Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day Three is a WRAP!

Kate, here! And it's been another steller day on the set of The Playhouse.

We *gulp* travelled NORTH ON THE 5 FREEWAY! Such madness! I promised all my friends on the West Side to send a telegraph or letter via pony express as soon as I arrived.

And made it we did! We shot at the Repertory East Playhouse, which is practically the second home for my partner in crime Dick Van Slyke. It is a GORGEOUS little theater in downtown Newhall Santa Clarita. It is a cowboy paradise up there and looks almost like a western town straight out of a talkie.

The cast was there bright eyed and bushy tailed, as well as a special angel named Russell Clark, who willingly shlepped lights and pushed buttons on cameras and watched out for things in the background all for the price of free bagels and coffee. He's an architect from Houston trying to break into the Production Management field at the studios and I TOTALLY vouch for him. Sharp and on top of his game! A joy to work with! Tremendous thanks to Russell!

But what did we actually DOOOOO???

Here are some sneak peek pictures for your edification and enjoyment!

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Up at the crack of dawn!

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
A Blur of Action!

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Behind the Camera

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Erin, Ready for her Closeup! No. Literally. We were shooting her closeup.

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
All smiles! We'll see how Tom is doing by Day Five... MUWAH HA HA!

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Russell Clark Guarding Craft Services from the Hobos

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Deep... emotional scene...

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three

The Playhouse Shoot Day Three
Dreams of the Future - A Still Life

Power Couple
Power Couple

Friday, July 29, 2011

Back into the Field

Tomorrow is Day Three of our production schedule. It has been four weeks since we shot our first two days. We are at a new location starting tomorrow...The fabulous Repertory East in Newhall, CA. I've done two shows there in the last year and love it. It's a beautiful space and has fantastic facilities and one of the best artistic staffs around.
We will be using their lobby, hall and office spaces to sub for the fictional Mishawaka Playhouse.
Due to scheduling conflicts and such it took us four weeks to get everything together. So our challenge will be continuity.
Wardrobe and hair will have to match what it was 4 weeks ago! That is why we took photos of everyone in their costumes on our last shoot. As an example, I made sure I got my haircut the same length exactly two weeks before this shoot just as I did before the last shoot.
Tomorrow should be a relatively short day. Only four actors are required (Erin Holt, Tom Walz, Kate Danley and myself). Then in 3 weeks we return with full cast to complete the shoot.
Tonight is full of last minute preparation, costumes, props, shot lists, phone calls, emails, etc.
More to come after tomorrow's shoot!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Introducing Erin Holt

Erin Holt (Peggy Sawyer) is originally from Key West, Florida but mostly grew up in Orange County, California. She has studied at The Claire Trevor School of The Arts at UC Irvine, Scott Sedita Studios, Lesly Kahn Institute, & Second City Hollywood with a focus on television comedy and musical theater. She has performed on various LA stages such as The Odyssey, Sacred Fools, Fremont Centre Theatre, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, & Theatre West. Highlights include Marcia Brady in “A Very Brady Musical” produced by the Schwartz family and The Princess in “Forbidden Zone: Live in the 6th Dimension” produced with Richard Elfman. Film work includes independent features of the horror genre: “Within The Woods” & “Mutation” by Nightfall Pictures and the upcoming comedy/horror film “Bloodsucka Jones.” She can also be currently seen on the internet starring in the web series “Fast Track” by SpenTV. Erin is currently managed by Phil Brock of The Studio Talent Group.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Watching the Footage

As Kate said in her blog, we watched what we've shot so far and I have to looks amazing! The digital age fascinates me. It's hard to believe what you can do with virtually no money and all you're own equipment.
I really lucked out teaming up with Kate. She has experience writing and producing her own web series and she's become a one-woman production office. She owns the camera, sound, the lighting and the editing program.
She sorted through everything and put it in sequence order prior to my heading to her place to watch the footage. She has put so much time and energy in to this and I don't know how she does it considering she has so much else going on. She has inspired me. I don't think she has any idea how much she has inspired me.
The two of us find so much joy in the little things that can be done with the editing program like panning in on someone. Awesome!
Some of the shots look great. Just the framing and the pictures. Wait till you see.
And the cast, who is all doing this for the fun of doing it. I cannot say enough about them. They have all taken the material and run with it.
I can't tell you the sense of pride I have when I watch that one take where everyone in the scene is spot on and the shot looks really good. And I LOVE the outtakes. I like letting the actors play and there is some funny stuff. We will have a blooper reel included when this is all done.
I am excite to be moving on to our second location next Saturday and filming more. Then we have another three-week break and another day of shooting the remaining scenes and then we are done and ready to edit this puppy! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday at the Editing Bay

Kate here and it has been a busy week at The Playhouse Production office. Richard came over Tuesday night and we both sat down to look through the dailies (that's a fancy word for raw footage - usually you watch them each day to see what you got). You know you're in good shape when you're still busting a gut two hours in to the screening. This cast is HYSTERCIAL and there are moments of pure comic gold. Lordie, this gang sure is a group of good sports... Apologies for some of the crazy things that we made you do! Know that it was worth it!

