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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Glenn Thomas's
LA Film School grad student film
The Immigrants

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Cast; rehearsals
December had been a busy month. I had auditioned for two LA Film School projects and down at USC. I got a call from Michael Drobinski at the LA Film School, for a project for which the previous weekend I'd auditioned, and he invited me to play the lead character [Jasper] Cuthbert in the project The Immigrants, a science fiction short in which I would portray quite a dark, villainous character, capturing fugitives from the future when they arrive in our present day.
It would be shot on location and on a sound stage, currently set to shoot within the time frame of January 12 through the 19th, 2005, and the full script would be emailed to me in a day or so.
A bit of a time jump here (what with then-recently working on an episode of the presumeably never-aired Just For Kicks, and an episode of the one-season series Blind Justice, et al...); the Immigrants script was received and a couple of rehearsals were scheduled. During the first read-through meeting at LAFS (Tuesday December 21), I happened to espy walking by film maker/producer Rita Rani who I'd met at a film festival screening of my first student film Solo and who later produced the dazzlingly impressive Behind the Curtain in which I played Salerno in the comically awkward play-within-the-play.
I didn't get right up and go out to the hallway when she and I spotted each other (later I'd discover I should have done so). We did "arrange" as best we could that as I was scheduled to be there the next night, she could bring my DVD copy for Behind the Curtain right there.
At the end of this first The Immigrants rehearsal, writer director Glenn Thomas offered to take my co-star Oriana Oppice and me out to dinner. (As she had family in from Chicago for the end-of-year holidays), Oriana was unavailable, so Glenn and I went around the corner to Shwabb's and got better acquainted over a good meal. It was then I learned that we were next having a rehearsal the following night but the next week's Wednesday. Oops. I went home and found I did not have Rita's number: I emailed her with the last email address for her I had (giving her the new rehearsal date information), but never did hear back.
We had a few rehearsals after then, once at the end of December during which, Glenn indicated still seeking the boy to play young silent William. Eventually, Glenn had managed to enroll a young actor but he was still not available so a rehearsal tentatively scheduled this date (January 6th) was cancelled.
We had a rehearsal scheduled for Monday, January 10 (now into 2005), but Oriana became unavailable, so I got a call over the previous weekend that that rehearsal was being moved to Tuesday the 11th.

Monday, January 10, 2005
The Uninvited
One thing Rita was unable to impart to me during the time first read-through in late December was there had been a scheduled evening screening of Behind the Curtain around that time. I do not (yet) have the exact date of that event, but when I called today to update my payment information at Hollywood OS I was using at the time, John told me he had seen (me in) Behind the Curtain at an evening screening "a few weeks" earlier at the LA Film School (not surprisingly, he said it was the best of the four films screened that evening).
Understandably I rather wish I'd have known/been notified about that screening, not merely to attend but to notify others...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Meeting William
Mike had paged me and I called him back confirming that tonight's rehearsal was at 6:30pm. He indicated how another crew member would call in sort of a second AD position or such. That morning I received a page (without a return phone number), indicating the rehearsal was at 6pm. As this had generally been our regular meeting time, and no other messages beyond that, I arrived at 5:50pm to see the posted rehearsal sign (on which security insists), saying the rehearsal as being at 5:30...!

I raced up and found that they had been rehearsing the earlier scene with our new cast-addition Kyle Farris (playing the son William), there with his affable father Brett. So thankfully my presence wasn't immediately required.
The rehearsal went okay. Kyle has a similar sort of a classic-Virgo'esque "baby face" of the leader über-kid in the original British black and white classic Children of the Damned (without the platinum blond hair), and Glenn indicated some CGI work is planned to be done in post for William's scripted "genetically engineered" eyes.
So Friday call is at 7:30am (for the soundstage work), are as all days but the two that we're on location. Sometime tomorrow Glenn and I will arrange my stopping by to be photographed, then with PhotoShop he can drop my head into the photo which is found by Oriana's character Mia.

