Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Monday, July 06, 2009

More EPK interviews from THE WHOLE TRUTH!

Executive producer Gary Allen Tucci talks about his passion for films - and unlike just about anyone in the industry, he goes to see films in theaters, sitting with audiences at least three times a week!

Jim Holmes talks about playing successful lawyer Brad Sanders:

Producer Larry Estes learned not to gamble on set!

I chat about working with Eric Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery, Elisabeth Röhm and Kristina Lilley!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Jim Holmes talks about working on THE WHOLE TRUTH!

Jim Holmes, who plays "Brad Sanders" in THE WHOLE TRUTH, also did a comedy improv session with me on camera during our EPK (electronic press kit - backstage stuff) interview session -- that we're using for the bonus DVD! Editor Stephen Myers thought it too cruel to cut it up. I agree!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First TWT EPK interview posted with Elisabeth Rohm!


The first series of backstage interviews (EPK=electronic press kit) for our screwball comedy feature, THE WHOLE TRUTH (TWT), are edited and the first one, featuring leading lady Elisabeth Röhm, is now posted on YouTube. Here it is:

Four more are going up tomorrow - with TWT actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Roberts, Kristina Lilley and the dynamic duo of Rick Overton and John Fugelsang (who interview one another!).

Following that will be more interviews with them well as EPK chats with me, executive producer Gary Allen Tucci and producer Larry Estes.

We're talking about - demystifying - the process, the hard work and the fun that will be engaging and informative for audience members as well as those who are budding filmmakers. I hope you check them out!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Second TWT screening - even more successful!

For one thing it started at 4:30 pm, which made a big difference. Tuesday night's world premiere didn't start until about 10 pm. That's late for working folks and students heading for school the next day and folks who flew in from the east - where it's up to 3 hours later in their bodies.

Aaron (Heinzen - my assistant) and I were NOT expecting another sold out screening - the last we heard, several tickets were still available.

But when we arrived? There was an extremely long line of ticket holders and several people who could not get tickets but were hoping for some no-shows to fill empty seats.

I was a little confused. Was there another film showing, too?

"Is that for US?" I asked Aaron.

"Looks like it is," he said.

Sure enough, the place was completely packed.

And the laughs were a-plenty during the film; the applause plenty and often through the credits to the very end. When there was more applause.

Sadly, Elisabeth Röhm had a family medical emergency (NOT life-threatening!) about half an hour before the screening, so she was still in town but could not be there. She was extremely disappointed, as was the audience, but like all of us at Heart Break Productionz, family comes first with Ms. Röhm so they understood.

I conveyed her regrets because she does love this film, our HBPz filmmaking family and Seattle!

My partner at HBPz, Gary Allen Tucci and I started off the q&a, and had the pleasure of introducing our composer, Ragnar Rosinkranz - whose music is such a standout in the film. Again, part of the reason is that not only is he a gifted artist, but we started collaborating at the script level, so he had so much more time to create his phenomenal sounds!

The audience also got to meet Bob Marts, our sound guy. Quite truthfully, I said I hated to show him off because it's like telling everyone about the beautiful woman you're dating; once they know her they'll want to date her, too! But, other filmmakers and TV show guys - hands off! He's OURS!

There was NO ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) or looping required from the actors because of his fantastic work. I am such a sound freak that I've never had to ADR or loop any of the short films I've made - but ADR and looping are *standard* in feature films. None of our stars has ever done a film or TV show that didn't require it. Until THE WHOLE TRUTH!

Character actor Jim Holmes ("Brad Sanders" in the movie) chatted a bit about working on the flm and how much fun he had - he wants to do it all over again on another HBPz film!

Editor Stephen Myers talked about working with me, too ... we had more than our fair share of fun putting it together ("OK .. is this funnier than this? Or is this funnier .. ")

Overall audience reaction: they want to see it again (and again), and can imagine it filling theaters with filmgoers from around the world! From their lips and imaginations to God's project managers ...

This blog is short because I've got a lot of catching up to do around here (especially on sleep); we're getting hot on the distribution leg of our journey. As I explained in an earlier blog, I have a marketing plan that is unique in the industry, but so far seems to be catching on and effective - at least in its early stages.

This coming weekend, I'm posting photos from the reception!

Thanks to everyone who paid your hard earned money to see the film - as I told Mireille and Caitlin, who flew in to see the film - everything we do may be our passion and life's work, but we do it for you, our audience. We *never* take you and your support for granted!

A special thanks to everyone who has sent me emails, notes, cards, flowers, gorgeous plants(!), candy (esp dark chocolate with nuts!) and left comments on my blogs saying how much you loved the film.

If you saw the film and enjoyed yourself (even unexpectedly .. one person told me, "Wow. The film was really great! I never expected it to be nearly this funny..")?

