a week! Oh we have the photo shoot on Sunday! Shame that I'll now be a fully shaved, short haired, bronzed bodied version of William (yes Megan I'm only joking, I look the same... I knew that for one more week I could say, "sorry guys, my director will kill me")

03 September 2008


Project 365 - Day 217
Originally uploaded by mrbosslady

You may notice that this picture really has nothing to do with End; it's just a little ball of rubber that sits between me and my phone as I continue to take customer calls, close out orders, complete billing, and slowly sink into boredom. That is why this picture has everything to do with End; this film has been my rescue from the droll daily grind that I have been forced in to.

I have loved being on set every weekend. It's been hot, it's been tense, it's been frusturating and yet the stress hasn't bothered me; I go home from the set everyday happy with what we've done and a little more in love with every person involved with my film. No matter the conditions on set it is also funny, comforting, creative and a sanctuary where everyone understands my kind of thinking. At the end of the day we all like each other and no matter how tired I am I have had fun.

Juxtaposed to that is my rubberband ball. I work forty hours a week at a job that could keep me alive, but no matter what it frusturates me and the only escape is my wacky little things like my rubberband ball and decorating my cubicle with movie art & quotes while customers complain about things that I don't actually care about. I have reached that point in my life where film is such a part of me that it overflows into each and every aspect of my life and I no longer hide it.

I cannot describe quite how much I have enjoyed working on End; this film has been my first genuine glimpse of what I know God can do with my life. This film and the people involved with it have helped me feel like my goals are achievable and for that I cannot ever fully repay them.

I can now say that I have wraped principal photography on my first independently produced feature film and I still don't think that has fully sunk in for me. God has been so faithful to me, and I cannot wait to see what is in store next.

02 September 2008


     So We wrapped up this past weekend and I must say I'm a little heartbroken. I have had so much fun working on this film and I hope to one day work with all of you once again.  Actors, You guys are all amazing and it was entirely my pleasure to work with you all. Crew, You guys were terrific and as well the pleasure was all mine. I hope all the footage turns out well. So the last weekend was very fun, just one scene that i think overall came out great. Marissa did absolutely wonderful, And I am honored once more to have worked with her:). Dave, haha oh man, this entire shoot, he cracked me up but i was usually so focused i could stop my self from laughing but this last weekend he finally got to me. As he slowly came up behind me durring this one scene and placed his hand on my hip, hahah , from that point I was always wanting to laugh when i looked at him. Very funny individual. Good Times. And Fantastic job also Dave, as always and with everyone else.

- just some goodnight thoughts, Thank you guys and sleep tight
-Ashton Reese Trujillo 

01 September 2008

Lessons Learned

The following are things I learned over the course of our shoot.

You can use a black garbage bag for almost anything.

Surrounding an impressionable 14 year old girl with very adult actors and actresses may result in some hefty therapy bills for her later on in life.

Spontaneous human combustion is a myth. None of us burst into flame on our 300 degree set so I’m not buying it.

Never shoot a movie in a unairconditioned house in the middle of August.


ALWAYS make sure you have tweezers handy.

It’s a lot easier than you think to put people through walls.

It’s surprisingly cheaper to repair a wall with a gigantic hole in it than you’d think.


There ARE actors out there that actually respect writers and the scripts they produce.

Shaving cream will take off almost anything.

If it can’t be fixed with gaf tape, it aint worth fixing.

More thought can be put into attaching words to the alpha-numeric scene number system than can possibly be healthy.

There are more than a few people who worked on our movie that will win Oscars one day. (I’m not going to tell anyone who they are I’m just going to write their names in an envelope, date it and seal it and then years from now open it when they win to reveal I predicted it all along… seriously)

False walls are really really heavy.

Given the right set cast, crew and pretty much everyone else can make ANYTHING dirty.

Seriously HOT SET!

Making a feature takes a huge amount of selfless sacrifice and commitment from many talented people and kind and loving friends. Without each and every single one of them none of it would happen, which I guess means I need to learn new ways of saying thank you. Until then… THANKS!

31 August 2008

Scene 46

Today we shot the monster of a scene - scene 46. This scene is about thirteen pages long. It is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Angela (Marissa Merrill) has to go to a very emotional place and watching her was remarkable and she was able to make me emotional watching her. I really think this was a special scene.

Scene 46 was the only scene we shot today; this was probably our last day of shooting so I planned to have the scene be the only thing we shoot today. I knew it was going to be long, emotional and hard and I really wanted for us to do the hardest things at the beginning of the shoot and build towards this.

Despite things like tricky dolly moves, shooting day-for-night, and set dressing colappasing around us the scene went well and I really hope that I gave Bill enough footage that he can cut scene 46 into the scene that it deserves to be.

To end our day we gave an open dinner invitation to the cast and crew and everyone who wanted joined us at Pat & Oscar's after we finished cleaning up the set. My parents joined us as well, which was really great and they got to see how zany a group of people we really are. We joke, we shout, we laugh, and we share a love for all things creative. We enjoy each other's company.

30 August 2008

A Girl Needs to Sleep

So we had a long, hot day of filming today; it was a good day but it was darn hot, and we were all exhausted afterwards. So I was looking forward to a nice drive home, food and going to sleep.

The fun part is that I got home, picked up my Mom to go to Target with me and get trash bags and miniDV tape, and I made her drive after Target because I hit my wall and was losing coherency. Then I got food, and headed home for food and a shower to realize that there is a quincera or birthday or something going on at the clubhouse for the complex across the street.

That was two hours ago. There is still techno-mariachi music blaring through my walls.

I am not sleeping any time soon.

Matt's Breakfast of Champions

1 package of pop tarts (your choice of flavor)
1 can of mandarin oranges

Open package of pop tarts and center them on serving dish.
With can opener, open can of mandarin oranges.
Pour juice from can onto pop tarts.
Add a handful of mandarin oranges.
Add more juice.

Note: If you think you've overdone it with the juice from the mandarin oranges,
think again. That's impossible. And delicious!

"Molly!!! Breakfast in 15!"

29 August 2008

4th Weekend

End - Cast & Crew #2
Originally uploaded by mrbosslady
We are about to begin what may be our last week of principal photography on End. While I am not treating this as the last weekend (both because that makes me sad, and because I have to get through the weekend and watch all the footage) I think my body has finally hit it's limit. I am exhausted.

