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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Pig Man
Francesca Perrotta and Ashley Simpson's
Reseda High School Student Film

Tuesday, March 01, 2010
I received an invitation to audition for a student film taking place in Resedea... at Reseda Grover Cleveland High School. After about eighty student films and indie shorts, it would be the first student film out of a high school.
The audition notice and even the invitation did not actually convey the film's title. I literally thought it was titled First Kiss, and that its storyline was similar to a 2006 USC student film I'd done a few years earlier (for which I never received my contractually owed DVD copy), and that I literally would be the "same character" from that film.
From where I'd been staying near Pasadena it turned out that it would take three hours one way to get to the school. Thankfully a bus does let one off right at its corner; it's just the connection Waiting Time windows. I found the Media Center Building and met with director Francesca Perrotta who was pleased I came. I was given a copy of the script, and found out the film was a very different storyline, and unlike the USC film, this was sync sound (and I'd have lines).
After a few minutes Francesca returned to apologize that due to equipment problems, they couldn't video tape the audition. I was brought in and ran the climactic scene's dialogue twice, the second time with a slight adjustment that impressed the ladies.
A few days later Francesca contacted me and offered me the role. At the audition we'd gone over the shoot dates: specifically Tuesday and Thursday March 8th and 10th. I let Francesca know I had a USC shoot Tuesday the 15th (within a few days, that USC project shoot date shifted to Monday the 14th).
Instead of using email blasts, Francesca created a Facebook Event page with updates and information.

Monday March 07, 2010
Schedule shift
Having a late morning audition in Hollywood, I turned off the volume to my phone, and neglected to switch it back on after I left. Close to my place I checked and saw I had a new voice mail. It was Francesca indicating the other two cast members were not available This Week, so the shoot date/s had been moved to the following week.
I called her back and got her voice mail, reminding her that the USC film project I had the following week had been shifted to Monday the 15th, so I was still available Tuesday and Thursday, but also offered the suggestion as I was still available This Week, if her crew (and equipment) was available, I could still come in even if only Tuesday, and they could shoot my close-ups and coverage and pick-up shots and such. Francesca did not return my call (and had not yet provided me with a copy of the script).
I posted the same offer on the Event wall, to no reply. But I did notice the dates were for The Entire Week, not just the Tuesday and Thursday, meaning six hours on public transit each of the four days I'd be available for this project, if I was needed (and remain available), all four days.
I Messaged Francesca directly to remind her that Monday was not available for me, that I'd just had an audition so I didn't know about that either (should I get a callback, et al). At least with the Reseda project it'd be after school; any Hollywood callback would be done hours before I'd be needed, and the transit time would be cut down a bit as I would be closer.

Tuesday March 08, 2010
Clarification/s and a Providing Universe
Francesca got back to me, having checked my schedule, that for me, I'd only need to come for two days. She was still working out what will be filmed on which day, but contemplating having me in on Wednesday the 16th and Thursday the 17th. I confirmed (and asked after my recieving a copy of the script).
I later discovered that the Universe was Providing, hence the sudden schedule shift: my agent notified me I had a callback the next day/Wednesday for the audition I had had the day before. If I was in Reseda, I would not have been able to go to it...

Monday March 14, 2010
While on set for the How To Change the World night shoot, I noticed a voice mail on my silenced phone. Checking, I found it to be Francesca, apologizing that the Flour shoot was canceled. One of her leads backed [which I read as "flaked"...] out on her/the project. I texted back with my sympathies, stressing if she finds a replacement for the unprofessional dink and the project can go forward at a later date, that she should contact me.

Tuesday March 22, 2010
Re Green lit
Francesca texted me as to my availabilty Saturday or Thursday. Due to my weekly Saturday radio show, I replied that Thursday was better than Saturday, and we were back on with Flour. She asked as to what food/meal I'd like. With literally two and a half hours to film this project, I figured she meant a Gift Card, so I indicated Wendys or McDonalds. It turned out they were actually getting food, so I let her know what would be my normal order on either food spot.
I hoped eating wouldn't cut too much into the filming time...

Thursday March 25, 2010
Shoot, day 1
After the three hour public transit ride was done, I'd arrived at the school just after 3pm. I was provided a faculty restroom in which into my outfit I changed. I was escorted to the first location, a combination drama and English class (along with a teacher's various notes on the dry-erase board was a painful grammical gaffe: "What myths do we live our lives by"...).
Francesca and her crew quickly began setting up, and although they had a shot list, I still was aware with a 90 minute time window, it was probable that they would not get shot the two scenes Francesca wanted to get. Sure enough, teacher and faculty advisor James Gleason indicated as much on his arrival, learning what even the current scene entailed. Things quickly shuffled about and they dealt with my aspect of the scene, being seen outside.
I went outside into the rain-threatened cold and did my crosses. Once they got the shots from inside looking out, they came outside and filmed my crosses, as it was unlikely they could otherwise "match the weather," being so overcast, so my shots were all handled, ending spot-on at 5pm. My return bus was in twenty minutes, so I scarfed down the McDonalds I'd been provided.
I was asked whether I was available the following Thursday. Without my schedule with me (and having printed it out, I'd really meant to bring it), I believed I was. It turned out James lives relatively close to where I'd been staying, so he suggested we shoot then from three to six, and he would drive me home afterward.
Unfortunately when I got home around 8pm and checked my schedule, I realized having only heard Thursday, I hadn't connected it to the date, March 31st, which was booked with a Strictly Background screening. As she'd not yet emailed me (only phone, texts and Facebook), I had to Facebook-message Francesca apologetically that the following weekend I was available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but not Thursday; we moved the next shoot date to Saturday April second.