Friday, January 14, 2005
Comedy of Errors
The night before while at the movies, I finally got a pager message confirming there was no rehearsal.
So this date became Day One of the six day shooting schedule.
With my large folding chair, I arrived at about 6:45am for my 7:30am calltime. I went into the LAFS sound stage to find they were "barely started" getting the set done.
Later in the day I learned what had happened.
The students filming in the other side of the sound stage were to have been completed their shoot early Wednesday, giving our crew late Wednesday and all of Thursday to build the set. The students filming in the other side of the sound stage were not completed until Thursday, forcing our crew to start building the set late Thursday. Horrifically, they had had to pull an all-nighter constructing the cellar room set, a few of whom were sent home in the wee hours to get some amount of sleep, and they returned around 6am to return to getting the job done.
Glenn had a few reservations himself, mostly as the metal gate neglected to have a pad-lock'able drop-latch. What they had was not constructed to fall easily, and once in place, it would be awkward to open - and there was no way for it to be locked (which is a rather integral story point). There was also a substantial lack of Clutter on the set, considering it's supposed to be a barely-used cellar storage room. Some set dressing got added later, but the rather ludicrous lock annoyed both Glenn and myself. The prop girl insisted there were none to be found, having (only) checked one Home Depot and an OshGosh (sp).
What with the adage my friends use ("This why we have a Badger..."), at the 2:30pm lunch break (after I had foraged for food for my own lunch, as only Subway sandwiches were provided [though the next day onwards they did get stuff I could actually eat]...), I had Glenn bring me up to the school's Internet room, where within 90 seconds I had found several local chain-link fence places nearby. I called them myself, finding one that was two and a half miles away who would even stay open late if we were really coming. The prop girl was sent to obtain the ten dollar'ish item. After two hours, she did not return.
Today home-schooled Kyle was with his pleasant mom Laura (an employment-law attorney).
With our make-up girl DeLaney Henry, (with her lilting Tennessee accent), we were able to keep ourselves amused while we waited.
We quickly discovered, for a 1947-set period piece, there was no one doing hair! This may not seem like much, but the film is set in August, 1947 (on the 10th, to be precise), and Oriana wasn't sure how to do her impressive mane of hair into 1940's style, nor does DeLaney do hair. At the end of our "photo shoot" the day or two before, Glenn suggested my hair be slicked back (which was a good call as my hair does have a mind of its own and it's getting to its self-sentient stage...), and I assured him I had no problem with the project's hair person trimming my hair. But now there was no hair-person to provide any gel or hair trimming or anything.
So my hair is just... my regular hair, as combed down as uncooperatively as it would go.
(At least for the prop photo Glenn darkened my hair to make me look like the photo had been taken years earlier...)
The wardrobe was being handled by the same prop person, and despite Glenn's initial instructions (a plain shirt and pants), she provided a li'l suit for Kyle, big enough that even after "taking it in" (using staples and duct tape), the thing made Kyle look like a ventriloquist dummy (and with so much duct tape inside the pant legs, Kyle could only walk as though he was perpetually in need of a bathroom or being Torgo from Manos: The Hands Of Fate...). Laura scooted out to Ross (which had nothing usable), then down to Target where she was able to acquire a nomimal shirt and pants that were the style Glenn originally still wanted.
So we were also without anyone to do hair, considering Oriana's hair needed to be done up in 1947 style. I even called my resourceful and reliable friend Kara, who it turned out would have made herself available had she been given notice. But initially I had called her to ask her, apart from if they knews anyone there who could do 1940s hair, if she/they knew where locally one might acquire an On The Day You Were Born type newspaper. I had thought the art designer crew would have thought of that. They hadn't (and they'd had weeks to procure one). Minta relayed to Kara for me that she felt possibly one of the many tourist trap shops on Hollywood Boulevard might have them (I checked them on the way home and found none). D'oh.
DeLaney did her best with Oriana's hair, slightly done up a la Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz fashion.
Originally we had two scenes to shoot. With the constant delays we managed to shoot most of one scene and none of another, though the other is just a transitional scene of our coming down some steps. Most likely we can get that in tomorrow.
For the photo "of me" with some Nazi-SS type people, Glenn has Photoshopped my head over Hitler's (I had scooted over to LAFS a few afternoons earlier, and Glenn took a few digital portrait photos). It looked both creepy and cool. While it should look fine for the film, on the most cursory examination it is very comically obvious my head was not the original head on that body.
My and Oriana's acting and reactions to each other during the shoot were substantially though predictably different than in rehearsals, as our Performance Energy kicked in.
A lot of mineral-oil smoke was used, so while it will make the scene look diffused on screen, to us on set it looked like Mulder and Scully were about to come in with their flashlights blazing.
We wrapped for the day at 5:30pm. I checked the Hollywood Boulevard shops on my way home to no avail for a 1947 novelty newspaper.
We can only hope our prop person is okay and/or acquired the right gate latch so we can use it tomorrow (and subsequent days, obviously...).