I know that I will be able to kick in the energy again once I am back on set, it's going to be a battle getting there. Luckily, I am a creature that exists because caffine was discovered. I will be using it heavily tomorrow morning.

I cannot wait for Monday - the first thing that wakes me up will meet a gruesome fate.

Estrogen Everywhere!

I’m going to mention politics here for a moment, so please, don’t run. I promise I’m not going to espouse my complicated political beliefs it’s just that something happened in the world of politics today that made me think of END.

Today John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate. Driving up to L.A. I scanned through all the A.M. and F.M. talk stations that were obviously abuzz with this news. One of the things that I found amusing and peculiar all at the same time was something that was brought up by pundits, politicians, hosts and the public alike. All of them were talking about how mothers could now tell their daughters “See what we can do”. Basically the sentiment is that this proves women, like men can do anything they set their mind to.

While it’s nice that the rest of the world seems to be realizing this I can’t help but feel that everyone is a bit behind the curve. Don’t believe me? Look at the set of END.

Other than Bill our editor and script supervisor and Kevin our all around go to guy, I am the ONLY male member of the crew. The director, cinematographer, assistant director, make-up artist, camera assistants, etc. are ALL female. These are all wonderful, strong, empowered women that decided years ago that they were going to prove that girls can do anything guys can, and often times do it a whole lot better.

Sure it’s cool that this obviously major and historic event will continue to chip away at the glass ceiling that has existed for far too long in this country and the world as a whole. I just felt the need to point out that there are MANY talented women who are running this project that decided to completely ignore the idea that said ceiling exists. For far too long Hollywood, at least on the production side of things has remained a boys club. I’m completely convinced that the women I am working with will help lead the way in shattering that status quo. Just watch, you’ll see.

28 August 2008

Enough about my beautiful bottom.

Hello Everyone,

I've been struggling to sleep the past couple of nights... and hoped that tonight a little bit of typing might help me drift off. When you are awake not doing anything the mind seems to focus in on things well and I've been thinking a lot about this whole filming process. I read Chris' exceptionally long blog entry and couldn't help but think along with him... IS this it? 

I really hope it is. I really hope that this film is recognized and helps everyone involved get further along their paths, whatever those paths maybe... But if it isn't it, I can honestly say that this has been the most rewarding experience. I have had a blast on set every day (even having my arse judged by a room full of people) and working with such talented people has been a blessing... I'm already giddy with excitement to see the film... and as a fan not just an egotistical actor anxious to see himself on screen (well maybe a little) In fact the more and more I think about it, I don't care if this is "IT" I'd do this film over again every day for the rest of my life. Its been amazing in every way possible... and if we get a cherry on top at the end of it then I know we'll be waiting to take a bite! Ha that was a cheesy analogy... I must get some sleep!

27 August 2008

Quiet on the set!

After all the hard work on Saturday playing scripty, I decided to play the bum on Sunday. I have to say, it’s pretty hard work, playing on the computer, eating and singing old commercials- oh and writing (half of) this blog! That’s right, folks, coming to you live-ish from the armchair in the den is your favorite producer, Caryn! Haaaaa! {FYI, that’s the sound you make when you blow into your cupped hands whilst imitating a roaring crowd.}

Anywho, on this very lazy day, I have learned so much about what happens on set when you’re not running around like your head has been cut. The toughest lesson of all is learning how not to ruin takes. For those of you who don’t know, let me tell you, it’s a difficult thing not to talk or even move for minutes at a time. You see, I am usually sitting in front of a monitor watching as the scene unfolds. If I’m not doing that all important work, you can usually find me all over the place running to and fro to check on this and that. So to sit around in an area where the camera isn’t rolling is an experience. As I am sure you’re dying to know, I’ll share with you the happenings of the Not!set.

Did you know that Dave has a proportional bum and that is very cute? Well, he does! I know because I’ve just touched it-- quite involuntarily I’ll have you know. It all started when the actor’s holding room/wardrobe was moved down to the dining room. Dave had to change into his jeans and, very proud of his gluts, he decided to change right there in front of Shannon, Pearce, Lorn and myself. This led to Dave declaring that he has a nice ass. To his surprise, Shannon and Pearce were quick to disabuse him of that notion.

After much back and forth, which included Pearce pulling down his pants to compare his ass to Dave’s, I stepped in to defend Dave’s butt. I did not know what I was getting myself into. I soon found my hand full of ass. Dave had decided that the only true way to ascertain whether he has a nice ass was for me to touch it. My refusal was ignored as Dave took my hand and placed it on his bum. Soon after, Pearce did the same with his ass.

In the end, Shannon and I both agreed that Dave has a nice butt, which is proportional and cute, and Pearce has an ASS. This all took place in the course of a take or two. Let me assure you, if you didn’t know, it is very difficult to whisper when you’re struggling not to laugh out loud.

After this adventure into laziness, I’ve decided to follow the camera around until the end of the shoot, even when it isn’t rolling. That area is bound to be marginally saner.

What Can I say...It's What I Love Most!

ok so really quick, cuz it's a school night and i have to go to bed so i can get up and be there at 7:40. These are not my words, nope, but my mother's. She said[about chris' entry below], "I don't really know what to say. That was really nice and it's not a big deal. It's helping someone accomplish their dreams". My father continued with, "Wow, that was nice. But I don't see why they are so worried about the wall..it was nothing horrible. S*** happens" :] Well, I guess I have to add and say that I'm so grateful that this has happened. It is in no way, an inconvience, it's just like hanging out with friends. It's probably been one of the best times in my life, just getting to do what I love most, with people who love it just as much. I really respect all of the actors, they are unbelieveably talented. So I would right more, but my mom is yelling at me to come up stairs and go to bed....*sighes* Alright, night for now!

Signing off,


END is the very epitome of a collaborative project. Without a doubt the movie that we are making simply would not be possible if it weren’t for the hard work, countless sacrifices and blood, sweat and tears of dozens of individuals who have poured their very lives into making this movie a reality.

While Megan and I were the ones that conceived this cockamamie idea all those months ago this ceased being just “our” project the moment we started bringing all these other great artists along for the ride. Each and every single person who has had their hand in this feature, whether it be the actors, the Assistant Director, the Director of Photography or even our great friends and family who have picked up food, built walls and most importantly lent us moral support, their individual signature is now permantly stamped onto the representation of our dreams. For that we obviously want to say thank you and I can only assure you that each and every one that has made this possible will receive a very personal show of gratitude from us over the coming months.