Um .. thank you, too ... ;-)

Consider yourself part of the HBPz family!

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH World Premiere!

First, the private reception was a *blast!* Family, friends, crew and cast gathered at the 7 Salon with great food, conviviality and conversation.

Andy, our host at the magnificent, huge salon, created a perfect atmosphere - complete with a dj and music that he didn't play so loudly we could actually talk at a reasonable decibel, two bartenders, three film posters strategically placed, tables, glassware, the works.

The food was fantastic - it flew off the plates so we quickly ordered more!

Seattle's film industry folks are known for serving weak, meager, tasteless finger foods; we dished out substantial sustenance for our guests to show them the way to feed guests properly.

Don Woods from the Icicle Ridge Winery in Leavenworth brought his magnificent, award-winning wines for all to taste and drink. A beautiful backdrop graced his table as well.

I got many compliments on the make up job Danyale Cook did for me. Gosh, I hardly recognized myself .. ;-). Lots of photos will be coming soon - I ended up not taking pictures because I was running around so much, but our set photographer took lots of piccies, so I'll share them as soon as Frank sends them to me!

It was a genuine pleasure meeting you blog readers at the reception - Amanda, you looked FAB-ulous! As well as seeing so many of the crew members who made a qualitative and personal difference in making the film. Without them, not only would it not have the quality it does - it wouldn't have the heart. My partner Gary Allen Tucci put it well: we felt like a production family.

And we're all ready to do it over again on our next film THE LONELY GOATHERD as soon as we get the distribution situation taken care of with THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Several folks showed up expecting to buy a ticket when they arrived, only to find there were no more tickets on sale. See how it pays to read my blog? I said tickets were selling out, then sold out right here and they didn't read it.

Many people hoping for "rush" tickets did get seated, however. These are tickets that are sold if there are any seats empty left minutes before the screening.

Because of that, previews and other SIFF business - not to mention me introducing most of our guests - the film started late, and it was already a late screening. Which means it started a little TOO late for most working folks.

But, the comments after the film were wonderful - what a fine film it was; how much they enjoyed it from start to finish, how amazing the music was, how well written, how terrific the performances were, how great the casting, etc. It was all I could have hoped for. The cast, my partner executive producer Gary Allen Tucci, producer Larry Estes and composer Ragnar Rosinkranz all joined me at the front of the room to answer questions and whatever the folks left wanted to say.

Mireille and Caitlin - readers of my blog (you read their comments all the time) and HUGE SPF fans, who flew in from Montreal and the Midwest respectively for the film's WP and will see it again later today(!) at the Wednesday screening - loved the film, got *my* autograph for Louise, a friend of theirs in England and of course spent time with SPF who had a great time entertaining them.

Local folks were impressed with how down to earth Sean is - how fantastic and real all our actors are. But I tend to work with folks who are good people as well - I find them better performers for the very most part.

As for me - to be frank, I was so nervous about how the crowd would react, I was a little distracted - listening for every little chuckle, guffaw, belly laugh, giggle, snort. The thing I was most aware of: there was no fidgeting. This is a good thing.

In a crucial scene that required the audience be silent, a complete hush filled the room. I could not even hear anyone breathing.

I sat between Sean Patrick Flanery and Elisabeth Röhm. Since it was the first time he saw the film, Sean was of course a bit contemplative of his (fantastic) performance and has a soft laugh. Elisabeth was totally relaxed and laughed out loud many times, as did other cast members.

At the end, Sean told me he "Loved it;" that he was "Excited as hell" about the film and its future. Whew. He's a tough critic of his own work and (rightfully) others, so that means a lot to all of us working on and with the film and its distribution.

The audience applauded several times at the end of the film, and because of the late hour, many had to leave at its completion - but several troopers stayed for the q&a with the cast, Gary, Larry, Ragnar and me, which was a lot of fun. I shared a sample of the singing that went on during the shoot. Some of the stuff captured by our sound crew during the shoot will be featured on my blogs as time goes by as well as on the dvd's.

When we left, Elisabeth had to return to relieve her babysitter - she brought her 14-month old. The babysitter noted that Elisabeth's daughter Easton was "amazing." She had never met such a contented toddler - especially after flying! Elisabeth is a phenomenal mom! Easton's dad Ron Wooster was on hand, too for all the festivities - and he's another reason Easton is so well adjusted!

Editor Stephen Myers, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton and I had a sarsaparilla in the bar at their hotel to chat about the film. Everyone considered the film and its premiere a complete success. I think *that* is when I started to breathe again.

Coming home to so many laudatory emails was also rewarding!

OK, well it's going on 3am and I have to get up in just a few hours to rush around running errands with Elisabeth and my assistant Aaron - whose mom came all the way from Yakima to see the film - before the next screening!

To everyone in the audience who shared the world premiere and special evening with us - thank you from the bottom of my heard. You are, after all, the reason we do what we do!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The TWT World Premiere is tonight!

