Got home to find my Mondo poster waiting for me!! Martin Ansin’s The Wolfman is awesome. That guy is an amazing artist. I do love my posters. He did the Phantom of the Opera poster and a poster for a Stanley Kubrick exhibit that is pretty cool as well. He lives in Uruguay. Nuts. I am also reading a book by Luc Besson about the making of The Fifth Element. It is a great book that details his experiences making the film. I have had it for years, but have only now found the time to read it.
I had the joy of meeting Abe, Steven, Allan and Rachel at Panavision for our camera test. We tested film stocks to see how they react with little to no light and with being pushed a stop or two one way or the other. Cool. This is what we have been waiting to do…get some film in a camera!!! I met up with Abe at around noon. He is, as always, excited to be working on this project and always greets me with a warm hug. He is such a cool guy and so amazingly talented. Every time I see him and talk with him about this project or see some of his work [check this video he shot…super fun and cool. I always walk away thanking God for bringing him to us. He will make this film look amazingly cool and I have complete confidence in him. We spend a few hours at Panavision.
Abe brought two friends, Sunil [he is actually doing the translation for the film from Telegu back to English phonetically for our actor] and David, a friend from another shoot. These two will be our Ezekiel and Bhupinder stand-ins. These guys hang with us from 2 till about 9PM. Wow! They are great all day and I try to make sure they know how grateful I am. They were such a gift! To stand in front of a camera…not doing anything…for hours on end!? An important element of this test was to see skin tones and textures and how the different film stocks react to the different skin tones [David is Caucasian and Sunil is Indian]. It is super important for Abe to sort this out now so we can order the stock that we need.
It is cool to see our camera for the first time. It is a tank! It is very sturdy and pretty big. The frame, when looking at the monitor, is super small. It is funny to see so much extra space outside of the guidelines. With 2 perf, we have a very small frame to work with…in a good way. Now we just need to fill that frame with information, color and emotion…no problem. We have a great cast, a great DP and India is a great set!!
After a few hours at Panavision, we load up and head off into downtown LA! Steven and Allan take their leave at this point. By the way, they are great fun to hang with. I know I say that every time I see them…but it is true. We laugh a lot and that is what a tense crazy film set needs.
Anyway, off to who knows where…we end up on Ventura blvd. Abe pulls the camera out of my Element and off we go. He has David and Sunil walking down the Ventura Blvd at 5 pm on a Friday. Excellent!:) I love this. No permit, no worries. Just shoot what we need until the police tell us we can’t or we get everything…now that is the film making I am used to.
At work early. God willing we will be leaving here for India very soon. Again that is OUR plan, and we are fully open to God having another plan. We are not at all open to waiting without reason or twiddling our thumbs. It is time to go make this film…to go change our world through this medium…to go out into the world and again, God willing, put a face to this horrific issue that is slavery, sexual and otherwise and the Dalits of India. That is our mission…that is why we wrote this film. To make a noise…to bring light to a wrong and speak out about our brothers and sisters in India who are beaten and broken.
On a side note, did anyone watch the Oscars? It was pretty cool to see a woman win Best Director. First time it has happened and she certainly deserved it for this film. I actually worked with her [Kathryn Bigelow] on a film called Point Break with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. We had a pit bull…if anyone has seen the movie; there is a scene where Swayze’s character is being chased by Reeves character. They race down alleys and through houses. When Keanu races through one house, just as he clears the back door, he is hit chest level with a pit bull! Yes seriously. A pit bull is launched at his face. In the film he catches the dog and actually drop kicks it. What!? You might be saying, which is exactly what I thought when I heard that as well. Anyway, that was the scene as changed by the director on the day of the shoot. Mind you we had prepped an entirely different “action” [what the animal is set to do based on the script] for a few weeks before showing up on the set… a normal but annoying occurrence. Anyway, so here is the way we did that. I stood at the back door on a little platform that the construction guys built off the porch. I, depending on the take, would either throw the pit bull at Keanu or catch Keanu and the pit bull as my boss threw the dog at him. So picture this…we are set on the back porch…I am holding a 60 or so pound pit bull or waiting to catch an actor and not fall off the platform. Kathryn would yell action and Keanu would race through the house. We would get a count down on a walkie-talkie and then 3…2…1…throw the dog!!!! So either I would throw and hope for the best or catch and try not to fall. I specifically remember one take where I was catching the actor and Steve; my boss threw the dog so hard that it actually knocked Keanu off the porch and into me. I did save him from falling off the end of the platform…He was grateful. By the way, the dog loved this whole “getting thrown” at someone. He was barking and carrying on. He thought this was the greatest game ever invented…he was a super fun dog. Anyway that was one of my days on set…with a now Academy Award winning director. She was very nice by the way.
Last night Brent and I met and made some progress…we finally pulled the trigger on hiring a company to work with in India! Yee Haw. We are going with a company founded by a famous comedian in India. They will get us a permit and facilitate our production needs while shooting in India. That is very good news. Now, we can start to set dates and square things away. The prayer meeting last night was pretty cool as well. About the same number of people show up each month and almost the same faces as well. There are a few seriously committed and devoted people praying for this film…Bali, JP, Selvina and James…Brent’s folks…they are two amazingly special people who I am sure have no idea what to make of me owning a company with their son!! Brent and I are so different but yet complement each other. Brent’s dad Bill is a pillar of strength and has been an amazing advisor to Brent and I throughout this process. Bill and Gayle never stop praying, guiding and advising. They are incredibly special people whom I value and appreciate! Just another reminder that this is God’s project and Brent and I are grateful that He elected to use us to tell His story.
Lets see anything else??? We should get the film test footage back soon. I will keep you posted. I included some photos from the film test, as well as some video footage that I shot with my phone.
Be well and as always thanks for praying and reading.