That however is not the point of this post. No, the point of this post is to make special mention of the two people whose roll in all of this goes beyond comprehension, David and Susan Dunacheck. These two saints have gladly and willingly opened up their house for us to shoot in.

The moment Megan and I realized that we could make our dream a reality and that we needed to do so FAST, Susan and David immediately stepped up and graciously offered their house to us as a location for our shoot. If they had not done this we would still probably be sitting around trying to figure out what we were going to do instead of being on the verge of going into our last weekend of principal photography.

I’m sure some people will notice that Lauren Dunacheck, David and Susan’s daughter is one of our cast members and I’m sure that will cause more than a few minds to come to the conclusion that it was in the name of their daughter’s self interest that they opened up their house to us. If you know David and Susan though you know there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. There is no doubt in my mind that even if Lauren wasn’t one of the performers in our feature Susan and David still wouldn’t have hesitated in allowing us to use their domicile as our make-shift studio.

In my brief 28 years on this planet I have been fortunate enough to have many kind and generous gestures extended upon me but I must admit, I’m not sure any of them can hold a candle to this. We have made David and Susan’s life a living, chaotic, cluttered, loud, annoying hell over the last month. We’ve nailed things into their walls and over their windows, we’ve dirtied everything we can get our hands on, stained carpet and literally driven people through walls and yet through all of it the Dunachecks haven’t even raised an eyebrow and have continually asked what more they can do to accomidate us.

For lack of a better term I am humbled and in awe of their endless generosity. These two people have given every single person involved with this movie the chance to pursue their dreams. They have enabled and encouraged us and through it all have shown us what true love and friendship looks like.

My sister and I will forever be in Susan and David’s debt and I think I speak for us both when I say that even if it takes us the rest of our lives we will pay their kindness back and honor their sacrifice and compassion by continuing to reach for the stars and with luck give them a handful of their own to play with. David and Susan from the bottom of my heart and I’m sure everyone else involved in this production, thank you so much and God bless you both.

Vlog 1 [part 2]


Christopher and I held out very first pre-production meeting for End in June, and we were off and running from there. This photo is actually of that meeting when we decided that this movie could be made, and it had to be made quicly for a variety of reasons. We were in that cafe for hours, but the staff never got annoyed with us.

I look much mroe well-rested in that photo.

26 August 2008

I Need A Camel and Some Rope!

Twice a week during our shoot I’ve been tasked with picking up the camera, sound equipment, etc. from Film Independent (A wonderful organization that everyone should join) and the bringing it back here. While I wish I could say that fighting the terrible Southern California traffic is the worst part of this ordeal it is not. No, that honor is reserved for the parking / transportation nightmare that is the building where Film Independent resides. Make no mistake I do not blame Film Independent for any of this; they just happen to be situated in what may be one of the single most poorly designed office buildings of all time.

When one goes to pick up equipment form Film Independent one must park at the very top of a 5 level parking structure and pay astronomical fees to do so (It’s $2.75 every 12 minutes or some ludicrously arbitrary number like that). Once one has parked you must take what may be one of L.A.’s oldest elevators in operation. While there are 2 actual elevators in the parking structure one was knocked out by the most recent earthquake so only one rickety, metal box of death remains. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that you will NEVER EVER in your life wait longer for an elevator because not only does this thing move slow as molasses but it stops on each and every floor, opens it’s doors waits for someone to get on and then closes back up and continues with it’s journey. It doesn’t matter what button you press or what you do the elevator simply cycles through all the floors doing this. When one pushes the button to call it up you can only hope and pray that it is in the ascending part of it’s journey, if not you have to wait for it to go down to each floor, then come all the way back up, all the while stopping on every single floor. Of course this might not be so bad if one could take the stairs instead but in a move that defies every form of logic and fire code I know of there are no stairs in this parking structure.

Once one has waited the normal time of about 5 to 10 minutes for the elevator (As your cost for parking rises in almost equal relation to your frustration) you get on the elevator where you luckily only have to take it down to the 4th floor. Of course one would think that this is where one’s journey ends but it has only just begun.

Having now reached the 4th floor of the parking structure you must traverse through cars and make your way to another elevator, luckily these move much quicker and there are 4 as opposed to one but then one must take this elevator to the 11th floor of the office building that Film Independent is located in because you see the slow, torturous elevator of death is only for the parking structure, not the building itself.

Now admittedly this might all be bearable if it weren’t for the fact that one must now transport twice their weight in equipment back to their vehicle. The first week I made this journey I had my lovely girlfriend with me and while it was a struggle we were able to make it back to my car in one trip. Sadly I have flown solo ever since and since a dolly or hand-truck will not fit into my little Scion XA and Film Independent has none for me to borrow I usually end up needing to make 2 to 3 trips. Each trip involving me going from one elevator to another and dragging piles of equipment through the middle of a parking structure, trying to avoid nicking the nice cars of the people that work for Fox, whose rights and clearances offices are also in the building.

By the time all is said and done from the moment I enter the parking structure to the moment I leave anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour of my life is gone and the price for parking for that long has ensured that whoever runs the place will be dining on caviar and lobster once again.

It should be said though that as big of a pain in the ass as this is its worth it because Film Independent’s rental prices can’t be beat and they’re such a good organization for independent filmmakers that it’s worth whatever literally physical obstacles you have to traverse to get to them. Plus the parking structure staff has started taking pity on me and if they see me struggling with stuff they’ll often time lend me a helping hand.

Does it suck? Yeah, but such is the life of an independent filmmaker and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although seriously whoever designed that place deserves to get kicked in the yarbles.

25 August 2008

Is This It? Part 5

I wish I could say that plucky reserve or sheer pig headedness got me through this but that would be a lie. For all intents and purposes I had reached the end of my rope from a creative standpoint. I had stopped working on a script I loved and had been mucking around with this for at least 2 months now and I felt no better about it than when I began.

Whenever I work on a script I invariably hit more than a few obstacles but also invariably inspiration doesn’t take too long to strike and I get an idea for a scene or a character or heck even a line and normally that’s all it takes and the rest of the script grows out of that. After toiling over this script for months and trying to wrap my head around it in every way I possibly could I began to realize that I simply was not inspired. There wasn’t a single ounce of inspiration in me to write this script. It soon became evident to my sister that this was the case and try as we might things reached a boiling point.