After many months of pre-production, the shoot itself, and the laborious details of post production and marketing, the premiere of THE WHOLE TRUTH takes place at the Seattle International Film Festival tonight.

Tickets to the event are completely sold out.

I'll be on hand with my business partner Gary Allen Tucci, accompanied by stars Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton and Pisay Pao. Eric Roberts is shooting a film with Sly Stallone ("The Expendibles") in New Orleans, John Fugelsang is performing his one-man show in London, England, and Kristina Lilley is working in Colombia.

Producers Larry Estes and Jennifer Roth, editor Stephen Myers and composer Ragnar Rosinkranz will also be there to answer any questions from audience members after the screening.

The day goes like this: Birthday brunch for a very dear longtime friend, joined by her partner and my brother, who flew in from the Midwest to see the world premiere. Back to work with Aaron making last minute arrangements for the night and the rest of the week.

Late this afternoon I get dressed (up, for me), then my make-up will be done by the wonderful Danyale Cook (hair and make up artist - she did a phenomenal job on our actors' hair styles in THE WHOLE TRUTH).

Gary and I are having a private reception for friends, family, cast and crew before the screening, then watching the movie with nearly 300 other folks, after which we're joining the usual suspects as we respond to the audience in a q&a session.

It will be a memorable evening; I'll tell you about it tomorrow - reporting some of the pithy comments from those who were there. I'll also post photos I'm taking.

Meanwhile, there are still a few tickets available for the 4:30 screening tomorrow (Wednesday) at Pacific Place. Again, tickets for tonight's show are completely sold out.

Wish us luck!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH World Premiere.... SOLD OUT!

The Tuesday, June 2, 9:30 pm screening of THE WHOLE TRUTH is completely sold out.

Every seat taken. Every ticket available - purchased.

If you hold one of these tickets?

I'm thrilled you'll be joining me, Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes and Pisay Pao to welcome the film into the world - along with my business partner Gary Allen Tucci, producers Larry Estes and Jennifer Roth, editor Stephen Myers, composer Ragnar Rosinkranz and some of the cast and crew who made it happen.

We're checking on Wednesday's seating (4:30 pm, screen #11 at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle), which is also expected to sell out.

I'll post those numbers here as soon as I .. um, OK, my assistant Aaron Heinzen .. can get them!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Gift

Reflecting on what I said about Susan Boyle - that is, being stymied by why she touches me so deeply: truth is I do know what there is about her that connects with so many of us so intensely.

Being someone who has worked with and cast just about every degree of talent over the years, it's not really a je ne sais quoi element. It's a personal energy. It's located within what I consider the soul of the individual, somewhere between the solar plexus and the gut.

I can actually feel it when I'm in the presence of someone who exudes it.

After seeing Amadeus many years ago, I couldn't understand why Salieri wasted his life envying Mozart and others, when he himself had been given such a unique gift: the ability to discern genuine talent. Mozart didn't really excel at his art until he was older - few realized he would create work that would live ... well, forever.

Think of how happy Salieri's life would have been had he adopted Mozart, nurturing his work, protecting him from his father and others who would exploit the man without ever understanding his true genius.

Instead, his jealousy drove him insane - it always does. Jealousy is the fear of losing something we've never had in the first place.

The distinction of a talented person shows up when those who have it work like hell to hone it. To express it, no matter how it comes out, no matter how long it takes.

And it never has to look, sound or feel "perfect."

The Beatles, IMO, are one of the greatest bands in the history of modern music - yet none of its members has a pristine, fantastic or gifted voice. Yet they connected with the hearts of so many regardless of the form their music took along their melodious journey. Their harmony, rhythm, message, joie de vivre; the love of their art and craft was infectious. And they never stopped practicing - growing as artists and human beings.

Which brings me to another subject: what I perceive as cultural differences between (hopefully without being too simplistic or encompassing regarding either group) between UK and US attitudes toward the arts.

We can find a Susan Boyle in the UK because the attitude there is much more respectful of the arts; people pursue their love of an art or craft because it is their passion - without ever considering the possibility of a career as an artist or craftsperson. Sharing it with family, friends and community is reward enough.

I know people in the UK and Europe who love to sing, write, perform, make films, play instruments and more just because their lives would feel incomplete without it. They also have day jobs, have families (functional, even!) and lead "ordinary" lives.

I have sung myself this way for many years, continuing to practice and study just because I love to do it. I sang professionally at one point and didn't like the lifestyle. Too much traveling for this home body. Today I sing for friends, family and special occasions.

In the US, unless there is a direct road or specific career plan - or some path clearly seen as a way to make a living, chances are family and friends frown on the pursuit of an art or craft just for the pure passion of that pursuit.

