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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Friday, June 26, 2009

Elisabeth Rohm: why she wanted THE WHOLE TRUTH

As I've mentioned, Elisabeth had done no comedy - and she's incredible as Angela in THE WHOLE TRUTH. After studying the classics (Twentieth Century, His Girl Friday, Ball of Fire, so many more) and the comedic performances of the greats: Carole Lombard, Rosiland Russell, Barbara Stanwyck, Lucille Ball and more, she developed her own classic character for which those women would give her (very) high fives!

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

EPK fun with Jim, Gary, Larry, Aaron, Danyale and ... moi!

We finished our EPK (electronic press kit) interviews (backstage stuff) for THE WHOLE TRUTH Thursday!

Actor Jim Holmes ("Brad Sanders" in TWT - you may recognize him from a hundred other roles he's had in projects like 24, Boston Legal, films galore), my business partner Gary Allen Tucci, producer Larry Estes and I each chatted about our experiences making the film, working with the entire cast and crew, and our impressions of the film itself.

My assistant, Aaron Heinzen, posed the questions as we sat on the hotseat for Dave Wilson's camera.

Aaron is a pro - in addition to working for radio stations in the past, he is also the color commentator for FOX Sports Northwest (FSN) television at all the Portland Timbers professional MLS soccer games.

There's a big game coming up between the Timbers and chief rival the Seattle Sounders Wednesday, July 1 in case you'd like to catch him in action.

Deal is - Aaron is a former professional soccer player. He played for the Timbers until injuries caught up with him. But he lives in Seattle. So of course as a color commentator for the Timbers if you hear any bias ... it's only because he carries a warm spot in his heart for the team with which he played.

Anyway, he did a great job tossing thoughtful questions at us, then following up on our answers. You'll see the results of our interviews over the next several weeks - but here are some photos of the EPK session I caught as the day progressed.

Here's Gary in the hair and make-up chair. He told us that as we age, little hairs we have in our ears fall out - and cause problems with our equilibrium.

That's why we have trouble negotiating gravity as we get into our senior years.

O...K. Thank you for sharing, Gary!

Fortunately, our hair and make-up artist Danyale Cook avoided cutting his ear hairs so his interview was very balanced.

The beautiful Danyale asked that I not take her picture because she wasn't feeling photogenic. I know I have days like that. But she was kind enough to let us use her Pure Alchemy Salon (completely green, too!) for our interviews. It's a lovely shoppe with a terrific ambiance; nothing pretentious, which is what we're all about.

Danyale puts a little make-up on Gary to bring out his eyes for the camera ... this is a rough and rugged self-made man. He started working at physical labor since he was 12 and does Iron Man competitions for fun.

But he was totally at ease with all the hair and make-up fussing it takes to look good on camera so he could talk about his experience as executive producer for THE WHOLE TRUTH.

"Did you see me in 24?"

"I think everyone did, Jim"

"Did you see me in Boston Legal?"

I actually did an improv sketch on camera with him! It took a lot of nerve performing with this guy - he's the master of timing!

Jim's also a drama teacher for the theater department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles! Or is that theatre department, Jim? ;-)

Producer Larry Estes gets his hair washed .. Danyale gave him a haircut.

After the taping.

In his EPK interview you'll see Lar with his old do, which is long and mega curly!

Danyale's wanted to get her hands on those curls since she first met him!

Danyale did the brilliant hair work on THE WHOLE TRUTH. She creates phenomenal wigs one hair at a time - she's one of the few hair artists who can do the work she does. She has been with the Seattle Opera for years.

Here's producer Larry with his longer locks as he and executive producer Gary chat.

OK, I won't be insulted. Photographer Dave Wilson and Aaron look at the monitor trying to figure out how to frame me in the most attractive way.

"I don't know. What do you think?"

"Gosh. I don't know. What do you think?"

Guys. I can hear you! ;-)

A fun, productive day - I'll show you the results over the next few weeks!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

What Kristina Lilley says about my acting coaching!

For those who don't know, Kristina Lilley is a famous actress in Spanish-speaking nations and on Telemundo (NBC owned Spanish speaking network) in the US.

She's especially well-known for her roles as villains - bad bad sexy vixens - but in THE WHOLE TRUTH, she plays a good cop (a role she's always wanted to portray!). This is her first role in an English-speaking feature film!

I was her acting coach for two years when she lived in Seattle with her then husband, who was taking advanced studies at the University of Washington. At the end of his studies, they moved back to Colombia, South America, where she resumed her work in television and films.

Kristina got the role by auditioning. Me being her former acting coach did not play a part in her getting cast. But being familiar with her skills, background, dedication, non-diva attitude and how easy she is to work with definitely made me think of her when we were looking at actors to audition for the role.

Here she talks about how she found me through this website - and why it persuaded her to contact me!

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Thak you for a near record-breaking May!

I'll find out tomorrow just how many hits my website received over 200,000 in May, the second highest number we've ever received.

UPDATED: May stat: 205,946 hits.

Last October cp.com received 220,511 - that was while we were shooting THE WHOLE TRUTH. I posted updates as often as I could, given that I didn't have time to sleep, anyway while we were making the film...

Of course, I'm sure it was what I had to say about the shoot as its director-writer-producer that drew you here rather than all the photos and gossip and fun we had with the gorgeous Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Roberts, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton, Pisay Pao, Kristina Lilley...


