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

Back to Student Films Reports Index | Back to Reports Index
Share |
Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Donovan Fowler's, Andrew Sprott's and Heather Warburton's
USC In-Class Director Project

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A Juno Threeway
On the 8th I came across a listing for a USC student film project that indicated a scene would be filmed thrice, each with a different director. With the approximately 75 student films under my belt, this sounded quite intriguing, so I submitted.
A day or two later I got a call from one of the three directors, Heather Warburton, but her message was long that by the time she got to the number with which to call her back, the message cut off. Thankfully as some friends can attest, research is one of my favourite things to do... Unable to find her on Facebook [yet], I did find her on LinkedIn and send her an Add so as to send a message inquiring if it was she who tried to reach me. She called back and I was able to confirm my interest and availability. (Based on there being no actual audition, I wondered if anyone else actually submitted.)
The class's teacher assistant Yili Li emailed me and the two actresses involved, with our information for Tuesday the 12th. We were aware it'd be from 6pm to about 10pm, that the same scene would be directed by three different directors, filmed, and we'd receive DVD copies of all three versions.
Yili also added me on Facebook, where I noted her as already connected with Jerry White, for whose project Greeters I did a few months earlier. Ironically, the previous Saturday evening I'd also attended an art gallery opening in which Jerry had artwork, and he conveyed upcoming projects on which he was working on which he wants me to work...
Managing errands and getting down to USC (characteristically) early was no problem; I found the class meeting place by about 5:00pm. Around 5:30 one of the class's two teachers, Beth Block, arrived with "craft services," as it were, including but not limited to awesome home-baked chocolate chip cookies. Interestingly enough, her background is visual effects; just flying in from a project and arriving in the nick of time for the class was her co-teacher Jimmy O'Keeffe, who specializes in a lot of documentary and Behind The Scenes footage and such.
Meanwhile, still before class officially began, Tracy Ann Chapel arrived, who'd play my wife (her resemblence [to my eyes] shifting between and Terry Garr in the 1970s, and Anna Torv). Soon we met Danica Dodds (resembling Alicia Silverstone trying to be Emma Watson), who'd play Juno.
Beth pointed out that initially she had downloaded Diablo Cody's screenplay from online, and edited down the scene. I had my copy a few days earlier as we were requested to have it memorized. As I do better memorizing by rehearsing (either with live people or hearing it aloud numerous times), I rented the DVD of Juno to reaquainted myself with the scene in which Juno reveals to her parents that she is pregnant. I noticed the copy that I had contained a few differences from the completed film's scene. Beth indicated that after she'd done the "streamlining" of the script, she then checked the DVD and noted her own deletions matched about 95% with the lines that did not make it into the film anyway.
Our first director Donovan Fowler was a tall, canyon-deep voiced fellow, whose take on the scene was very similar to how the actual film had had it. One of the aspects of the assignment we three actors learned, was that those who'd not already seen Juno, should not see it. This way their own interpretations were their own.
We were literally filming in a lounge aspect of a "hallway", as it were; once the first shoot was wrapped, we three went back into the classroom where our second director Andrew Sprott directed us for his version of the same scene, filmed in the same location, just a slight furniture re-arrangement.
Andrew's take was a little less whimsical and (certainly I was to be) more authoritative. Thankfully we three had our lines down, so essentially it was just delivery adjustments on our part.
We'd each previously spoken with third director Heather Warburton as she'd made initial contact with us. Her take was slightly similar to Andrew's, with a few slight adjustments here and there. The third one was set up in another small corner lounge area, and this time instead of remaining seated, I stand to face Juno. A suggested adjustment on my last-line delivery impressed Jimmy O'Keeffe (e.g., that I was spot on to what Heather wanted), and we were wrapped again, though this time for the night.
During the entire process, instructor Jimmy was very vocally helpful in pointing out errors before they were committed to film (video really, but for the sake of this page I'll be referring here to video as film). The scene went pretty straight forward, as the rest of the class (certainly the teams that were Next Up) did not observe, so as not to colour their own choices. Sometimes Jimmy's observations and/or comments to the directors were (unintentionally?) comical, including but not limited to: "Thank your actors!" (when each sequence wrapped), although based on results, Andrew somewhat vanished upon the sound of his scene being wrapped (Donovan and Heather were sincerely very appreciative of our work).
As Beth had created this assignment and chosen Juno as the selection long before classrooms were assigned to teachers, it was ironic that the movie-poster laden walls of the building had the poster for Juno at their classroom location. Yili took the two photos below of Tracy and Danica and me in front of it.
The next aspect of their assignment is editing the footage, which would be the following Tuesday; Beth assured us we'd get a copy relatively quickly. Jimmy accepted contact information from Tracy and Danica and me, and as Danica left rather quickly, Tracy and I continued talking as I walked her to her car. Learning of my distance, Tracy offered to drop me at the Vermon and Sunset Red Line Station, during which we discussed projects on which we'd worked, and I learned she's as into ghost stories as much as I, so I let her know of my paranormal experiences aspect of my website.
Understandably, Tracy and I look forward to seeing the final product, and both hope to be able to work with each other again.
In a follow-up email (having read this report page), Yili also clarified, "Just want to let you know that there were nearly 200 submissions in total to this project, but the directors and I just fell in love with your reel immediately - that's why we didn't do auditions."

With Danica Dodds and Tracy Ann Chapel With Danica Dodds and Tracy Ann Chapel
With Danica Dodds and Tracy Ann Chapel for the
USC In-Class Director Project Juno scene.
(Thanks to Yili Li for the photography!)

Wednesday October 13, 2010
Follow ups
Along with praising my website, Tracy emailed me with her official website location, which I added to my links page. I don't think she mentioned on the drive that she does stand-up comedy, but I look forward to seeing her perform and seeing her style.

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 © 2010