Been there, done that. When I first stared my film career after leaving journalism, I felt like the lone flea on a very large dog. I have no idea what made me think of that image, but you know, one seldom thinks of an isolated flea. Yes, that's it. On a very large, furry island of that huge canine.

People I knew well - and hardly at all - thought I was crazy. And too old. Support was difficult - if not impossible to come by.

But I couldn't NOT write, direct and produce. It's just a part of me. In the beginning, I thought perhaps I could try to make "something happen" career-wise through ordinary means - like LA. But I soon realized that was something I did not want.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, people were saying that "it" simply couldn't happen here. Go to LA.

I don't mind working in LA; but I have to live in Seattle. It's as much a part of me as my writing, directing, producing, pets, friends, home-

So I decided I would probably have to spend the rest of my life just being happy. Doing what I love on a day to day basis - making mostly short films while writing some 21 feature scripts - surrounding myself with people who understood what I was doing, with no expectation of 'more.'

I don't think it's a fluke that my closest friend is British, living in Manchester.

Beating breast cancer put a crimp in my style for nearly three years, but it didn't stop me from working on my own films as well as coaching actors, writers and directors until I was finally told to stop or my positive prognosis would change.

Next Tuesday, June 2, my business partner Gary Allen Tucci and I will be attending the world premiere of our feature, THE WHOLE TRUTH, a screwball comedy starring Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery and Eric Roberts at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Along with Elisabeth and Sean Patrick, several outstanding supporting actors like Rick Overton and Jim Holmes will be on hand to watch it for the first time along with the rest of the audience. Eric is shooting a film with Sylvester Stallone in New Orleans and can't join us - John Fugelsang will be performing in London.

I hope we see you there!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH world premiere info!

Tickets go on sale Thursday morning, May 7 .... at the Seattle International Film Festival website.

I suggest you POUNCE on them.

Happily, folks are flying in from all over to see it, and there are lots of local crew members and artists who worked on the film whose friends and family are coming as well.. Some have told me they're buying tickets for June 2 *and* 3 to watch both screenings!

All the stars will be there at both screenings - Elisabeth Rohm, Eric Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton, John Fugelsang, Pisay Pao and more!

It stays light here until 10pm those days ... so premiere night won't feel late.


Tuesday, June 2, the world premiere of THE WHOLE TRUTH starts at 9:30 pm at Pacific Place Cinemas in Seattle -- specific location info is here. Arrive early to get a good seat; it's a great threater.

Pacific Place Cinema is located at 600 Pine St # 228, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 405-2655 Get directions

It's in a several-tiered downtown mall featuring upscale stores like Barney's and fine restaurants.

If you can't make it June 2, it will be playing again the next day, Wednesday, June 3 at 4:30 pm, same theater.

Some of my blog readers have told me they're attending both screenings! I wasn't expecting that - it's pretty flattering! I do not believe anyone will leave disappointed, however.

If you're flying in, there are several hotels offering 10% discounts on rooms for guests attending SIFF. The list of participating hotels is located at the SIFF website - be sure to mention SIFF when you make your reservations, and they can also arrange for your SIFF tickets if you request.

If you are coming to the screening from out of town, please email me so we can get together!

Prepare to laugh yourself silly - I hope to see you there!

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Monday, April 06, 2009


Will take place at the Seattle International Film Festival.

We were *just* notified, so we'll know more later - date, time, etc.

Hopefully, our stars Elisabeth Röhm,

Sean Patrick Flanery,

Eric Roberts,
Jim Holmes,

Kristina Lilley

John Fugelsang
Rick Overton and Pisay Pao will be on hand to see the movie for the first time themselves!

Here's the 4-1-1 on SIFF from its invitation to include THE WHOLE TRUTH:

"Now in its 35th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest and most highly-attended film festival in the United States, showcasing more than 400 films from over 60 countries to an audience of 150,000 attendees annually.

"While new festivals have seemingly emerged in every small and large city worldwide, SIFF was listed by Variety as one of the world’s “50 unmissable film festivals,” and continues to be recognized as one of the top festivals in North America.

"In terms of Seattle, the profile we offer for film is recognized as extremely important in the US. The Festival combines the best aspects of a casual film marketplace with our well-established reputation as a great audience festival that filmmakers love to attend.

(Here's the best part)

"We would be honored to present this film to our audiences and we look forward to receiving your confirmation of its availability."


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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Progress, progress!

Sound work progresses nicely on THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Now that the color correction is completed, it's time to dedicate our attention on all the sound effects, dialogue and music.

Lots of filmmakers believe that "too much" background sound interferes with the audience's attention to dialogue, I believe all that sound makes you feel like you're right in the scene with the characters.

We have to be cautious to make certain what should be sublime and hinted remain that way and not too loud, distracting us from the dialogue, but sound can also work as a comment on what's happening, clue you in on what's coming up, give a special tone to layer the scene and lend all sorts of character to a scene - in some cases, certain sounds and music become characters themselves in a film.