OK, it's the stars - and they definitely deserve your attention in this film! They're terrific.

Meanwhile, you're tuning in from 104 countries! 104! Thank you so much for reading my website - I hope you have a translator for your language if you don't read English.

The vast majority of you go directly to my blog when you check in; be sure to drop by the home page for new and exciting stuff, too, so you don't miss anything!

Thank you again for dropping by - I feel a special responsibility to you, so I'll be opining here lots more in the coming year.

For day to day stuff, I'm also on Twitter!

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

World Premiere check list

*Examine proof of poster for printing today
*Pick up posters tomorrow
*Deliver posters to places showing them
*Sell out World Premiere June 2 (check!)
*Sell out subsequent screening June 3 (nearly check!)
*Count guest list for private reception
*Finish ordering food for reception
*Make music selections for reception
*Take Seeker in for grooming Saturday - he stinks like a dog and looks tacky ...
*Get squirt guns for Aaron and me to fend off squirrels trying to get into bird feeders
*Schedule quality time with incoming family, friends and stars
*Make sure HD copy is ready for projectionist with Larry
*Check with John Beresford - make sure website is up to date
*Make sure clothes I'm wearing WP night are laundered
*Check with friend to help with makeup for WP night
*Take the hill! (It's a long walk up a steep hill - great exercise!)
*Tai chi to settle the nerves
*Find the present I bought Gary (forgot the "safe place" I put it)
*Get massage and facial Sunday to relax
*Go over schedule with Aaron to make sure I have time for all I have to do
*See a couple films in the festival to support other filmmakers
*Reflect on everything that's happened over the past year for which I am so incredibly grateful
*Reflect on the lessons I've learned about life, filmmaking, art, friendship, love, writing, directing, producing, and cooking. I'm finally learning to cook.
*Enjoy every moment of the celebration for THE WHOLE TRUTH - I've loved even the tiniest minutia of labor, the slightest detail in prepro, production, post and marketing and bask in my new friendships with some of the greatest talent this nation has to offer. I am profoundly humbled.

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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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Friday, May 22, 2009

Sound filmmaking!

When you're watching a film, believe *less* than half of what you hear when Foley artist Jamie "Foley Rambo" Hunsdale creates the sounds you hear on the screen. He works with the sound studio we prefer, Bad Animals.

Foley, (pronounced foal'-ee> is the art/craft of creating sounds that actors and objects appear to make onscreen. In some cases no sound at all is actually recorded when we're shooting, in other cases the microphone catching the scene can't pick up the specific noise needed to make the scene feel real.

Waving an old unraveled cassette tape in front of a high quality microphone, Jamie creates the sound of leaves blowing in the wind.

Scrunching the same cassette tape all bunched up sounds just like footsteps - walking on grass.

Jamie says he has to act out each movement just as the actor does in the film so the sound fits the scene and character perfectly.

Turning the pages of a book, handling a basketball - every boom, buzz, cackle, clack, clang, clank, clap, clatter, crash, jangle and rattle needs to be heard to resonate with the audience - pulling you into the scene.

Something as simple as a character tossing keys into a dish becomes a small production: metals used for keys have to sound like they are just the right size, the right number, the right weight and slide as they would from the distance thrown.

Jamie follows the action on the screen to bring scenes alive with Foley effects - I focus on sound quality for my films because if you can't hear the dialogue and all the action, you don't have the opportunity to feel like you're in the scene. I strive to make you feel like you're right there with the characters.

"Body slams" are tough. How high from the ground is the person on screen when she or he falls? Inside or outside? Alive -- or not so alive?

Here's a progression of Jamie taking off for a landing, and plopping on the sofa cushion to make the sound of a hard body landing!


Something we take for granted - the sound of clothes.

We need to hear someone putting on or removing a jacket, folding his arms in a judge's garment, pulling a coat closely around her neck, cloth rubbing against cloth as someone walks, pants ripping, the sound of a character brushing off lint from slacks or a shirt.

Jamie uses every type of material to enhance your audio experience of a film, helping you imagine you're hearing what you may or may not be seeing. In some cases, we use sound for action off-screen - you'll believe something is happening that you don't see because of the use of sound effects.

Jamie recently had to replicate the sound of a woman walking in sky-high heels for a film.

He understands all too well how much people suffer for fashion!

Restaurant sounds, money exchanging hands, eating, drinking, walking, dancing, just about anything you've seen a character do onscreen has been enhanced aurally by a foley artist.

Here he jumps up and down like a Hobbit to get just the right sound of an actor landing a leap.

My photo caught him just inches before he lands the leap.

What a great time we had shooting his Foley work - I took many more pictures of Jamie creating Foley sounds, but I don't want to make the blog too long and you definitely get the idea by now!

What makes a Foley artist truly superb is his or her attitude.

Well, here's Jamie after doing about a dozen body slams - ready to do a dozen more if it means getting an absolutely perfect sound fit for your film.

Like everyone at Bad Animals, he's a very sound thinking guy.

No wonder we love working with you, Ram- I mean, Jamie!

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Ticket sales are going gangbusters!

Thanks to everyone who's contacted me saying that you've bought your tickets to see THE WHOLE TRUTH's world premiere June 2 - and subsequent screening the next day!

There are still tickets available to buy here. I'll let you know when they're gone - both are expected to be completely sold out soon.