I've been working in this acting business for two decades and have met some incredibly talented people. It breaks my heart that some of those folks have left this planet and there is little to no record of the work they have done. When I first moved to Los Angeles, a friend and I shot a short film on 16mm, the cheapest-medium-while-not-looking-like-crap available. We begged, borrowed, and stole, and yet, that simple two day shoot on a shoe-string budget was over $5000. Between film developing and transfer, editing bays and retransfer, it took over a year of people working their tails off to get that 15 minute film put together.

But in this digital age, Richard and I were able to write this script in the comfort of his living room and the local coffee shop. We're able to gather in my converted dining room and watch the footage at our leisure. I can edit sound and adjust color while listening to the kids playing in my courtyard.

The biggest thrill, though, is getting to preserve these performances - to be able to take the stock characters our friends do better than anyone else out there and know they will be captured forever.

We're gearing up for Day 3 of shooting next Saturday, as well as some B-roll on Sunday. Can hardly wait to play!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Meet Janet Grayson

Det. Janet Grayson, Mishawaka P.D.

Det.Grayson is called in on a case at the Mishawaka Playhouse. And what a case it is! Grayson is no match for this mixed bag of nuts. Grayson is strictly a no nonsense gal and the playhouse nuts are no straight arrows. The Police Academy didn't prepare her for this. What exactly has she gotten herself into?

An over the top diva with questionable morals, her over the top ham actor husband who will sleep with anything that moves, a flaming queen who keeps taking digs at her expense, a big dumb lug that has no clue why she's there and a couple of wide-eyed innocents trapped in the lies and deceit of the others.

Will Grayson solve the case? Will she get her man? Can she get a man?
Tune in to the Playhouse and find out.

Meet Constance Ford

Constance Ford, Field Administrator for the NEA. She's here investigating an anonymous tip that The Mishawaka Playhouse has been misusing their grant money.

Constance is officious and uptight. So uptight that it appears that the bun on her head is a little too tight. Constance finds a great deal of satisfaction, even outright joy, in destroying The Playhouse fueled by her intense dislike of theater folk. Could Constance have a connection to The Playhouse?

If so, what is it? What secret in her past has brought her here? What does she want? What is her connection? And who is it with?

Tune in to The Playhouse and find out.

Meet Quentin Armitage

Quentin Armitage is the drama critic for The Mishawaka Gazette. No one really knows how Quentin got the job, especially Quentin himself. But then Quentin doesn't remember what he had for breakfast...or if he even had breakfast.

Rock has enlisted Quentin's help in getting back at his mother. And he has promised Quentin he'll be made City Editor if Quentin helps him with his plan. Let's just hope that Quentin can remember what to do long enough to do whatever it is that he is supposed to do.

With Quentin, the light may be on but he isn't always home. But what he lacks in smarts he makes up in raw sexual attraction. There's something about him the ladies like...big and dumb. Just ask Doris.

But don't discount Quentin. Sometimes he gets it right. Especially when you need him most.

Will Quentin remember what he has to do? Will he get a press hat?

Will he get a clue?
Tune in to The Playhouse and find out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meet Rock Del Monaco

Rock Del Monaco is Doris Del Monaco's son by her first husband...may he rest in peace.

Rock is a director, lighting designer, set designer, costume designer and choreographer extraordinaire. Unfortunately, all his mother and "stepfather" see is a gopher/stage manager. His dream is to run his own theater producing Sam Shepherd under the stars.

But he is stuck watching his mother and husband number 5 butcher every play they lay their hands on. Rock was raised in the Playhouse watching his mother perform. He deserves it more than anyone else and there is nothing he won't do to get his hands on it. He resents his mother and he despises his duplicitous "stepfather". He has to stop them. But how?
Rock enlists the aid of local drama Quentin Armitage. But sometimes Quentin acts as if the pilot light has gone out upstairs. Things seem dire.

But then in walks Dick Cummings, hot young playwright. For Rock, it is love at first sight even though Dick doesn't swing that way. Rock doesn't care.

Will Rock take down his mother and Number 5? Will he get the theater? More importantly, will Rock get Dick?

Tune in to the Playhouse and find out.

Meet Peggy Sawyer

Peegy Sawyer just arrived in Mishawaka from Sweet Apple, WI with stars in her eyes. Peggy has wanted to be an actress her entire life and one of her idols is the legendary star of the Mishawaka stage, Doris Del Monaco.
Peggy walks into the Mishawaka Playhouse in hopes of getting to work with Doris. Doris resents Peggy for she is everything Doris is not talented and young. Doris does everything she can thwart Peggy. And although Peggy is upset at first she takes it with the sort of pluck you would expect of a girl from Sweet Apple.