Saturday April 02, 2011
Shoot, day 2: Crash and burn
Miscommunications abounding, I'd called faculty advisor James and left a voice mail about the next morning's transport, a few hours earlier having texted without reply. I considered that perhaps the number Francesca had provided me might be a landline, and the text had gone Nowhere. When I called, [someone] picked up, or at least "answered;" I could hear a loud discussion going on for a few moments before the call was disconnected from that end.
I texted back to Francesca that based on results, I was going to have to make it to the shoot on my own. Francesca replied the implication that James would drive me "most of the way home."
Saturday morning I started the three hour bus ride to Reseda. Around 7:40am, James Gleason called me, having gotten in late the night before. I pointed out I'd already reached Union Station. Sincerely apologetic, James assured me he would drive me home afterward, also pointing out he'd be arriving shortly after 10am.
The bus got me to my 10am calltime by 9:45am. Francesca arrived a few minutes later, and it was clear the other students were all going to be late. They began to arrive in dribs and drabs and I had to assure Francesca and Ashley Simpson they needn't continually apologize to me for the delay/s.
It also began to become clear there were students who simply were not going to show up. One student was attending a funeral, while one of the two leads was literally ignoring communication and not replying. Ashley's phone conveys that a text was actually received and opened, but the boy was not responding.
James arrived and was understandably concerned at this lack of commitment from the missing students. He had the girls relay to the missing student/s that their entire grade depended on their attending, their having committed to this project's shoot date.
Chris, the missing co-lead actor, began texting apologizies, but strongly inferred he would not be showing up. The other young actor, who was there, who sounds like that of cartoon-voiced Jay Baruchel, waited with me as we pondered the fate of the production.
Finally Chris communicated he was On His Way, and we headed over to A-Hall to shoot one of my two big scenes while we waited Chris to arrive.
A fellow Taurus, Francesca is a bit of a perfectionist, which often can be a hinderance. James began to get frustrated that Francesca would describe "far too much" of a scene. Eventually (during their trying to set up for the second scene later), I told her the best thing to do is to let her actors run through the scene (as we see it written), and if there are any adjustments to be made, to convey them then.
Well over an hour and a half late, Chris texted that he'd arrived but inexplicably wanted to be "escorted" to the location from the front of the school, earlier having texted he did not know which hallway was A-Hall, despite his attending the school. I offered my services, with which to give him some somewhat scathing "advice." From a distance though, I could see the extremely tardy Chris jogging his rather large bulk to get to set. Being already horrifically out of shape, he had to wind down for a few minutes from what would come across as the first actual physical exertion he'd done in years.
We set up and filmed the boys walking down the corridor, reacting to (and hiding from), my approach; my retrieving a blood-leaking garbage bag with which I exit.
Stage blood was placed before the bag and despite running the bag across it, on the first take it didn't really read well beyond the first few inches. The lot was quickly cleaned (albeit with paper towels: they'd lacked the foresight to get mops and/or brooms from the .99 cent store), and a second take we used more by creating a second line of blood across which to drag the bag, leaving a better blood trail.
After filming the boys' aspects of the scene, it was clear we were running out of time, Despite the time window being until 3pm, Francesca announced she would have to leave at 2:30 as her mother was retrieving her. James was ready to wrap it at that point, correctly asserting there would be No Time to film the second scene, which was the rest of the movie.
We hastily got to the locked back gate (to which James had the padlock key), but again before we could rehearse, the passionate Francesca began Describing The Action and their Acting to such an extent I gently stepped in with the advice I previously mentioned above.
The two amateur actors ran their lines, but instead of rehearsing the throwing of the paper bag of flour, the boy did throw it, and like the lack of mops for stage blood and brooms for loose flour... the students had only acquired a single bag of flour for the shoot.
Physics took its tool and the bag predictably shattered, rendering it utterly useless for the scene or any other aspect of the film.
And it was 2:30pm.
(In case there was some way to salvage and film the scene), I urged Francesca to stay at least until 3pm, and either James could drive her home (which would be great as it would be close enough to my rental box I could stop by there), or if she was so concerned about riding the bus alone, I could accompany her as I knew the way to the neighbourhood where she lived as it was only a few blocks from where I used to be domiciled.
She called her mother (who had to go to work), but her mother's response was to get out to her car Now.
That was it. The shoot was over, it seemed.
James was understandably disappointed, but the project's collapse from within seemed to drive him to want to seeing it completed. He decided that one aspect to change would be to replace Francesca as director with Ashley. We would set up another shoot date, to be set up around my schedule.
James drove Ashley home first as she was near the 118/210 area, then we headed south to where I'd been staying. James again apologized for the disorganized day. I pointed out while not the most... prepared production... the students' passion was still there (at least Francesca and Ashley). James and I agreed that Flour would be finished Somehow...

