On Saturday, I helped out the Dark Embrace Film team with the production of The Short Con, written and directed by Elvis Diaz, a resident of New London. This weekend marked the second week of production for the cast and crew. Initially, I was suppose to show-up Friday night, but Lawrence, founder and one of the producers of The Short Con, forgot to send me the location information. It worked out in the end, I was physically spent and needed to go home to recouperate. I haven't gotten much sleep this week, I've had rehearsals for a play, a staged reading (which I had to learn an African accent for, I was a refugee from Darfur), and had to set-up a pre-production meeting for the film I plan to shoot in November - all this plus my nine to five. It was a lot.
After the staged reading, I called Lawrence to remind him that he forgot to send me the information and that I couldn't make it to the shoot. I told him that I could be there most of the day on Saturday and he was cool with that. It was going to be a 8:30 a.m. crew call in New London, Connecticut. I was not looking forward to the drive, but since I'm also a producer on the film I wanted to be there to show my support to Elvis and help out.
When I spoke to Lawrence, he said things went pretty well the weekend before, there were a few issues, but those issues were dealt with. I still had my reservations about the day and didn't know what to expect. I just hoped I wasn't walking into a production train wreck. I did not, Elvis ran a tight ship. The cast and crew were great. Elvis hired a few student filmmakers, who came to the set with heart and professionalism. This is a blessing, especially when it's an ultra low-budget and you can't afford to pay most of the crew. Everyone did a stellar job including the actors. At the end of the night I didn't want to leave, but I had to tend to other plans I made.
There were moments when I can look back and know a few things could have been better organized, there was to much down time at times, we didn't have a needed prop (luckily they were able to use my purse), or no special effects make-up to create a scar and bruises when we needed it. But that can happen when you shoot on an ultra-low budget and don't cross all your T's or dot all your I's. These mistakes help everyone to learn and hopefully that won't happen a second time around. If the crew is good and takes notes it usually doesn't.
There was also some icing on the cake. I had planned on leaving at six due to dinner plans, but those plans were cancelled at the last minute and it was to my benefit. I'm glad I stuck around to meet Michael Naughton, a staff writer from The Day, a New London newspaper and Tim Martin, a staff photojournalist. Tim and Michael were great. Both men came to capture the story of a writer/director who is trying to live his dream. They spent a good deal of time talking to Elvis, Lawrence, and other crew members including myself. Earlier today, I made sure to thank them via email for their time (note: always thank people for their time, it's the curtious thing to do and people remember it.)
I'm really excited because this will be a great addition to the press kit when we begin submitting The Short Con to film festivals. This is just the beginning. I can't wait to see a rough cut of the film. We get better with each film we do and that gives me hope for when I direct After the Headlines. Right now I'm going crazy trying to secure some locations and crew, luckily I have my actors (all of whom I worked with before, YEAH).
The story should be out later this week. It will be interesting to see how Michael shapes the piece. I'm looking forward to it no matter how big or small, after all this is free publicity. I consider the whole cast and crew lucky to have received this opportunity.
In the meantime, I keep chasing my dreams.