Meanwhile, thanks to our editor Stephen Meyers, here's the online trailer for the film:

Rick Overton narrates. He has a major role (we originally said he "has a large part" but thought better of it ...) in THE WHOLE TRUTH, and does lots of voice work in Hollywood.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH tickets are on sale-NOW!

Here. For everyone!

Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery and other stars in the film - and me! - will be on hand to answer your questions, sign autographs, accept your appreciation for their performances and in turn appreciate your presence at our world premiere when the film ends - it's going to be a party!

My assistant Aaron and I dropped by the room in which THE WHOLE TRUTH will be screened Tuesday, June 2 at 9:30pm and Wednesday June 3 at 4:30pm in the Pacific Place AMC Theatres venue.

It will be on screen #11 which holds 285 viewers. It's a fine, state-of-the-art motion picture theater - there's not a bad seat in the house and the screen is the perfect large movie size. Parking is in the basement of the building and hotels for out-of towners/staters/country are a walk away.

SIFF press screenings are currently shown in that theater; not all the films shown will be screened and therefore reviewed. I hope ours is!

Again .. tickets will go quickly, be sure to pounce when the box office opens; I'm not sure how many SIFF members are aware of our film since it's barely been mentioned in SIFF press releases (they don't know what they're missing!) - so chances of getting general public tickets on Friday are great as long as you get them early!

I hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Your first peek at THE WHOLE TRUTH

Here's a still frame directly from the film.

Elisabeth Röhm stars as acting coach Angela Masters. Here she helps her client and pal Gary Langston, played by Sean Patrick Flanery.

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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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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting the word out ...

Along with all our post production work on THE WHOLE TRUTH - Friday we're setting up the credits, main titles and subtitles for the film - we are just now starting to develop what we need to show distributors and audiences: namely, websites for THE WHOLE TRUTH as well as Heart Break Productionz, with photos that were taken during the shoot, a trailer, bios of the folks involved, a sample of Ragnar Rosinkranz's amazing music and many more exciting tidbits.

We are starting this process earlier than we planned because distributors have already started to contact us about THE WHOLE TRUTH.

My partner Gary Allen Tucci and I plan on having serious meetings with quality distributors with whom we can create a lifelong relationship rather than just trying to sell one film.

We have three features already underway, with our first in the final stages of post production, so we want to establish a strong association with a distributor who understands what we are doing and that we only want to create quality films for our audience.

With Larry Estes as our producer and negotiator - who already knows many of these people - we believe this is a reasonable goal.

The trailer will probably NOT feature a scene from the film.

Instead, we want to give you a scintillating visual promise of the premise that should compel you to see the film, with photos of our brilliant leading lady (Elisabeth Röhm) as Angela Masters, an acting coach gone wild who gives personality transplants - that is, "character transformations" - to criminals, so they can influence juries just enough to acquit them!

When you see the film, you'll see why we don't want to spoil your visual surprises.

If you're familiar with screwball comedies, I've taken the genre and flipped it on its ear. If you are not? Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. This is definitely an original work. If you're a screenwriting or film making student, forget the "shoulds" and see how rules are broken - what fun is it for a writer/director to repeat a "formula script/movie" you've seen a bazillion times?

I also suggest you sip your soda carefully. We've had a few spit take and nose hose incidents during the test screenings, when the film's editing wasn't completed or sound and appearance polished.

If you're so inclined - and of course you find the film as funny as we do - a sturdy pair of Depends might be in order.

Not ... that I ... would ... know ...

Back to work with me!

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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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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Locking the film

This means the editing process is basically - primarily - finished.

Now it's time to pursue two separate and equally important processes: color correcting and sound mixing.

Color correcting means a technician (in our case at Modern Digital post production in Seattle) "equalizes" and enhances each frame of the film's color in a digital program. In some cases, as in one scene we shot - half of a room was shot on one day, the other half the next. Predictably, each half looks different because the lighting cannot be specifically calibrated to make the picture look exactly like the day before for another location.

I'll sit near the technician, asking for exactly the look I need for the film for every frame of the film. Today there are amazing ways to affect the appearance of a movie. But - if the basics aren't already on the film or video when it's originally made, there's only so much that can help the image in post production.

Fortunately, between DP Paul Mailman, Gaffer Ted Barnes (he's the lighting genius) and Grip Greg Smith, our film is knee deep in production values, depth, color and dramatic detail, highlighting not only our actors but the production design work of Rachel Thomson.

With this rich tapestry, we can pull all sorts of magnificence out of every picture.

The other process, sound mixing, is a finite, weeks-long creation of every sound heard as you watch a movie. Music is mixed with sound effects and dialogue and natural sound and Foley creations. Foley is creating a sound that sounds like another sound.

Like in one scene, a brush is painting a creamy concoction. To get the rich juicy sound of what this *looks* like it will sound, editor Stephen Meyers and I got a paper towel dripping wet, folded it into a small square, and I dragged my finger across it. When the brush is supposed to tap the concoction, I tapped my finger on the soaking wet surface.

Or there might be a sound created by the same thing as the actual sound, only in a confined space. Like a character walking across a gravel road. We put gravel in a box and wearing shoes identical or similar to the character's, someone steps exactly at the speed of the actor onscreen as it's recorded.

It's way fun. Stephen and I created a lot of sounds and sound effects; he's the master.

In the mix there are many channels of sound that need to be sorted and scaled so each can be heard appropriately by you. Is Ragnar Rosinkranz' fabulous music up enough when it is to be heard along with natural sound (sound that can be heard naturally where we filmed the scene).

