Our publicist ERICA LANE, THE KARTEL CO
So I turned 34 on July 29, 2011. What did I do? I SLEPT! LOL! We had just wrapped the night before on the feature film project, THE LAST FALL and my butt was tired. Hubby hooked me up right before he left out of town and got me a great bottle of wine that I sipped on. But I literally laid out on my couch, my mom's lap and my bed all day! LOL!
However, the following day was my photoshoot with Louis Cuthbert, an upcoming AMAZING photographer! I snatched up our costume designer from the film to do my styling and oh yes, he HOOKED ME UP!
My mommy was in town visiting for my bday and she came with me to the shoot. I think she was more excited than I was! But it was good getting back in front of the camera. As I was going through some of the proofs that the photog had sent all I kept thinking was man it's been awhile. And "Not too shabby for 34"!! HEHE!!
Getting older. Getting better. Getting wiser. I've only sojourned here for 34 years. But my God, my Lord, has BLESSED me tremendously. Words cannot express.
Principal Photography has wrapped on THE LAST FALL! Wow time has flown by. I'm glad the Lord had blessed me with a great opportunity to work with some great people, cast and crew. When you take the time to think of how God directs your path and who he puts on that path, it's amazing.
Matthew's passion for this story was contagious. That boy had me ready to wring his neck a few times (I really do say that out of love!) but that's the nature of the beast. Looking at the dailies, I'm confident we have a great project.
There were a few times when things got really hectic, but we bounced back pretty good. The beauty of filmmaking is THE TEAM. When you have a strong solid team, you can take the hits and keep on moving. When your team gets in the trenches with you and helps to fulfill the vision of the project, it taps into something amazing.
It is interesting being the only woman producer on film projects. It's always a learning experience when watching men at work. This one was good though, because I have been on projects before as the only female producer and WHEW! Matthew and Scott make a great team and their different styles compliment each other. They were both open and receptive of advice which makes it easier. There were times when one or the other would be uncompromising but there were times when I was too!! LOL! But it's a conducive work environment when all parties can communicate and express concerns, give advice, laugh, joke and tease and STILL get down to business and in the words of Matthew Cherry "MAKE IT HAPPEN".
Matthew would use those words often and sometimes it would be a challenge to me, because I would be like "HOW??!" LOL! And he would shrug and grin and say it again. So of course, me being who I am and loving a good challenge, would do my darndest to MAKE IT HAPPEN. And when we were able to pull it off, it felt good. There were times when I didnt think we could, but then would come Scott with a different take or hook up or spin or motivational speech that gave me a little nudge. And in the end, it would work out.
As we came up on the last week of filming and I'm looking at the call sheets and seeing Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David and Obba Babutunde, I was so humbled. Working with seasoned vets in the industry does something to a girl!
Our last week was way easier too. Locations were great, no overtime, good vibes. I think everyone knew at that point that we had a great project and it helped when Matthew had the editor draw up a teaser from the 1st week of filming that got distributed to everyone. It just shows you what you are fighting for and the caliber of the project you are working on. Because sometimes when you are in the trenches you don't get to step back and look at the big picture until it's over.
Our last day of filming was really cool. The house location that we were at was a great spot already and the homeowner was super nice and laid back. He gave us permission to stay after on Thursday, the night we wrapped, to hang out and do a "mini" wrap party since Lance and Vanessa were both flying out the next day.
Ellis Hobbs and his wife Monique Hobbs, the Executive Producers, flew in to join us. Monique's bday was that Thursday too and my bday was the following day on the 29th. So we were going to get a large cake for all the birthday people (Lance, Me, Scott and Monique). We get an email from Cupcake Cuties Cupcakery and SURPRISE they want to sponsor our wrap party. Talk about perfect timing. They put our pics on the cupcakes and they tasted FABULOUS!! I also wanted to do something special for Matthew and show him our appreciation of his story and pushing through his grief from his mother passing. So we got him a cake that was dedicated to his mom, our "Angel Investor".
We did our "Official Wrap Party" Saturday night at Boardwalk 11, KARAOKE! And OH BOY we brought the house down. We had a great turn out and a lot of people got up and sang (after a few drinks of course). Now you know ole Nikki Love does not need a drink or an excuse to get up and sing karaoke! LOL!
So all in all we wrapped out strong and a good time! I'm proud of Matthew for sharing his story on his first feature and being open to learn and take advice. I learned a lot from him as well. Passion will get a lot of people on board, even if you are a first timer. I knew it before, but this time I actually got to see it in action, and that was great.