I spoke with Glenn asking if the CGI was going to expand Kyle's made-wider irises to encompass his entire eye during his telepathic mental incursions, a la the BEK phenomenon, a creepy story about which Glenn was unaware, regarding actual demonic-like Black-Eyed Kids.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Letting the Dark Side come out to play...
Back east I performed at Seton Hall's Theatre-in-the-Round as Peter in a six performance production of the British mystery thriller Murder In Mind, in which I played Peter, the most sociopathic character I've ever played. At its cast party my leading lady admitted that in every single performance she felt she was in physical fear for her life and safety. I assured her I would never have hurt her and, based on results, that was the case as I never did. She understood that on a theoretical level, but I was So Very Scary she still feared for her life.
Friends who saw it were utterly creeped out, and my reassuring them I was only letting the Dark Side Come Out And Play did not really placate them. As they put it, "Yeah, but now we know It's In You..."
Jasper Cuthbert is the second most evil villain I've played. Okay well, maybe tied for second, what with playing Barnaby in a production of the orignal operetta Babes In Toyland...
Orianna told DeLaney and me that she's only been in Los Angeles less than three months and she has had very little acting experience. Initially she was strongly studying international law. But back in Chicago, when she'd taken an acting coarse or two, her teacher urged her to get to LA.
Had she not revealed this I'd have thought she was extremely experienced and/or well trained. She and I play quite well off each other, and we joked at how much time in the locked cage she spent. The cage, mostly its ceiling, was so (rather dangerously) jury-rigged that at one point a support came undone at her cage-door shaking, and swung down suddenly, smacking (and bruising) her arm (she was lucky it wasn't her head).
We've each found our characters; I found it interesting that our line deliveries had shifted. I became far more nastier than I had been in rehearsals, and Orianna was very believable. The majority of our shots were done in two to three takes, the latter take of which was For Safety (in case the first one had any technical problems).
Kyle remained good, apart from ever so slightly whimpering when he had a knife to his throat (imagine!). While technically this would be understandable, his character is quite mute, presumably even without vocal chords.
We wrapped again at 5:30pm, but the day seemed longer for some reason. It was never boring. We got to filming right away and I'm pretty sure we got done today all we wanted to do. It just seemed if we checked the time, not a whole lot of time had passed.
For the scheduled 1:30pm lunch, pizza was provided for most, and (on learning I don't eat pizza), correctly-ordered McDonalds was provided for me. Unfortunately... we actually broke for lunch at 2:00pm, so by then everything was pretty much cold. Ew.
So finally the cage-door latch was the right sort, but at first in the day it wouldn't let the gate close. They switched it around to the frame side and it was able to latch. Plus its padlock hole was too small so we couldn't use the big mega padlock Glenn had; we had to use a smaller, rusty-brown painted standard Masterup so padlock. However, once they repaired and resupported the cage roof, one of their new supports blocked the risen latch; it wouldn't stay up. In the pick-up shot of my locking the gate (shot at the very end of the day after Orianna just been wrapped for the day), I physically had to hold the latch up just so I could close the gate.
Glenn also allowed me to use surgical gloves for the latter half of the scene, from when Mia Sina and William (Orianna and Kyle) are captured. This I had suggested/requested for two reasons: one was for a more creepy aspect of the Cuthbert character, and secondly, my fingers are so not for close-ups and I anticipated that some pick-up shots would involve close-ups of my hands.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Expo '47...
Today We shot most of the coverage for the second half of the cellar sequence. This included but was not limited to my lengthy expositional speeches, as well as my Cuthberts's come-uppance.
Kyle was wrapped at eight hours; initially I was wrapped just before 6pm, but they had a camera problem (I'd barely begun to change out of wardrobe), so I scooted back for that to get handled. I was wrapped more around 6:15pm'ish, and Orianna was wrapped about 6pm herself.
The camera being used is a massive Panavision 2000 camera (35mm) from the late 1960s, early 1970s. Apparently after my close-up and when I Was Wrapped, it was noticed that the film got Bunched Up or so. They had to manually wind the film (delving the sound stage into as close to pitch darkness as they could to do so).
They then reshot my close up a couple of takes: good thing I'd not gotten my wardrobe changed before they realized it.
Although there have been line fumbles, we really have had only one real Out-Take. Orianna hurls an item out of frame, across the room where it shatters. To be dramatic (and from my POV this really works), she doesn't take her eyes off mine when she hurls it (she destroys it to prove a point). A grip was set to catch it so that (a) it wouldn't break off camera, and (b) to eliminate the sound of it hitting something.
We did a few rehearsal runs, the camera over her shoulder so unless she tossed it over her shoulder she'd never hit the camera. In our second take, she threw it as she glared into my eyes. With a resounding thunk it bammed into one of the set walls. For an instant I thought she would simply carry on but a wonderful sputtering laugh erupted from her. Glenn and I have been semi-joking about the DVD (copy).
So far the DVD was to have the finished film, audio commentary track, still photo gallery, Simmone Bartesachia's documentary Impressions at 24fps [aka Making of The Immigrants], Deleted Scenes if applicable, and Outtakes.
Eventually Glenn provided me with his design of the dvd menu for the "deluxe" DVD version... that was never produced.

