Bowing Toward Buckhead

Well our part of shooting “Moved” for the 48 Hour Film Festival is over. It’s all up to the editors now. Here’s a letter that I sent out to the team:

So, like, my legs are REALLY stiff today. I’m not exactly sure if there’s a name for what Jerry D’Alesio, Dan Foster and I did with the knives for the FX shot at the Viking store, but there certainly OUGHT to be a name for taking a knife off a display, dropping to your knees, prostrating yourself toward Buckhead for a five count then jumping up to do it over again…and again and again and how many damned knives were there anyway??
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Dumb & Dumberer

Well, the movie goes nationwide tomorrow…hope it really rakes it in over the weekend, everybody busted their asses to make this one happen. Unfortunately, it has to compete with the first movie and to a lot hardcore Jim Carey fans it simply can’t compare…and they haven’t even seen ours yet. Overcoming people’s expectations has been the downfall of many a film. New Line tossed us an Atlanta premiere on Monday and there was a great turnout. Director Troy Miller shot a fax out to us, thanking everyone for their hard work. I hope to see all of the scenes that were trimmed from the film, there were so many funny gags in this one that I was disappointed to see that they’d been trimmed from the release (oddly, they’re still seen in the trailers!).

The Batman Contest

The Contest Rules
In late September of 1988 I was at the local comic book store, Titan Games & Comics, and was looking at some things that were tacked to the bulletin board near the front register. Some of the guys from the store had gone to WorldCon in New Orleans that year and one of the little things they’d brought back with them was a contest form that issued the challenge: “Tell Us Why You Want To Meet Batman in 50 Words Or Less And Win An All-Expense Paid Trip to Be In The Movie!”.

Naturally I disregarded that brochure, gathered up my comic books, paid for them and drove home. When I went into the house I saw that my Dad was watching a sales video. Totally disinterested, I grabbed something to eat and started to head upstairs to work on a model…but something the guy on screen was saying caught my attention.

He said that a recent poll had shown that 95% of all Americans didn’t think that they could win at anything. He went on to explain the ramifications of that poll for salesmen, but all I could think about was that contest form back at Titans. I went upstairs and called the store and talked to the Manager, Chuck Sheffey, who patiently read me the contest rules over the telephone.
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Long Night in Crawfordville

From my timecard journal: Saturday, December 8th, 2001.

Crew call was at 5:30pm, taking us into what we call a “Producer’s Weekend” because we come in late on the last day of our work week and finish work sometime in the morning of the first day of our weekend. By the time you leave set, drive home and go to sleep you don’t have a lot of time (or energy) left to take care of personal business.

December 8th was our final night of shooting in Crawfordville. The hard stuff was finished, namely the Catfish Festival. For the props department it was a chance to regroup and prepare for the next week of shooting two or three miles to the south at a popular barbeque restaurant called Heavy’s. George Lee and our driver Johnny Poucher loaded all of our cooking gear, coolers, tables and other assorted festival props onto a stakebed and drove back toward the production office to put that equipment in storage.
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Props in the Mirror
Back in the Summer of 1993 I drove to Charleston, South Carolina to work on a made-for-cable movie called “They”. Among the notable events of that trip was that it was the third movie that my friend Dwight had hired me to work on, and it was the first time that I ever worked with a “new” propguy from Atlanta named Joe Connolly.

One night we were shooting a driving scene with the actors using poor-man’s process (simulating the look of driving when the car is actually standing still). The night was damp and the breath of the actors in the car quickly made the windows begin to fog.
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Fujifilm Surprise

Okay, this story is from 1996 or 1997. The setting is aboard a crowded riverboat casino, the crowd is loose and wild and completely in the way right now so the PA’s come in and chase them back over to stage B so that we can set up for a new take. We’re in a soundstage/warehouse just outside of Atlanta and pulling a typical “big” extra day. As the crowd starts to thin out, the Director of Photography Frank E. Johnson, begins waving a FedEx box over his head. It’s addressed to Gary Oldknow, one of the grips…..and it’s from FujiFilm!
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Set Sketch : Vahe Manoukian

VaheThis set sketch is from the movie ‘Run Ronnie Run’, shot in the fall of 2000. I’m not positive where we were on that day and I’m too lazy to look it up in my locations notebook. When Producer Carl Mazzocone and Director Troy Miller returned to Atlanta with ‘Dumb & Dumberer’ in 2002 they brought back their favorite LA sound guys, Vahe and Stacy. Boom guys are almost always above average in height because it gives them an edge when working the mic above any surrounding equipment and/or crew members. Vahe’s solution to this problem was easy: stand on an applebox. If you ever see ‘Dumb & Dumber 2’ then you’ll see a flash of Vahe as a coach/trainer on the football team. You’ll also hear one of his band’s (NuTra) songs on the soundtrack. See kids, it pays to know the Director!

Set Sketch : Ziggy

This is Ziggy, one of our local electricians. Like the caption says, he was coiling a stinger when I sketched him in action. Notice that he is using the approved Finkelstein method, leaning and coiling the cable in a clockwise direction. You can always spot a new guy in the electric department because they’ll try to wrap bandit, 4/0, even stingers (!!) in a counter-clockwise direction. Chumps. I’m pretty happy with the way this sketch turned out because I captured all the classic Ziggy elements with a minimum amount of linework; the earwig, the toolbelt, the T-shirt and his attentiveness to what’s happening on-set. I enjoy going through these old sketches because they sometimes help me remember people better than a photograph.