Tonight I was reminded of a lesson my friend Joe Connolly taught me back when he was Propmaster of the long-forgotten Aaron Spelling series “Savannah”. That fabulous, opulent saga of murder and intrigue by the rich and powerful was actually being produced out of the drafty old storefront of a disused lumber yard more than half an hour north of Atlanta’s state capital . It was so far out of the way that I sometimes wondered if the owner (referred to by some as “Secret Squirrel”) was actually paying Aaron Spelling Continue reading Lesson of Joe: Leaping Before You Look
In the early hours of Saturday morning word went out that our friend Tate Nichols had passed away in North Georgia, and my condolences go out to all of his loved ones. For those of us who have not seen Tate in recent years the news of his death has been a shock. In the “old school” Atlanta film circle it has been felt most keenly, especially by my friends in the art department, many of whom have worked side by side with Tate for Continue reading Remembering Tate Nichols
It was a week today when the news of Sarah Jones’ death began spreading around Atlanta. I didn’t even know the girl’s name last Thursday. A lot has happened in just a week – now it seems that everyone knows Sarah’s name and at least something about her life.
The Slates for Sarah page on Facebook skyrocketed into a very powerful and emotional movement in a very short amount of time and the people who have run the page have been diligent and loving with the project. A friend who works on Homeland tracked me down in Minecraft to tell me that my blog post “Sarah was all of us” had been posted on his wall multiple times (I couldn’t even hide myself from this tragedy in a video game). Every morning I wake up to find new posts on the slates page from all over the production spectrum, from tiny insert slates to Continue reading Thoughts About Sarah’s Legacy
I was worried for my friend Joe Thomas. As the “First Camera Assistant” on our show he was directly responsible for making sure that actors were always in razor sharp focus, no matter where they were during a scene. Like all 1st ACs he accomplished this by turning a big fat dial on the side of the camera to match the actor’s distance from the Continue reading The Mystery of Bunny’s Soft Mark
One day, during the first season of the Aaron Spelling television series “Savannah“, we found ourselves faced with shooting a scene between the characters Dean (David Gail) and Lane (Robyn Lively). The scene was set at night and featured our two actors sitting in a parked pickup truck beside a moderately busy highway. The problem was, it was in the middle of the day and we were inside the old lumber warehouse that had been converted into our ersatz stage.
We were going to have to fake it.
To simulate a busy highway in the out-of-focus background, it was decided that we’d use a clumsy Continue reading Poor Man’s Pile-Up
Do any of you remember the mixture of giddy excitement and utter bafflement that swirled around the production of the “pre-pilot” for the Aaron Spelling series “Savannah” back in 1995? The production seemed to swing from silver spoon to shoestring with wild abandon. We were in high cotton during the swank wedding exteriors that we shot at the house of that Atlanta Barbecue sauce magnate (with the really hot redheaded trophy wife). And it wasn’t too bad when we shot at the clubhouse at Eagle’s Landing. But the day that we rolled into the as-yet-unfinished Delta terminal at Hartsfield International Airport? That was pure guerrilla filmmaking. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were really lucky to have Richard Lang directing.
Continue reading We Fly Real Fast
Have you ever been watching an old car chase movie and thought to yourself “Gee, there sure are a lot of skid marks right there…” just as the good guy’s car fishtails its way onto the asphalt exactly where you spotted the skid marks? Until the advent of computer graphics technology, long black trails of rubber were a thorn in the side of action film editors; these days you can hire a skilled computer artist to erase all those pesky skid marks over a long lunch. I personally never gave car chase skid mark continuity a thought until working Second Unit with my Propmaster friend Joe Connolly on a wreck of a movie named “Black Dog“, back in 1997.
Continue reading Highway To Glidden
You’ll find a note on the Internet Movie Database that states that actor Kevin Sorbo, of televisual Hercules fame, was originally slated to star in the movie Black Dog, which shot in Atlanta and in Wilmington, North Carolina. It goes on to state that he had to pull out of the movie for medical reasons, which is correct. As one of the people who worked that show I can confirm that we were told that Kevin had an anyeurism in his shoulder, which was surprising because up until then I didn’t know that you could get them anywhere other than your brain. Looking back, I have to say that the man’s luck never ran truer than when he was forced to leave that ill-fated production. This is the story of the day that we met Hercules.
Continue reading The Movie Hercules Never Did
Most mornings, on my way into Atlanta, I hop off the Downtown Connector and drive northward on surface streets, enjoying the ever-changing views of town. Quite often I drive past locations from old movie projects and am reminded of those past events in vivid detail. Most recently I’ve been pondering the day we shot in front of the historic Ponce De Leon Apartments at the corner of Ponce and Peachtree. We were there for the pilot episode of “Lawless“. That was the first pilot of Lawless mind you, the one with a very, very medicated Daniel Baldwin… so very medicated was he that I have until recently remembered his outlandish behavior on set far better than the day that I almost robbed a convenience store by accident. But now I remember…
Continue reading Lawless: The Accidental Robbery