A now very fateful meeting took place at The Marketplace in Tustin on a wooden bench outside of the California Pizza Kitchen. It was there that we spent the better part of 2 hours talking not only about our professional relationship. Try as we might we saw ourselves moving away from each other creatively, an idea that deeply hurt us both and one that was being amplified by my ability to churn out a workable script. At this meeting a lot of things were aired, tears were spilled and at least some small modicum of resolution was reached on certain issues. Unfortunately one of those wasn’t the script and as I drove away that night my heart was heavy as I realized that our partnership in more ways than one might be coming to an end. Then it hit me. That thing I had been looking for, hoping for, praying for all this time… INSPIRATION! One idea hit me then another, then another, then another and before I was halfway home I knew what I had to write, I knew what it had to be about and how it had to be done. Excited and giddy I called Megan, made sure that we were square and cool on an emotional level and then blabbed to her about how I had finally figured it out. Megan, God bless her listened to it and then laughingly reminded me that this is the way it always worked and that while she hadn’t necessarily intended to she had just flicked me in the back of the head and wallah it made me write better.

That’s the happy ending, at least the one that exists right now. I went home that night and started churning out pages and within about 2 weeks time had the script done and turned into my sister. Unlike the other times she loved it and in a very rare instance only recommended two or three VERY minor changes. It had taken months of headache, heartache, frustration, perspiration and so much more but we finally had a script that we thought we could make not only quickly and cheaply, but well.

I know that this is a very long post about something that may seem almost inconsequential but at least to me I assure you it’s not. I can say with utmost certainty that END is the best thing I’ve ever written. I have never been prouder of anything I’ve ever signed my name to and likewise nothing I’ve ever written has ever gotten the sort of glowing response that this script has. People have raved about it to me, they’ve told me how they’ve missed bus stops because they were so engrossed in reading it and most importantly so many very talented, very generous people have sacrificed so much of themselves to make sure it gets made.

This post is about what it took to write this beast that we’re now trying to corral. In the past it goes something like I get an idea, I play around with it, I bounce a few ideas off people, and it clicks, I write it, the end. That wasn’t the case this time around. The sole reason this script and eventually this movie exists is because of Megan. It was her vision and determination that brought us to the idea of undertaking such a grand task and it was our relationship and history together not only as creative partners but as brothers and sisters that made me realize the only way you could make a “zombie movie without zombies” work is if you made it about relationships. It was that angst filled conversation that night on that wooden bench that gave me the idea for Matt and Molly, it gave me the inspiration for the nature of their relationship and the way these characters and that relationship could affect the lives and the world around them, even if that world was coming to an end.

Megan told me to challenge myself, she demanded I grow as a writer and branch into new, undiscovered areas. With much kicking and screaming I did just that and I couldn’t be prouder of what I and as a whole we’ve accomplished so far. As I’ve mentioned countless times throughout this I’ve been asking myself the same question for years. Is this is it? Is this rinky-dink little zombie movie (That has no zombie’s) the thing that will get us noticed? Is this the thing that will get accepted into film festivals, noticed by studios? Is it the thing that will finally give me that foot in the door that I’ve been trying to get for so long now? Is this it? I’ll tell you after all this time I’ve grown wise enough to say I honestly don’t know, but it’s got a better shot than anything I’ve ever been involved with and one way or another it’s already been a hell of a ride and I have no intention of disembarking anytime soon. Is this it? You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.

Is This It? Part 4

As bad as my writers block was the first time, it made my second bout look like a walk in the park. I was on the verge of becoming homicidal I was having that much trouble coming up with anything that could even remotely resemble a watchable movie, particurly since I thought I had already just done one.

Finally, just as I was about to give up all hope once again another idea struck me and while I didn’t have it all figured out I sat down and powered through it. As time went along I can honestly say I never had a great feeling about the script but it started to solidify in my mind and with growing pressure from my sister I put all my time into finishing it. At last I thought I had come up with something unique and original, something that met all the criteria of what we could and would want to shoot and even though I had to take a day or two off work to complete it I was satisfied and convinced that this was something workable, something that could be made into an independent feature… I hoped.

Call it brash cockiness or whatever you want but I’ve always been pretty confident in my writing. I mean I know I’m not the next Hemmingway but I do think I’ve been given a gift and I do at least an OK job of using it. As such I’m normally pretty hopeful and optimistic about what I write. That’s why it was so odd when I turned in this new script into Megan. I knew that some parts of it worked but that it was still missing something. I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it wasn’t there yet and as dumb as this sounds a part of me was hoping that she wouldn’t notice. Fortunately for both of us she did.

Megan will attest to this and for lack of a better term when it comes to my writing my sister and I have what I would call a “flick me on the head” partnership. Invariably I will write something that I think is golden and Megan will read it and like it, she’ll pick out all of the positives and laud the various strengths and gifts I bring to it. She’ll then sit there and completely deconstruct it and show me each and every little error and issue with it until I’m a fuming heap of writer angst. Literally this always ends with me storming away swearing I’ll never work with her again and that I’ll never let her so much as look at anything I write. Invariably though about an hour or two later her constructive criticisms start registering with me, I’ll call her and apologize and then we’ll actually talk about what can be done to fix the problems. Basically she has to both metaphorically and often times physically flick me in the head to make me realize what a jack-ass of a writer I’m being so that I can strip away all the bullshit and write something lean, mean and you know… good. As much as I hate the process and I, as well as the back of my head wishes there was some way around it, said process has yielded positive results every time and I’m a big enough man to admit that my sister’s critical and editorial eye makes everything I write substantially better.

Back to what I speaking of before, while this second script review wasn’t nearly as brutal as the first it was still not very pleasant either and while we both admitted that I had struck on a few good things, for the most part the bloated, over long tome was mainly unusable. Prepared but devastated none the less I returned home realizing that while I wasn’t quite back to square one like I was the last time, I was only a few decimal points off.

