Sunday, May 6, 2018

The First Big Shoot Part Three

It was an early morning and the chill of Pacific Northwest blew through downtown Tacoma. But there I was, parked next to the ominous building that would mark our first official shoot for the film, Mercy's House. Another one of the actors, Craig had already arrived and a moment later, Chris came pulling up in his Star Wars inspired road machine known as Sithlord, then efficiently pulled around the building finding the perfect spot to land, closest to the entrance. I didn't want to get back in my car and re-park, I would hoof it, the cold air would do me good; taking the place of the empty spot in my psyche that normally coffee would be filling. The local Starbucks wasn't open yet. A damn shame.  

Adrienne Jordan and Sean Gill-Macdonald

Soon we were inside, Mike, Shea and Charlcee were there and we set about getting everything ready. The actors and the extras began showing up, and the rest of the day is mostly a blur now. A good blur though. 

Chris filming with the extras, photo courtesy of Charlcee Davis

There was about 30 extras which was great! Some of my awesome friends showed up, as well as friends from some of the actors. I was deeply appreciative of this. I thought I would start our first shoot off with a bang and address the courtroom audience as they sat eagerly in the seats. 

Hi everybody, thank you for being here. I introduced the lead actress Adrienne, and began. "This is Mercy, shes a small town girl with a some big problems." Then going through the rest of the cast explaining their motivation, to finish off with the crew on hand. I thought it was a great way to start things off, as if we were putting on a show for the extras/audience, which in one way, we were. 
My buddy and fantastic actor Bill Read Jr played the part of the prosecuting attorney. I think he had brought a number of friends to play the extras, he was pretty amazing and as always a joy to have on the set. I was lucky to have him in my previous film "Waiting For Exit". Here's a shot of him and Charlcee (without whom a lot of these "behind the scene" pictures wouldn't be possible) 
Charlcee Davis, Bill Read Jr and the obligatory clapper picture. Photos courtesy of Charlcee Davis. 
You wouldn't go this whole blog post without seeing the obligatory clapper picture. That picture alone is money in bank. The only thing during the shoot that really gave us any problems was the old radiator system that would start acting up in the middle of shot. We were not prepared for this. It was like a ghost from the past was banging on the metal from beyond. A lost soul who missed the glory day/ hustle and bustle of the old courtroom wanting one last chance to see a trial in action. 

The Whole Set
The last pic above illustrates the size and scope of the shoot, so for us this was a pretty big shoot, of course it's nothing compared to this scene from the movie Billy Liar (1963) 
Not to mention, they also got a horse in the scene. Chris note: We'll have to get a horse in one of our scenes somehow. Mercy rides a horse now? We'll work on that ;)

All in all we got some pretty awesome work done that day. Here's some of the official stills from the shoot. (So far) You'll notice the fancy studio logo watermarked on the pictures.

Adrienne Jordan as Mercy. 
Side note: Mercy's blue courtroom dress came through at the last minute courtesy of Amazon, and it looked fantastic on Adrienne. All of my previous adventures at the thrift store are now nothing more than a bad memory. Amen.  Adrienne is a wonderful actress who was with me since the table reads for the script when it was first being hammered out. I appreciate the range of emotions that she can display as an actor and I find her easy to work with. She has kept herself busy these days doing a variety of local films and other advertising spots. 

Ira Katz as Dr Pavlov
This is Ira, who I met once upon a time at a film makers meet-up. When I met him I knew immediately he was a great actor and that I wanted to work with him. He's also a pretty wicked dude. Not to mention, check out how he flaunts that nifty sharkskin suit. I knew Ira would play the part of Dr. Pavlov perfectly. His acting has an intensity that I nurture. 

Btw, thats Jon Palms torso you've seen in the background of the last two pictures. Here's my favorite picture of him on the lower left. He made his own name badge thus rendering us as blood brothers. 
Jon Palms proudly wearing the shades and badge, Chris Burrows, Dave Ewing and Bill Read Jr. photos courtesy of Charlcee Davis.
Another one of my favorite pictures above on the right with Chris Burrows cinematographer looking rather pleased; with Dave Ewing on sound and Bill Read Jr. looking on. 

Mark Lanz as the Judge
and then there's Mark Lanz who rocked, and made an incredible judge, we met over coffee at the now "sadly" defunct Tully's Coffee down on Broadway. His tenacity struck me and he soon proved he was a force to be reckoned with. 
The back of Mark Lanz's head, Sean Gill-Macdonald and Bill Read Jr.
Another buddy of mine Sean Gill-Macdonald plays the defense attorney. I have known him the longest, going back to my first film Rockabye Dead Man. Sean is awesome guy and he's always had a very laid back since of wisdom, that I appreciate. You'll notice the back of Mark's head even looks pretty judge-like. Scary. and then of course, the ever popular Bill Read Jr.! That guys talent is waiting to explode. Who could ask for a better cast for the court scenes? Note: There is a special mystery guest seated in the back ground. Hush... for now.

As of this writing, Chris and I have found our next shooting location. Hooray! It has taken me a month of research, dead ends... lost hopes... cheesy bars serving beer with less than 2 percent alcohol... dames that wore lipstick that shined like cheap grease paint, and men in hats that shadowed their faces... even in the sun. Ok.. I'm being overly dramatic, but it took a damned while to find it. More on this to come. Time for the moment to reflect on what a great shoot we had at courthouse square. A big thank you to everyone involved. The word is, the courthouse is being torn down to make way for a banquet room, so perhaps that big ominous building down on 1102 A st. had its last court drama and the radiator ghost was appeased.

Until next time...

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