With ''Pig Man'' first director Francesca Perrotta
With the project's first
director Francesca Perrotta.
Cleaning up stage blood in ''Pig Man''
[This crime-scene clean-up
would never fool Dexter...]

Tuesday April 12, 2011
Mission abort
I'd received a call from Ashley, having check my (still calling me "Mr. Gould"...), that the possibility existed we might not shoot this date, mostly due to some problems with acquiring bag/s of flour. I assured her I had to go to the Valley "anyway" on an errand (an important piece of mail which should have arrived a day or three earlier had not yet been received), so to keep me apprised. Either way at least I would not be halfway to Reseda and just have to turn around.
As it was, once I'd found the item had still not arrived, I began the trip northwards, figuring to eat at Wendys, and head straight to the school from there on the 152.
Ashley called, following up on a voicemail she'd left (which probably came in while I was on the Red Line with no signal), declaring indeed, no shoot today. She did imply Thursday, but I clarified she should check my schedule; afterward I texted her the URL, and notified her I was still awaiting word whether I would be working [background] on a commercial on Thursday.

Thursday April 14, 2011
And... once again...
Ashley Simpson emailed me the day before, asking whether I was available this date. Having received no word from the commercial project on which I'd hoped to be booked, I replied that I was available and would see them at 3pm.
I planned out the same route as Tuesday; heading to my rental box first, then up to Wendys and to the school from there after eating.
At the rental box the much-needed mail did not arrive, and Ashley called to notify me that for no [clarified or specified] reason, the afternoon shoot was canceled.
With my attending an overnight event on Saturday, I went up to Walmart on Roscoe anyway to acquire a new digital recorder and small light; still ate at Wendys and headed home. A car accident slowed the bus just enough to miss the just-past 3pm Red Line at the North Hollywood Station, creating a cascade effect. The Gold Line got me to my last-bus connection at the time the last-bus connection was scheduled to arrive and the regularly 5-10 late bus was on time. Worse, the subsequent bus was characteristically late, by about fifteen minutes...

Wednesday April 27, 2011
Probable filming resumes...
Ashley called, having checked my online calendar and seeing me currently available for the next day, and we arranged another shoot date therefor, again from 3:30pm to 5pm...

Thursday April 28, 2011
I'm wrapped
I had errands to run; mostly checking my rental box, and I'd set to time it getting to the Wendys at Roscoe before the bus to get me to the school on time. Ironically the MTA was reversely over-cooperative, uncharacteristically providing me with literally a little over an extra hour I spent browsing through the WalMart. I then caught the bus to Vanalden and got to the school around 3:10pm for my 3:30pm calltime.
James let me in to the Faculty restroom where I changed into my janitor outfit, and we were set. It turned out Ashley was not the new director, but remained producer, while the director per se was Michael Escarilla (albeit deferring mostly to James' advice). Once again the students were not exactly... prepared... to James' understandable frustration. Francesca had had her own bus issues, and arrived a bit late.
My scene/coverage was handled quickly, and James was so pleased he all but was wrapping me before we shot the actual end of the scene in which I had to open the gate out through which to shoo the boys. We shot it, and I was done by 5pm. I was told that it would be ready "sometime next year," which baffled me as this was not an advanced USC Thesis film project: the whole film should have a five or eight minute running time if even that. But I will await notice that it is ready when it's ready.
James was not able to drive me home, but the hour early wrap allowed me no problem to bus home... apart from the bus at the corner not waiting as I ran for it. Ironically, that bus was the local; the subsequent bus picking me up nearly fifteen minutes later arrived at the North Hollywood Red Line Station five minutes before the one I'd missed, as that one was the more direct-routed express aspect of the line.

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Title change
Ashley had emailed me an updated on the 18th, that the project was coming together nicely and that she was in the process of creating its movie poster, that she would be letting me know when the premier will be and her hopes I would be able to attend. As she used as her return "Dymanic Productions," I jokingly pointed out just saying Flour in the subject header would be easier.
In her reply I received this date, she conveyed that after much consideration, the project's name had been changed from Flour to Pig Man.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
DVD copy recieved
Checking my rental box after finishing early on a student film project that morning, I found the DVD for the newly titled Pig Man had been received. Once home I checked it out; it pretty much as I expected. There were a few audio hiccoughs and the aspect ratio was set for more of a square full screen than a wide screen, so the image was a bit stretched out, but it was still a far sight better than some of the films I used to make when I was younger than these ambitious students. The films I cobbled together in the early 1970s never looked like The Case, shown during the end credits of Super 8, but neither did this Pig Man project.
Apart from the "overly accurate" mentions during the credits ("clarifying" Francesca only directed a portion, as opposed to simply crediting the two directors, etc.), I foresee good things for these film makers, and hope I can work with'em again some day.

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