Is This It? Part 3

OK, so when we last lest left our little saga (Before I wrote my little ode to my sister) my sister and I realized that we needed to take the bull by the horns as it were and make a feature, on our own, for VERY cheap. As we sat around talking about all of this I threw out a couple of ideas and one of them that I mentioned in passing was that I wanted to make a zombie movie. I didn’t really know anything more than that but, I love zombie movies and in theory one could maybe do one pretty cheap if you handled it right. It was then that Megan handed me the idea that would really kick this all into high gear. “What if Robert Altman made a zombie movie?” It was ludicrous and brilliant all at the same time and as I went home and began brain storming scripts I could write that we could potentially make on the cheap that idea lingered with me.

After a week or two of hand wringing, banging my head against the wall and false starts on several other scripts I realized I was going to write a zombie movie and I realized that if done right I could take my sister’s idea and turn it into a zombie movie with very few if any actual zombies that would in turn make it nice and cheap to produce. Thus began the greatest hell I’ve ever been put through as a writer.

One of the very first issues I had to confront as I sat down to write the script was budget. We would have none and I knew that. Of course I thought I had known that in the past and yet I still wrote JOSSINGTON FALLS which has dozens of locations, seemingly hundreds of deaths and angels falling from the sky. At the time I wrote it and literally up until we started production on END I thought FALLS could be made for a couple grand at most. Obviously I have since learned differently but it took a lot of slaps upside the head from my sister to realize some of my ideas just simply weren’t financially feasible.

While I’ve always had a problem with thinking big, I mean REAL BIG (If I’m ever able to make half the stuff I want to I may bankrupt America) this issue was even more prevalent as I began trying to write what was supposed to be a micro-budget zombie movie. For a month or two leading up to our decision to make another movie, which obviously involved me writing another script, I had been writing a script that I intended to try and sell, not make, whose budget would be at least $10 to $15 million if not more. Probably a lot more since it involved explosions and car chases and the like but for me I thought it was a pretty modest little sci-fi / fantasy story.

What this meant, and the problem that this ultimately created was that for the first time in my life as a writer I had let my imagination completely go. Having had only written for independent, low budget productions before I’d always tried to write things that could be shot as cheaply as possible. Well for the first time ever I had decided not to worry about it and I was LOVING it. Never once did I have to stop and think about whether or not what I was writing could be done because my idea was to sell the script to a studio and let them figure it out. Also the script was like many of the things I write, pretty humorous. Sure it had lots of action and danger but characters were throwing out quips and jokes every other line. I never gave a second thought to any of this until I sat down at my computer and realized I had to write something that was highly dramatic (A mandate made by Megan so that we could prove that we could do more than comedic horror since this was going to be another kind of horror film) and something that we basically couldn’t spend any money on.

In the 18 years that I’ve been writing I’ve never really had writers block, at last not that bad. Sure I’ve hit walls from time to time but normally they last a day or two at most or are the result of having too many ideas and not knowing how to filter them into something cohesive but I can’t really say there’d ever been a time where I just flat out COULDN’T write something. Then this little zombie movie bitch slapped me and proved me wrong.

For days on end I sat there trying to make something, ANYTHING work. I would start the script, get up to thirty pages in thinking I was on a roll, then realize it was all crap and start all over again. I watched zombie movies, read zombie comics (The brilliant series THE WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman is getting a huge thank you in our credits) and still nothing even remotely passable came forth from my brain. Seriously it got so bad that I started telling Megan that I was going to have to come up with another idea, work on something other than a zombie movie because there just wasn’t a script in me that would work.

Luckily for me Megan kept pushing me and just when I thought all hope was lost an idea hit me. At least to me it seemed somewhat Robert Altmanesque, it was unique, it was different and as soon as I got the idea for one scene, another one popped up and so on and so on. As I am want to do I sat down at my laptop and immediately started pounding out something that I was sure was pure gold. Several weeks later I turned in the script (Which I had tentatively titled ZOMBIE APACOLYPSE) to my Sister and The End…. or not.

In some ways I wish I could tell you that’s where the story ends and I’m sure you’re tired eyes and ass are probably wishing the same but sadly that was just the beginning, the beginning of something that pushed my sister’s and mine relationship to the brink both artistically and relationally in ways I hope to never experience again.

After turning the script in to Megan I went about my life, happy that I had completed my task and raring to get back to work on the script I had dropped to work on ZOMBIE APACOLYPSE. A week or so after having turned in the script Megan asked if we could meet and certain that she was going to heap praise upon my literary efforts and laud me as the second coming of Lawrence Kasdan, Aaron Sorkin, William Goldman and Joss Whedon all in one I humbly accepted her offer and thus we sat and talked. The smile on my face I’m sure stretched from ear to ear as I eagerly awaited her praise and adoration. Of course that smile changed when she said something along the lines of, “Are you joking?” Over the next however many minutes she at least in my mind at the time destroyed me as she ripped my work to shreds and then urinated upon the remains.

Now would be a good time to make a little aside. First and foremost I realize that Megan was in no way trying to be mean or hurt me, she simply did not like what I had written. To this day I still hold that it’s pretty darn good and it is something that I may pursue doing something with later on but I also understand that it just wasn’t her cup of tea and that what would eventually turn into END is FAR superior, so please don’t think that there are hard feelings on either side here.

No matter how much I argued the point we were at an impass. I really liked what I wrote and she REALLY didn’t. This honestly created a whole new set of issues because for the first time in my life she was vehemently opposed to one of my works. Sure in the past she had disagreed with various aspects of my scripts and in turn helped me make them better but never once had she flat out loathed something I had written. Devastated, after several weeks of arguing I realized there was no way my script was getting made and as such I was back at square one.

Is This It? Part 2

All joking aside there is one large component that I have left out this story so far. It’s this thing that writers do because we know more than the readers, viewers, whatever and since we know how it all ends we hold back one piece of vital information that had you known it there would be no tension because the moment you find out about it you realize everything is going to be OK. See I can do this crap for a living! In this case the vital component is one Megan Welch, my younger sister and the director of END.

While I wish I could take credit for the wonderful woman my sister has matured into I don’t think it would be fair. When my sister was born 8 weeks premature, not breathing she proved before she could even walk or speak that she was a fighter. She showed the world that you would never EVER be able to keep her down and God help those who tried. The only thing I did was sort of make it so that she could NEVER escape movies.