Monday, January 17, 2005
Orianna's almost-missed close-up
The final day at the sound stage, I arrived at 6:40am for my 7:30am calltime.
Due to the film bunch-up, we re-did the shots it was deduced that may have been affected.
Orianna and I each "suffer" from after-lunch drowsiness; added with that the closeness and heat of the sound stage along with the mineral smoke, I was horrified and aghast that I was tripping over a few more lines than I've ever done for a student film or would ever do live on stage.
Orianna had a few flubs, and while not as bad as I, her best was a great Out Take in which, during a close up, she was saying her li'l speech and without a change in inflection added with the same smile, "I forgot the rest of my line..."
As the next day was the on-location shoot way up in Canoga Park, the Farris folk weren't sure how to get there. I acquired the address and (as This Is Why Y'Have A Badger), was taken up to the computer room to Yahoo! Map its directions, and see if I could it as well.
This mission was thwarted by a bitterly obtuse security dweeb who looked less of a rent-a-cop as much as an unbathed fugitive from the INS. I was told by the crew this guy, named LaVerne, was nasty and obnoxious to everyone, particularly students. I guess being named after a female character from a 70's sitcom may have something to do with the guy's nastiness. At any rate, the moustached little power-tripped Argus Filch wannabe did allow the student that had come up with me to touch the computer keys, so I quickly talked him through the sites and addresses (with dickweed LaVerne hanging over us to make sure I didn't breath too much of the same air in the room).
The week of on-set work was enough that I was surprised I didn't barrage the guy with extremely barbed and politically incorrect comments. Of course, probably as there were students in the computer room already may have played to my "diplomacy." Learning the printer wasn't working, I quickly hand-wrote the driving directions for the Farrises; I found the early morning bus schedule not to my liking (I'd have to take three buses, beginning at 3:13am, to get there by 5:15am). I figured I'd just show up at 4:30am for the 4:45am carpool up from there.
Lunch was from some nearby BBQ place: as many people wanted fries, they were supplied in abundance.
Sort of.
Of the varied saucy and spicy stuff, the fries were pretty much all I expected to eat. So I ate a goodly portion, expecting to get seconds when the errand in the computer room was done. On my return, the rest of the fries had been consumed.
After Kyle was wrapped for the day at around 3:15pm or so (he'd had a 9am call), Orianna and I worked on the re-shoot scenes. I also realized something and foresaw Glenn in an editing bay looking over his coverage footage. The image did not bode well in my head. As again, This Is Why Y'Have A Badger, I delicately asked Glenn, "Did you shoot any coverage of Orianna with her exiting-the-cage speech? Unless I miss my guess, haven't you so far only shot the back of her head for those lines?"
Glenn stood silently: I could see his mind rewinding what was filmed. I was sure the coverage had been of my Being Stopped. I was only mostly sure: for all I know they could have done a pick-up shot without my being there. But he gratefully realized I was correct and decided he'd try to get to it. It didn't take long for him to deduce he had to get it, thanking me as he concurred it would not have gone well to find out too late that such important lines were of the back of her head.
It was during this pick-up shot that Orianna did her Forgotten Line Out Take.
Orianna was wrapped and I just did a few insert shots of picking up the toy boat from the table. We managed not to recall precisely which hand I used, though I was leaning towards my having used my left hand. When I am In Character, I've learned I tend to Become Left Handed. So we shot it in a single take As A Series: after the clapboard (and it was MOS), I just picked it up with one hand and put it down; picked it up with the other hand and put it down and picked it up with both hands (the least likely but y'never know). All bases were covered.
