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Dead But Very Much Alive – Weekend 2 Wrap Up

25 January 2010 5 Comments

Dustin Fasching plays frustrated photographer, Wes

Things started to get a little dark this weekend. I had almost forgotten we were shooting a horror movie because all the upfront scenes are so much fun, bookended by a couple toe-tapping musical numbers. But last night we met a ghost…and those cheery, sing-songy voices became choke-hold whispers. I’m really loving the evolution of shooting this movie, and it’s nice to be going in order (for the most part).

We’ve shot for seven days now and two musical numbers are in the can (yes, yes…it’s HD, but “in the can” is such a great phrase. It simply HAS to survive), as well as most of the first act. The actors are thrilling me in their roles as the artistically blocked Fi and Wes and I couldn’t be happier working in such an intimate environment. Someday I’d love to work with more money, but I’d always like to keep things small.

Sarah Lassez plays the spunky novella author, Fiona Cella

It’s an odd thing, writing these blogs. I’m not sure how much to really say about the movie, as I always love to keep a bit of mystery surrounding the story. I guess it’s best to drop little teases and talk about my experiences on set. Every night when the shoot is over, Shannon and I are zombies with smiles. That’s the best way way I can describe it. We are dead to the world from a very long and hard day, but are always bursting with excitement at all the cool shots we got. The fortunate thing about shooting only weekends is it gives me the week to start editing the footage. This allows me a good idea of what we are doing right and what we need to fix.

The shooting schedule has been a bit like a naked nerd in a jocks locker room. All seems fine for awhile, but suddenly my ass is stinging from the wet towel that kissed my cheeks and fled. Some scenes go smooth, but others hit me hard then eat up at my time quickly. In the end, we are only slightly behind schedule as we were able to make up many scenes this weekend. We do not wish to rush the project as we want it to look its best. I sacrificed a lot on my last feature, Lo, due to time restraints. This time I am making sure I get the shots I want and giving the actors enough takes to shine their best (Acting, however, did not suffer in Lo…I just didn’t get all the shots I wanted).

Sound Master Aaron Gaffey hanging in the bath tub with banana-eating Travis Betz

It’s funny how some things have just fallen into place in the last minute. We were shooting a big musical number on Saturday that requires a podium. We thought that we had one secured until late Friday when I was told we did not have access to it. I did not want to push the shoot for the number because the schedule is already very packed and we were not ready for any of the other numbers or scenes. I had all the extras lined up and ready to go, as well as the special effects make-up artist. I had to shoot it Saturday. On the day of the shoot, Shannon came back from taking out the garbage and said that there was a slender bookshelf that looked exactly like a podium just sitting in the hallway a few doors down. I checked it out and it was pretty damn perfect. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. I came back an hour later, but still no answer. That perfect podium/bookshelf was glaring at me…giggling. “You can’t be so perfect, so timely and so twenty feet from my door. I hate you lonely book case/podium.” So I did what any true indie filmmaker would do…I took it. CALM DOWN. I left a note with my apartment number and phone number and explained the situation. If they had any problems they could personally punch me in the face. So I took it. A few hours later I quietly returned it to the exact same dust outline in which I took it. My note was where I left it. The perfect crime. Life is funny like that sometimes. Thanks for the podium good sir in #304.

So we now have four days off…well, four days of no shooting. We’ll still be working hard to prep weekend threes shoot. Side note: I also swore off all alcohol until we wrapped production. Haven’t had a drop in twenty-two days. We anticipate the shoot will go to the end of February, so I’ll be clear-headed for two months. It’s tough not to crack open a delicious beer after a long shoot, but it’s a great personal goal and a healthy one as well. But I tell you this, the minute I call cut on the martini shot (the last shot in a movie), I will pour some liquid brown straight down my throat in celebration of a job well done.

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend two wrap up. Stay tuned for more fun stuff!

Much love


  • Blargal

    Is that a banana in your hand in the tub,or are you happy to be filming?

  • Jake

    Wow, I’m looking forward to this very much.

  • Reading Trav’s words makes me feel like having sex. With Trav.

  • Rob Anderson

    A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thine movie…can’t wait!

  • Lola

    Funny about the whole podium story, we have one here, but borrowing from us would not have been nearly as perfect or magical! xo