Just finished shooting a new short film… About Andy The story is of a woman incapacitated by an injury and the young caregiver who arrives to help! Events get interesting. All went very well, especially since we shot it in my house…a risky business at best. However that also went well and the Art Department, led by lovely Annie Bulow, assisted wonderfully by Rich Kilfoyle, put the house completely back to the way it started. …..thank you!!
Anyone who has ever allowed filming in their house will know how much that means. I was very impressed with the crew and the one actor who appeared with me. So I will make this post largely about them. I love to work, act, I need to work, act otherwise I get withdrawal symptoms…as a friend put it, acting is like a muscle, you have to exercise it. This particular muscle of mine had not been exercised since playing Lady Macbeth on stage just over a year ago. I have done readings, fun, but not quite the same. I love making these shorts…I have a lot of creative control, the locations and cast are minimal and the crews excellent. The budget dictates efficiency and speed and we had all of that in the two days we shot!
I had worked with Mike Tetro on Cougar….he produced for us and when he said he would like to direct About Andy, I was happy, I knew he was a good Producer and excellent at marketing, so had confidence that he could do a great job for us. He and I and Austin Von Johnson, who plays Andy met and worked through the script for a day and by the end I was thrilled. We were all so much in tune with each other and the story and so I came to the shoot full of confidence. I have been taking some improvisation classes here in Boise and I met Austin through those…… he was one of the teachers. I was impressed with his talent and passion and even more so because he does a lot of stand-up comedy ….something which requires great skill and nerve… I couldn’t do it! His career as an actor is on its way up. And, we worked well together…that makes the work exciting, being “tuned in/switched on” by the other actor. Doesn’t always happen and sometimes you feel you may as well be working with a brick wall!
I knew Annie Bulow as an actress, but she was keen to try her hand at the Art Direction and she transformed my little house into a wonderful set for our story…she played with colours and effects until I was exhausted, but it was worth it. Certain colours were not allowed in her vision for the film and if she could have removed tiles that were the wrong colour, she would have done it…..what determination! Energy and passion on a set like this is critical and Annie, Mike and Austin had it in droves, made me so happy. They were perfectly complimented by our excellent Director of Photographer, Jake Rapp, his gaffer Manda, what a trouper….jumping here and there for his lighting requirements …….trudging in and out of the snow outside to set lights,
Manda is the first female gaffer I have met! Then we had Chase Bennett our sound man, meticulous to a T. People don’t realise how important the sound is on a film and so many young people don’t train in sound…they think the camera work is “sexier” – wrong. I will never forget Simon Kaye our Oscar winning sound recordist on The Lion in Winter…we did not “loop” one line on the film (that means record your lines again in a studio, to match the shot, to get better sound)..Simon got it right on each and every take. Chase will have a great career I think as he has the same work ethic and care as Simon….rare in this business. Cary Judd supplied the terrific Black Magic camera ( I am learning) and assisted Jake on camera and took all the pictures on this blog! Cary is also a dedicated musician. Maybe he will do our music.
We also had young Easton Dufur, assisting everybody!!! And who has an amazing knowledge of all things film. And last, but absolutely not least – a wonderful find for me, Danyale Cooke, make-up artist. For an actress the make-up person is one of the most important people on set, starting off with making you look as good as you can be and then keeping an eye out for the rest of the day. I have had good, bad and indifferent in my career, but if you build a rapport with your make-up artist, you know you absolutely have friend on set. Attitude and sensitivity, as well as the skill are so important. One of my personal closest friends is the great Chrissie Beveridge, whom I met way back in the day when we were both mere babes in the business, working for the BBC and any aspiring make-up person need only look to her and her work for inspiration. She has won two Emmys and been nominated for many other awards, including six Baftas.