I was wrapped around 4:30 and once home and on my roommate's computer checking email through now casting, I found I had been auto-set up for an audition Wednesday evening anywhere starting at 6pm, regarding a USC comical project for which I'd submitted. I confirmed that I'd be there that evening as I knew Wednesday morning the last of which we'd be doing for this was our going down the block and filming a transitional scene of our decending a stairwell. I'd already updated my acting resume to reflect my work on The Immigrants, so my headshot and resume are all set.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
On location
I arrived at the LA Film School at 4:30am; the crew that was transporting equipment up were getting the stuff. The night before once home I'd realized I'd left behind my folding chair. I'd even had it folded and packed into its carrying bag and then proceeded not to take it home.
The side door was opened (I thought by a crew member), and Mike indicated I could go in to retrieve my chair. I scooted up and stopped short at the door, waiting patiently. Clearly not patiently enough as a very large (most likely deliberately) bald "security" guard of sorts in a loose white t-shirt was setting the door not to close. He began to berate me verbally (despite being a full head taller than I, based on results I must have frightened him considerably). Repeatedly calling me "homey," he demonstably confirmed that LA Film School hires their security from Beligerants R Us...
As frightened animals can be as dangerous as injured ones, I let one of the crew members go in to fetch my bag, as the "guard" continued verbally to reiterate his substantial fright of my sudden appearance next to him. I must have been oh so terrifying to him (who I would normally of thought could snap me in half like celery). Guess you really can't judge a book by its cover.
The U-Haul was set, and as a convoy, Anthony drove me up to the location along with Cezar. We arrived there a little past 5am at the Pharmacy at Roscoe at DeSoto. Its soda fountain area was perfect; I later learned a lot had been dressed up/added the night before. Wall frames indicated this place has been used for several films, including but not limited to Matchstick Men (not the scene in which I worked).
As we had to vacate before twelve noon, the crew moved on its mission. At first we were working with close-ups. The showing me of the boat drawing was another Series, so as the camera ran we passed the piece of paper back and forth like kids in a classroom. As with most of our sound stage work (certainly at least in the mornings...), Orianna and I were back to being one-take wonders, a second take generally being For Safety.
Kyle arrived and shots were expanded to include him. My work was done very quickly as all I had to do was enter frame, my three lines of dialog with Orianna, and lead them off screen. Again, one-takes and moving on. As I was done barely after 9am, I just hung out, browsed the humourous greeting cards in the store, and actually bought some stuff that was on sale (hey, December coloured M&Ms are still M&Ms...), etc.
I also drowsed, so I confess I overlooked the interchange with Orianna's Mia and the actor playing Ryder I never officially met (nor was I introduced to the actor playing the soda jerk).
A couple of days earlier Jim Tucker had been enrolled into playing Brandstetter, but Dawn Christie brought to the tall and solid stand-up comic actor a suit that would probably just about fit me. They managed to find another larger shirt into which he could fit.
When Orianna had to cry, she sure did, and copiously so. She let loose big time, ending up drenched in her own tears. This actress just amazes me with her natural acting skills and talent.
Kyle's collapse was a little comical to watch, but on film in context it should look pretty impressive.
We did wrap for the day on time: Kyle was wrapped around 11am and got his applause. The actor playing Ryder was wrapped at the same time and got applause, and Mike (who was announcing actor-wraps), noted me and, pointing to me, added, "And let's hear it for Geoffrey... who's actually been wrapped for hours...!"
As stuff and props were loaded up, some items I thought were actually the store turned out to be provided props. Three of which were tall glass containers with varied candies including but not limited to a large glass container filled to capacity with (very fresh) Good'n'Plenty! I asked after it (as I certainly couldn't see it going to waste), and Dawn said Glenn had bought it. Glenn said the art crew bought it, so as neither couldn't figure out who owned it, they let me take it.