Make sure you check out THE LAST FALL in action on Facebook! We've got some great pics up!
I don't think I can stress enough how important locations are to a project.
This week was extra hectic because we had to scramble to rearrange the schedule and switch things around. Which means we had to scramble to find new locations too. Because it was crunch time, there wasn't a whole lot we can pick from.
Tried bringing on location manager, but the locations she was pulling was waaaaaay out of our price range. So ended up having to find locations ourselves, which we really didnt have the time for, but NO CHOICE.
DAY 1 LOCATION:
House in North Hollywood. Locked that house in on Saturday night, response to ad we posted on craigslist. Didnt have permits, didn't have too much space for holding, and separate rooms, etc...
But the home owner was REALLY REALLY nice and accommodating, that always makes it a bit easier.
But because of no permits, we had to be extra low key and be very aware of the neighbors. Of course Monday is the day the neighborhood gardener comes around and does EVERYBODY's home on the block! YIKES! Ran into quite a few set backs dealing with that and noise issues and trying not to piss the block off too much by telling the gardener to please hold because we were rolling! LOL
DAY 2 LOCATION
Had to film in a gym location. The potential gym we were looking at previously was trying to work out kinks, but when we called and told them we needed it in 3 days, it didnt give them enough time to make THEIR arrangements (having personal trainers, classes, etc...the needed more time to work on their schedule to close down for the day), so the first option fell through. Director, Matthew Cherry, found a gym at the last hour. BUT one of the drawbacks was that it was a completely different look than anticipated, so production designer GOOSE (love him) had to revamp some things in art dept. Also, it was right in the middle of downtown and front faces a major street. Again, if we had a permit, wouldn't be an issue. So when our DP decided to set a huge light out in the front on sidewalk to light interior for when the character enters front door, I AM SWEATING BULLETS! I am adamant at this point that they need to make this shot QUICK!
Another drawback to this location was parking. Because it's downtown, street parking is by meter, so we had to find a lot for all of our cars. They weren't trying to work out any deals so we literally had to pay for every crew car and vans. Had to pay for background's cars too. Which this puts a little curve on the location budget.
We have to be out by 3pm so we need to kick butt. We milked every minute!
We also had a company move to hotel location in Pasadena. Again, booked these on the weekend so didn't have permits. Now we are rolling into this hotel deep with crew and vans, even though we went in with just our skeleton crew. The great thing is that it was a 2 room suite. Bad thing, is that it was still super super tight and we are on the look out for management to make sure we don't get in trouble, shut down and/or kicked out.
WHEW pulled it off!
DAY 3 LOCATION
We needed an office location and the one we originally had was a friend of the director's and pretty much promised that we could use his spot. But of course, when he saw the scale of what our production was, he pretty much withdrew the offer....at the last minute!!! So now we have to find a new office that looks like an NFL sports agency office. Someone from the team had a hook up and called their real estate agent friend and he said we can use his place. We had no clue what this location looked like but *shrug*. Production designer dips off tues night to go to location to start working on props, but when he gets there he sends some pics and OMG, this is TOTALLY NOT a sports agency!! This is like 10pm and Matthew is blowing my phone up saying the pics look horrible. But it's late and what can we do. I tell him let's get there and see if we can make this work. Call sheets already went out and WE HAVE NO BACK UP PLAN!
Get there in the morning and of course, we were right, it's not going to work. Have to cancel Lance's call time cuz there is no way we can shoot this scene here. We have to now just make this base camp and they do a whole revamp of the scene and make the agent drive in the car and talk on the phone for his POV instead of having him sitting in the office. Goose, the production designer is peeved because he spent an all nighter trying to make this location work and we didn't film inside at all. SORRY GOOSE!!!
Company move to what is Kyle's apt to another friends spot. We had already spoken to management about filming here and had reserved a room for our crew in their leasing office BUT the friend who actually lived there had to leave and management was not pleased. AND he said we could only have the conference room when we were under the impression we could have the WHOLE room. So hurry up and finish eating and condense down. But at this point they are really upset with us and the tenant. I have to leave to pay for parking for the following day's location which is in the hills and street parking is super tight so have to do the same thing that we did yesterday. I'm on the road and get a call from Scott, the other producer, that management kicked us out of the room and EVERYBODY had to pile into the apt (a ONE bedroom, crew of 20). *sigh*
I'm stuck in traffic trying to get to the parking structure off of sunset and then to the hills house location which is our house party scene the next day. The parking structure lets me pay for our crew cars but says there is no in & out. Because of parking at this location we have to plan for a few cars to shuttle crew back and forth to house, this is going to slow us down. Can't really afford a cargo van for the day because we've already overspent on this location. We have to pay for parking and have to pay a crew to come in and black out the windows today because tomorrow we don't have the time for G&E to do it, will definitely slow us down and we will definitely go into over time if we do that. And since we have background and using a background service, we can't afford to pay overtime on background AND cast AND crew. So we have suck up the loss on paying for these things today because the other option is way more expensive.
