Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good-bye "working title"!

We just decided on the ultimate name for our undisclosed online project.

We are shedding the name we had been using as a working title. And boy, are we excited! We even just purchased the website name... But shhhh!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Casting

The last two days Scott and I held auditions for an undisclosed online project.

As expected our ad in the premiere actor's resource paper/website Backstage brought in a huge response of 300+ headshots and resumes. Clearly it was already a challenge to make a first cut and invite only a manageable number of actors to the meeting/audition.

We shouldn't be surprised, but we are so impressed with all the amazing talent and wonderful people we met over these two days. It's been fun, interesting and inspiring to get to know these people - and it has us very psyched about the project...

Since more applications are still pouring in we might have another session of meetings/auditions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wallstrip Goes CBS

Congratulations to our friends Jeff Marks and Adam Elend of BrigtRED Pictures who produce the popular online show Wallstrip (Slogan: Our business is hot trends and stocks at all time highs).

They finally officially announced yesterday that CBS acquired Wallstrip (which will "maintain a separate identity") and that CBS furthermore hired Jeff and Adam to "executive produce original video content for CBS Interactive"!

Check out their show at Wallstrip.com.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Website update: All God's Children

Thanks to fellow filmmaker and writer Lisa Luciani's feedback I just updated the website for All God's Children. Besides edits, there are now quite a few more links on the resources page. Check it out: All God's Children - The Film.

A Sister Visits in Brooklyn

Three Generations & a Filmmaker:
Luci, Carolyn, Ellie, Scott
(photo taken by Scott's left hand)

We had a wonderful visit from middle sister Carolyn (from the documentary Five Sisters) and her daughter Ellie.

We had much fun spending time together - lots of gardening, eating, movie watching, and lots and lots of talking. Highlights were a walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, several friends and their mothers joining us for a Mother's Day toast and, of course, a traditional Southern Fried Chicken Dinner with friends. The dinner included watching the trailer for Five Sisters and the work-in-progress trailer for All's Well and Fair: THANK YOU ALL FOR THE FEEDBACK!

Last but not least Carolyn, Ellie and I sat down for a short interview for the documentary. I tried to keep the background neutral so it wouldn't be too apparent that this was not in one of their homes (or misrepresent what their homes look like) - but there was nothing I could do about the constant song from the New York City ice cream truck on the audio track...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Two sisters in the mid-west and their musical off-spring

View out my window on DC9

Yesterday I returned from several days in Michigan and Ohio where I did more filming for the documentary Five Sisters.

It was a busy and extremely productive visit. Busy enough to not get around to writing any blog updates. For once I also traveled to a shoot without my friend the laptop (yes, there was some separation pain) since I was already weighed down with four bags including the camera bag and tripod bag.

One of the reasons for this trip was to get footage of the house of the last sister I had yet to visit: Thelma in Pandora, Ohio. I also got to sit down and conduct interviews or film group-conversations with two sisters (Thelma & Beth) and several children and grandchildren. To top it off I caught plenty of verite footage with the sisters, their children & spouses and a bunch of energetic grandchildren. And I mean energetic. Thank you all for participating!


Day 1 -


Flying on a DC9 and sitting RIGHT NEXT to the jet engine.


Thelma, her husband Al and their daughter Esther (visiting from Thailand) picked me up at the Detroit airport and took me to son John and his wife Lara's house in Ann Arbor. Besides enjoying a wonderful dinner (including authentic sticky rice courtesy of Esther) I recorded some fun footage with the grandchildren including a violin concert by 5-year-old Sofia. Taped a great interview/conversation with Thelma, Al, John and Lara about the subject at hand: Five Sisters & aging.

Around 10pm some of us drive over to youngest sister Beth's son Rick's house in Ypsilanti. Beth is currently visiting during the same time as me to be part of the filming and to celebrate her grandson Matthew's high school graduation. We arrive during his party - but spent most of the evening sitting together with sisters and their children talking (and then it hit me: I finally officially crossed the line where at a graduation party I'm hanging with the parents, not the kids).

After everyone has gone to bed Beth and I (foolishly?) stay up until 4:15am just chatting away.


Day 2 -

We are up in time for a fantastic family breakfast.
But later will pay the price for staying up too late.

Thelma and Al pick Beth and me up at Rick's and drive us the 2 1/2 hours to Pandora, Ohio - to their house. I am so thrilled that I made the trip: their house is totally different from all the other sisters'. All the homes have tell so much more about the sisters' character and lifestyle. I just love the Americana feel of that old wooden house among the vast fields. I get some footage of the house and then tons of conversation between Thelma and Beth.


