Co-executive producer/director's wife blog
Our co-executive producer (and director's wife :D ) has posted an account of this whole filmmaking process from her standpoint! take a look!!
Co-executive producer/director's wife blog - Jan 2006
Since we graduated from college together, directing his own movies has been Mark's dream. At the time, he vowed he would do whatever it took, become a starving artist- but he soon learned that the starving lifestyle was not for him, and definitely not for his wife! So here he was, successful, doing creative work in web development, but still missing something in his life- that something was making movies, and that is how it all began.
We had an allocated budget for Deployment Strategy, but it was a small one as film budgets go. So we started with finding affordable vendors (or people who would be willing to barter for web development services) for things like costumes, prop design, special effects, equipment rentals, etc. Actually, I have to give Mark most of the credit here. This is when I first realized how serious he was about making this movie, because I have never seen him so organized about anything else in his life, EVER!
Next was the fun part - casting! We held auditions in NYC, and were very pleased with the turnout. Wow - we found such talent! When we heard Joe read, we just knew he was Warnock - he had that laid-back and fun quality we were looking for. Who knew he would develop into such a bad-ass during the course of the shoot. Anthony totally nailed Chavez. I think he was shocked that his audition was so quick, but we knew what we wanted, and right away we knew he had it - that fire necessary to bring Chavez to life. Nathan (Major Huron) was entertaining to watch from the very beginning and never stopped making us laugh throughout the shoot. We loved that he is so comfortable in his own skin, and that really shines on camera. For our protagonist Lee, Ollie was the perfect choice. His subtle facial expressions really impressed us in his audition - so little saying so much. We thought, this is a face that the audience will be able to identify with (a face that later gets destroyed with mashed bananas and fake blood!). We loved how Brianna played Willie - she brought her own confidence and fun-filled personality to the character. We found this very refreshing. She made Willie seem so natural and never forced. Dimitri is such a talented young man - there were times at the audition when we weren't even sure whether he was acting. He is so professional for someone his age. And it was great to see him get more comfortable with everyone during the course of the shoot and have such a fun time. His mother Irene was also so sweet and wonderfully accommodating to us. Dave was the strong, man of little words we needed for Captain Dack. Einar had the sophisticated look and the foreign accent for the Diplomat. Marleah had the sexy robot look we wanted, and worked hard to learn her kicks.
After auditions, we realized we still needed a Mech. Hmm... we thought, let's just scope out guys at our gym, and ask the strongest guy we can find - and that's what we did! Boy, we lucked out - we didn't have any expectations for Rob, except that he just stand there and look huge. He sure did that well, but he turned out to be a good actor too. We also had some great extras, who worked hard and got completely beat up and bloody for us - Ashley, my brother Cal, and our longtime friend Dave.
I'm still not sure how Mark found his DP Patryk. He's definitely a character. He does great work, absolutely knows his lighting, and when we started reviewing the dailies, we were not disappointed. I noticed that during the course of shooting, Mark and Patryk gradually became more and more in sync, until by the end of the week, they were practically finishing each others' sentences. Not that they didn't occasionally have their clashes, but they usually were able to resolve them with a couple "fuck you's and a laugh.
There were so many dedicated people who worked hard with us behind the scenes to make it all happen - Cal, Dave and Dave, Ken, John, Fabian, Armando. Ken and Ingrid showed us how your everyday breakfast can make convincing guts when covered in fake blood - their effects were amazing!
One of the most rewarding parts of this experience to me was seeing everyone have fun on the set. I cannot say enough about this group of people we got together (some of it I can credit to us, but mostly it was just great fortune) - they were not only so talented, but so dedicated, professional, hard-working, and most of all, just so much fun to be around. Working all week in a warehouse with no heat in the middle of winter was not the most luxurious of conditions. I was very concerned about morale on the set. We brought in a space heater and in their down-time, cast and crew would gather into this little room with a couple couches and chairs, trying to warm up. But every time I went into that room, there was some stimulating discussion going on, from career talks to the latest celeb gossip- I felt there was some real bonding going on. More than that, there were constant laughs on the set. And let me tell you, these guys never got tired of playing with their guns. Anytime one of the soldiers was not in front of the camera, guaranteed you could find him aiming a fake gun at another member of the cast and pretending to pepper him with bullets. Of course, the other person would always comply by pretending to fall back and die - this never got old to them. More than once Mark had to yell "Quiet on the set!" or "Stop playing with guns!" Joe got so attached to his gun that he named it "Lucille." I don't know if any of the other guns had names, but I wouldn't be surprised. I only wish I had been able to spend more time on set and get to know everyone better, but this annoying little thing called work got in the way.
I know at times Mark felt he was throwing this film together on the fly, but I have been very impressed with his dedication. He is not an organized person by nature, so it took a huge effort to get together those color-coordinated, cross-referenced, Excel shot lists. Each day of the shoot, I think he learned a great deal, and refocused his efforts to try to make the next day go even smoother. By the end, he and Patryk together were like one well-oiled machine. As the director's wife, I am very proud of Mark. As the co-executive producer of this film, I have high hopes.
Thanks to everyone involved for making this such an amazing experience!