I don't get home until 9pm.
House party location in the hills. Great house BUT there's a huge pool in the living room that is a major concern for me for safety issues. It pretty much takes up the area and I'm adamant to our AD dept that I BETTER not see anyone crowding around this pool, to try to stay out of this area. I can kick Matt & Scott for picking this place to shoot.
Don't really have a separate spot for holding for Lance so he's in the room with the production team while we are doing all of our paperwork, payroll and prep for tomorrow. But he's cool and chill, so not TOO big of an issue.
Dealing with the permits for the following day's location at the Rose Bowl. We have to finalize all the paperwork but there is no signal at this house and I am missing calls left and right so trying to do everything by email. Talk about a hindrance. They approve us at the VERY LAST MINUTE - 5:47pm to be exact.
Once we get approved I can actually breathe a little easier and spend some time on set to see how things are coming along. I've spent no time with the cast and barely any time in front of the monitor. Been trying to get us caught up.
But looking at the clock, we need to rush this thing because we are about to go into overtime and one of those things I won't do is pay background so Matthew needs to hurry up and shoot the wide so we can start cutting these ppl.
DAY 5 LOCATION
Rose Bowl. We picked the Rose Bowl because it's the only location that resembles and NFL style locker room and corridor. I was surprised at the price but our Production Manager, really worked out a great deal with them.
I actually breathe a little easy on this location. Have our permits, have a strong location. We all take a moment when we see how grand this location is and today actually goes smooth. We finished a bit early and chilling for lunch. Loving our caterer and crafty guy. THEY ARE GOOD.
Company move back to North Hollywood. Our production designer and his team really put their foot in this one! They made one location look like 5 and this montage scene is going to look great.
Have to break off for Lance's bus scene. It's literally just Lance, director Matt and DP Richard hopping on a bus and shooting him looking out the window. Have to take the Canon 7d and not the Sony, need to be inconspicuous.
Finally feel like we got caught up after the curve ball from last week.
THE LAST FALL - Phone calls
So yesterday was kinda grueling. WHEW!
Picked up equipment, which that took waaaay longer than usual. Me and fellow producer, Scott Hebert, had to head back to his place to finish the SAG paperwork and turn in the bond money. During the process of dealing with SAG and trying to make this deadline to have everything turned in, we are getting numerous phone calls, mainly him! LOL! He's been dealing predominately with business, llc & talent, while I've been dealing predominately with crew, equipment and locations.
PHONE CALL 1:
We have to rearrange one of the actors travel arrangements because they can't have a layover flight and their agent didn't want them staying by LAX. Mind you, we had already booked a great pkg deal, but the good thing is that we got the insurance to be able to change travel. We have to cover flight, hotel and car rental.
PHONE CALL 2:
Dealing with actor's lawyers and deal memos and contracts. That was an intense conference call with everyone's lawyers and the EP's. For a minute me, Matthew and Scott were like WHOOOOOAAAAAH! After that phone convo we all had to sit back and think of alternate solutions and . Because sometimes if you lose one name, somebody else may back out too.
PHONE CALL 3
DURING the phone conference we are getting calls to hurry up and send the insurance stuff over to one of the prop houses. Our production designer was on crunch time to pick stuff up because they are closed on the weekends. So we have to get a hold of our insurance carrier and add this company and get a certificate then send over to the company. BUT when they get the insurance we realized that it EXCLUDES prop and wardrobe. Now the production designer is freaking out. We have to call our insurance agent and get him to change it and try to get back to the prop house before they close.
It didnt work out...
PHONE CALL 4
Dealing with SAG. We are soooooo on crunch time, I'm trying to see if we can just dump what we do have off to SAG to at least be cool on that end. At this point it's 1pm and they guy leaves at 5, closed on the weekend and we start shooting on Monday! Time to get it in people!!
PHONE CALL 5
Calling up our lawyer to change the actors deal and how will that affect things. Need to get the Exec Producer and his ppl to sign off on this thing. Again, it's 1pm, we have FOUR hours before the business day ends.