Al and Thelma in front of their house

In the evening Thelma's daughter Carol and her husband come over. We sit down for more family interview with all of them. We record a lot and I very much appreciate everyone's openness and honesty when we tackle some serious subjects.


Day 3 -

I manage to get up early for a run. One of the lessons I took away from film school; according to then-director Peter Stowell: filmmakers need to have lots of stamina and should be in top shape - so I did learn something ;-). I've been encouraged to run in particular by one of the fives sist
ers: Ann has told stories of how she has run in all these places she's visited and lived in - including through Paris. I think that's very cool and now wonder if she's ever run through Pandora, Ohio... Hah!

After filming all over the inside of the house (I always think of all the character-revealing b-roll in Brother's Keeper) Beth and Thelma sit down for a planned interview/conversation during which Thelma finally gets to record her "my name is Thelma" which had been missing from the trailer.

We just barely cover everything I wanted to talk about and we take off to meet Thelma's daughter Carol for lunch in her log cabin. What a house!

Carol and Mark's log cabin

No rest for the weary. Thelma and Al drive Beth and me back to Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm actually "off the clock" for a little bit while visiting with the family and driving around town.

Another great dinner at Rick and Cheryl's and then three of Beth's grandchildren (Matthew, Alex and Ann Marie) bring on the entertainment in front of the camera including several musical performances. It's good to laugh when there's been so much serious talk during filming lately.

We round out the evening with another enlightening and moving family interview with Beth, Rick and Cheryl.


Day 4 -

Just the last little bits of filming: a few shots of the house and the add-on, which includes Beth and Bill's apartment for when they're in Michigan and something for the transition video. Oh, and I get some of Beth's wonderful sugar-cinnamon toast, the way her dad used to make it when she was a little girl over 60 years ago.

And then it's already off to the airport again. By noon I'm sitting on a flight to LaGuardia. Fortunately this time I'm not sitting next to the engine (Airbus, yay) but have a row of three seats to myself.

I do end up with an annoying cab driver who because of stop-and-go traffic on the BQE insists to take the mid-town tunnel and drive me through Manhattan on 3rd Avenue!

---

All in all a fantastic and very successful trip. It's so great to meet all these interesting people and enjoy their hospitality and willingness to share their thoughts and feelings on camera. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

I think that the group interviews and conversations I've focused on since December (instead of one-on-one interviews) are really adding to the dynamic and the tone of the film.

I'm also very pleased that I've expanded the scope of the film to include the sisters' children (and grandchildren) - although I don't know if there will even be room for it in the end. At this point I have 77 hours of footage!

There are some theories that this might have been the last filming until I have at least a rough cut together. But then today one of the five sisters (Carolyn) and her daughter arrived for a visit in Brooklyn. We'll see if I can get them in front of the camera...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Reeler TV at Tribeca Episode 11 - "Live!"

In our last episode of ReelerTV from the Tribeca Film Festival 2007 Eva Mendes talks about the mockumentary Live! - a film she both stars in and produced.

Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Bill Guttentag wrote and directed this excellently executed mockumentary
which makes fun of reality TV and the high stakes game shows.



To watch the episode as a larger Quicktime file go to blip.tv.

While this is our last show from this film festival we're sure we'll be back with some more entertaining and informative shows soon... Please keep us bookmarked and thank you for watching.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

ReelerTV at Tribeca Episode 09 - "Descent"

Producer/Director/Writer Talia Lugacy talks about her collaboration with Rosario Dawson on their first feature film together: Descent - a dark rape revenge story that is set in New York and had its world premiere at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Personally, I can't wait to see it - sounds like an earnest way of handling the subject.



Watch the larger Quicktime file on blip.tv.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

ReelerTV at Tribeca Episode 08 - "Suburban Girl"

Marc Klein, director of Suburban Girl talks to ReelerTV about his directing debut based on Melissa Bank's bestseller, "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing".

The film stars Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar.



To watch the episode as a larger Quicktime file go to blip.tv.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

ReelerTV at Tribeca Episode 07 - "The Grand"

X-Men writer, recent director, Zak Penn, jokes with ReelerTV as they discuss his new comedy The Grand, which is an improvisation heavy ensemble film featuring Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Dennis Farina, Chris Parnell, Richard Kind, Werner Herzog...

The film is a send up of the Poker world and the Las Vegas scene. Of course, mocking Poker is just fine by me since I'm still owed a lot of money from working on the defunct show "Hip Hop Hold 'em".


To watch this episode as a larger Quicktime file go to blip.tv.