Casting Update

Three days before thanksgiving and two days after my first anniversary.  No casting this week.  I will focus all of my energy on getting my shot list finished by Monday.  I need this to start processing how the film will actually be made, shot by shot, cut by cut.  I am choosing to make a descriptive document “shot list” instead of storyboards or even a previs of some sort for a few reasons:  It is more detailed written account of each shot which gives more information [character notes, background props, feel of the shot or scene etc] to the key people who will need that information and it leaves less open to interpretation.  Plus, it makes it easy for me to complete in my own timeframe, since I am not waiting on or working with anyone else. It is comprised of my ideas…not my idea translated through an artist of some sort…so it is a better representation of the film as I see it.

Last week was pretty cool, especially the end of it.  I had the privilege of meeting an amazing artist/actor/writer/singer.  We had originally made an offer to this person for the lead role of Ezekiel.  After some thought and prayer he came back and said it just wouldn’t work out for him to play that part.  Of course I was bummed because, without ever hearing him read a line from the script, I knew he was the guy.  He IS that character.  He is an amazingly talented actor with a great, soft face.  His eyes tell the story…anyway, so I let that go and told Bev we should ask him to at least do a song or something for the film.  I felt strongly, that he needed to be involved.  So Bev went back to his people and it turns out he was into that so we set up the Friday meeting.

When he walked in, I knew what I had seen on his audition tape [for another film], was accurate.  I was having lunch with my lead character.  Ezekiel had joined us.  Crazy but true.  Anyway we sat and talked for 2 hours.  He played some music and original score he had written for another piece that fell through.  All of his stuff was incredible and beyond that it fit with the character so well, it was as if it had been written for this film… for this character.  I will – once this all plays out – tell you guys who he is and ask that you all go out and buy his band’s CD’s…as they are truly amazing songs with incredible lyrics.  Needless to say I was thrilled to have met him and will be praying for his role in the film to be ironed out.

Beyond that we saw a bunch of new faces and got some good choices for callbacks.  It has been a super productive casting process so far…not to mention a fun one.  Bev, Jessica and Alese have all been great. Not only are they good at what they do, they are wonderful people who enjoy their jobs and like to have fun.  My kind of people for sure!  We are all but through with this initial wave of casting.  We have good solid choices for the key characters and will now sort out callbacks and do a day of casting at church to fill in the cast.  So far so good!

We finalized…kind of anyway, our list of callback actors for the week after this one.  Hopefully, we will be cast by the end of the first week of Dec!!  That will be such a relief…wait, I should say we will be cast in as much as we can be from here, I will still need to cast once I get to India…

We also had a few hour production meeting on Saturday afternoon.  It is always great to see Steven and Alan.  Steven argues the point to save money [as he should!] and Alan makes notes and sits quietly the majority of the time.  They are such a great team and we truly are lucky to have them. Steven is okay with my talking about his amazing film lineage which is good because being a fan of film one can’t help but mention his father!  Michael Ritchie was an amazing director.  One of his many great films just came out on Criterion DVD.  Go pick it up if you are a film fan.  You won’t be disappointed.  The film is called DOWNHILL RACER and stars Robert Redford! Joth [first AD] was there as well.  He is the only one that has not actually been to India and so I am sure feels like he is playing a bit of catch up. He is a great guy and brings a lot to the table as well.  And of course Abe was there.  He is always great to have around.  His energy and excitement for the film has never wavered or waned.  He is going to be a huge part of the equation of making this film.  He will be the single closest collaborator I have in the actually film making process.  He has to get what I want and be able to almost read my mind.  We talk in film speak and a sort of developed short hand that seems to work well for us both.  We both love film and have seen a lot of movies.  We share a similar aesthetic and can relate to and understand the film references we each use back and forth to make our points.  We have a solid team and I am confident in each of them…which means I can relax and focus on my job knowing they all are doing theirs.

As the film starts to take shape I am seeing it more clearly in my own mind. I have seen that it may evolve into a more song driven music bed than an actual score, I have seen that it has a view point, it has a life of it’s own.  A way the story wants to be told.  If I listen carefully the story tells me how it wants to come to life.  God’s gift for sure as it has been from conception.

Anyway, I hope everyone reads this has a wonderful thanksgiving holiday!! Remember to say a prayer for those less fortunate.  God has been good to us, lest pass that on.  Be well and as always thanks for reading.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

J

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