Archive for July, 2014|Monthly archive page

Fast Set

In I Love My Job on July 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm

This has been an interesting week. Partially because our shoot last weekend finished late Monday night and I couldn’t help but feel a degree of postpartum after we wrapped, said goodbye to everyone and all went our separate ways. Or maybe it was the heat stroke? Hard to say. Then there were the days on days spent sifting through footage. Finally, the week ended in a very unexpected place. I found myself up to my elbows in plaster.

For me, set days are the flashy fun part. It’s Saturday night, bright lights, high heels and red lipstick. Sunday morning when the party’s over you’ll mouse around the house in your pajamas. That’s when you open up your computer and look at all the pictures from last night. You giggle at the silly things that caught in candid moments and you begin the storytelling process all over again from the beginning. Yeah, you’re over the hump and now you can start taking all that hard-earned footage and dreaming it into a final product. The fact remains that you still need to finish that product. You are now in the post-production zone. One of my favorite zones. It’s here, in the land of ones and zeros, that my obsessive compulsiveness can shine in all it’s glory. I separate video tracks, sync audio and prepare sequences. Which, to be honest, is usually considered the boring part.

I didn’t always used to be so organized. Years of messy folders hidden away like secret graves in the hard drives of my youth would tell you the tale of the tangled web I wove.

Not anymore. These days I treat my editing like a giant game of memory. These days I take pride in the organization I bring to my projects and I can tell you that I’m a cleaner and faster editor for it. What I gain from sitting with the footage is an intricate knowledge of which story pieces I have and where I can find them. Even months later when I need to come back and look something up I am always grateful for taking the time to put it together clearly because I remember.

Most of this week I sat hunched over my computer, eating almonds, lining up footage and talking to myself. However, Sunday, something new and exciting rolled around. A couple of my friends were working with Carlos from CML stages. The job had two days allocated to double the size of both cycs and add the curves to connect them. By Sunday afternoon the sand in the hourglass was getting low. Luckily, I live around the corner and leaving to work on the stage was a much-needed break from working on the computer and hanging out with my cats. So I cruised over to Glendale and rolled my sleeves up. Duermo and Bagel Beast

I was immediately assigned to put the first two coats of compound on all the seams between the layers of luan and the floor. This involved first laying down a line of sheet rock tape and then preparing the compound in a small portable trough. The trick with this compound is two-fold; first you want to get the ratio of water to mix just right, secondly make sure that you get all the lumps out. As the master seem man Michael Cavanaugh told me, nobody want ugly pancakes. Once you’ve worked out the lumps in your mix you can take it to the wall. You’ll use a small scraper for the first layer. Apply it thickly enough to cover the tape and thinly enough so it will dry quickly and smooth out all the inconsistencies between the wall and the goo. This particular stuff dries in about forty minutes so once the first coat is down you’ll be safe to go back to the beginning and put down the second layer with a slightly larger scraper. Once both these layers are dry, Michael comes along and finesses all the joints into perfectly smooth lines, sands out any lumps and voila! The wall is ready for primer.

Drywall Photo

Trough, Scraper, Compound and Wall

Some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days when my father and I would play in his shop. Before I knew how to do anything useful, he’d put a piece of wood in the vice and give me a japanese handsaw. Yes, I was a five-year old with a saw. Yes, I was cutting scrap wood it into two pieces. So what? The simple act of pulling the saw through to watch a flutter of dust was magical. The smell of the cedar and my Dad working next to me built a respect for the camaraderie in teamwork and a love for the sense of accomplishment in manual labor. As we grew older the projects grew more complex and today I find peace in well-ordered lines in a vegetable bed that’s just been weeded, the satisfying mountain of rocks I spent all day moving or the smart ninety degree angle of a shelf that was just mounted on the wall. Or in this case, seeming up the floor to the new cyc wall.

What’s really lovely about the place I find myself in today is that I can start out my week rolling camera on a renegade shoot in 104 degree weather, spend all week glued to my computer and finish Sunday up to my neck in fast set lite 40 joint compound. #ilovemyjob

Shhh! Quiet On Set!

In I Love My Job on July 22, 2014 at 6:58 am

This weekend was a dream production wrapped in a tornado of self discovery. At 4:10PM Monday afternoon we wrapped on another successful shoot with the fabulous Vanessa Phoenix Productions. I just have to say that Vanessa is the hardest working woman I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful that I get to be one of the lucky ones to work by her side.