Brett and Kyle had already left, and Glenn offered to take Orianna and me out to lunch, but Orianna had an audition. It was decided we'd get lunch the following day. Anthony was going to drive me back, when we came across Perry Auch (pronounced OW-k) in the parking lot. I neglected to mention that the other day (before the 4th floor hobgoblin realized I might understand computers), with PA Jeremy Heitman, Perry came up to the computer room with me and the two watched an online student film of mine, the Subaru contest-winning spec commercial Business Trip.
So it turns out Perry lives literally one block away from me, so we agreed he'd take me home after we hit lunch. To my surprise and pleasure, right there across the street from the pharmacy and next to the Taco Bell was a Wendy's, where the similarly food-deprived techs wanted to eat.
Perry (Jeremy?), Dwight Stone, Simmone Bartesachia and I chatted leisurely over our respective meals. Afterwards, Perry was kind enough to scoot by my rental box which I emptied, and drop me home as he headed back to help unload the truck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Wrapping for breakfast
Most of the crew was at the school by the time I arrived around 7:10 for my 7:30am calltime. Dawn and DeLaney and Orianna arrived and we went up to the fourth floor. Dawn related to us her personal horror. Somehow the day before, a paint can that was placed in her car trunk did not have its lid on securely. White paint went all over the place in the trunk... most noticably on Orianna's grey dress (which had been rented from Warner Bros., as was my shirt, which got hit a bit). Paint also hit my own black tie. Dawn had spent hours manually scrubbing the clothing that'd been hit; the paint on the dress had already begun to dry! Thankfully she got out all of it.
Dawn did notice and learn something she pointed out to us. My slightly-yellow dress shirt had a tag in it. It had been worn (most likely with regularity) by actor Efram Zimbalist during his time on the TV series The F.B.I.!
Putting stuff into Anthony's trunk, Orianna noticed the candies from the day before. I informed her that Glenn indicated such were Up For Grabs, so Anthony let her take the tall glass container she wanted, offering a piece to an accepting DeLaney. Anthony realized/remembered I had the Good'n'Plenty one, as he'd earlier forgotten and had wondered why he didn't see it in the trunk.
We headed to the location, the back alley of a sound stage on Gardner at Sunset. For some reason I had my direction backwards and thought it was more towards Gower or Western, and here it was in walking distance to my place! Minimal lights were set up for the single shot for the stairway leading down. Kyle and Brett arrived and Glenn took us aside privately to thank us profusely for all our time. long hours put in, hard and the good work and effort on the project. As he broached dinner, he learned what I'd just earlier learned: that Orianna had a night-shoot in Malibu for the HBO series Entourage while Kyle had a shoot down in Long Beach in the afternoon (a woman who'd once played Kyle's mom was in it, and the boy playing the role got sick or such, and she suggested Kyle; they called last night to ask if Kyle was available in the afternoon and offered him the role if he was, and they accepted). I also pointed out I had a 6pm audition down at USC.
So Glenn suggested breakfast, which was fine for all of us.
So we filmed us walking down the stairs: two takes. Then the sound crew went to the bottom of the stairs and recorded a wild track of my walking down the stairs twice, then once of Orianne walking down the stairs (with her different sounding shoes) and we were done. The principal photography was wrapped and it was barely 9am!
Glenn indicated all that was left was some Second Unit type stuff, to incorporate with the newsreel type archival footage for the opening. He also reported and stressed the possibility to probability of some ADR work for Orianna and me to do (dubbing/re-looping lines). He'll let us know when, if needed.
This was a super-enjoyable shoot on which to work and I am really excitedly anticipated the finished product. It has been strongly hinted we may actually get our DVD copy/footage when it's actually ready...