Unlike most siblings my sister and I have a very good relationship. While growing up we had the normal animosities and petty bickering between us events transpired in high school that pretty much made us best friends. This was in large part due to the fact that due to circumstances outside her control she really couldn’t escape me and since I pretty much lived, breathed, ate, slept and drank movies from the moment I got into high school she was bombarded with hearing more about movies and seeing more movies than should can possibly be healthy. As an example I started working at Suncoast Motion Picture Company (A now pretty much defunct video store chained) and after a while she ended up getting suckered into working there as well and so on.

Now my sister has always been an artistic person. Painting, drawing, pottery, you name it she loves it and is pretty darn good at it. Having said all that I don’t think I could have ever expected the news she dropped on me one day when we were driving down to the San Diego Comic-Con.

Megan, unlike me had decided that she wanted to pursue higher education and was determined to get a degree no matter what the cost. Having gone through most of her general ed classes at Orange Coast College she was beginning to look into transferring and as such trying to figure out what her major would be. I feel blessed beyond compare that I was the first person she confided her choice in majors to. Apparently all those years of being stuck around me and her natural penchant for the arts had led her to the decision to become a director. No joke I was so surprised and so unimaginably happy that I literally almost drove off the rode and killed us both right then and there. Little could I know just how influential this decision would be on both of our lifes.

My sister was going through film school as I was pulling myself out of the mire of depression and apathy by writing JOSSINGTON FALLS. She was the one who graduated and decided she was going to fight her way into the industry no matter what. It was Megan’s idea to make the short films that we would shop around.

I can say with one hundred percent certainty that my dream would most likely still be floundering if not dead if it weren’t for my sister. My previous creative partnerships had left me bitter and wary about working with other people but the moment my sister and I put our heads together and started talking about working together we realized a life long creative partnership was born.

I know this is all A LOT of hyperbole but you’ve got to believe me when I tell you it’s important. You see what this post is really about is just how the heck I came about creating and writing END and before I can get into that you have to know about where I’ve come from, my relationship with my sister and just how vital of an influence and how much of an irreplaceable part she’s been in all of this.

Is This It? Part 1

Hi there everyone. My name is Christopher Welch and I’m the writer (Thus in some ways the deranged bastard to blame for all this) of END. It dawned on me that as of yet I may be one of the only people that hasn’t contributed to this blog and that’s just sad since you know… writing’s my thing. Before I get started I think it only fair to warn you of a few things. First as a writer I tend to be a bit… oh why bother sugar coating it? I like to talk (Or in this case type) a lot! Hey, I’m a writer so what else do you expect? Also you’re going to probably find that I have the worst spelling of anyone that contributes to this here thing. I know as a writer I should blah, blah, blah but that’s a common misconception about writers just because we know how to write the words (And in my case write lots of them) doesn’t mean we know how to spell them. Sorry to you know destroy any remnants of respect you may have still held out for bards like me but such is life. Finally before we begin, you remember how I told you I like to talk a lot? Well you’re about to see that in full effect because what you’re about to read has got a bit of history to it. So if I haven’t scared you off already pull up a chair, grab your weight in coffee and let’s dig in shall we?

Is this it? That’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a long time now. Heck since the moment I graduated high school it’s been a query perched on the tip of my tongue almost every morning when I wake up. Is this it?

You see I’ve had the advantage of knowing exactly what I’ve wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old. Many people that know me well enough have heard this story so many times they can probably recite it better than I can so I’ll try to keep it quick. I was home from school sick with Strept Throat. Drugged up on antibiotics I was lounging in the trusty family recliner watching THE original STAR WARS for the hundredth time. The Death Star blew up Alderaan and I started thinking about how cool it would be to create worlds out of nothing more than my imagination and then blow them up again. Even at age 10 I realized this left with me two choices, become god or a writer. Lucky for humanity I chose the latter.

From that point forward and for the last 18 years I have done everything I can think of to make that dream a reality. Several months after that fateful day I wrote my first novel, it was of course STAR WARS, written front and back on 100 sheets of notebook paper and TERRIBLE but it gave me the bug and I haven’t put down a pen (or now a lap top) since.

Now I understand that this may all sound like useless, smaltsy back story but I assure you it’s not. Like every good writer (Which I like to think of myself as when I’m drunk and no one’s looking) I’m building to a point so keep your impatient pants on and let me continue.

Sometime around high school I realized that movies were where my true calling was and quickly began churning out screenplays. This continued after I graduated and brought me to the point where I wrote something tentatively titled HITTING THE FAN and led me to begin asking the question; is this it?

Knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and thinking at the time that college really couldn’t do much for me and high on youthful stupidity and Robert Rodriguez’s brilliant gorilla filmmaking manifesto REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, my friend and filmmaking partner Glenn Stitz and I decided we were going to go out and make a movie instead of sitting through school listening to people tell us how to make one.

The movie we decided to make was HITTING THE FAN and while I can look back on it now and realize it was terrible and thank God that it never got made, it not only became my life for over 2 years but also got WAY more attention than it rightly should have. For two dumb, punk kids fresh out of high school who had absolutely no idea what they were doing the project got a lot of attention, the kind of attention that to this day I can’t believe we got. Basically to sum it all up we had people that we’re so far above our meager station willing to look at it and support us that it literally makes no logical sense yet having lived through it I can assure you such people existed.

Either way as weeks turned into months, months into years and so on the project steam rolled ahead with startling fervency. In fact we were so close to shooting and the interest in the project was so high that I had completely convinced myself that this IS it. This is my big break, this is what I’ve wanted for so long and I get it right out high school, how lucky could one guy get?

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the whole thing didn’t end there. I mean if it had I’d like to think I’d be in a Hollywood penthouse sipping Champaign out of the skull of a dolphin, sitting on a stuffed panda, not hacking away at this on a cheap laptop, sitting in a used, wobbly recliner in a cluttered rented room.

While I could literally make a full length feature film out of what happened with HITTING THE FAN I won’t bore with you the details at the moment so just know that the wheels ended up coming WAY off and things ended really badly. As a result over 2 years worth of work went straight down the drain and I had no choice but to start over at square one.

