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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Someone Talked!
Luke Pennington's USC Student Film

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Having submitted for the USC student film, Someone Talked!, I went down to USC and interview with director Luke Pennington for a role in his production. Initially I was slightly concerned that the project might stereotype "conspiracy 'theorists'," but our conversation demonstrated him as intelligent and well versed in the fact that so many conspiracy theories have been proven and well-settled to be conspiracy fact.
The location would be his place, which he indicated he's spent a week or two dressing up (in tin foil), to be the set.
The shoot would be Saturday and Sunday October 1st and 2nd, and considering I had an evening commmitment that Sunday evening, he was clear he'd have me wrapped in time for me to return to Pasadena.

Monday, September 26, 2011
Casting clarified
Luke emailed the three men he'd cast: myself (playing Walt Cooper), Max Middleton as William Milan, and Alec Jones-Trujillo as David Nilson.
Luke had mentioned at the interview that he's an actor as well, so he clarified that being an actor himself, the last thing he'd want to do is waste anyone's time, meaning not wanting anybody hanging around for hours without need (in the process of work), and delivering product that is less than stellar and thus useless for reels, etc. He pointed out we would be shooting a lot these two days, however, that he shoots very quickly and gets a lot of coverage, which is the better for the film and for our respective subsequent use, adding that the previous day he had shot four locations and nineteen set-ups in five hours, which is phenominal.

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Luke emailed us to confirm our times, suggesting we have a previous meal, as while snacks would be available and as it'd be a long day, afterward Luke would take us out to dinner (not specifying as to where). My calltime also shifted to 11am.

Friday, September 30, 2011
Final preparations
Luke emailed us our copies of the script, which looks like it should be quite a visually compelling piece (his still spelling H.A.A.R.P. with one A notwithstanding).
We were told to bring pretty much the outfits we wore to our interview.

Saturday, October 01, 2011
Shoot, Day 1: The short long day
All through the night, Luke worked on dressing his apartment for the shoot, and just past 6am, he texted me/us to push the calltime to 1:30pm, as the other actors could not make it before then. I texted back, inquiring whether I should come earlier as some business did not involve them on screen, but it turned out Luke's assistant would not be available earlier than 1:30 either. I surmised this meant a long shoot day, as it removed three to four hours from the previous schedule, but we ended up still wrapping for the day at 6pm.
I arrived early, as always, noting a McDonalds close enough to go to snag a hamburger on the possibility of little to no snacks I'd want. It turned out Luke was within with co-star Alec, who bore a slight resembled a cross between Ryan Reynolds and Matt Smith. We walked back together and we saw the amazing Conspiracy Chamber. Tin Foil along the walls and ceiling; the walls covered with newspaper clippings, photos, and red yarn stretched to push-pins to indicate connections. Luke eventually told us that when he'd texted us at 6am, he'd not yet even been to bed yet. With Max arriving, the three of them worked on the opening sequences, and footage to be converted into Security Feed footage to be used the following day.
I had access to Luke's computers to snag and print more images for the walls. As I pulled down various Connection Images from conspiracy sites, I began realizing I couldn't let this go without a few in-jokes that most likely wouldn't even read. I printed out and put up the updated Seal of Rassilon as well as TARDIS internal skematics (both detailed and elaborate versions), a photo of myself as the Mad Scientist from the short The Champ, and even the "newspaper clip" of the headline next to my photo from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Also to help dress the set was the comprehensive Dave Champion book Income Tax: Shattering the Myths, as the pack of lies the IRS spews forth is itself a conspiracy theory.
Luke's friend Matt soon arrived and assisted as a gaffer.
Amusingly, Luke thought he was being clever by recording the three of us speaking amongst ourselves, what with the short being MOS (no recorded dialogue), so what we said would technically be of no consequence (we actually did share our various views on conspiracy fact/s: FEMA, income tax, police-state mentality, etc.). Max was brilliant, not only in conveying some good comic timing but highly Awake in matters that most of the people are blissfully unaware or aware but Asleep.
I suspected that that was what Luke was doing: I'd used the technique myself, though in my case it was due to the fact the actor I was filming could only act when he thought it was a rehearsal. If the camera was running, the "actor" became ludicrously wooden and painful to watch. Working on Two Weeks Notice, my mother had had a similar experience. They wanted to film the casual conversation between my mother and another background artist. After a bit the AD came over and thanked them, as they'd gotten the shot; mom and the woman's chatting had been so natural, and as the camera was far enough away not to be intrusive, the crew just filmed it without telling them the camera was running.
Meanwhile, any sharp-eyed lip readers might notice apart from my discussing income tax law and corruption in American jurisprudence, the two men also had to endure my providing the backstory of the TV series Doctor Who, both its classic era/s and its current era/s, what with my looking forward later that night at home seeing the then-current season-six finale.
As I expected, I was unable to co-host my weekly online radio show on para-x: The Paranormal View. This would not prevent me from doing up a report on that evening's specific show.
Luke wrapped us at 6pm; Max was not available to come out to dinner, so Luke took me and Alex and Matt to Denny's. With a bus ride home ahead of me, I headed out at 7pm, noting the next 81 bus north on Figueroa was to leave at 7:15pm'ish. At least according to the hardcopy schedule, which claimed Saturday night the 81 runs north about every 15-19 minutes. Waiting at the corner of Figueroa and Jefferson, I arrived at 7:10, and proceeded to wait.
Eventually I began checking with the MTA trip planner on my not-smart phone, which insisted the 81 bus Saturday nights runs every 30 minutes, but none showed up at 7:30 or at 8pm. In fact, at 8:20pm, three 81 buses finally showed up, as a mock-the-waiting-riders convoy. Instead of the recommended route, I stopped and took the Gold Line from Chinatown Station (which I just managed to catch), to the most southern stop to catch the last bus north so I would not have to wait a full hour for the next. I got there with ten minutes to spare, but even that bus was fifteen minutes late! Instead of getting to my stop and walking the mile to get home by 10pm, I got to my stop at 10pm.