That's definitely true of TWT.

In LA, I had a terrific, insightful time working with the leads of our third feature, another screwball comedy (but much smaller a production than THE LONELY GOATHERD). I have a basic outline of the logical story and psychological profiles of both leads, so the discussion revolved around how these people came to behave in the way they do as dysfunctional adults and parents.

Being the pro's they are, they came up with all sorts of terrific ideas - and that's all I sought. Ideas coming from the people who will portray the characters.

As I left, one of the actors told me that the few times he has worked with a director this way, he received the most major awards and nominations to which an actor can aspire.

Gulp! My work is cut out for me!

Thanks to the invitation from a very generous friend, I attended THE L-WORD wrap party, where I had the opportunity to meet several cast members, crew, and actors who have guest-starred over the past few years of the Showtime program.

What made it most fun for me was the fact that it wasn't shoulder to shoulder crowded (can't stand crowds, me) so I could actually speak with people and the food was *superb.*

Daniela Sea, who plays transsexual Max Sweeney on the show, told me she is spearheading a DVD project dedicated to the memory of thousands who have been killed because they are gay (or believed to be) - she will be telling the personal story of each victim.

According to Daniela, the group with whom she is working has some pretty grim statistics - like every nine days someone *believed* to be gay (whether they are or not) is killed. Hopefully her project will raise awareness and help stop this lamentable lethal legacy.

I'll let you know when the DVD is ready and where to buy it if you'd care to support the educational effort to promote understanding and awareness of a history long overlooked.

She is so enthusiastic about the project, I have no doubt it will receive the respect and notoriety it deserves. Daniela and the brilliant Leisha Hailey ("Alice") are the only two "out" lesbian actors in the large cast of gorgeous women portraying lesbians in THE L-WORD.

Meanwhile, in the Venice neighborhood (which is quite extensive and extremely diverse), I took the opportunity to hang out with a dear friend and her 10-month baby (my honorary "niece" so of course I had to come bearing gifts), which was lots of fun. One thing about babies and animals - they let you know how they feel about you for no other reason than .. well, that's just the way they feel.

Fortunately, she takes a shine to me - I'm *positive* the toys I brought have *nothing* to do with how she feels!

I did not bring anything for the dog they are fostering, however, but he obviously smelled my three dogs and kitty on me and decided I was O-K!

I also met with our LA casting agent Rick Pagano - one of the all-time good folks in the business and superb at his trade; and had a leisurely breakfast with our editor Stephen Meyers, and fine actor in THE WHOLE TRUTH, Jim Holmes.

All this took place within two days, arriving back home early Wednesday morning when my assistant Aaron dashed me over to Bad Animals Studio to continue our sound mixing!

I'm on to shot-sheeting THE LONELY GOATHERD. This is a tedious, time-consuming, detailed task wherein I (as director) list every shot I have in mind for the entire script, scene by scene.

I'll refine this at least one more time from beginning to end before meeting with the Director of Photography to share my ideas and then refine it again, incorporating both our ideas.

Then we create whatever inspiration the actual set, scene and actors provide while we are in full-tilt production shooting, using whatever ideas still work from the shot sheet.

The shot sheet is basically a plan so I can create all the pieces of the visual and sound puzzle that I must put together to form the complete film. As we shoot parts of scenes, I "edit" them in my mind, so I know how the film will look when it is completed as I go to work with our superb editor, Stephen Meyers.

One reason to work with an editor at the script stage - while I'm writing the script, before any preproduction - is to get good ideas for special shots and "cutaways," or details of a scene or character that may not seem apparent but that would cut in nicely for the edited film. Stephen gives me a list of them, which I pass on to the DP, making sure we catch them as we are in production.

Writing that list is what Stephen is doing in LA as I create shot sheets in Seattle!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Counting down ...

Only two days left to finish shooting THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Eric Roberts left today .. I missed him before he left, so I can assure you there's a little hole in my heart, left empty with the departure of him and his wife Eliza (a certified genius, talented and successful in her own right as well as a wonderful person).

I asked Elisabeth Röhm if she knew of any directors who dropped to the floor and hung on to a departing actor's ankle to prevent him/her from leaving. You know, in a way they'd have to drag me along with every step ...

Miss Law and Order responded, "Colleen. That's assault."

Hmm. Maybe she hasn't heard about directors who do this because they know she'd turn them in... ;-)

John Fugelsang also left - what a magnificent human being this guy is, not to mention super talented and a gifted performer. He put on his one man show for us last Saturday night, FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS (written and performed by him). What an honor to be part of his audience. It's played successfully in New York City off Broadway and in Los Angeles.