Wednesday, February 01, 2005
Emailed update
I was pleased to receive the following emailed communique:

From: Glenn Thomas
Date: Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Subject: The Immigrants
Hi everyone,
Just to let you know, we telecine'd Immigrants last night and the results really look great. The quality of the image is a perfect compliment to the high level of workmanship each one of you put into the film. I can't thank you enough for your commitment.
My editor and sound designer take over from here. For those who will be involved in ADR, I will be conferring with my sound designer and will let you know when to schedule the ADR sessions. Without listening to the DAT tapes, I can assure you there will be looping for the soda fountain scenes, as you are aware of the sound issues we had to deal with at that location.
We can also do the voice over for Ryder during that time.
Once again, thanks for your contribution and I'll be in touch with you all again as the project develops.

Monday, April 04, 2005
Run in
Right from work I headed down to LAFS for an audition for a student project for which I wasn't cast. As I headed to the assigned room, I spotted Glenn in a nearby office and waved Hello.
After the audition he was not in the office, but after signing out downstairs I found him just outside. He reported that the ADR work was coming up, and that Picture Lock took a bit longer than he'd anticipated, but indicated The Immigrants was looking very good. In three and a half weeks I would know for sure, though when I was to do ADR, presumably I'd be able to see some of the footage.

Friday, April 15, 2005
While waiting for the Beverly Hills Film Festival screening of my other LAFS project Behind the Curtain, Glenn called to notify me that the sound mix was complete enough that early in the week we could do my ADR work. As he was hoping for Monday the 18th, I had to point out I had been booked for Monday for a sketch for Jimmy Kimmel Live again. Glenn and I arranged for 6pm that Tuesday; Orianna would be doing her ADR earlier in the day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I arrived at LAFS a few minutes before 6:00pm and signed in while a few Immigrants film crew noticed me and said Hi. Even Jim Tucker, amusingly and uncharacteristically wearing a full suit and tie, was able to say hi as he rushed off for an appointment. Glenn came in and brought me up to the small sound studio. He had learned a class was scheduled in there, but that the teacher, clearly understanding the importance involved, suggested letting his class observe the session, with which I had no problem.
Glenn introduced me to Ty Higgins who was doing the sound. I reminded them this was My First Time doing ADR. They indicated that with any sort of musical background it's easier than for one without, and that Orianna had nailed her session earlier that day (I was not surprised). Ty told me he'd put my already-recorded line on a loop, and I could jump right in to speak/repeat the line over it. I pointed out that while I might not be a trained singer, my brain does tend to work acoustically and such a plan would certainly work for me.
We started by watching the film straight through. Glenn quickly pointed out that Orianna had noticed her name was misspelled. I noticed mine wasn't.
Except for the very ending there were not too many changes that I noticed. Glenn pointed out a continuity gaffe I'd completely overlooked, and I doubt I'll point out here as if I didn't spot it in my initial viewing, most likely audiences might not catch it either. My main concern was one of the opening title cards may not be on long enough to be read through thoroughly. I read quickly but only got about 2/3rds through before it vanished (but then, I prefer title card being scrolled...).
The change at the end is we don't actually see Ryder hastily leaving the shop. While I guess it's okay to show/end on Orianna's kick-ass acting, the omission of Ryder's shop departure seemed (to me at least), to leave a slightly untied storyline, considering the film's overall time-travel premise.
While I was assured my performance was great, I was a bit aghast at some of my own on-set line deliveries: I could see why, on the audio commentary for Ella Enchanted, lovely and talented Anne Hathaway was verbally cringing; that she was Dying Inside watching her own performance.
Ty opened a laptop, revealing a crisp, clear shot of [dog-suited] GIR as his laptop's desktop wallpaper.
I immediately quoted a few GIR lines and Zim lines, to which Ty turned and, our exchanging a few lines, High Fived me that I knew of Invader Zim, much to our amusement of Glenn's bafflement
(I admitted I'd only "gotten into" Invader Zim a couple of months ago.) I did tell him how, for a very recently shot non-sync silent-movie style USC student film, I'd taken the opporunity for the non-sync aspect to Deliver A Line in a Zim'esque way.
So an Immigrants script was provided for reference, and headsets were adjusted, and so on, and we began. As he'd indicated, Ty would set up the line he wanted re-recorded and it'd play in my headset; looped over and over until I felt comfortable to Jump In and repeat the line as I'd said it on set.
The entire process was easier than I thought, and once I got into the lines' rhythms, I was able to copy/mimic the line/my delivery. The/my audio was on speaker outside in the studio. While Glenn could hear everything, Ty used headsets to hear better my delivery as to how On Point they were.
They had me Take Five when the instructor came in with his class. Glenn reported that the instructor had done a complete turnaround and now seemed horrified that actual ADR work might be going on while his class was scheduled. I jokingly suspected maybe he was twins and Glenn had gotten the okay from the other one.
Glenn asked almost embarressingly if I was able to come in either the next evening or Thursday. I told him I was available, if it came to that: I was committed to this project. Eventually we quietly wandered back in, standing there hoping we could continue, as the teacher gave instructions as to What Was What, and setting up the mic, etc.
Suddenly, the instructor pleasantly "suggested" I continue the ADR so the class could See How It's Done, etc. We didn't argue.
Before any minds could be changed I was in the booth, headsets on and doing lines.
Now and then between line takes (as Ty was setting up the next line), the instructor pointed out stuff to the class. He never interupted and we were able to continue to the end.
There were a few times I had to beg to redo a line I'd done, convinced I could do it better. I did as best I could. Now I rely on Ty to augment the audio to match the action, to adjust the tonality to sound the same as lines over which I didn't have to re-record, etc.
The next time I see it will be on the big auditorium screen at the LAFS graduation screenings next week.
We were done by 8:30pm, so I was able to get home in time to see that night's The Amazing Race.

