Friday, April 29, 2005
The Good, the Badger, and the Ugly
In the wee hours of the morning
(rather, Thursday night before I'd turned in),
I received the following information:
From: Glenn Thomas
Date: Friday, April 29, 2005 12:39:03am
Subject: Immigrants screening
I know the question is on all your minds about the screening times of our films tomorrow and when The Immigrants will be shown, but to tell you the truth, even at this late time, nobody really knows for sure.
Seems every manner of glitch, bug, gremlin and monkey wrench has been thrown into the final mixing process and has resulted in some sleepless nights for our sound designers (only two for the whole class).
Immigrants is one of the lucky ones and has not been as severely affected as a few of my classmates.
What it all means is that because we're waiting on movies still being finished, the lineup for the screening is now an unknown...
Immigrants will definitely be shown I just can't tell you exactly when.
Last I heard, it will come on somewhere in the middle... sorry I can't be more precise.
At any rate, the screening begins at 11:00 and continues to 4:00 with a 45 minute break at 2:00.
They've added another hour in anticipation of a lot of submissions coming in, but with the way it's going now, who knows?
Graduation ceremony will begin at 5:00.
Anyway, didn't mean to scare anyone off, just wanted you to know that nobody knows anything in this town.
The show will go on regardless.
I arrived for the graduation for the LA Film School May 2005 graduating class around 10am.
I staked out a few seats for myself, Oriana and the Farris family.
I brought with me the August 10, 1947 edition of the
New York Times
newspaper, which I had acquired a few of weeks ago as a quasi-joke Director's Gift
(also as an indication of my faith this could be made as a feature).
The box in which it came was easily long enough to Reserve Two Seats without question
(my Blue Bag took over another two seats).
I was not really surprised I was not the first person there.
Glenn arrived and told me that there were still one or two films on which were being worked.
They had a program, the copies of which were still being printed, and it was a near certainty the order of the films showns would not follow the order the programs would be listing.
Glenn received a call and learned that Oriana was working on a project, doing pick-up shots, and could not attend the LAFS screening.
Glenn's family arrived, and I was introduced to his mother, aunt, uncle, and (at the break), his startlingly tall brother Tom.
("Wait a minute: your parents actually named you 'Tom Thomas'...?"
"No, actually I named me that...")
Kyle arrived with Laura and Brett, along with some of their own relatives.
Kyle pointed out he was actually in two films being shown today: The Immigrants and
Michael Drobinski's Lovin', Touchin', Eatin',
which Brett (quite accurately) predicted was going to Be Very Strange.
Things ran late.
The films didn't really get started until almost 11:30am.
Director of Education
(a pleasant fellow to whom Glenn had introduced me),
introduced the proceedings, apologizing for the delay and adding the disclaimer that some films were finished even as of This Morning, so some of the short films could have a few glitches (editing-wise and/or sound-wise).
As when I saw the LAFS screening for
Behind the Curtain,
it was amusing to see the same crew names
(albeit in different aspects),
through the various films, depending on which ones on which they'd worked.
The student films were everything from innovative and dazzling, to one or two being a bit lame.
To the surprise of myeslf and the Farrises, another of Glenn's films was shown: a modern-day excerpt from Shakespeare's
Taming of the Shrew.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that another of Glenn's films being presented.
He'd not mentioned it (that it was being shown or that he'd even made it).
Set modern day, it was an early scene between Kate and Bianca, interupted by their father.
It was Glenn's first projects (he later related during the break), and he had learned much since then.
Now it was a bit painful for him as some of the editing could have been tighter.
But I pointed out something.
As I watched the scene, I kept wondering why the father looked so familiar.
There was something about him.
Then in the ending credits I'd noticed he was played by my friend
I told Glenn that David and I had worked together on the
USC Subaru project.
Having noticed David wasn't there, at the break I asked Glenn if David had indicated being unavailable, to which a rather embarressed Glenn realized he'd been so pre-occupied with completing
that he managed completely to overlook notifying David about the screening...!
Some of the early shorts were uh, rather... intense.
Certainly for young Kyle.
While amusingly, he obviously didn't catch the reason for everyone laughing at the 90 second The Chicken and the Egg short (in which a man wearing a chicken suit [from the neck down], lights up a cigarette, his unsatisfied female companion [wearing an egg costume], rolls over growling, "Well, at least we've answered that question..."), there were trailers made for student horror films shown later in the program.
Kyle is not a horror film fan.
There were also films based on scenes from movies, including
City of Angels.
City of Angels
is one thing, but the scene of Father Karras meeting the possessed Reagan for the first time was a bit unnerving for Kyle.
Eventually Laura left with her becoming-restless daughter, along with Kyle; I thought to the bathroom.
After several films had gone by, I leaned over to Brett who related Laura would bring them back later, at the break.
At my concern Kyle could miss our film if it was shown suddenly, Brett assured me that he and Laura had clarified that the order of films was following the listed program, so as they'd announced the break to be around 2pm, they deduced The Immigrants would show after the break.
One of the films, Avery's Choice, seemed strangely familiar, until I realized I was recognizing the lines: it was the other film for which I'd auditioned within the same couple of days when I'd auditioned for The Immigrants:
Michael Drobinski had been its producer, which is how I got both auditions.
As it was, the fellow who was cast was an excellent choice.
Far more than I he looked the part of a college teacher to whom
(at least two),
female students would be very attracted.
The audience noted that 2:00pm arrived.