It's an extremely detailed and distinctly subjective procedure led by the director. But sound technician Dave Howe at Bad Animals studio provides the best of the best from which to choose.

It's all very exciting to me. Sitting day after day over a period of weeks for incredibly long hours as each minuscule piece of the acoustical program is put into place, just as the color correcting procedure calls for the director to attend to each tiny element as it is finessed.

I love it when people think what I do is "glamorous." It's just many many many hours of hard work, putting a huge puzzle with a couple hundred thousand pieces together, creating what is commonly known as one's vision.

Directing is such a massively collaborative effort, but there is a basic vision that drives all of us in the same direction. With a little bit of luck, the outcome is a film that you find worth watching - again and again.

I'm thrilled to report that many people who have seen the test screenings of the film say that is exactly what they want to do - see THE WHOLE TRUTH again! All I can say is after our final edit, the color correction and sound mix, it will look and sound many times better than it was when they saw it.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New email for the production!

First, I have to report that the response to my script, The Lonely Goatherd, has been phenomenal. Actors and crew.

More importantly, we have a new production office email address: thelonelygoatherdmovie@hotmail.com. So our poor correspondent who has suffered from receiving our errant emails will suffer no more. Whew.

Right now we're working on getting The Whole Truth ready for meetings with distributors; we'll fly down to LA as soon as the film is as presentable as we can get it. It's a little long now, so editor Stephen Myers and I will streamline it over the next four or five days.

Composer Ragnar Rosinkranz' music is sensational - everyone loves it!

Between The Lonely Goatherd, The Whole Truth and our third screwball comedy project, Spare Change - I'm looking into various cloning methods!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

At last!

My computer has been in the shop getting its AC adapter connection repaired so I have been without access to my blog!

Traveling, writing, visiting relatives, writing, doing more post production work on THE WHOLE TRUTH and writing have pretty much taken my time.

I get to see one of our brilliant actors from TWT perform a lead role this Friday in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - the musical is playing nearby. I love the music and this actress, so it should be a great time.

Lots of folks are emailing me about getting work with us, but here's the scoop: it doesn't help to contact me or send me stuff. All crew are hired through the production office - you can email your credentials to -- an email address that can't be posted here because Blogger.com can't deal with similiar emails sent from a blog. The email with our address is similar to someone else's, so it automatically goes to that someone else. Strange. And inconvenient.

But! We have a website that we will be putting up soon http://thelonelygoatherd.com/ that will have all the information that cannot be posted on blogger.com.

Meanwhile, all actors are auditioned through Complete Casting in Seattle; Rick Pagano and Russell Boast handle all the lead actors auditions in LA.

The crew and actors with whom we will work are excellent. They don't take shortcuts, they're consummate professionals who understand it's the minute details that make all the difference.

The start date for shooting TLG has been pushed, but I'm taking this as an opportunity to do more extremely detailed pre-production work *and* to work out. I need to be in fantastic shape because this is a big film, which will require lots of outdoor hiking, moving, working with animals and all sorts of unexpected physical activities.

I'm actually having a pair of shoes made especially for me so my knees and ankles don't scream at me so much during the shoot, which is expected to last seven weeks. THE WHOLE TRUTH took six weeks.

Post production work continues on TWT, and it only gets better. I'm so so proud of the film, the crew and the actors. The final work - color correction, permanent sound lock, attaching the Heart Break Productionz banner as well as the special opening created for the film - will actually make it look up to 80% better than it does now, using the "low res" editing tapes.

Ragnar Rosinkranz' music is so special, fresh and effective - some scenes that could only be considered "very good" now POP. It's being added now.

After one more secret screening in a regular theater we've rented, we decide what else needs to be "fixed." After those fixes, which take very little time? We work on finishing the locked sounds - sound effects, music, evening the dialogue sound track, etc. That normally takes about three weeks. I won't have to sit in on every session, but for the first several days to get them going and then pop back in toward the end to approve what else is done until it's completed.

Final touches to the picture quality by our friends at Modern Digital post production? And we have ourselves a finished feature film.

I can hardly wait!

Meanwhile, I've outlined the third project we're shooting, SPARE CHANGE, which will be totally different from TLG, which is totally different from TWT.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joyeux Noel!

What a terrific Christmas.

Despite a forced delay to visit my family because flights were cancelled from snow and ice deluged Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the entire region besieged with an unexpected snow storm, leaving many of us home bound? (A state of emergency has been declared by governor Christine Gregoire)

I'm celebrating one of my most enjoyable and memorable holidays ever.

First and foremost, everyone - pets and humans - in my world are healthy; my house is lit up for the holidays with a beautiful, glistening Christmas tree hosting 900 lights; fireplace logs flicker warming flames; sweet scents of the season simmer on the stove; holiday music plays, the three pups and kitty are as affectionate and playful as ever.

Because I'm "stranded" and not with my family, many invitations and good wishes have been sent my way; the roads make it treacherously impossible to socialize, however ... AND ... I promised my producers and editor that I would have my page 1 rewrite of The Lonely Goatherd completed by midnight Christmas Eve. Sure enough, I sent it out last night about 11:30pm. A "page 1" rewrite means that the script is rewritten from .. page 1.

The script's tone, characters, comedy and drama have not overwhelmingly changed, but the structure and overall writing is significantly changed and improved. It's much tighter, stronger, clearer, and I think funnier. So I've been working around the clock to meet my self-imposed deadline.

