Jocelyn Rish's picture

I’m So Dizzy

My head is spinnin’ from the Producer’s Workshop today.  Brian has worked as a producer before, but this is all new to me.  From 9-5, Tom Busch taught the participants about the responsibilities of a UPM.  He demonstrated breaking down a script, scheduling, and budgeting.  He showed us many of the accompanying documents, such as the assumption sheet, projected cash flow chart, post schedule, contract lists, deal memos, day out of days for cast and various departments, *deep breath* complete schedule, call sheets, and production reports.  And he also gave us a brief tutorial of Movie Magic.  Whew - just typing that wears me out!

It was a great crash course, and Tom had a lot of entertaining stories from his Hollywood experiences to illustrate his points.

The most nerve-wracking part of the class for me came near the beginning.  Because Tom used our script for his demonstrations, everyone took the first fifteen minutes to read the screenplay.  I held my breath as the sixty people in the room read our words.  Were they laughing at the right time?  Crying in the correct place?  Or were they bored out of their minds?  Flipping pages have never sounded so loud!  Fortunately several people told us afterwards how much they liked the script, but that could have been because they were angling for a job on set.

After it was over, Brian and I had the pleasure of taking Tom to dinner, where we got to pick his brain even more.  I just hope I can retain all of it.  The scary thing is I get the feeling he just scratched the surface of everything I need to know.

Death Cat's picture

Can You Hear Me Now?

Jeffree BloomerSound makes the difference between a good film and a great film.  To make sure our film is great, we’ve selected two of the best audio talents in the Southeast. 

Taking care of things on set as the sound mixer will be Jeffree Bloomer, MA, C.A.S. of Bimini Production Sound.  His body of work includes the Sundance Grand Jury winner Junebug and the Oscar short winner Two Soldiers.  Since Jeffree earned his Master’s degree in filmmaking from USC and has taught classes about audio in film at both USC and TTC, he’s used to working with students and will be a huge asset during the on-set mentoring.

Fred StoryHandling sound in post-production will be Fred Story of Concentrix Music and Sound Design.  A three-time Emmy winner, Fred will create an original score.  We plan to audition students from the USC Orchestra to perform this score under Fred’s direction.  Fred will also handle foley, ADR, and the master mix.  Learn more about Concentrix and hear demos here.

Death Cat's picture

Good Morning Baltimore!

Dave InsleyDave Insley, our director of photography,was the cinematographer for the original Hairspray movie.  He also worked with John Waters on several other movies, like Cry-Baby and Cecil B DeMented.  Maybe we should make Cliff grow a pencil-thin moustache so Dave will feel right at home. 

Dave has many other impressive credits, including several award-winning commercials (he has a Clio!).  From the gritty realism of HBO’s critically acclaimed The Wire to the gloominess of The X-Files to the hyper-surreal world of Hairspray, Dave knows how to set a mood.  He is the perfect person to visually capture the dichotomy of humor and heartwarming moments in the bleak setting of Saying Goodbye.  You can view Dave’s reel here.

Death Cat's picture

Hollywood Help

The Film Commission is presenting a producer’s workshop at the end of the month, which will be taught by Tom Busch.  Tom is a producer and UPM (Unit Production Manager) who has worked on many Hollywood productions like The Strangers, Stir of Echoes, and the Barbershop movies.  The amazing part is he will be using our screenplay to demonstrate budgeting and script breakdown to the class.  Score!

We’ve already had several conference calls with Tom where he walked us through how he broke the script into its elements, prepared a preliminary shooting schedule, and figured out where and how to stretch our budget.

Tom’s been incredibly helpful and has had a number of ideas that will really make our movie feel like a bigger production.  Our favorite is about the scene set at the talent show.  He suggested we dress many of the residents in the audience in some sort of recital costume (magician, clown, dancers), because they would have performed too, not just our stars on stage.  This is going to be such a fun scene!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Wishin’ and Hopin’

How much fun can one person have with a free trial of IMDB Pro?  For a TV/movie junkie like me, the answer is waaaaay too much!  I signed up for the month-long trial so I could start searching for potential actresses for the main parts. 

Luckily, the Pro version has detailed filters, so I am able to narrow down my search to “ladies of a certain age.”  Then I comb through the information to see which ones have acted recently and have previously starred in low budget films to gauge whether we have a chance in Hades of getting them.  Actresses I have seen with natural-sounding southern accents rather than that cringe-inducing, syrupy-sweet Hollywood version move to the top of my wish list. 

I created a spreadsheet to keep track of the actresses and their relevant facts, so I'll have access to the information when my trial runs out.  Is that cheating? 

So who would my dream cast be for the three main roles if practicality flew out the window?  Frances Sternhagen, Olympia Dukakis, and Amy Adams.

Brian Rish's picture

Happy Birthday to me!

Death Cat birthday card

Today is my birthday, and look at this GREAT card the folks at Genesis made for me. I think it would make a fun movie poster. FYI: The inside of the card says "To have a happy and safe birthday". See, Death Cat ain't that bad!

Death Cat's picture

It’s Officially Official

The SC Film Commission has posted the official announcement of the grant winners on their website.  There we are in black and white… so no do-overs or take-backs!

Now we have to admit, we were hoping for a little more fanfare than thirteen words.  In fact, we think blaring trumpets and a choir of angels would have been the perfect way to accompany this momentous announcement.  But then again, as long as it’s our movie listed on that page, we’re pretty darn thrilled!

Death Cat's picture

Susan Hogue saves Death Cat

There was a changing of the guard at USC, so things were up in the air for a while. Thank goodness Susan Hogue (instructor of media arts) came out of retirement to get the project moving again. 

We’ll always be grateful for Susan's ability to cut through red tape and her willingness to shield us from the drudgery of bureaucracy.

But now that things are back on track, it's time to kick it into high gear!

We've decided to shoot the movie in early October, which will be here before we know it!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

They stole our idea!

House MD with Death CatI can’t believe it!  I just finished watching the House episode “Here Kitty” and they totally stole our idea (even though ours is MUCH better).  House even called the kitty Death Cat!!  I guess the House writers read the same article about Oscar that I did.

Death Cat's picture

Who is this Death Cat person?

Death Cat is the nom de plume of Jocelyn and Brian when they post together.  So why the name Death Cat?  When Jocelyn wrote the original short story the script is based on, she named the file DeathCat.doc until she came up with the real title, Saying Goodbye.  Then when we brought Cliff on board, he always referred to the movie as Death Cat, not knowing that had been the original working title.  Pretty soon everyone was calling it Death Cat, so it made sense that any co-posts should come from Death Cat.