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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Charles Schoonover's USC student film
Dr. Life
Patrick Knipe's USC student film
For Whom the Bells Toll

late October, 2005
When Film Students' Projects Collide....
I submitted to student film projects via Now Casting, mostly with storylines that get my attention and characters I know are either right for me... or clearly somehow Written For Me.
I had submitted for Patrick Knipe's film For Whom The Bells Toll, which would shoot in early November. I was cast as the serial killer Grinder, who the local cemetary caretaker Griswald has drugged, and deliberately buries the killer alive. The film would be MOS (no sound recorded while filming), but Griswald had some wonderfully poetic voice-over lines throughout, very akin in flavour to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
I had also submitted for Dr. Life, a comedy with a quirky, funny storyline I knew for which I had at least to audition, scheduled to film the weekend of October 29th and 30th. The Dr. Life sides were emailed and I Knew I Had To Play This Role. As I read the lines aloud, I knew I "had to" use various inflections of a similarly 'round-the-twist character: Invader Zim.
At the audition my interpretation/s went over quite well, and I got called back (only for one other student film had I ever had a callback [in the other case, it was down to me and another guy who was chosen]...).
This callback was mix-and-matching: to see what performers blended best with whom, etc. Project producer Brooke Randolf contacted me a day or two later and offered me the title, lead role of Dr. Life.
But things had already Just Become Very Interesting.
Due to sound-stage scheduling, the For Whom The Bells Toll project had had to be moved up to the same weekend.
I notified those at the callback, risking losing the role, but it was a bit (wonderfully) obvious that they were going to select me as Dr. Life. They assured me Something Would Be Worked Out.
Meanwhile, Patrick was also working things out, as he really wanted to use me as Grinder for his short (as Brooke indicated in an email: I was A Wanted Man).
After much emailing back, fro, to, from and around, everything was arranged. The Dr. Life shoot would have me during the morning and the day, after which I'd be scooted down to USC where the For Whom the Bells Toll project would have me for the evening.

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Shoot/s, Day One
I arrived at the location about a half hour early. We filmed the interior stuff today, with (as bathtub-retreated Rodney), Jason in the tub (sans water), and Dalia Vosylius as his wife Margaret. The tub water would be added the next day.
We filmed my arrival, much of the montage (my clearing out their cupboards, etc.), meeting Rodney, and my final confrontation with him while he's still in the tub.
Around 4:30pm, Brooke zipped me down to USC where we encounted the mother of all traffic jams. It turned out that there had been a USC game going on, hence the crowds, all leaving. Brooke joked that as USC Always Wins, it's a "bit boring."
Brooke came in with me and was introduced to Patrick Knipe (as the two had been in contact to schedule me about).

Tonight for For Whom The Bells Toll, we filmed cemetary caretaker Griswald opening the canvas body-bag to reveal me inside. During the day they had filmed a lot of his stuff, including the jamming into a fake body the large hypodermic needle. With me there, we were able to film his examining me, and beginning the needle jab.
Much fog and mineral-oil smoke was used, a scent I always enjoy. The downside was having me Seemingly Dead eyes wide open... and the brightest sound stage light ever was spot-on my face. We later joked about our getting sun tanned. But understandably, I really had to work not to blink.
Comically enough, Patrick had done up a fake newspaper (to exposit who I was, as a serial killer), and the amusingly done publication had two versions of my headshots used. One was just blurry enough to look like an old time newspaper: the more recent headshot he had photo shopped over my suit with black, which was fine as I was wearing my black suit.
As this film turned out to be set in the Old West (which in my script isn't clarified as such), I didn't have to wear a tie: a purple bandana was provided for my neck (and the film is being done in black and white).
We finished tonight around 10pm, and Patrick zipped me back home.

Sunday, October 30, 2005
Shoot/s, Day Two
Halfway down to the Dr. Life location, arranging for about a twenty minutes or so early arrival, the bus time-scroll announced it was 7:30am, not 8:30am. Th'hell...? It turned out I had completely forgotten that last night was back to Standard Time, and while I had "gained" an hour, I had not set my alarm back by an hour.
It was pointless to go back home, so I wandered about nearby and discovered as well as a Bob's Big Boy, there was a Fatburger right on Wilshire as well.
Today we began with Dr. Life's street sidewalk-based "office." The whole crew (producer Brooke Randolph, director Charles Schoonover, director of photography [DP] Paola Cutri, editor Katie Wood, and the project's screenwriter and sound designer Sean Thomason), all worked to put up the large Enlightenment for Cheap! sign, and the small Ikea desk, et al.
We got it done as quickly as possible, considering my occasionally stumbling over my monologue (d'oh). Charles later profusely apologized for filming Lengthy Takes; normally such would be broken up.
We met Dalia and Jason back at the house and lunch was acquired. Yesterday they went out to get McDonald's for me; today they were kind enough to indeed get for me a Fatburger meal.
We had to race the clock a bit, but much of what was needed had already filmed the day before. Dalia and I did a bit more of the montage, and the final confrontation of Rodney, having emerged from the tub. The production (the principal photography at least) was officially wrapped, our "losing" one sight gag I thought was really funny (more Annoying In His Face stuff with Rodney).
We did a quick photo shoot of each other with each others' cameras, and Brooke again zipped me down to USC, the drive during which we learned we shared the common interest of true paranormal experiences, so I related to her one of my favourite personal ghost experiences.

On the USC Kubrick sound stage (where we'd filmed the night before), the casket had been built. I have no claustrophobia, and I pointed out how when I had an MRI, the operators would keep calling me on the intercom to see if I was okay (as many people cannot handle the enclosed space of an MRI). I politely reminded the MRI operators just to let me know when they were done; I had almost managed to fall asleep...
We first filmed from the side: my awakening and realizing my enclosed surroundings. From there they removed the top, and filmed straight down at me. Apparently they used a lens with which I was able to stretch my arms/hands to the camera much farther than the lid would have been, but for the shot, it worked.
We took a few posed photos and I was wrapped for the evening. It turned out they needed one more pick up shot, so we set that for later in the week.

Friday, November 04, 2005
Bells pick up shot
Filming in the same small soundstage on which A Darker Time was recorded, the casket was reconstructed.
As often would happen down at USC, I would run into student film directors with whom I'd worked; this night it was now-bearded Sean-Michael Smith of The Clown, and Dave Ciszewski was over in the Kubrick soundstage, working either on the upcoming new spec commercials on which he would be having me work, or was working on someone else's project.
Back on the set, the actor playing Griswald and I filmed his tying to my wrist the twine. I think we did two set ups for it, and we were done. Patrick was nice enough to scoot me home after audio recording Griswald's lines.
While Dr. Life would not publically be screened, For Whom The Bells Toll was scheduled to be screened Friday December 9th, after which they would work at submitting it to film festivals.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
DVD/s received
After a morning wardrobe fitting for the film Prestige (which was to shoot the following week), I headed down to my rental box wherein there was a lot o'stuff. While my paycheck wasn't there for my wardrobe fitting the previous week for the film Zodiac (shooting that coming Thursday), there were a few surprising items. My then current SAG card (only three months late), and the DVD for Dr. Life. Back at home I watched it, and relived the enjoyable shoot. While there were a few creative editing choices, I liked it, and hope I can work with them again.
Sadly I was unable to make it to the December For Whom The Bells Toll screening. Woefully neglecting to add information when I was keeping updated this entry, I do not recall the date I received the DVD copy of the impressive, creepy atomospheric short For Whom The Bells Toll.

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