Vanessa is on the level.

Vanessa is on the level.

Once again, bound by a confidentiality agreement, you’ll have to trust me that the content was grade A, top notch and designed by women and for women of all ages, races and cultures to help bring balance to the planet and heal our relationships with ourselves and one another.

What I can tell you is how smoothly production went and all the wonderful decisions and people who helped us along the way.

Firstly, I’d like to give props to our Director of Photography Dawn Shim. This woman is an animal. She’s fast, efficient and incredibly professional. Additionally, our second camera Erin Bishop, aka ‘The Bish’ deserves a big round of applause. It’s not every day that you get to work with people who can turn up the music and shake their booty at the end of a long day.

Our make-up department really came through for us too with 1.5 hours to push 6 women through full hair and beauty. Thank you to Amy Vuong and Nikki Popkow for all your hard work and excellent service.

Hair and Make-Up hard at work.

Hair and Make-Up hard at work.

A special note needs to go out to my new friend Danielle Franzen. This woman relocated to Los Angeles moments before being recommended to our set and she did everything for us and I mean everything. She drove cast, ran camera, cleaned set and generally kicked ass. If you need a good every-woman, you need to call Danielle.

Not to be forgotten and such a clutch addition is Mister Sam Young who handled all our audio needs without batting an eye. I won’t go into the dirty details but I will tell you that he had a ton of work to handle for one person and he did it like a boss. You’ve made my post-production so much easier Sam and I’m forever grateful to you.

Luckily, we made the wise decision to work with Carlos and Felix at CML Production Center in Glendale for our shoot on Saturday. The set-up at CML is built specifically for independent filmmakers. They’re rocking two cycs on their stages, one green screen and one white and have a full kitchen, cast hang out room and a nice little set up for the make-up artists. All our needs were met and we were given enough freedom to feel fully creative in our space while having enough support to know that we were well taken care of. Thanks guys. You’ve got a great thing going.

Finally, I just have to say one more time that if you are organizing a production in the near future you need to call Seal Sanchez. She’s got the best food at the best prices in town. Not only did our catering come with food choices that were tailored to the various needs of our cast and crew but they were also well organized with a publicly posted menu so we all knew what we were getting.

And last but not least, thank you to my favorite blogger Erika O’Conor and my favorite cousin Julia Taft who contributed their time and energy to hang out with us, listen to us and get up and dance when the music got loud. You ladies are amazing.

Julia and Erika ask the hard questions.

Julia and Erika ask the hard questions.

And that was just Saturday! On Sunday we kicked it into fifth gear, taking talent on the road to hunt down the really juicy stories on location. Like we discussed earlier, there’s really not much I can say about where we were and what we were up to. But it was 104 degrees in my world and I have never been happier to say I spent today shooting.

Finally, back home and post-shower, I’m ready to hit the sheets and look at the fruits of this weekend with fresh eyes tomorrow. All of you have been the best ever. Thank you again. #ilovemyjob

Line Producing Like A Boss

In I Love My Job on July 15, 2014 at 2:13 am

Some days it’s just so easy to get out of bed. Today was not one of them. Quite possibly because my cat’s a sociopath who likes to meow loudly at five o’clock in the morning.


So, why not just go with the feline flow and rise with the sun? Luckily I’m up to my ear balls is coordination paperwork for a new project with Vanessa Phoenix Productions that shoots this Saturday.

Now, there’s not a whole lot that I can tell you without violating the confidentiality agreement that we signed. What I can say is that we’re creating some really interesting content. It’s geared toward women. It’s made by women. This project has sparked some of the best conversation I’ve had in years and I couldn’t be more excited to be involved.

Vanessa in yellow.

Vanessa modeling a new set piece for the shoot this Saturday 7/19/2014.

We’ve been working hard over the last several weeks to organize some of the key elements. Talent, travel, budget, crew, studio rental at CML, set design and color scheme have all fallen into place. This weekend we had a successful Skype production meeting with the crew and discussed some of the finer points and this Friday the ladies touchdown at LAX from their various different locations around the country.

We’ve got just a few more details to sew up throughout the week. There’s equipment to be pick-ups and a follow-up story to organized. All in all, we’re on schedule, under budget and ready to put out any fires that come our way.

What can I say. I love my job.


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