PHONE CALL 6
My UPM, Dawn Manning, calls and says that our Monday location (did I mention this was Friday?? Need to stress this point) is tripping, not really being helpful and wants money when this was originally a free location. Now she has to go to our back up location (I saw a problem coming with that location and had our location manager give me a backup location for an office). Gotta get that info over to her.
Rushing to finish paperwork, juggling phone calls, loading up all files and anything SAG may need while rushing up to their offices on Wilshire.
Lawyer calls. YES, we can change the deal!! But before we can celebrate off that one, literally 2 minutes later the phone rings again.
PHONE CALL 7
Our lead actress just booked another film she has a schedule conflict and we have to split her shoot days so she can fly out for 3 days to film this other project.
What does this mean? Means we have to get our AD on this ASAP and try to get her to rearrange some things. We have to call our casting director and see how this will affect other actor's schedules and their already existing shooting conflicts and make sure this doesn't ADD additional shoot days to anyone's schedule so we don't have to pay more. We have to call locations and see what we can rearrange and hopefully change our days around.
All this while walking into the SAG office dropping off paperwork, waiting for them to review, telling us what the bond amount is, running up to the bank before they close (it's around 4:30pm).
PS they want us to tell them something asap! The other production company will fly her out of LA to do their project and fly her back in to finish ours.
Now, do we split up this package deal we found for hotel and car or do we just let it be continuous days still and have them reimburse us for the 3 days that she won't be there in her hotel room and using the car??
They say they will call us back and let us know *sigh*
4:45 pm, run upstairs to SAG and drop off bond money to our SAG rep.
PHONE CALL 8
While running up to SAG, we get a call from payroll, OH CRAP! We have been so swamped today, didn't get them the info they need. We have to send over everyone's info, SS#, marital status, etc... to process paychecks next week! YIKES! He says he will cut us some slack but we HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO get it to them first thing in the morn. Otherwise we will miss the boat for 1st week's pay. Let's not piss our cast and crew off.
PHONE CALL 9
HUBBY I'M COMING HOME!! Please have a glass of wine ready!!!
*doing it all again tomorrow*
Thought that I would be staying on top of this blogging thing, but.....OOOPS!So a lot has been going on. Playing the juggling act. But I've been wearing my Producing Hat the past couple of months and I have been BUSY! This hat is getting serious wear and tear but I LOVE IT!
THE LAST FALL starts principal photography next week. Starring Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie. Really excited about that. Once again, I'm Producing AND Line Producing, it's a bit grueling, but *shrug* whaddya gonna do?
Check out ARTICLE HERE that was on IndieWire.
DYSFUNCTIONAL FRIENDS, the film we shot last year, is screening at ABFF this weekend in Miami. I have mixed feelings on that project. That film put me through hell...LITERALLY! Dealing with trifling folks. Still proud of the work and the film. Came out great...so I hear. I still haven't seen it. Will save that story for another day.
Picked another project back up that had been on the back burner for awhile. ROAD TO STURGIS about a female motorcycle rider and her trip to the infamous Sturgis Rally. Going out there one week after wrapping The Last Fall.
I don't think I will be doing a lot of riding seeing as if I'm TERRIFIED of motorcycles, but....I gotta face my fears right?? But that will be an interesting trip. We will be meeting with a few vendors and targeting potential investors. *crossed fingers*
We finally got our casting director attached to TEARS OF A CLOWN. The fabulous AISHA COLEY. She has casted Secret Life of Bees, Roll Bounce, Middle of Nowhere and soooooo many more. After everything dies back down from the Last Fall, then I can get back on that. Pretty much told everyone that I will be filming for 3 weeks. Have to reach back out to my contact in Bolingbrook and let him know what's going on. Don't want him to lose interest, plus he has access to our money ppl!
Also, read a FANTASTIC script by one of the REEL Ladies Members and whooooooaaaaaa is all I can say. Excited to be on that project. I signed a nondisclosure agreement on that one, so can't go into too much detail! But its going to be GREAT.
Wheels are spinning for another feature, touching on the topic of eugenics. Been doing some research and I am amazed at the history behind it. So after Tears of a Clown, I will be diving into another drama, hard hitting, tough topic. Will be a period piece though. What in the world am I thinking?? But it's a great story. And I'm all about the story.
Read Spike Lee's book on Do The Right Thing. It's like a journal and you follow along while he goes on his filmmaker journey making the movie. IF I had the time, would like to do something like that, it's what I intended with this blog. We'll see how it goes!