Sunday, October 02, 2011
Shoot, Day 2
Being Sunday, the MTA routes are diminished even worse; the bus getting me there on time was a few blocks away. Luke had literally had less than an hour's sleep. For some reason the USC Avid editing equipment had broken down whilst he was importing the video files, thankfully only while importing the very last video file (he was not alone in his astonished frustration, as several other students' projects became a disaster at the same time).
Thankfully only one of the previous day's shots, now lost, had to be redone, but other than that the project was still okay.
Initially the plan was to do my Alone Shots first, as I had to leave by 3pm to get back to Pasadena for a ghost-hunt/paranormal investigation. One of the main problems with the Avid crash was the "surveillance" security footage shot the day before was not able to be done up to be used live on the monitors on set. With the time originally to be used to film my segments, Luke took still photos of the same security-camera angles, and used those on the monitors, and when we got to my segments with them at the end of the day, we cheated with my blocking the monitors (when the footage was usable, Luke would insert it as a cutaway shot).
Otherwise, we were able to complete the shoot relatively quickly. The script called for a prop (e.g., fake) hypodermic needle for insti-sedation. Unfortunately, USC veto'd that by insisting (quite mistakenly), that that was considered "a stunt," and that in order to include it, Luke would have to hire a stunt coordinator (and not on USC's dime). As stunt coordinators do not come cheap, particularly just to stand there and (certainly in this instance), state what we experienced actors clearly already knew, Luke changed it to a hankerchief to indicate chloroform. The three of us had fun with it, after which Luke wondered aloud with a bit of trepidation as to whether USC might feel that being a "stunt," considering the three of us made it come across far more shocking and violent than a quick prop needle might have looked (watch an episode of Dexter and watch how quickly and easily his victims go down with his hypodermic needle: our version of an abduction was now far more dynamic).
In an effort to make things easier, instead of Max carrying me out into the hall and waiting for Marc to get my legs after his own bit of business, Luke had Marl plunk me into Luke's office chair that the wall blocks from it being seen, leaving my feet visible as though Max was still holding me up. Marc would raise my legs and push as though Max still has me. After a couple of rehearsals this turned out to prove impractical as the chair wheels greatly disliked the corridor's carpeting, and endevoured to have the chair fall backwards instead of rolling. So Max dragged me out, and hung onto me until Marc raised my legs: we only needed two takes.
As my time-window deadline was approaching, Luke offered to drive me back to Pasadena, so I didn't have to leave by 5pm for the buses; we actually officially wrapped principal photography at around 5:15pm. Marc and Matt waited at the restaurant for Luke's return (Max had other plans).

Friday October 07, 2011
Short update
Luke emailed us on the short's progress:

From: Luke Pennington
Date: Oct 7, 2011 1:14am
I wanted to, first, thank you all for giving your time and great effort/performances to this little project. I just completed the final insert shot this evening, dumped it onto the hard drive, and started going through the footage and organizing the files. THEY LOOK AMAZING! You guys truly destroyed and I am going to do my damndest to make sure the cut you receive will do your performances justice. The footage is backed up in three locations, so I don't anticipate losing it (this can be a problem--there are several films I never got because HD crashed and nobody thought to back up the project); from three different places so don't worry--you shall receive copy/credit. I'm very excited to start putting together the piece (I have had some pretty good ideas that I am going to try to produce in post which will really punch up the story a notch). I'll spend the next week editing/sound/color correction/etc. and I will send along copies to you guys as soon as I have one ready. Again, thank you guys so much and I think we really have something here.
Best and talk soon,

Sunday October 16, 2011
Picture Lock
Luke email updated us that, "The FINAL CUT IS IN THE CAN!" He indicated probably having spent some sixty plus hours putting together his project to get it down to five minutes, getting everything rendered and colour corrected, etc., and that the first cut came out to about 9:15 minutes.
Luke was happy to say that we will have "a hell of a product to put on the screen." His plan was to put both the versions of the cut on all of our copies, as, per actor, what with our coverage (e.g., with the singles and such shots he felt we might like to use for our reels etc.). He admitted he wouldn't have the time to colour correct those, but if there was something on there we found that we really liked, he'd endevour to make a better copy of those clips and send them our respective ways.
Luke hoped and believed that we would be pleased with the final product: that it was intense and he was happy that he "got three great actors on board to take this strange trip down a bad road with" him. He assured us he would let us know what would be the response after the short is shown in class on Tuesday, though he suspected we'd do pretty okay.
Luke concluded, "It is a real king-hell-bastard of a piece and I only hope it's received as it's been intended. We shall see."