Mind you, we start filming March 30, so it's not the final version that we'll actually shoot, but it is ready for actors to read who want to consider auditioning or meeting with us when we work with LA Casting Directors Russell Boast and Rick Pagano next month. Producer Larry Estes and I will go to Los Angeles for at least a couple days to see everyone we ask to see and actors who ask to see us.

I *love* auditioning because it is an embarrassment of riches - to see and meet with actors who are so talented, gifted and skilled; actors who bring their own special adaptation of the characters - and especially those who bring their heart and soul to the table.

I appreciate interacting with everyone who has obviously worked hard prepping for our session because they want the role. I respond to all they do that is great and give notes (suggestions) when they're close or perhaps to see if another subtext would nail another character. I especially love people who make it clear they are more interested in an excellent performance than assuaging their ego.

As I recall there was only one person I would consider a "pill," but that was at least an entertaining experience.

I *hate* auditioning because I want to hire everyone who is pill-free. It's painful to tell someone who is clearly a special, insightful and great actor they have not been cast. But I always remember people who impress me, and the last time Larry and I were casting in LA for The Whole Truth, some very well known actors met with us even though there were no roles for which they qualified. They just wanted to meet us, let us know what they're up to and listen to what we're doing. As well as sharing our wishes, dreams and goals. Those meetings were memorable.

That being said, with this rewrite of The Lonely Goatherd finished, I'm free to celebrate! I actually have "free time" to do all the other things I love to do!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

The post production process is going *well!*

I can't say any more than that ...

It's rewarding and exciting.

When I am able to tell you all the things going on behind the scenes, even in retrospective, I shall. Until then, I'll just let you know how it's going overall.

And that is .. very well!

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Um, "The Heart Break Way" is not about being "nice" ....

It's about respecting and appreciating everyone with whom we work.

I realized recently that the Heart Break Productionz philosophy (we call our philosophy "The Heart Break way") of not allowing abusive language or behavior to others on our productions has been misinterpreted to mean that, essentially, because my business partner Gary Allen Tucci and I are "nice," we expect everyone else to be as well.

Um, no.

Here's the deal. Gary is about the most macho person I know. Seriously, he does the Kona Iron Man for fun. He leads massive groups of Teamsters and members of 30 other unions normally known for their tough, strong and protective work and behavior to do extremely dangerous work.

And you'll never hear an abusive word from his mouth.

Likewise, when I'm directing, you won't hear a derisive or abusive word from my mouth.

Because it's not about "nice."

It's about safety.

Gary runs industries that employ thousands of people to work in dangerous life and death environments - repairing, replacing and rebuilding utilities after disasters - electricity, communications, etc.

If one of these people, in the heat of working in downpours, snowstorms, explosions and other threats from human and nature, is verbally abusive to another worker - everyone's life in that vicinity is immediately endangered. They've no longer made their focus the work at hand, but their inappropriate personal biases or uncontrolled anger, which only impedes and intercedes with the high-risk job they are doing.

So somebody says, "Hey, you son of a bitch, move that line over!"

The immediate response is not to move the line, but to respond to the name-caller personally, detracting everyone's focus from where it should be.

The line wasn't moved, it was crossed.

It's all about safety.

In developing a professional, creative environment, actors, technicians, service people, key crew and everyone else involved with making a film need to feel safe in order to do their best work.

So by making people on the production feel safe to go about and do their best work, we are protecting the creative process, which is most vital to me.

The moment an actor feels unsafe because of the way he or she is spoken to or treated? The best performance from him or her is lost unless they have an extraordinary relationship with their director. So in most cases a decent performance might be delivered, but nothing like the person is capable of turning in if they felt safe in the work environment.

To me, that doesn't mean you "spoil" the person. It means treating them professionally, respectfully. Appreciating them and their work, expecting the best from them (behavior and performance) and protecting them from any abuse on the set they might receive from people who might think they can "joke" with them or give them "advice" on how to play a scene or worse, "feedback" about a performance.

Likewise, actors cannot abuse others. There's no reason or excuse for abuse, period.

A creative environment allows for fresh ideas. People feel free to speak up if they see an immediate or potential problem or experience a problem themselves without being on the other end of any retribution.

We can innovate, change things up and improvise to get a better scene without wreaking havoc or pushing anyone's nose out of joint. We're in it together. We make it happen together.

Filmmaking is probably the most collaborative work in the world if it's done properly.

In a safe working environment, people feel free to admit making an error straight away so it can be fixed quickly. Disappointment might be expressed but abuse? Never.

More - a film set is a physically dangerous place. You've read about people being injured and even killed in the news. In addition to possibly injurious sets and props, there are many, many thousands of volts of electricity searing through fat cables; crane shots in windy, rainy weather can be unstable.

Because her director, against the advice of those who knew better, made her look at hyper bright lights, Helen Hunt lost her eyesight for nearly two days during the shooting of TWISTER. What if her eyes had been injured beyond repair?

I've been "accused" of being overly protective of my cast and crew, but really, it's all about creating a professional attitude. No gossip. Respect and appreciate each other so we can create and maintain an environment of safety - protecting not only our physical, emotional and mental well-being, but the creative process and the film itself - which is, or should be, our primary focus.

Make no mistake - there are clear, insightful and sometimes tough love statements made to take care of any issue or problem immediately and properly. Including between Gary and myself. But there's never a doubt of our respect, appreciation, admiration and focus.