TODAY, JULY 6, 2011
Going to look at our location for the football field for THE LAST FALL. These guys don't believe in answering the phones, so gotta hike up there. It's off of LaBrea and Rodeo. Didn't even know this place was over there. Looks great.
We had to do an emergency hire of a location company, we lost our scout last week. Her husband sent an email saying she lost her sight all of a sudden and has been in the hospital. Sad thing, but now we are kinda tight. So had to hit up a spot that I stumbled upon on craigslist. She said she can have the rest of our locations to us by tonight and WE NEED A LOT!! LOL
The director/writer, Matthew Cherry, says he wrote this to be an indie film BUT there are tons of locations. For future reference to all my writers with a low budget film, try to keep locations to a MINIMUM! LOL! Don't make things harder than need be.
So concentrating on locations today and contracts and insurance certificates. We have to add all of our vendors to insurance and our locked in locations to insurance. Just in case anything goes wrong, anything breaks, we will be covered. And I've had my fair share of insurance debacles on indie films that were trying to cut corners. Unnecessary hassle!
Making a bunch of phone calls and I have no good reception over here, and my phone keeps dropping calls so going over to fellow producer, Scott Hebert's house. Plus we need to brainstorm on set logistics and pick ups and drop offs, etc...
FIVE DAYS LEFT!!
Blown away by the recent progress of Tears of a Clown. Met with Jane Honikman, founder of Postpartum Support International, and she is coming on board as Consulting Producer.
"I read the script, at the end I was in tears! This needs to be expressed, the public needs to hear. Tears of a Clown was beautifully written, accurate, empathetic, sympathetic and REAL" ~ Jane Honikman, Postpartum Support International Founder
I was blown away by her immediate response and have been praying fervently. Met with her today in Santa Barbara and the first thing I did was to give her a HUGE HUG. I am looking forward to having her on board this project.
I meet with Sarah Allen in Chicago on Thursday. Jane spoke highly of her and it's weird because I TOTALLY trust her and whoever she refers me to. That doesn't happen often! LOL!!
So the plan is to get the word out about this script, get the support of these various groups and communities behind the project. So far so good!!
Doing a few more minor changes to the script. Tweaking a few things. But other than a few dialogue changes, we are GOOD TO GO.
So I am a tad bit behind on this blogging! I've been busy so I guess that's a good thing. Start filming this weekend, "Save Me", written by Lena Waithe. So I'm keeping my eye on the weather, it's supposed to rain :-(
Also some new development with Tears of a Clown and preparing to launch our Mother's Day campaign. Have been in talks with Jane Honikman, founder of one of the largest online support groups for Postpartum (www.postpartum.net)
Will be flying home to shoot some stuff for the sizzle reel and some testimonials as well as reaching out to some support groups out there and creating some buzz. This is my baby and I'm sooooo eager. Time to hit the pavement running on this one.
When I get back will start filming Wednesday's Blues....thats going to be short and sweet! I'm surprised at how that story came pouring out of me.
Also working as Line Producer on the film "Trigger" which that will be filming in Chicago as well. So I will be home frequently this year! YAAAY!
Three Times a Charm is almost finished as well as Dysfunctional.
So this little girl with the big dreams from Bolingbrook is plugging along, doing what I do....LOVING FILM!
So I am finally getting a website back and actually taking the time to manage this thing.
Excited by all that's been happening and the new things coming my way.
Finished my script Tears of a Clown and have been receiving GREAT feedback on that. I'm super excited. Plans to shoot that at home, hopefully this year.
Will be working on packaging and paperwork and biz plans, etc... this week.
Teamed up with a FANASTIC producer, Dawn Manning. So far so good! LOL!
I have taken on a short film project for my friend, she's a great writer and the story is just what I look for. Can you say...NO BRAINER! :-)
Had a call back yesterday, prayers up.
My 4th Semester at Los Angeles Bible Training School starts tomorrow. I'm at a 3.8 GPA so far. HOWEVER, this is going to be a challenging semester! Almost positive that I signed up with the hardest teachers there but they are BRILLIANT!! So I'm confident my soul will be fed even if my ego is crushed if I bring home C's. YIKES.
So follow along as I plug along on this journey and the creative juices flow and ebb. This path that my God has designated for me to walk and I have been enjoying every second...well....ALMOST every second!
There have been tears, but the laughter outweighs them. There have been disappointments but the successes have superceded those. There have been enemies but the embraces of friends keep them at bay.
I am blessed and will continue to keep my eye on the cross. Thanks for reading folks and I will try to keep this thing current!
Stay Blessed, Stay Creative