Click on thumbnail for Full Image
Max Middleton and Alec Jones-Trujillo behind the scenes for the USC student film project ''Someone Talked!''
Max Middleton and Alec Jones-Trujillo

Note behind them on the wall the Seal of Rassilon where the red yarn meets;
slightly above that is the print-out photo of me from The Champ;
along the base of the red thread, just below the yellow paper and to the left of the small Post-It™
and above the inverted cone graphic, is the trimmed New Orleans newspaper clipping,
and on the bookcase just beyond Max's right shoulder, is my copy of the
comprehensive book
Income Tax: Shattering The Myths by Dave Champion.
behind the scenes for the USC student film project ''Someone Talked!'' commercial
Slightly more detail on the wall clippings.
behind the scenes for the USC student film project ''Someone Talked!'' commercial
Wall clippings behind the main computer;
note the TARDIS internal schematics...
Max Middleton, Alec Jones-Trujillo and Luke Pennington behind the scenes for the USC student film project ''Someone Talked!'' commercial
This shot is clearer this size than full size:
Max Middleton, myself, Alec Jones-Trujillo
and writer/director Luke Pennington.
behind the scenes for the USC student film project ''Someone Talked!'' commercial
This is the clearest shot of the
three that were taken in the hall:
Alec Jones-Trujillo, Max Middleton,
myself and Luke Pennington

Sunday December 11, 2011
DVDs copies almost here
Luke emailed us that our copies were ready to be sent out, and requested our mailing locations. He apologized for the delay, what with the more intense than anticipated semester, but he also profusely thanked us again for our work, talent, and hopes of working with us all again sometime soon.
I understood the "delay," what with so many projects to which I've never even received my owed USC copies, such as Torn, Subtle Collisions, Tango, the LA Film School project Falling Stars, the Chapman feature Ghettopreneurs, and the four Dave Ciszewski's USC projects or the infamous NY Film Academy project Clocks (and what other student film projects on which I neglected even to do reports for which I never received a copy). Luke's "delay" didn't come close to being an actual delay, by my defininition of same.
So now possibly before the end of the week it should be at my rental box...

Friday January 06, 2012
Snail mail gaffe
An apologetic (and apparently quite embarressed) Luke contacted us, reporting that the discs he'd send out had lacked sufficient postage, and had been returned to sender, awaiting his return to Los Angeles. He offered to drive them to us, also indicating, if a little jargon'y, that the colour corrected takes were only viewable on an AVID editor, implying the DVD discs would be "good enough for government work," not as high-end as an AVID might read it.
I pointed out that as the friend with whom I'd been staying wanted to reclaim the room in which I'd been staying, and that I'd be staying Elsewhere through January (whilst awaiting another place having its bathroom fixed up to be functional), that Luke and I might have to arrange either my coming down to his place, or my waiting for the Higher End looking version to be ready.

Monday January 30, 2012
DVD copy
Emptying my rental box this morning, one of the packages (most likely waiting a few days) was the DVD for Someone Talked! Apart from my expecting one close-up cut-away within the chloroform bit, the cool short subject came out pretty much as I expected it would look, albeit a few unintentionally comical shots of Alec looking remarkably like a young Cary Elwes here and there.
Obviously the frame-grabs below don't convey the Entire Short, which hopefully will be viewable on IMDB or such, as with The Immigrants and Routine, etc.
I hope Luke acquires the success he needs to hire me for well-paying SAG-AFTRA projects...

Click on image for full size.
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Title card
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Opening credit
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Max and Alec arrive
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Turning up the volume to
prevent external Listening
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Discussing truth
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Under observation
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Alec gets his message
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
Black Flagged
Geoffrey Gould in ''Someone Talked!''
End title card

Saturday May 05, 2012
Attending the screening for Sweet Tooth, I noticed that of the various three-student teams, one such team included Luke Pennington. He had enjoyed Sweet Tooth, and afterward he conveyed how during class seeing the dailies, I consistantly had the students in stitches due to my expressive eyes and expressions.

Thursday August 16, 2012
On Facebook Max and I stayed in touch, mostly as he was one of those who was Awake. This date I learned with surprise and horror that the highly intelligent Max had passed away from from complications of stage four Melanoma skin cancer, about which he'd made no mention.
As one of my more Awake friends, he will be greatly missed.

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