Friday, August 12, 2011

Horror Film In Progress

Well, after more than a year of pre-production, we are finally in production. Our first official shoot day was June 27th, but that did not require the presence of any of our actors. Our first day with cast on location was last Friday, August 5th. It's been an amazing first week of shooting.

From left to right: Alison Monda, Tessa Archer, Megan Lacki, and substitute Director of Photography Jacob Rosen. (photo by Adam Smith)

Our first three shoot days (August 5th, 6th, and 8th) were our busiest of the shoot as far as how many cast members we had on set. Brian Sutherland, Alison Monda, Bjorn Whitney, Megan Lacki, David Nail, and Tessa Archer were all with us for most of those three days and it made for a boisterous set. One thing we quickly learned is that we have a great cast and crew. Everyone gets along and, on a small crew like ours, it helps keep everything running smoothly.

Intern/grip/AC Todd Johnson, Tessa Archer, DP Jacob Rosen, me, and sound recordist Gabriel Culkin. (Photo by Adam Smith)

Those first few days of shooting marked all of Tessa Archer's days with us. Sniff. She was great on set and terrific in her scenes. Wrapping with her on Monday, knowing she wouldn't be back with us, was sad, but we all hope we work with her on many projects in the future.
Tessa Archer (Photo by Adam Smith)

Monday also marked the first day on set for Jesse Keeter, who plays our bad guy. Jesse is giving an amazing performance and he's just getting started. He's the nicest guy you would ever want to meet off camera, but on camera he's something else entirely. The transformation is fascinating to watch.
Jesse Keeter (Photo by Jeremy Bell)

After three relatively blood free days (our substitute Director of Photography almost got conked on the head by a falling light), we finally got Bandersnatch Studios on set to do some blood work on Tuesday. And it's been all blood all the time since.

Tools of the trade. Bandersnatch's brushes. (Photo by Jeremy Bell)

Jesse in the early stages of a Bandersnatch attack. (Photo by Jeremy Bell)

It's been an exhausting and exhilarating week. After spending most of the pre-production time trying to put this together with my producer Matt Ralston, who has done an insane amount of work to make sure Reunion can be successful, it was great to finally bring on some more collaborators. 
Matt Ralston, me. (Photo by Adam Smith)

All of that pre-production time has paid off in spades. With our minuscule budget and tight actor schedules, it's imperative that we keep to the calendar Matt put together before we started. We've done just that and have even put two kills behind us (don't worry -- there's more!).

On monitor: Jeremy Bell and Alison Monda. In background: Assistant Director Jared Hagen, sound guy Gabriel Culkin, DP for the day Jacob Rosen. (Photo by Matt Ralston)

Special shout out to our interns from Seattle Central Community College -- Todd Michael Johnson, Myles Basterrechea, Evan Elwell, and Gabriel Culkin. They are interns in name only. They've gripped, they've gaffed, they've recorded sound, and they've been assistant camera (they run the iPad slate!). 

Watching playback. Foreground: Jared Hagen and Matt Ralston. Background: Director of Photography Christian Hansen, David Nail, Jesse Keeter, Todd Michael Johnson, Evan Elwell, Jeremy Bell, Myles Basterrechea, and 2nd AD Nate Souza. (photo by Adam Smith)

Another shout out to an intern who is not really an intern, this time to the amazing Sam Shideler from the Art Institute of Seattle. Sam has already saved our asses a number of times with his problem solving skills. Sam has his own web series, The Dirty Do Gooders. You should all watch it here:

And finally a huge thank you to Brian Sutherland, Alison Monda, Bjorn Whitney, Megan Lacki, David Nail, Tessa Archer, Jordin Buttenob, and Jesse Lee Keeter for being such an amazing cast. It's been said that directing is ninety percent casting and I'd be hard pressed to argue that. Lesson to all of you who plan on making your own movie, web series, whatever -- take the time to get the cast you want. You'll thank yourself later. And if you luck out the way we have and have a cast that is also a joy to be around, so much the better.

Matt Ralston, Bjorn Whitney, Brian Sutherland, Tessa Archer, and Megan Lacki. (Photo by Adam Smith)

So far, so good. Can't wait to see how all of this turns out so we can share the gore with all of you. 

Special thank you to Adam Smith for being our set photographer for a couple of days (and more to come). Check out Adam's work here:

And now, a few stills from the movie. These are straight from the camera, compressed h.264, no color correction applied. They are, for now, just a tease...

Brian Sutherland and Bjorn Whitney in Reunion. 

Jesse Keeter in Reunion.

Tessa Archer, Alison Monda, Megan Lacki, and David Nail in Reunion.

Tessa Archer and Brian Sutherland in Reunion.

Brian Sutherland and Alison Monda in Reunion.

That's all for now.

Be seeing you...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our new Sarah

While it was devastating to all of us to have to part ways with Trin Miller, we were fortunate to have a ready replacement who will be able to step in at this late date and allow us to not miss a beat.

Our costume designer, Megan Lacki, also originally auditioned for Sarah. And she had an awesome audition and will now step into Sarah's shoes.
Megan Lacki as Sarah

Megan is already familiar with the script and ready to get to work tomorrow morning. After making the dresses the other two women will wear (and the one Trin would have worn), Megan will take a deep breath from all that hard work (she's been working very hard!) and dive into some sweet character work.

While we're still mourning the loss of Trin, we could not be happier that we were fortunate enough to have someone as talented as Megan on hand so we can forge ahead and keep to our very tight schedule.

Welcome to the cast of Reunion, Megan!

Be seeing you...

Some sad news...

It's with great sadness that today I have to announce that we've parted ways with the lovely and talented Trin Miller, who had been slated to play Sarah in Reunion.

Two days ago (Tuesday, August 2nd) we discovered an issue that had arisen from Trin's involvement in another feature, which she's wrapping up this week (we start shooting tomorrow, August 5th). After trying to work around the problem that evening, and then sleeping on it that night, I discussed the matter with my producer, our director of photography, and our assistant director, and ultimately made the call to make a change.

It was a very difficult decision to make and the ultimate responsibility for that decision is all mine. We called Trin yesterday afternoon and it was a call we dreaded making all day, but as hard as it may have been for us to make, I have no doubt it was even harder for Trin to hear. She has been a passionate supporter of Reunion -- talking us up to her many friends on Facebook and to her many followers on Twitter (@trinmiller -- you should totally follow her). 

We can state, unequivocally, that we are all Trin Miller fans. We were thrilled to have her in the cast (I've worked with her before and so has our assistant director, Jared Hagen) and had been excited to get her on set. She's a delight as an actor, and an even bigger delight as a person (she bakes brownies for the crew!). We wish her nothing but the best and I hope I get to work with her on many projects in the future -- and you shouldn't hesitate to consider her for one of yours.

Take a moment please and let Trin know you'll miss her in Reunion. I know we all will.

Be seeing you...