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
Hey all,
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 Joseph Byron (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 David Schroeder! 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 The Immigrants 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 The Exorcist and City of Angels. Now 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 (Robert Varga) and Brandstetter (Jim Tucker) 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.
Simone Bartesaghi's behind-the-scenes Impressions at 24fps: Making of The Immigrants was shown directly after The Immigrants 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 The Immigrants. One pleasant woman, Teresa Paoli, also requested of me my contact information so she could have me audition for her own LAFS thesis film.
I also came across Rita Rani, who related that Behind the Curtain had indeed won an award at the 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. Generally. 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 MSTie 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 The Immigrants 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 Blind Justice on which I worked. Only one of them had seen the Garfield 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 Harry Potter 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 OoP and will most likely be at the one for HBP.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Glenn emailed that he had a small bunch of DVD copies of The Immigrants ready, and he needed our addresses. He indicated it was in "a raw state," so menus or bonus stuff or such, just the film. This was where he provided the designed dvd menu.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Raw copy
The package was waiting for me at my rental box. Even for the raw copy he made a very nice cover art for the jewel case. Also were a few of Glenn's contact cards, plus promo postcards as would be on display at film festivals, with the most innocuous printing error: instead of being able to just flip it over to the informatoin on the reverse side, the reverse side was inverted (upside down). Not a horrific mistake, but just noticeable.
As it is not the final, finished, polished and refined version, my DVD player had a little trouble acknowledging it as playable. On the other drive, the video skipped horribly. Finally the regular drive accepted it and it played fine.
As Glenn indicated in his email, the only, main "problem" was the audio. In the auditorium it was not as obvious as on the DVD: it was relatively easy to notice which were ADR lines and which were still used from the set. The ADR lines were crisp and clean, not yet sounding like they were uttered in a dank cellar. I expected with the Deluxe Version (on which I expected also would include the Impressions at 24fps documentary), the audio would be cleaned up.
As it turned out, no upgraded copy was ever produced, to my knowledge. No DVD with bonus features, et al; so what I received was all I got. I did include a clip for my Demo Reel, and about two months shy of four years later, there would be a slight update...

Friday March 28, 2009
The next project, et al
This is a slight overlap with another Glenn Thomas project on which at this time on which I was booked: The Invention of Coffee, which as one can tell by the link, has its own report page. My YouTube subscription email notification had a new addition: Glenn Thomas had uploaded The Immigrants, albeit in two parts. I presumed he was unaware that the ten minute'ish time restriction does not apply to one's own work.
Either way, I'd embedded them here for visitors to view the full film, part 1 followed by part 2.

Unfortunately at a later time, these videos were removed, presumably due to what I mention in the next entry...

Friday December 04, 2009
Better online viewing
Whilst updating various pages, I came across that at its IMDB entry is the entire short: viewable here.

As after repying to a New York Film Academy audition request, the site requested additional information on The Immigrants, and I'd provided its IMDB entry and its link at which to view it, I went to its IMDB entry and realized... not too many had Rated It, meaning less than five people.
I posted on my Facebook Career Progress Group page in hopes to effect more of my friends to Rate the science fiction'y short.

Click on thumbnail to view full image...
Behind the scenes shot used
in Impressions at 24fps
Cast (Jim Tucker, Kyle Ferris,
Oriana Oppice and myself
relaxing behind the scenes
Main-menu frame-grab from
never-made "deluxe" DVD
Geoffrey Gould imdb entry
The Immigrants
IMDB entry
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