Home | IMDB entry | Bio | Photos | Demo Reel | On-set Reports | Videos | Contact | Links | Store | Blog | Site Map

Back to Student Films Reports Index | Back to Reports Index

Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...

Subtle Collisions
Andrei Zubok's USC Student Film

Thursday, June 29, 2005
A day or three after submitting for this project I received a page from its director Andrei Zubok. We arranged for my audition for his USC student film Subtle Collisions, which was a Montage Project (also marking my own twentieth student film at the time).
I arrived about 40 minutes early for my scheduled time. I was aware this would be a non-sync sound project: no lines, but expressive performances.
A girl went before me, and I overheard their interview of sorts. Andrei wasn't precisely eliciting the characters he sought: his outline called for Certain Diversant Types. The girl ahead of me was to an environmentalist, so during her interview she went to town in Major Soap-Box mode.
I love improv, generally in dialog. I can create a character -- and as my ethic to bring the director's vision to life, I had to gently elicite what he sought from/of the Priest character I'd be playing. Andrei, however, wanted the character work to come from me. While awkward (I was given few to no clues as to in what direction he'd want his Priest character to go), I went for standard Compassion, Honour and Integrity.
Afterwards we discussed my Saturday availability, as well as the fact that in my wardrobe I did not have a priest outfit. I did not point out that normally with student films, if something beyond Regular Clothing is required, the student filmmaker provides it, such as the 1920's outfits for the USC film Greenwald's Amazing Garden Tonic.

Friday, June 30, 2005
The more at an audition I think I tanked, that's when I get called back or cast.
Andrei called to offer me the role of the priest. Actually he paged me twice: the first one in the early afternoon did not activate my pager, so the second call around 6pm was the one that went through. Calling my pager and hearing I had two messages (and finding both from him), had me scramble slightly to call him back.
I did have a black suit and a black shirt; we discussed my bringing that and his providing the white collar of sorts.

Saturday, July 02, 2005
The 10am calltime got shifted to 9:30am: I still arrived 40 minutes early. I remembered he'd mentioned using Green Screen, and I knew in what sound stage studio that was in the Zemeckis Building. Andrei was there with his crew. Anita arrived (the girl who auditioned afore me the other day), and we waited as a rather brusque Teacher's Assistant was explaining some of the lightning equipment to the group. At one point while indicating how to move and lock-down the light stands, he added, "Move'em where y'want, I'm not gonna lightin' this for y'..."
As I was sitting there, suddenly a familiar-looking young man passed in front of me. I looked over to the door (and his mother) and, recognizing her as well, realized that Mickey Mello was a co-star as well. The funny and talented Mickey and I worked together on Jonathon Rothell's To Steel A Kiss the previous September.
After a bit Garrett Allain and Gabrielle A. Thomas arrived, the remainder of our cast.
Generally this was supposed to be some sort of montage, but as it progressed it came across almost as having a narrative feel. As no working copy was ever provided, I have no idea how it turned out. Supposing to be a Montage (of images), while what we were filming we were naturally trying to fit into our heads as narrative, the closest we got to such was our varied characters finding ourselves on a mysterious scavenger hunt, following cryptic picture clues. It is never explained as to Who sends us on such a hunt, but it may be implied we are all interactive online game players who, though we apparently may know each other regularly online, that we have never met in real life. Or something.
As filming progressed throughout the day, a few characters have near-meetings, intersecting each others' paths as we respectively seek out our next clue. Eventually the lot of us come together at a mutual spot: the Finish Line, as it were, and a small silver-wrapped box reveals a deck of cards, give us the opportunity of playing with each other for real and in real life.
Our work in front of the green screen mainly was Spining (looking vaguely forward [but intently] At Something that Andrei did not reveal). A table with a computer monitor was brought out and I played as though Internet surfing (with a right close up on me, there was no mouse or keyboard). Mickey did one such as well.
I had told Andrei in advance I did not own a priest (or minister) outfit, so I wore my black suit over a black shirt. The collar was turned inside and Andrei had a little piece of white cardboard cut up to double as the white collar. As the day passed, it became less and less "necessary," and by the day's ended up not wearing the bit of cardboard at all.
We moved on to the main campus, filming at the church in which I played the janitor in the USC film Pelha Naach. After a couple of takes of my leaving the building and beginning to walk down the sidewalk, we moved on to do some filming in the break room in the Lucas building. Two of the crew were set up playing chess, as each of the main cast walked by on their search(es).
We then went upstairs and filmed in a classroom or two. My scene was mostly looking pensively out the window; then opening an envelope with the (well done) drawing of one of the USC buildings, indicating this was where I'd find my next clue.
Meanwhile between shots, the cast (and available crew member or two) were playing the always-fun card game called Bullsh_t.
We moved outdoors to several locations. Even though we were right by one of the major fountains earlier, when we went back to it, it was late enough in the day that it's water had been turned off. Andrei realized he'd have to do an insert pick-up shot the next day (close up on hands... not mine).
At one point during the day, we stopped by (my first time at) the USC library which was awesome, magnifient and beautiful. It's so cathedral-like in form, one's automatic Shush Button kicks in (I would work again there for the USC film The First Kiss).
A few character crosses were filmed.
As it only took me a few moments upon our arrival to spot the Open Available Computers, I got out from underfoot and checked my email; due to the computer nature of the plot or subplot, they also took footage of me working on the computer.
They also shot Mickey on another open computer in the main reading room: I was in the background reading/glancing over a massive world Atlas.
We shot the Climactic Scene in a small courtyard back at the Lucas building. Mickey and I are first to arrive, and as we begin to wonder What's Up, the other characters enter, and we silently deduce we are all there for the same purpose. We look around, find the small box wrapped in silver (tin foil), and upon opening it, find it to be a deck of cards. We sit, and the cards are dealt out as we begin to play In Real Life with which other.
As we did our search, my character finds the box, and I bring it forward. Now as this is being filmed MOS (no audio/no lines), we could say what we willed. The group converged: someone muttered, "What is it?"
"Well," I said dryly (and not moving my lips too much...). "My first thought was 'Bomb Squad'..."
I gave it to Garrett who held it until Andrei called Cut. The cast was still quite straight-faced, while the crew was laughing at my comments.
On the second take, when I gave to Garrett the box, I indicated it was as he "had more [insurance] coverage..."
As we dealt the cards (and they filmed down on us from above), we began playing Bullsh_t again.
It was down to Mickey, Garrett and I at the end of the day. The sun was still high, but low enough to have tree shadows interfere with the light. It was at this time we discovered the front fountain was off.
Andrei did a few shots of Mickey and of Garrett, then did a take or two of me passing crew member Kevin Sherwood who was sitting playing the World's Least Unkempt Homeless Guy. I was to stop, feel sympathy and just before passing him, drop some coins in his cup.
The remaining three of us were wrapped: it was 6:30pm'ish.
Mickey indicated his mother would give a unequivocable No if I asked for a lift towards home. So I said my goodbyes, changed and headed home by bus.

A few weeks later a disc was received, implying it was my copy of Subtle Collisions, but it would not play. I contacted Mickey, but the disc sent to him also would not play. We made numerous attempts to contact Andrei... who never responded. Based on results, no copy of this project was provided.

Back to Student Films Reports Index | Back to Reports Index site created February 29, 2008

All Rights Reserved Without Prejudice UCC 1-308
All Rights Reserved Without Prejudice CCC § 1207

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010