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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Fritzges’

Sympathy Pains Poster!

September 11, 2013 Comments off

Little piece by little piece, we’re getting ready for the big premiere for Sympathy Pains! Here’s a link to more info about the film, by the way. Just finished the poster, which I really like. Shot by my DP Mike Gunter, and with much help from UCA Theatre guru Tom Marhanke.

SP Poster -THIS ONE4

And just a reminder – the premiere for SP (UCA’s second narrative feature film) is Monday, Sept 23, 7:30pm at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall. Come early – it seems like it’s gonna be a crowd!

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One Month!

August 23, 2013 2 comments

We are officially one month away from the Conway Premiere of Sympathy Pains. UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall, Sept 23, at 7:30pm. And to celebrate, I finally got around to making a very sophisticated trailer. Enjoy!

Still Editing

December 20, 2012 Comments off

Haven’t done an update on Sympathy Pains in a while. The schedule says we picture lock on Jan 7th. My gut says different, but my head tells me the schedule exists for a reason. It’s crazy – Table at Luigi’s taught me that the big, difficult choices come now, in the last couple of weeks. All the things we should have been doing the last 5 months finally happen now, because the pressure’s on. All the “we’ll decide that later” notes that I’ve been making – it’s now “later.” And there are a lot of them.

So what are we doing? We’ve added a scene to the beginning of the film to help cement the main relationship. Audiences have been responding well to the film, but in very interesting ways. They love Danny, played by Chris Fritzges, but have been a little cold to Stephenie, the female lead, played by Courtney Bennett. That’s definitely not about Courtney, who is AWESOME in this film – it’s a script problem. I love her character so much, it never occurred to me that the audience might not feel the same. She’s a strong, opinionated woman, who supports her husband incredibly, but can come across as a bit of a bitch. I never saw her that way, but audiences aren’t seeing the wonderful person behind her edge – and that’s what the scene we’ve added is about.

We were looking for ideas for the new scene since the first screening a couple of weeks ago, and finally solidified the idea at the Fayetteville screening on Sunday, with the help of Kenn Woodard, who plays Jim. He had a couple of great suggestions that will help the film incredibly.

I wrote the outline for the new scene while driving home from the Fayetteville screening (with Kat taking notes in the car), got everyone scheduled on Monday (including the awesome Loony Bin comedy club in Little Rock, who will be letting us in to film- I suspect the manager will be closing the place at 3am to let us in at 9am, and I can’t thank them enough!), then actually wrote the scene over the last couple of days. Four quick drafts later, I emailed it out to everyone this afternoon.

We’re also doing a few other quick pickup shots, and a lot of ADR to reinforce plot points and other ideas in the film. I think people don’t realize how often this is done in films – adding dialogue off-screen to help the story move along. I have a lecture I do in class about what a useful technique ADR is to help massage parts of the film that aren’t working, without having to do reshoots. In Luigi’s, we basically cleared up a huge plot hole with about 3 off-screen lines of dialogue over 3 different scenes.

I’m taking Christmas week off from the film, then coming back full force to finish it up. My editor (Brandon Bogard – who just graduated and will be done with the film in a couple of week – you should hire him as soon as I’m done with him!) will put the new scene and shots in while I’m away, and then I’ll disappear in the edit bay for that final week. Wish me luck!

 

Locations, Locations, Locations (part 2)

August 27, 2012 2 comments

Continuing the post about locations from the other day,  again, I can’t stress enough – you need the time to find the locations and work out the kinks. Or to not find the location…

We needed four comedy clubs for Sympathy Pains – one major club that’s in a lot of the film, and three others that Danny appears in. We were casting a number of comedians in the film, so we reached out to them, and one of them got us in touch with management at the Loony Bin in Little Rock (and vouched for us). They’re closed on Sundays and Mondays and let us take the place over for those days.  Since we were in the “big city” we used that as an opportunity to reach out to Little Rock media, and that’s how we got our channel 7 news piece.

For the other clubs, we talked about building a backdrop for each of the three clubs, but decided instead to build them digitally. Scott Meador (our visual effects expert) had his classes build some concepts last semester, and we’ll be using some of those, combined with green screen footage that we shot of Chris Fritzges.

Of course, we had Scott on set with us for the green screen shots to make things work as easily as possible on set and for his team in post.

I’ll do one more post about a location we were looking for when we shot Luigi’s, and our final solution.

The Home Stretch!

