Monday, March 07, 2005

Production Journal: "LOVE IS DEAF" -- Entry 6

So a lot has happened in the two weeks since I last wrote. So much that I was too busy to write for two weeks, in fact. After losing my location and my actress and cutting my actor free, I had to rethink my whole approach to the project. I began my rethinking by recasting the male lead, returning to my old pal John William Wright ("The Ticket," director; "NAKED," star). I've known John since I was 8 or 9 and have been close friends with him since 10 or 11, and for whatever reason, creatively, we've always energized each other. Though I was reluctant to approach him at first -- having cast him in my last film -- I realized that that was a silly reason not to use an actor. Lots of master directors have used the same actors repeatedly, probably because they found a connection. And John was really excited about taking the role.

Next I had to recast my actress, but I just couldn't find the right fit. Finally, I begged Maleigha, my ASL translator. Maleigha, by the way, is just some girl who does her work study in the equipment room at school. Last semester I noticed her signing to herself and asked her about it, and she said she was studying for a sign language test. So when I needed a sign language translator, she was the first person I thought to ask. She's absolutely adorable, too, so she certainly looked the part. And even though she has no acting experience, I felt like she had the right sort of personality for the part. Anyway, I begged her, and she said she'd do it, if somewhat reluctantly.

15 minutes later, Michelle Wargo called me back and told me she was available after all.

That's just the kind of production this was. So Michelle was back in, we finally had an incredible location, and we put together a terrific crew. Rehearsals with John and Michelle were great, and I felt confident I'd made perfect picks with both of them. Michelle had really learned the sign language well, and her chemistry with John was palpable. I also felt like I was really getting the hang of directing actors for the first time.

We were shooting at Port Canaveral, and at the last minute, they made my life a living hell. First, the fire marshall forbade us from filming on the lifeguard tower (essential to the script) and then the sprung on us the day of the shoot that they were going to require us to pay a security guard $25 an hour the entire night. Not that it mattered, because a warm front came through, and it poured all night.

Well, anyway, we pushed back a night, which meant we lost half our crew because for some reason "we're going to try to shoot in one night, but we need you to reserve Friday just in case" somehow got lost on everyone. I spent the rainy night at home alone with Scotch while Ryan called in every favor he could to get me a full crew.

None of this mattered, because Friday night was beautiful, my crew hard working and positive, and we had a great night. Our only "low" moment was when the high tide never reached the necessary height in order for me to get establishing shot I needed. The whole thing could have been shot in the desert, cause you never see the ocean. I figure I'll submit to festivals in Arizona and New Mexico, claiming I shot in those states. Maybe I'll get in.

All in all, I think this film will turn out well, though I won't know for another week thanks to the slow ass miscommunicators at Continental Labs. My budget absolutely ballooned, and though I haven't done the final tally yet (afraid, very afraid), I'm sure it's broken $3,000.

Unfortunately, I can't post any photos, because our set photographer bailed on us at the last minute.

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