He, too, was missed by me before his plane departed. I had to consider that he's a little smaller than Eric -- thinking I might injure him if I clung to his ankle. He'd probably pull a muscle trying to drag me along. Not that he'd want to .. escape .. my grasp. Or anything .. like that.

Rick Overton, Kristina Lilley and Jim Holmes remain ... they are in scenes we're shooting the last two days, along with Elisabeth, our leading lady, of course. I don't even want to think of dealing with that separation. She and I have enjoyed such a wonderful journey on this film, personally and professionally. Her life will never be the same after audiences worldwide witness her magnificent performance. I'm so proud to have participated in her artistic evolution. She leaves Saturday to start a new film on Monday.


The crew is already getting sad and nostalgic with the end so near. I don't blame them. We've had such a great time making this film, and the outlook for its distribution and success are optimistic. The wrap party is Saturday night, then I'm off for the first vacation I've enjoyed for such a long, long time. I'll be away for a week while my personal assistant Matt Schmidt holds down the fort and takes care of the three wee dogs and kitty.

The big occasion for me today is that I directed a couple action scenes - which ROCKED!

I don't do action scenes the way the industry ordinarily shoots them. You'll have to see the difference for yourself, but it was extremely exciting for me to have everyone land exactly where they had to in the brouhahas.

My energy is greater now than when I started, which makes me very happy. I know why that is and I'm going to continue to work the way that is most beneficial to the film and my energy. It's different from the way films are ordinarily shot, and some people will have to adapt, but that's fine. The point is that the film that gets made for you, the audience, maintains an unsurpassed quality of story, character, writing, production and entertainment values.

I am so blessed to have had this experience, to meet and work with the exceptional professionals I have the past three months (6 weeks full-tilt pre-production, 6 weeks of principal shooting production).

Interestingly, what a lot of people don't understand who don't know me very well is that I am so very busy, I'm not in a position to take on new enterprises or causes other that those with which I'm already involved through Heart Break Productionz and my personal life. I've been approached recently to consider working on or with a number of new projects or causes and attend events - which, unfortunately, I can't join in because of these limits.

And the only actors I now coach are those cast in my feature films.

I haven't changed a bit, but the tasks and passions and relationships that claim my time and attention prevent me from extending myself much farther.

Tonight, I am so extremely happy and proud I am of the hard work we've all done, day after day, getting up at 5am, having such a smooth shoot thanks to these great professionals and all our preparation in pre-production.

And, after directing those action scenes this morning? I. Am. On. Fire!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Film set codes .....


A bunch of folks on set have little two-way radios with which they speak to one another. They're used for paging, finding, reporting, requesting, informing and connecting the crew and cast of nearly 100.

The person everyone talks about most?

The director.

This is because the director has to respond to everyone about what is needed to make each scene come alive -- colors, materials, looks, clothes, hair, make-up, actor movement, props, set dressing, rehearsal, blocking, shooting -- and more.

For the last three days we've been shooting on a set that took up the entire floor of a major Seattle business building because we housed all our departments there as well as the set on which we were shooting.

Unfortunately, the women's bathroom is on the other side of the building's floor - like a five minute (very fast) walk away.

At least we had a real bathroom, unlike the previous 7 days of shooting wherein we used honey buckets.

At any rate, the code for using the bathroom is "10-1." Ten-one. I also say, "Ten oh-one."

Well, unlike the other 100 or so people in the cast and crew, everyone needs to know where the director is every moment.

So when I would excuse myself for a 10-1, I'd hear radios echo this for my entire walk as I passed offices and crew members wearing the two-way radios. "The director is 10-1." "Colleen is 10-1." "Just saw Colleen passing AD (assistant directors) office." "Locations has its eye on the director who is 10-1." "Colleen is wanted on set - if you see her 10-1, let her know." "Colleen is 10-1 and we're still waiting for her on set - anyone seen her?"

Oh, my goodness. I've lost more weight in my pursuit of 10-1 because I started walking quickly and have graduated to jogging. I expect to be a full-fledged sprinter by the end of the shoot next week.

Is nothing sacred?

Meanwhile, today was magic on the set. Elisabeth Röhm, Eric Roberts, Peter Weinstein, Rick Overton and Jim Holmes were on fire today - we got some amazing performances from each of them.

Only five days left to get the last 15 scenes -- that's three scenes a day. Some are long, others short. It means a lot of work in several locations to wrap everything up.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day #13 is in the can!

If you're new to this blog, the title does not mean it's in the toilet .. it means it's in the film can. It's been shot and is at the developer's, then a digital copy of what we shot is on its way to the editor in LA.

The days have been full of hard work, getting some very sweet stuff. Great color, acting, depth of field in the scenes, sound.

We finish the scenes we need to shoot at the current location tomorrow, then Friday we're mostly outside.