August 8, 2012 Comments off

After a long night of shooting (first scene ended about 1 hour after scheduled, but we finished about 1 ½ hours early!), we’re looking at the home stretch. Which is good, because the long night became longer when Emma decided at 3am (after I went to bed at 2am) that she didn’t want to sleep. Turns out that meat-lovers pizza doesn’t agree with a two-year-old’s stomach. She wasn’t crying, she just couldn’t get comfortable and wanted to be held, so Kat and I took turns until we figured out that it was her stomach and got her some gas relief. I think I’m running on about 2 hours sleep.

Today’s is one slightly tricky scene, then a lot of small, pretty simple ones.  Four not-too-tricky scenes on Thursday (though two of them include Emma), then lots of simple small scenes on Friday. Then we’re done shooting at the Dull home– I can’t wait to get my house back (and neither can Emma)!

Saturday is a simple scene on campus (we’re still looking for a few extras there – here’s the link to info for that), and Sunday’s our final day at Stoby’s, who was generous enough to let us use their space. It’s a “two guys in a booth” scene – doesn’t get much easier than that.

Let me say again that what makes all this go so well is my awesome cast. I’ll be working with our four leads for these last few days – Chris Fritzges, Courtney Bennett, Kenn Woodard, F.E. Mosby, and Dahren White. Really, it doesn’t get much better than those guys – they bring so much to each scene, it makes my job easy. So when I say the next few days will be easy, there are actually some pretty tough scenes emotionally for the actors, but I know what they can do, and they’ll be great!

Time to get back to work on prepping for today – we have to make the house look like a Cinco de Mayo party, hide the Christmas tree for later scenes, and trade out the painting in the living room for the Warhol sonogram. Don’t ask.

Turns out doing a film that takes place over nine months is kinda tricky – Kat keeps a database of what time of year everything is, and what changes in the set design from scene to scene, and we’d be lost without that!

Rain Rain Go Away

August 1, 2012 Comments off

Our last outdoor shoot tonight, so here’s hoping (and planning) that the rain passes through. Everything looks that way, so I think we’re good, I just wish the rain we did get didn’t bring the humidity with it.

Late filming last night, until about 2am, and tonight will probably go past midnight, too. I’m hoping to catch a nap when Emma does, and then get a bit of time with her this afternoon.  She asked where Mommy was today, and I told her she was at work. The response: “She’s always at work.” Emma’s two – she shouldn’t be able to put that thought together, yet.

Man, were Courtney and Chris on their game last night. They’re always good, but they really did some awesome work. And Chris’ last solo scene was amazing – that guy can act!

Tonight we shoot the penultimate scene of the film, so we’ll have the entire ending section in the can by midnight. Can’t wait to see all this put together! And can’t wait to be indoors for the next two weeks!

I screwed it up!

July 29, 2012 Comments off

Had a decent day of filming, yesterday – including a fantastic morning with Craig O’Neill, the anchor for Channel 11 – he was so funny! I figured he’d be fun, but he was up for anything and gave a GREAT performance.

We filmed with him in Little Rock, then moved back to Conway, and the day got slow. Scott Meador had redone our audio studio to make it look good for the shoot, and we also ordered a new audio board and control surface for the room.  We had a few tricky shots, nothing too complex, but I got distracted trying to make the new audio board work with our recording audio on set, and wasn’t paying enough attention to the crew. A couple of setups had to get tweaked, a few in big ways, because they got set up and then weren’t what I needed. Because I wasn’t there to catch the problem at the beginning. My crew deserves my full attention and I wasn’t there for that. Lesson learned.

But today went great. We finished ridiculously early, and got some great stuff. I don’t think I’ve mentioned for a week or so how much I love my cast. They’re so professional, and incredibly funny. Every look, every line, they bring interesting stuff. I’m constantly surprised by their choices – they bring so much to the script!

I was talking with Chris (playing Danny, the lead) about acting, and we were both saying how casting is everything. You cast well, and your job as a director is easy (which it is). You don’t cast well, and everything is a fight because you’re asking people to do things that aren’t natural to them. We cast well. :)

Chris also was talking about how he teaches acting, and I’ll be stealing advice from him in my classes (and in my directing!). I love when someone can take a complex idea and find a way to put it simply. While of course acting is a complex thing, but like anything that is difficult and artistic, it does boil down to some things that can be simple. His take, that I hope I’m not overly simplifying, was to concentrate on three things: Who am I talking to, What do I want from them, and How badly do I want it? Again, of course there’s more to it than that, but what a great simple starting point. If you know that info, you’re ready to talk to your actors. It teaching, you have to be able to get to the simple heart of things, and I think this does that wonderfully. Thanks, Chris!

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