We give a great deal of thought to the folks we hire and cast. We've made a few mistakes, and learned from them during the filming of THE WHOLE TRUTH so we're totally on track personnel-wise for the production of THE LONELY GOATHERD.

Respect. Appreciation. They are integral to the definition of being a professional.

They equal not just a great environment in which to work, but a safe place to do what we all love to do most without putting our careers, lives or co-workers in danger. Qualified professionals who understand this work on Heart Break Productionz films.

And we at HBPz think that's really nice.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Opening, closing and credits

We're filling in temporary titles, credits and other written information that will cross the screen starting and ending the film. The permanent titles and credits are added after everything else is finished in post production.

Both are meant to be entertaining ... drawing you in right away and keeping you excited to see what's coming next during its screening and after the film ends.

Editor Stephen Myers and I are looking at it from beginning to end more often now to catch everything we can to tighten, correct, improve, brighten, enlighten, punch up and accentuate.

It appears we will not have to have anyone 'loop' lines .. that is, bring cast members into a sound studio to repeat lines that were somehow lost in the filming process. Our sound mixer Bob Marts is one of the best, and I'm a sound *nut* so while I wasn't counting on it (I've never had to loop any film I've made), I was hoping we wouldn't have to spend the money on looping, but instead on other things that will spice up the look of the film.

The time to have a private screening is coming up .. probably about mid-December .. then last minute touches and it goes in for sound sweetening, color correction and special effects touches. That may all be done in January because of the holidays and scheduling considerations.


Then it is unleashed on you!

Meanwhile, I'm simultaneously doing my usual director's image detail work and script finessing for our next feature, which is starting to feel pretty exciting to me. I've never worked on fewer than three projects at a time - it keeps me excited, focused (believe it or not) and organized. It also keeps me from going into a funk after I finish a project - at least for too long.

I'm so looking forward to casting the new feature - it's going to be so much fun and I'm going to meet such wonderful, skilled, talented actors as well as welcome back at least some of the folks who starred in THE WHOLE TRUTH! But who? We don't know yet, except for Elisabeth Röhm, who will portray one of the most unusual supporting characters ever to grace the silver screen.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Editing is rocking!

Editor Stephen Myers and I are spending our days finessing THE WHOLE TRUTH rough cut - we shipped the version we're refining to our composer Ragnar Rosinkranz in LA to flesh out the score.

We added the cues he sent us to our copy and they're perfect.

Opening and closing themes fit like a glove. Capturing the film's essence in about :30 seconds for the opening is amazing; the closing is longer because it features the credits and a lot of folks worked on the film.

Plus there's a special surprise included with the credits ... and no, I'm not talking about outtakes -- they are so yesterday!

I'm talking about something very fresh, fun, new and a first. Which I think we'll include in all our Heart Break Productionz feature films.

I start finessing the script for the next feature (a comedy) I'm directing this coming weekend. We may be in LA casting the first part of December, heading for pre-production in January.

Back to work!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The music arrives!

Ragnar Rosinkranz's music arrived over the weekend, which means we start working it into the film tomorrow morning!

We'll take a look at the entire rough cut of The Whole Truth, share notes on what we (editor Stephen Myers and myself) need to do to improve it through editing, including inserts of sound effects, tightening, changing what we can. Then we start adding the musical riffs Ragnar sent us.

That will be day #4 of editing.

Day #5 (Tuesday) will be more of the same .. refine, refine, refine. Focusing closely on every visual detail and movement with each pass, listening to every sound - electronically drawn out to catch every minuscule audible modulation.

This is where the film actually gets made ... and of course we can only work with what was actually shot. "Fixes" in post production are, while having much more potential than they did even a few years ago, are still fairly limited unless the film is shot properly.

We have one action scene that will have special effects, but we had to shoot it a specific way and at a certain speed, prepping it for the special effects folks at Modern Digital to modify after we've finished the editing process.

It's all pretty exciting. But our film is not really changing in editing - it's the same story we shot in the same way it was shot. Some films change drastically in editing because there were problems on the shoot. One such film was the award-winning Annie Hall. Most films that undergo such extensive changes in editing are not as fortunate.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Editing is underway!

Editor Stephen Myers and I are in the editing suite, working full days as of Wednesday.

Monday and Tuesday a group of us went on a location scout trip for our new feature, THE LONELY GOATHERD.

Stephen and I did an initial pass through the rough cut of THE WHOLE TRUTH in about 2.2 days; then we started finessing, adding sound effects and tightening scenes as well as putting scenes in more detailed sequence today.

It's fun and very specific, meticulous work. I am extremely focused on the editing process of TWT, but I enjoy working on more than one project at a time, which is why we're moving into developing our next feature, which we should start shooting in Spring, while also creating our third film, SPARE CHANGE, which I'll be writing along the way through TLG.

I'll have some finessing to do of TLG script which shouldn't take long because it's pretty well finished.

One thing about doing comedy - it's fun to re-live the laughter in the editing room. And the performances, which, in this case are uniformly excellent. We were blessed with a genuinely fabulous, talented, skilled cast, who were also a total delight to work with.

I've learned so much from THE WHOLE TRUTH, and look forward to doing it all over again, using my new knowledge, starting up THE LONELY GOATHERD even before we finish this project.

It's all very exciting.

And of course I'll be particularly excited to see what audiences think of the completed version of THE WHOLE TRUTH!