Having well passed two hours of sitting and watching movies, the final short at the end of the one o'clock hour concluded, and people began to get up, not even waiting for the auditorium lights to come up.
They were wrong.
The next film began.
To my horror (as Kyle and Laura were still gone),
The Immigrants started up.
Brett and Kyle's relatives were able to see it, but I/we felt bad Kyle missed it on The Big Screen, particularly with the enhanced sound Glenn had mentioned.
Extra tracks had Oriana's extra in-mind voices bouncing eerily from all four corners of the auditorium.
The CG effect added onto Kyle's eyes was great.
Glenn had indeed described it accurately, I'd just not been able to visualized what he meant.
I think it was Brett who overheard someone wondering aloud of they'd used contacts on Kyle.
I was surprised that I didn't hear Oriana's "burn out" reference at the very end, as I was sure I'd heard it the other day viewing the film before I started my ADR session.
When I later broached Glenn about it, he wasn't sure if it'd been removed or not: he'd not authorized such a removal.
Jim Tucker was not in attendance, and "probably" good thing too.
Apart from being an actor and stand-up comedian, he is also an LAFS film student, so the class all knows him.
Glenn had shifted the script a bit.
Instead of opening with "archival film footage" explaining the historical background and Ryder's backstory, Glenn had Oriana do some voice-over'ing somewhat explaining what was going on.
As a black and white flashback of sorts, we see Ryder
at their meeting, as Oriana explains Her Mission.
Her Mia character indicates her target is Ryder, and clarifies, "Brandstetter: he's nothing; he's useless to us."
When this line was heard, it came across (very unintentionally) as hilarious to the class and those who know him, as they saw Jim Tucker being called "nothing" and "useless."
I actually watched for the Jim Tucker Jacket Colour Change and still didn't notice it.
Impressions at 24fps: Making of The Immigrants
was shown directly after
Then came the break.
Impressions at 24fps: Making of "The Immigrants"
was technically a documentary, but became all but a piece of poetry.
I thought it was being narrated by Glenn, until I saw the end credits
(I'll name the voice-over actor when I get the DVD: both The Immigrants and the Impressions at 24fps: Making of "The Immigrants" will be included).
Just as The Immigrants is set in 1947,
Impressions at 24fps
had a 1940's film noir flavour to it, its narration caressing the concept of using film-over-video almost like the classic hard-nosed detective describing the Dame With Gams That Don't Quit.
Simone assured me that due to the time-crunch, the end credits were just spartan enough to get by: they would be redone so as to credit those in the film, including but not limited to the cast of The Immigrants.
He (and Glenn) concurred this legitimately adds another credit to my resume.
Throughout the majority of the break I got numerous congratulations and praises from those who'd just seen me in
One pleasant woman,
also requested of me my contact information so she could have me audition for
her own LAFS thesis film.
I also came across
who related that
Behind the Curtain
had indeed won an award
Beverly Hills Film Festival
for Best Screenplay!
They had no word yet as to results regarding the recent screening in Rome, Italy.
As we deduced, the rest of the films generally were comedies.
A couple of demo reels had footage from the earlier shown horror films and Kyle had to avert his eyes.
Thankfully, most were funny.
Indeed, Michael Drobinski's
Lovin', Touchin', Eatin'
turned out to be a hilarious, very dark surreal comedy (complete with musical numbers).
Some of it was a bit Too Adult for Kyle to catch, which was okay (plus, his Young Rick character ends up [in a bit of high school stage show type exposition] having been Rick Springfield).
One thing really cracked me up (as it did the rest of the audience).
Anyone who knows me knows I can
just about anything.
This film managed to do its own MSTie line just as I was thinking it!
After the leading lady and the man with whom she'd had a great date meet at the office and he far more cool to her than she'd have liked, she awkwardly goes to her own office.
She returns after a bit and says
(sorry if this is slightly paraphrased),
"I really want to apologize for that scene before."
Just as my mind MSTie'd her comment, the fellow reads my mind, saying aloud My Thought, "Yeah I know... bad writing..."
The whole film was hilarious great: I'm really temped to ask Michael if I can obtain (or at least borrow) a copy of its finished DVD.
When the student films were completed, I collected discarded copies of the program left around the auditorium, so I could mail copies to relations back east and to various friends around the country.
I stayed for the official graduation ceremony, watching Glenn Thomas and many of the crew for
receive their completion certificates.
Afterwards there was congratulations all around.
Glenn showed me the prototype press kit he had compiled, including but not limited to our headshots and bios, behind the scenes photos, and production notes.
These will be for film festivals and the like.
Glenn confirmed that the "poster" shot for the day's program was not to be the DVD cover art.
The photo is a close-up of Oriana behind the wire-frame cage.
Her face takes up the whole photo.
I pointed out that if one didn't know right off she was in a cage, the slightly unfocused wire looks more like scar tissue across her face.
After saying my farewells to Glenn (and just before I left for home), Glenn's family and I ended up chatting a bit more.
They wanted to know in what to watch for me.
I told them how this coming Tuesday, May 3rd, will air the episode of
on which I worked.
Only one of them had seen the
movie, but they'll watch it now to see me as the Milkman.
We concurred how recent movies tend to depart from their source material.
Tom Thomas relayed having read all of the
books two or three times each... aloud... for his children.
He indicated even having met JK Rowling!
He was at the last midnight book-release party for
and will most likely be at the one for