Monday, May 30, 2011

SLACKER 2011: S-T-E-V-E, Day 1

After weekly meetings, a ton of emails, casting, rehearsals, camera tests, etc., our pre production has come to a head for our Slacker 2011 scene. Tonight we shot the first half of our scene at Trophy's Bar which is the same bar that the original scene was shot. Beth, producer, sent out an email with the call times and locations on Sunday, reminding everyone to let her know if they have any dietary issues. Finally tonight was the night!
Call time was at 7:30pm. Everyone found the place without any real problems and no one was late. Everyone smoothly got to work or began to eat dinner. Other than the 2 male actors and Patrick Rusk the still photographer, it was a set full of all women in all roles. It was a beautiful scene of moviemaking at it's best. No drama and no real problems. Director Carlyn Hudson, Director of Photography Therese Tran and Producer Elizabeth Chatelain had been working around the clock for the last couple weeks preparing for every possible snag. Trophy Bar was very generous to give the production the whole back lot of the club, just for the production to spread out and make camp and of course the front of the bar for the shoot.

Carlyn and Beth spent a lot of time finding the right people for this piece of Slacker 2011. Steve was played by Alejandro (Ali) Rose-Garcia, Annick (aka "Traveler") played by Jessie Tilton, the Writer by Maggie Lea, Questions Happiness girl by Adriene Mishler, the Italian Cousin by Reel Women Student Gaia Bonsignore, Guy on Ledge by Will Elliot, Girl on Bike by Mimi Lopez and Doorman by Eric Lord. An interesting fact about Eric Lord, he played the original doorman in Richard Linklater's Slacker 20 year ago.

The sun was setting during everyone's arrival so the G&E had to go right to work with the camera department to make sure they rigged everything and got their electricity of juice figured out early while they had the natural light. However, the magic-hour light made it so that they couldn't place the lights or test the camera until they could see how it would all look in the night sky. Meanwhile the actors ate, got in costumes and make-up while Carlyn sat with them all, going over everything one last time. Manoeuvrings around the camera department and G&E, the art department got to work transforming this has-been club to look more like a lovable dive bar.

The food was provided by Pok-e-Jo's. BBQ was the perfect addition to keep everyone fed and happy. Some might think that girls don't like meat and those people are fools. These ladies can put back some BBQ. Each group or filmmaker that the Austin Film Society recruited was given a small amount of money and resources to produce the scene for the Slacker 2011 project. Though this was very useful and appreciated, it didn't cover all the costs that were seen for this scene. Reel Women board members Heather Collier, Beth Sepko, and Suzanne Weinert each gave a donation to the scene which was amazing. We can't thank them enough. It was because of their generous contribution that we were able to get a sufficient amount of snacks and refreshments that made our crew work as hard as they did.

The production was about halfway through the night when local Austin legend, Leslie came strolling on to set. If you don't know Leslie is a semi homeless man that lives in Austin and dresses in women's clothes. He didn't disrupt the production but was instead a surprising delight. The Assistant Producers, Jordan Harrison and Sarah Gonzalez, even thought he might make a great addition as an extra, walking by in the scene. However after some discussion, it turned out the Leslie's on set rate was much higher than the production was willing to spend. Instead, he ate a meal at craft services and made everyone in the back feel uncomfortable with awkward conversion before leaving for more important things to do.

Overall everything went better than expected. It was the smoothest set set. Carlyn did a terrific job staying focused, directing the actor while working with Therese, the DP. All the ACs, Assistant Cameras, and Grips did an amazing job maintaining the look. The sound department consisting of Renee Stairs and Hallease Clemons kicked major butt battling with the South Congress ambience.

It was wrapped at 2:00am (on schedule). Kelsey Coggins, Assistant Director, had done a fantastic job keeping everyone on schedule. Everyone had smiles on their faces as they ate the leftover snacks and put away the equipment. Tomorrow was going to be another late night production, but knowing it was in the hands of these ladies, everyone had faith it was going to be fun.

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Sarah Gonzalez please visit the Reel Women Students Picasa

For more pictures from Slacker 2011, photographer Patrick Rusk please visit the Flickr

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