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Confessions ...

Now that the film shooting part is completed for THE WHOLE TRUTH production, I have to tell you some behind the scenes stuff that doesn't necessarily make me the world's greatest comedy writer/director.

It has to do with uncontrollable laughter.

Namely, mine.

I had to bar myself from my own set *twice* for two scenes in which Elisabeth Röhm was performing what was in the script ... and I could not stop laughing. Everyone else was remarkably controlled, wearing muffler scarves in which to guffaw silently, looking at the ceiling as the scene played out, letting tears flow without making a sound.

I tried all those things, and even desperately attempted to "hold it in." I swear at one point I burst a very vital organ because I was in excessive merriment constricting pain the rest of the day. It was like suffering from unexpressed laughter constipation - one just can't back one's self up like that without hurting one's self.

I had to yell "action" and "cut" from a distant location holding a small monitor.

OK, in the name of full disclosure: one of those scenes was performed in a room next to where I was located. Elisabeth had a direct eye line to me and at one point got up from her chair, walked to the door staring at me, and closed it because watching me laugh sent her regaling - preventing her from saying her lines as pathetically as her character was supposed to be feeling.

It wasn't enough. She could still hear me stifling myself through the closed door, so as I say, I moved farther away and fortunately have a very loud voice so the cast and crew could hear "action" and "cut."

Seriously, do Christopher Guest and Frank Oz have these problems?

Elisabeth has a stealth laugh mode. You know she's laughing but she doesn't make a sound. My producer Larry Estes can do the same thing. Larry, his wife Debbie and I went to see Rick Overton and John Fugelsang perform stand-up at a local comedy club. There I was, falling apart at the seams, tears streaming, in genuine pain from laughing so hard, pounding the table with one hand, shielding my head from physical injury by putting my other arm on the table so it would hit only flesh.

Debbie laughed heartily, aloud.

Larry? Seriously, his body was shaking, tears were flowing, the mouth was open .. but not a sound. It was like flying owl laughter. You can't hear owls fly, you know. They're totally silent when their wings "flap." Eeery.

Now, Elisabeth can also make sound, but apparently when it's "appropriate" (whatever the hell that means), she's a stealth laugher.

Eric Roberts is an expressive, audible laugher. I'm proud to say we share that in common.

A few evenings after a long day of shooting a couple of us would get together and plan the next day of production. I would be tired and giddy and suddenly seized with fits of laughter as my colleagues would wait patiently, shaking their heads.

1st Assistant Director Megan Griffiths told passer-by Larry Estes they had no idea how to stop me.

Said Larry, "Watch this."

Tears streaming down my giggling face, I listened closely.

"Vice president Palin," he said, stone faced.

I immediately returned to work, completely focused, not a sound out of this mouth other than the business at hand.

We were all mighty impressed. As was Larry with himself.

Because of course, the election is not funny. It's urgently important that we all participate.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have fought and died over the centuries to achieve our precious right to choose our leaders and decide our future. Women have had the right to vote in the United States only less than one hundred years. Before that, we were not considered "full" citizens and were excluded from taking part in "mainstream" politics.

I mailed my ballot last week.


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Friday, October 31, 2008


Finished the film's "martini" today.

Martini is slang for "the final thing to be shot." Probably from a time when the last thing shot meant everyone went out for a martini.

We were as sad as we were happy - we have had an outrageously good time filming and proud of the quality of our work. Coming to an end may mean more sleep, but it also means we don't see one another at 6:30 am or so every week day, so we're going to miss one another.

Elisabeth Röhm wept as she said good-bye to all of us. Fortunately, our leading lady's last scenes required her to cry. She will be missed terribly, though she's already agreed to be in my next feature, THE LONELY GOATHERD. As I've said so many times here, audiences will love her and be shocked at her comedic acumen, not believing this is actually her first stab at comedy.

Today was also Kristina Lilley's last day - she's on her way back to Colombia. Her fans will also be thrilled with her turn at being a veteran police detective - in Spanish speaking nations all over the world, she is known as a sexy villain or a sexy vixen or a sexy-- you get the idea.

The crew was nothing short of marvelous. When a feature wraps, it's time for celebrations and sweet cards and special gifts.

My partner, Gary Tucci, was on hand to witness the last day of production. That was fun.

I thanked every crew member who made THE WHOLE TRUTH such a professional, smooth, quality production. It was their passion and daily dedication that contributed so heavily to this production's success.

I am an extremely happy writer/director. My vision was realized in ways that exceeded my expectations on many levels and met them spot on in most.

Next task: editing, which I love, alongside veteran comedy film editor Stephen Myers. He has been editing dailies (what we shoot every day) since we started and has been sending very positive reports. He requested only one "pickup" shot throughout the whole production, which we picked up earlier this week. Usually there are several more requests because more is missing in the way of "coverage" necessary to visually tell the story properly.

Thanks to a magnificent cast and crew, the film will, I believe, look and sound terrific, attracting an audience looking for a great time at the movies as well as please film affectionado with its multiple visual and conceptual layers.

Tomorrow night is the "wrap party," with lots of music, dancing and karaoke for the crew and cast members who remain here, as well as my formal thank you speech to one and all involved with the success of this production.

Meanwhile, I'll let you know about ongoing developments for development of THE LONELY GOATHERD as well as the evolution of completion and distribution for THE WHOLE TRUTH -- and news about my new script, our third feature, SPARE CHANGE!