One thing that distinguishes this shoot: singing. Sean Patrick Flanery and me do most of the singing. But yesterday Elisabeth Röhm led everyone in a spirited version of "All You Need Is Love" while we were waiting for lighting to be perfected. Our sound guys recorded it. Who knows - we may use it for the DVD version of the film.

Next week we're joined by Eric Roberts, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes and John Fugelsang. Sean Patrick Flanery has just a few days left to shoot, then he flies to Toronto to star in the sequel to Boondock Saints. The rest of us will be working for another three weeks to finish the film.

Our composer, Ragnar Rosinkranz, is watching the film being built by the editor in LA .. so he can build the soundtrack as the film is being put together.

The film is looking great, and editor Stephen Myers says it looks "excellent" so far.

In two days, THE WHOLE TRUTH principal shooting will be 50% completed. It's going by so quickly.

We're trying not to get media coverage yet because we want to keep a lot of the film's information under wraps until we're ready to show it to you! But some newspaper bloggers and neighborhood folks who saw our humongous trucks and lights wrote in a Seattle daily newspaper about what they saw us doing. The write up was pretty general, but wow. Some of the folks who read the short article and commented were pretty pissy -- writing suppositions about stuff that didn't happen, assumptions about the subject of the film and dissing it without having anything but minimal information about it.

But, that's show biz, baby, and think of all the people who will say whatever they want when it finally comes out.

At least they will have seen the movie! That is a good thing!

Today's shoutout goes to gafffer Ted Barnes. The gaffer lights the set in a way recommended by the director of photography. Ted is the very best -- lighting makes or breaks the scenes and how they are conveyed, and I have to say, our scenes are conveyed with the *best* lighting!

Lights are big and small, and can be very heavy. Working around as much electricity as we do, it is most important that safety be uppermost in everyone's mind working around all the lights, sound equipment and the heavy equipment it takes to light a 35mm film. Gaffing is very hard work; it requires a lot of knowledge, passion for the work (telling the story in the most dramatic/comedic way) and physical strength. Ted is also great to work with - he's an easy guy to be around.

But I constantly find that folks who know what they're doing and have confidence in their skills and abilities are fantastic filmmaking co-workers.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Cameras roll in 2 days!

Locations found by Craig Stewart and his staff, are (mostly) locked. Sets are being dressed by Rachel Thomson and her crew with props by Christopher McFadden and his crew as I write this.
Rehearsals have been held with four of our lead actors: Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, TinTin the 3-pound dog and Jim Holmes. Other lead stars Eric Roberts, Rick Overton and John Fugelsang will be coming soon.

Costumes by Rebecca Luke have been fitted, wigs are being made by hair specialist Danyale Cook, and make-up tests by make up artist Dawn Tunnel.

Director of Photography Paul Mailman has run film tests with gaffer (lighting specialist) Ted Barnes.

Many DP's these days light the set - actors just fit in. We're lighting the actors because Paul and I believe the characters tell the story within well designed and dressed sets.

Stunt Coordinator Michael Hillow kept us safe as we worked our way through an action scene that must be carefully choreographed when we shoot in in a couple weeks.

Winding down tonight, a chilly, overcast Friday night Seattle, I can't help but be proud of the entire crew and cast. We're all working our hearts out for THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Mercifully, so far crew folks just joining us - who have not read the script - are laughing at the right places when they see rehearsals.

Hopefully, you will, too, when you see it in theaters.

I'm celebrating tonight by going to a rude political improv show - taken by my assistant and stand-up comic Matt Schmidt.

Tomorrow I'm invited to a special dinner, after which I'm going to rest all day Sunday because Monday morning, well before dawn, we start our first day of shooting. We're as prepared as we can be, which means that we won't freak out *when* we encounter any problems.

Over the next six weeks, we'll be filming long days Monday through Friday, always preparing for future shooting dates until the last frame of film is shot. What a great adventure.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cameras roll in 9 days ..


Location scounting, tech scouting (making sure all the locations we chose will work with all the technical aspects of making a film) is nearly at its end. Craig Stewart, our "Scout Master" and his team have landed us some terrific places in which to film that will be dressed by Production Designer Rachel Thomson, filled with props by our Prop Genius Christopher McFadden.

Director of Photography Paul Mailman and his crew, including gaffer (lighting) Ted Barnes - one of the best - are setting up equipment to create the most effect scene captures on film. Paul and I are a strong team .. and he has an eye for putting you (the audience) in the scene rather than just "taking pictures" of something happening, which is what I look for in a photographer, and few are capable of doing it well.

The lead actors begin to arrive tomorrow, a week early, and we're mighty excited to see them - with preproduction and preparation at its peak now. Our lead actors rehearse at no cost to us - they're paid for their work before the camera but make rehearsal at no cost part of their contract if requested. I find that fine actors prefer to rehearse and request it; actors like Paul Newman, in fact, insist on it and offer filmmakers two weeks of rehearsal "off the clock."