Sadly this pattern repeated it itself (Although without the same amount of fervor and interest from other people) for at least 3 more projects and the better part of a decade of my life. In fact all of it got me to a point where coupled with many other outside factors in my personal life I simply stopped writing for the better part of a year if not longer.
It was around this time that God and some people very close to me both literally and figuratively slapped me upside my head and one night out of the blue I got this strange idea for a script that would eventually become JOSSINGTON FALLS. Boom, there went another couple years of my life and I assure you that was not a bad thing. Having been dejected so many times as various projects fell apart for various reasons my hope, excitement and drive were rekindled as I along with a brilliant group of artists began trying to bring JOSSINGTON FALLS to the big screen.
The first step of this process involved shooting 3 short films all the way back in November of 2006 (I think, honestly there’s been so much that’s gone on since then I’ve sort of lost track of time). It took another half a year at least to get the short films edited and completed and once again that question that’s plagued me my entire life resurfaced. Is this it?

The brilliant idea behind the short films (And I assure you it wasn’t mine) was to take excerpts from the script, adapt them into short films and then submit them to every studio and production company possible so that someone would see them, like them and then give us money to make JOSSINGTON FALLS into the feature film it was intended to be. Sadly after sending these shorts, along with the script and all kinds of other goodies to every single place we could find in the Hollywood Blue Book we came up goose egg. Believe me it wasn’t for lack of trying but as so many people have sadly already found out there’s a mind boggling catch-22 in this industry. No one will give you financing, or well pretty much anything until you’ve made a feature, thus proving that you can do so. How you are supposed to make this feature if no one gives you money I have no idea but such is the ass backwards, circular logic of Hollywood.

And so there I was once again, having written something that to this day I think is a pretty damn fine little screenplay, put all kinds of time, money and effort into letting Hollywood know about it and I had nothing to show for it. Is this it? I guess not was the pretty resounding answer I got back. If this were a television show, this is where the commercial break would be to add tension to the seemingly insurmountable conflict standing in the protagonist’s way, so ummm… drink more Coors Light. See now aren’t you all nice and tense?

Vlog 1

24 August 2008

Weekend Three

Orange County Sheriff
Originally uploaded by bigmikelakers
Weekend three was fun. I don't think I am as tired as I was after the first shoot day, but I am pretty damn exhausted. I think I am going to hit the hay and be out until I groggily slap my alarm off in the morning. It's one of those nights where I wish I could call in sick tomorrow, but as my parter and my boss are out tomorrow I really have to go to work - the new girl faking her way through a day and pretending she knows the answers. Oh well. I will just have to think about the events of the past two days to get me through it.

While the weekend was tough, it was again a lot of fun. Saturday was crazy. The police were called on us and Christopher and I had to explain we were not breaking into Susan's house; we were also several hours ahead of schedule so that we should have been done nice and early but a scene that should have taken about two hours to shoot ended up taking over four hours. That scene is going to gnaw at me until I see the magic Bill can do to it in the editing room.

Today was a smaller day; we had more scenes to shoot, but less actors. No scene had more than two actors in it. Having a cast with eleven principal members has been quite an exercise. We shot a crucial scene that Lauren and Brian R. hit out of the park (they were absolutely brilliant), but durring which I got so giddy from heat and lack of food that everything got absurdly funny to me. Lorn kept making me laugh in one of his characters crucial scenes, but this was after I was over the heat giddiness. We used a ton more fake blood too which I know Daniella enjoyed. To cap it all off Stefanie ended my day by rear ending a car as we were leaving our evening church service.

Like I said - it has been a fun couple of days.

22 August 2008

On Set

21 August 2008

More on Dave's "Time Out"

Hey Everyone...

I feel like I need to explain the Time Out situation a little more. So I've been getting this blood sprayed all over me every weekend since we started the shoot... which sounds fun (and it is) but it can start to get quite uncomfortable... both having it dry onto the skin and having to stop it dripping on the floor... I felt like I wanted to share my discomfort with crew members and hugging them seemed an easy way... I know I'm very childish... Anyway back to the Time Out business. I must have been particularly drippy as the floor was slowly being painted red wherever I walked and so Megan put a bin bag down on the floor for me to stand on... She put it in a room where I needed to be so say some Off Screen lines for some other Actors... however we weren't at that scene yet so I was just left in a room alone stood on a bloody bin bag! I didn't even have a place to sit until the scene did come up and people walked to see me and got me a box to sit on... I felt like a naughty child, and I must say I bet the Time Out parenting trick works a treat!

Dave's Time Out

Sunday was really fun on set; at least I thought it was. I know part of this was the fact that we spent most of the day on the balcony which meant that we weren’t trapped in the hot indoors all day. But the downside to that was sound issues – we had everything from frickin’ dogs barking to planes overhead. Despite this I was really relaxed and almost giddy for awhile.

Once again, we had to get Dave all bloody in preparation for the last scene we shot in the “present” timeline. He is a good sport every time we have to do this; but he totally tries to get sympathy from those around him. This week as he waited to do his scene he was dripping stage blood everywhere and we got tired of having to wipe it off the floor so Stefanie put him on a garbage bag and an apple crate and he waited out the scene we were shooting so we could get to his.

However, Dave proceeded to keep trying to get people to hug him or shake his hand whenever I called cut, and then he’d turn to me and sadly remind me that I “put [him] on time out.” His persistence kept up, and he kept asking people to hug him and kept being turned down.

Owing to my good mood, or my nature as a director (I’m not sure which) I told Dave that after his scene he could hug me – as long as we got it on camera.

20 August 2008

Weekend three

Just wanted to say that with the new call sheets out I am looking forward to weekend three and the creative challenges that arise. Hope everyone has had a well rested week and is looking forward to the shoot. For those that have left the set, you will be missed but I look forward to seeing you at the wrap party.

Wonky Terms

I was teased this weekend by my crew. Why? Because I was using a term that they swore didn't exist: canted angle.

The thing is I knew this term existed. It's a shot at roughly 45 degrees of a tilt, meant to convey distress or something else being other wise "wrong" in the situation. Watch a film noir, you'll see it.

Regardless of my insistence Shannon and Beth were sure I was using a bad term to refer to what they called a "dutch angle" and had somehow made it up.

I know that a canted angle and a dutch angle are the same thing - I just hate the term "dutch angle" - what did the Dutch do to us?

So I googled the term today and here's my results:

A Dutch tilt, Dutch angle, oblique angle, German angle, canted angle or Batman Angle is a cinematic tactic often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed.


Now the only question is this: who uses the term "Batman Angle"???