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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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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Only one week left to finish The Whole Truth

Well, actually filming will take another week and two days, but essentially the clock is winding down on all the work left to do to finish our feature film.

In addition to the scenes we have to capture, we have "wild sound" we need to record -- several audio pieces that will be in the film that need to be recorded while the actors and crew are still here, up and running.

Working out of the old (now deserted) Federal Courthouse in Tacoma for seven days was a terrific experience with one tiny exception. No working bathrooms. We were filming on third floor sets and all the offices were located on the third floor, so skipping to the loo meant rushing down by stairs or elevator (lots of essential equipment used that elevator as well) to the honey buckets waiting for us outside the courthouse.

No complaints really, even in the pouring rain we had that "aren't we having fun camping out" sense that got us through with flying colors.

All our stars were totally game for every challenge we have faced, and stayed in great spirits. I love doing comedies because there's lots of laughter.

What's not funny are all the errors made by local media reporting about our feature film. Seems so far the folks writing about us don't really understand how films are made or how the industry works -- thus how very different we are, but they have beliefs about all of it that are apparently unshakable.

We've been reluctant to make ourselves available because it doesn't seem to matter what we say, the same old stuff gets out there with all sorts of built in biases that simply are not factual about the industry or particularly our film.

Yesterday we actually had lunch with a reporter (even though I have absolutely no time to talk with anyone other than staff, cast, crew and family; we made an exception) and sure enough, too much of the same old disappointing stuff appeared.

Interestingly, there is also misinformation galore about the industry within the industry - I found it rampant when I coached actors.

We're very protective of the film's story and characters, which need to be seen for the first time when you see the film or their entertainment value will be devalued. No photographs on set are allowed other than those over which we have control.

Meanwhile, whether from fatigue or the additional complications of finishing the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is our feature film, some very minor frustrations have flared, but fortunately nothing has happened that has interfered with the overall pleasure of working on the film - witness the comments left on my blog by people who have worked alongside us!

And at this rate, we are coming in (finishing the film) on time, under budget and because the film is being edited as we shoot it, the rough cut should be completed a week after our final day of shooting - Oct. 31.

I'm off for a week of vacation after the wrap party -- coming back in time to start location scouting for our next feature The Lonely Goatherd and greeting editor Stephen Myers who will come up to Seattle from LA to finish editing the film. I'll be sitting beside him as we finish assembling the motion picture you will see in theaters next year.

I have learned so much from this shoot -- about myself as well as my directing style.

Nothing has felt stressful or overwhelming, and even with the pathetically few and minor glitches that have crossed my path, I've had the time of my life. My energy has actually increased as time has passed; it's done me good to have all the physical activity I've had in addition to the creative and mental challenges. Laughing several times over the course of every day is not only healing and fun, it's downright inspirational.

Speaking of inspirational - our production designer Rachel Thomson has been a virtual wizard. Everything she designs and that her crew dresses is phenomenal. Every scene presents its own set of problems and challenges; Rachel and her crew have done work worthy of every award given to set designers from her creations on The Whole Truth. I can hardly wait for you to see them.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

After one month of shooting..

The production continues to move along beautifully - the film looks fantastic.

Working with Eric Roberts is nothing short of a wonderful experience. Fun, professional, personable and wow - his performance must be seen to be believed.

The crew and I have been working very long late hours every day/night this past week, and have a couple more coming up. Courtroom scenes, action scenes, night scenes.

As if she could, Elisabeth Röhm continues to be more and more hilarous, gaining more comedy chops and pulling them out of who knows where.

Sean Patrick Flanery's work is finished. His fans, honestly, will be completely and totally shocked at his work. Trust me. The guy is a million laughs.

We're 2/3 finished, only two more weeks to go. We are all going to miss each other terribly when this film is in the can - cast and crew. But we have the wrap party to celebrate everyone and everything we've done.

I continue to have the time of my life. I'm doing everything - Eric is especially appreciative of all I'm doing. The guy's been acting since he was 5 years young. Seriously.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Half of THE WHOLE TRUTH is told!

We finished up day #15 of our 30-day shoot, and it was full of good spirits!

The weather was with us - beautiful and sunny with an autumnal crispness in the air - as we shot an exterior scene in the middle of Seattle. Lots of people saw what we were doing and recognized Elisabeth Röhm, even though she was wearing a costume that was supposed to "disguise" her character!

A couple of elderly women approached Sean Patrick Flanery, not recognizing him, asking, "What's happening?"

Typically, SPF responded, "Well, the stock market is taking a real hit now, but if you just sit tight, in another three weeks or so the Dow will-"

Whereupon they interrupted him with, "No! We mean what's happening *here!*" Of course he told them we're making a movie, that it's a comedy and it's called THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Interestingly, throughout this venture, lots of folks think I'm from Los Angeles/Hollywood. Nope, even though I've been told for years that the only way to do what I am currently doing is to move to LA, I've stayed in Seattle because I love my life here.

Now I *really* love my life here because I'm able to do what I love, make a living and create films I hope you will want to see over and over!

For the next week, we're shooting in Tacoma - 30 miles away - so I'll be living in a hotel there since I have to be at work by 5:30a.m. My personal assistant Matt Schmidt will keep the home office fires burning, take care of my pups and kitty, as well as taking care of me at the shoot.

Part II, coming up. And we're all looking forward to it.

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