I am coaching some of the local actors to get their performances perfected for the shoot - we'll also have some rehearsal time before shooting each scene. I've been sending notes to all the lead actors that I believe will help them develop their characters.

Editor Stephen R. Myers, in LA, is prepared to receive our dailies to start editing them as we shoot; composer Ragnar Rosinkranz, also in LA, will be seeing them as Stephen builds the rough cut of the feature, assessing how the music we've worked on over the weeks will suit the characters and scenes.

We're all headquartered in a large former school house - giving every department plenty of room to work.

I have my keyboards in my huge office - which is shared by my assistant Matt Schmidt - so I can work on musical ideas. I even wrote a little ditty that will be sung by Elisabeth in the film.

This week end my "job" is to rest - and in fact although Paul and I will be prepping every night for the next day's shoot and on the weekends for the following week's work - all of us must rest on our weekends or we'll wear out, since we'll all be working hard for long hours during the week.

Our Leading Lady, Elisabeth Röhm, is working all 30 days of the demanding 30-day shoot. Now *that* is a lead role! We'll be rehearsing stunts this coming Friday - she's very athletic and strong so she might be doing some of her own -- if we're sure she won't risk injury! Fortunately, there are only a few.

She'll be rehearsing with Jim Holmes and Sean Patrick Flanery later in the week, which will be great fun.

Back to hanging out, tending a few TWT details, watching a couple films, baseball and football games for me! Enjoy the weekend!

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

He's baaaack!

After being told three times we couldn't have Sean Patrick Flanery for our film THE WHOLE TRUTH because of the production schedule of Boondock Saints 2, in which he stars?

We got him!

Thanks to Sean's insistance and the willingness of Boondock Saints 2 producers, he's coming up to star with Elisabeth Rohm, Eric Roberts, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes, John Fugelsang and our little Talented Animals star pup, Tin Tin.

We're also introducing Seattle actress Pisay Pao.

I was out location scouting last week with our scout "master" Craig Stewart, 1st Assistant Director Megan Griffiths, Production Designer Rachel Thompson and our Director of Photography, Paul Mailman. A Teamster driver took us to all the places we evaluated for their potential as natural "sets" for the film.

Tucker Dropout Productionz' THE WHOLE TRUTH production offices are set up in a school that's not being used. My assistant Matt Schmidt will be joining me there in our office Monday.

Lots to do before cameras roll in two weeks, but we have a great team - crew and cast - all of whom are very enthusiastic about our project.

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amazing actors tell THE WHOLE TRUTH

I'm thrilled to announce our leading lady - a name synonymous with "screwball comedy" -- not! is Elisabeth Röhm!

This will be her first foray in comedy and trust me - she will not disappoint! We're both excited about her turning in a surprising - if not shocking - performance for fans who know her best from her gripping work in Law and Order and her recent uber-dramatic turn as a concert pianist in Bernard Rose's The Kreutzer Sonata, based on the novella by Leo Tolstoy, celebrated only two months ago at the Edinburgh Film Festival. This woman is *fearless!*

Joining her and Eric Roberts (as you never have and never will see him again) - I told you this is a comedy, right? Once again, this thinking thespian will show you his range is not limited to dramatic roles!

Also hopping aboard our train to Fun and Frolic is the amazing Jim Holmes - who, again, will delight one and all with the splendid timing and layers of persona he conveys for the guy he's playing in THE WHOLE TRUTH. You'll recognize him from that laugh-a-minute hit show, "24."

Yes. This. Is. A. Comedy.

Rick Overton, known as one of the best comedy script writers around (even winning an Emmy for his labor), character actor (he's in three summer movies this year alone), stand up comic (HEALTH WARNING: if you see Rick in person, you may want to bandage your torso. I saw him recently at a Seattle comedy club and believe I cracked at least one rib laughing so hard. He is *merciless* as he keeps the laughs coming!) and consummate mensch is with us as well. If you don't know, a mensch is a person with great character; a true-blue, genuinely good-hearted person. He also appears regularly on the Stephanie Miller Show, writes for the Huffington Post and is Captain Nemo in the new Capital One TV commercials.

See? At least one person famous for working in comedy is with us. That gives us at least a little street cred with comedy purists. Oh! Our editor Stephen Myers has also worked with Carl Reiner and other comedy greats in the biz!

Next week we finish casting locally, location scouting is already underway-Craig Stewart is one of the top location scout/managers in the industry; our production office is going to be set up, our fantastic, enthusiastic Director of Photography Paul Mailman and other key crew are aboard - and in just a little more than a month... the camera rolls!

Once again, the lure to sign up for this little independent film is the script. It gives everyone participating - on and off screen - the opportunity to shine. And, hopefully, to have a great time while we all work our hearts out!

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