19 August 2008

Art Department

Weekend Two

Weekend two of filming ended. Not to jinx ourselves, but weekend two was nice.

Sure it was still hot, and it was still crowded; but as I predicted things between cast and crew are continuing to gel in a wonderful way so that we are really starting to move more and more like one cohesive unit. It makes me excited for the day where I can have one continuous shoot instead of a series of weekends. This feeling of family, and unity must increase with the more time that you all spend in the same area for that extended period of time.

I am happy to say that due to this working situation we are falling into we are still on schedule. Miraculously. If my math is correct we have shot 46 pages of the script in 4 shoot days. That is an insane amount of pages to have shot and I am more than a little amazed that we are keeping up. [Knock on wood and say a little prayer please.]

I wrapped two actors this weekend – Samantha and Cody (a.k.a. – Weston). I will miss them terribly as they brought a great sense of humor and creativity to my set. However, I also got Lorn to my set for the first time this shoot and I do enjoy having him on set as well…so I guess it’s a trade off. If I could do anything about gas prices I’d have all of my actors on set as much as they want just because the camaraderie that having them there creates is wonderful.

I also let Dave hug me this weekend.

This is a milestone because Dave was covered in blood when he hugged me…so I ended up covered in blood. But I volunteered for it so it was okay.

18 August 2008


okay...so I wont say anything bad, first because this is part of the publicity kit, and second because I would never say anything horrible in the first place...right guys?-----Mhhmmm, what they said!

So, another weekend has flown by, where has the time gone? This weekend was even more interesting than last, I think because we all know eachother really well now. Everyone has been so awesome, and it's still intimidating every time I watch one of the cast members nail a scene. *shivers* Some of the cast is now done filming unfortunately, I will miss them dearly. But I cant wait for the screening and the cast little party-get-together-thing...yea.

I must say, I got to work on a slightly intense scene this weekend with "Alan" and it was amzingly brilliant. He blew me away completely, and I'm sure I looked amature next to him. The feeling you get when you can play off of someone as talanted as that is...indiscribable. Wow...

Moving onto another topic[andto making sense of my title]...the set is a very interesting place to be. You need all types of accesories, for me, EARMUFFS! Maybe because the crew, *cough*Caryn and Dave!*cough*( :] ) is, well let's say...'PG-14'...HAHA! But it's great! We all joke and enjoy our little inside joke. And my dad, Matt/David, which ever identity you prefer, always makes sure I have a set of earmuffs with me, lol. Well it's been hilarious so far and I can't wait to see what jokes are instore for next weekend. Oh dear....

Signing off for now,

How Close? ..........Really Close

The second weekend has gone by and we are still rolling. More and More we are become family. I first want to acknowledge BETH the greatest person in the world. Without her we would not be getting the shots. Thank you BETH!!!!!!!!!! On sunday we shot alot of Alan's Balcony scences. She was on a ladder holding that camera forever. I asked Megan to shoot for a while so she had a lot to play with in editing. Without thinking twice Beth held that camera till exahastion she was shaking and could barley walk down the ladder after. She is the best! Not to say that everyone has not been great because they have. But David needs to stop making me laugh and Ashton and I need to stop yelling, stomping, and spitting in each others face. I have taken many pictures and videos. I will post them at the end of shoot.

17 August 2008

week two of shooting and going strong

I'm Brian Harvey "Doc" to fans of the film

In our second week of shooting, this was my BIG week....got to kill two men, chop off a leg, and drink booze.

Ah, the life of an actor.

I didn't know what I was going to get into when I auditioned for this.  Now that we are well into production, I can tell you that not only are my fears completely gone, but, I could not ask for a better set of actors to work with, or a crew that treats each and everyone of us like a personal friend.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to work with Weston Cody.  Don't want to give too much of the plot away, but, let me tell you, don't come to see this "Doc", when you are infected.  Bad for you...and for Weston.  We got to do an intense scene.  We did this scene, maybe six maybe seven times.  Wes is one of those actors, that can make even me look good, and I thank him for that.

Being that this is an ensemble show for the most part, I don't get to interact, on film, with one character more than another.  But I have another scene coming up in the shoot to come that will help with that.  

I wrote and spoke to the director.  I wanted another scene written for me and Ashton who plays Jacob.  This guy can act Lawrence Olivier under the table.  Very intense in his work.  Very quiet on the set, I guess I'm the class clown, and it shows in his performance.  I even told him that with every take we did, he got better and BETTER.

I haven't done a straight dramatic role like this for a month of Sundays.  I'm a comic.  I try to tell jokes between takes, make faces in the camera after it was slated, and am always ready for a laugh. (wait until the cast and crew see the latest app I downloaded on my iPhone THIS weekend).  I don't have any trouble making an audience laugh, I just hope, they take me as a serious actor.  I guess I am my own worse critic.

I was scared on the 16th.  We we about to do a scene.  When I realized the page numbers we were about to put on film....I freaked.  I STUDIED THE WRONG SCENE!!

I'm hoping, Meagan, the director and Chris, the writer, were not too disappointed in me.

As for the rest of the cast, well, I guess I'm the father figure of the group, being the oldest.  My birthday is on the 19th, and AARP is not only walking up the sidewalk, they are banging the door down!  OY!

Even though there is such an age difference between myself and the rest of the cast, I feel that they are treating me as one of them (young I mean).  Although sometimes, I have to stop and say, "What does that mean"?
Well, I don't understand all the lingo.  I guess I put my parents through the same thing.

The cast has been great.  Especially David and Pierce to me.  I'm forever making fun of...the way they talk and where they are from (England and Canada respectively).  I'm sure I'm getting on their nerves, but they joke along with me.  And so far, no punches have been thrown.  (Although, Pierce DOES carry his rifle and squints his eyes at me.......hmmmmm)

As for the crew.....every day they are looking out for our needs and wants.  Especially Stephanie, our craft table person.  I'm Jewish and there are certain things I won't eat.  She goes out of her way to make sure that EVERYONE is taken care of.  I have been on sets before, and if they are serving ham, and you don't eat it, then you starve.  Not so with this crew.

I so can't wait until the latter part of November or the early part of December, for the screening of this show.  Every shoot day, I get more and more excited to see the end result.  I am sure I will be the worse one up there (worse critic, remember?), but I am anxious to see it.

Hope I haven't bored everyone

Will have more to say in the coming weeks