I know that people were used to daily updates back around July, but there has been a lot going on in my life since then.
For one, I produced another film.
My first film, BOOLEY, which is now available on DVD from www.mrpotent.com, was created last year; we took it around on the distribution circuit and didn't really like any of the offers we received. So we decided to go our own way and release it ourselves. Sales have been okay for an indie film with very few recognizable faces (unless you listen to Howard Stern or watch adult films). But we (Potent Media) really wanted to take the lessons learned from BOOLEY and make another film.
Enter DEER CROSSING (and my new header graphic).
The writer/director/owner of the company, Christian Jude Grillo, has assembled a deranged tale of a woman and her son who get detoured during a family vacation and wind up in a car accident.
Someone saves them from the accident...but then we jump eight years forward to the husband and father they left behind. His family was declared missing, and he has moved on with his life...until he gets a call from someone identifying themselves as the presumed-dead son.
The story unfolds from there and it is shaping up to be pretty powerful.
So, what does a producer do on a film?
The title can vary greatly when you talk about a Hollywood production, but in my low-budget world, it is mainly taking care of paperwork.
Actors are in a union. That sounds strange out of context...acting doesn't seem like a job where you think of guys with cigars holding protests for fair wages. But the fact remains that they are a union. Dealing with a union is not the easiest thing in the world if you don't understand how they work.
Myself, I have been in a union since the second job I ever had, so it comes to me as second nature. You have to give people breaks at certain times; there are certain perks available to certain job classifications; certain forms have to be used for time and attendance. And if you don't follow the rules, you get penalized. I don't have any problems following those rules, because I have to put them in the forefront of my mind and make sure the rules are not violated by the crew or director or anyone else on set.
I write a bunch of checks as the producer - or tell the owner who to write checks to.
I create the budget for the film - I looked over the movie and made estimates of how much things would cost so we could have a general idea as to how much we needed to raise in funds for the movie. it is something I enjoy doing, although the answers can vary wildly as variables change.
I have to speak to actors and their reps and lawyers and entities which deal with paperwork. I help to set the base so that the "house" of the film can be built on top of it. It is not the flashiest job out there - when I am doing my best work, it is not something that can be recognized because nothing will appear wrong.
I have to deal with actors and their concerns on the film. At times, an actor will feel that their character wouldn't do something as written in the script. I help accommodate that conversation with the director, who is busy with other things and needs the information in a concise way.
On our particular set, I wound up being in charge of taking the food orders and making sure food was ready at the designated time. On the next movie, I will have an assistant doing this. :)
In certain cases, I wound up being in charge of transportation for our name actors, Ernie Hudson and Doug Bradley. That was a fun experience, shooting the proverbial excrement with actors whose careers have spanned the biggest budgets and the low-budget horror arenas.
(Doug is a bit of a prankster - if you meet him at a con, ask him how he tried to give me a heart attack on his first day of shooting.)
But the movies aren't just about the superstars of film. There are so many people who go into the making of a movie. We had an excellent crew on this film, without which we could not have pulled off the show. Thanks to all of them for their contributions - I know that our early weekend days will be vindicated when DEER CROSSING is unspooling across...well, hopefully giant screens in multiplexes across the US.
We had fantastic actors from the local area, and as far away as California (not counting Doug, he is from the UK - and that is a story you can ask me about at conventions! how hard it is to get a VISA for non-US citizens to work here). Again, the movie could not have been made without those fine thespians.
All in all, I hope that in 2012, people can see DEER CROSSING and try to enjoy the film. One note - it is DEFINITELY not for kids in the way that my pop sat me down with EVIL DEAD II.
We're in a new time, and you should not be watching this film if you are under eighteen years old until your guardians watch it.
What else happened? I know I did a token coverage of SDCC, but along with the movie, the end of that show occurred for me. (of course, note this now that I will wind up going in 2012 somehow) Partially, it was because of DEER CROSSING - the timeframes to set up the film got mixed with the convention, so while I was in San Diego, I was dealing with SAG and my director and Madsen issues.
Ah damn! There is something I complete skipped over...originally, DEER CROSSING was supposed to be starring MICHAEL MADSEN and Doug Bradley. Yep, that Michael Madsen - although I am sure there is some other guy out there in the world named MM who wants to be an actor. It isn't something I will discuss online - see Mr Potent.com for my official statement on Madsen - but let me just say that it was a massive learning experience to deal with actors of this caliber.
So, where was I? This turned out to be very stream-of-consciousness.
Movies are a strange business. I was lucky enough to have a modern scream queen, one of the few non-white stuntwomen in the business, one of the super-hot cheerleaders from THE REPLACEMENTS, the star of my last film, one of the memorable victims from LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, an actor famous from HBO's THE WIRE and local Philadelphia commercials, "hey I've seen that woman in!!!!", a modern-day Elvira (or Stella, for you Philadelphia readers of a certain age, one of my best bros, my actual brother, and one of the stars of early Cinemax classics and other exploitation films in my movie.(Each of those links is a specific person - or just click right into DEER CROSSING and give me more IMDB hits. Regardless of what happens in my life beyond this point, I will always have the memories of the various places we shot, the personalities before the camera, and the ones behind it as well.
Thanks to the people who took the pics you see on this blog - seriously, jump over to the official DEER CROSSING Facebook page for all the pics from the shoot - or deercrossingthemovie.com, if you don't like The Google.
Where to go from here, really? I'm going to have to figure out some new goals! I made two movies by thirty-five. For forty, I'm going to have to do something really big, like make my own toy or something. ;)
If you guys only knew...
(the Onell Design coverage and my overall Fandom of Pheyden has not ended. But from time to time, there will be a bit of Potent Media coverage as well)