Peggy has also caught the attention of the men in the Playhouse, specifically the lustful Roger and the earnest Dick. But both appear to be playing their own game and Peggy doesn't know who to believe. She turns to Rock for advice but maybe Rock isn't all he seems to be.
This isn't what Peggy was looking for when she same in search of the bright lights. Who knew the theater was so full of lies and deceit. It's a hornet's nest.

How will Peggy survive? Who can she trust? And how does she keep her hair so nice and perky all the time?
Tune in to The Playhouse and find out.

Meet Dick Cummings

Dick Cummings brilliant young playwright. Just two years out of college he received a commission to write a play based on the local legend of Crybaby Bridge. He's young, idealistic and full of great ideas. He could be the next Arthur Miller but instead he's stuck with The Mishawaka Playhouse which has received an NEA grant to produce his play. He has no choice to stand by and watch the talentless Doris and Roger override every decision he makes.

And then into this walks Peggy Sawyer. Peggy an angel, a ray of light in this dark abyss. The perfect girl for the lead in his play. Unfortunately, Doris will have none of it. Dick falls hard for Peggy but Doris wants Dick for herself and she's pulling every trick in the book to get Dick.

What can Dick do? Roger says he can help but Dick thinks Roger has ulterior motives. Rock wants Dick for himself but Dick doesn't swing that way. Dick is stuck between a Rock and a hard place.
What's a young playwright to do?

Tune in The Playhouse and find out.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Doris Del Monaco

Doris Del Monaco is married to Roger Marlowe (Husband Number 5) with whom she is the Co-Artistic Director and Star of The Mishawaka Playhouse. Doris is proud that The Playhouse is Mishawaka's leading legitimate theater (even if it is Mishawaka's only legitimate theater).
Doris has trod the boards lo these many years (just how many no one really knows) playing every role from Peg o' My Heart to Little Mary Sunshine. Her talent is no match for her outsized ego. No lead role ever goes to anyone other than matter the age. Doris rules the Playhouse roost with an iron fist. But one of these days it may get the best of her. She has made a lot of enemies over the years.
She has cuckolded her husband Roger many times as she has seduced or attempted to seduce every leading man she ever had. She also holds a secret over Roger that keeps him in line...for now. Will he continue to let her hold this secret over him?
Her son Rock, talented and gay, has been trying desperately to get out from under his mother's shadow, much like Lorna Luft. But she will have none of it. He is merely there to serve her. How much longer will he take it?
How long before one of her spurned lovers comes back seeking retribution? How much longer before the botox wears out and she is forced to play roles suitable to her true age?
Tune in to The Playhouse and find out.

Meet Roger Marlowe

Roger Marlowe is the Co-Artistic Director of The Mishawaka Playhouse in Mishawka, Indiana along with his wife Doris Del Monaco. He directs and she stars in everyone of The Playhouse's productions. He discovered her when she was down on her luck and transformed her into Mishawaka's brightest star. But all is not well in this marriage. The only thing bigger than Roger's ego is Doris' ego.

Roger has his eyes on every young starlet and chorine in town (and then some) and it's no secret he has had more than his share of dalliances. One of these days one of them may come back and bite him in the ass.

Roger has also got the goods on Doris' past, but so does she on him. What is his deep dark secret? Will it catch up with him or will he manage to keep it under wraps? As long as Doris keeps it secret, he's golden. But if she doesn't, then what?

Tune in to The Playhouse and find out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Playhouse

Principal photography has begun and days one and two flowed like hot cocoa down your throat on a snowy day.  You know.  When it is at that perfect temperature.  Not HOT hot cocoa.  Just... hot... cocoa.... where it tastes really good and is just what you want?  You know what I mean.

We arrived at the GTC Burbank at 7:00AM July 2nd and 3rd - a gorgeous little theater tucked into the back corner of a quiet little park in historic downtown Burbank. 

Spirits were high in the cast and crew alike.  We assembled a team of hardworking theater folk who understand the hurry-up-and-wait game.  Not a single diva fit was thrown and not one castmember locked themselves in their trailers... probably because we didn't have trailers and the public restrooms don't have locks.  But that's neither here nor there.  What I'm trying to say is that the set was infused with a spirt of esprit de corps.  Play and professionalism were at their perfect-est mix.  You folks who have worked on shows know what I'm talking about.  You just want to wander around set and hug everyone for being so awesome.

Here are some pictures from behind the scenes:

Herr Director Tom is hot again... Like a scuba diver, Eli is still breathing Spirits are still high!

And what do you get with folks this wonderful? Shots like this...

Screenshot from The Playhousee

This is gonna be a great series...