ANOMALY Trailer Shoot
West Babylon/Babylon/Lindenhurst/Copiague, NY November 10 & 11, 2007
Saturday November 10th & Sunday 11th weekend was the most enjoyable experience I’ve had as a filmmaker so far. There were many reasons for this.
Getting Sean McGinn back as my Director of Photography was the biggest key. All the work we do on a movie is for what gets captured on film. So the DP position is paramount to the film being done right. With Sean, we have now worked together on four films. He understands my vision and can see the same picture in his head as I do. This is not something that’s automatic between a director and DP. Maybe even more importantly Sean expands the thought process & energy to capture the pictures we “see” and is able to use the tools of his trade; lights, lens and locations to make it happen. On top of this, Sean’s personality is ego-free even though he’s accomplished quite a bit at this point. Sean won an Emmy for one of his documentaries and he shot the International Award-Winning film for me WASHINGTON ROAD. People like working with Sean because he is a tremendous worker, completely dedicated and always friendly. That’s unbeatable combination.
1st Assistant Camera Chris (George) Kishore and 2nd Assistant Camera Alex Fernandez were critical in helping Sean do his job. They came with needed experience working with cinematography equipment. Chris and Alex dove in immediately setting up lights, the camera crane and other tools of our shoot. They always did things in the most efficient way possible and helped allow Sean to actually enjoy this shoot. They took turns operating the boom mic and Alex will be taking on the job of Visual Effects artist during our post-production phase. Chris also played “The Ghost” (sorry Kato) in one scene. I really liked working with these guys.
Liz McKendry had the responsibility of having to do the first scene this weekend as well as on the shoot done back in May. Liz was more than up for the challenge each time as she brought incredible enthusiasm. For this shoot, two examples of her turbo charged energy was when she was doing the scene where she pounds on “Monica’s” door. First she came into “Monica’s” so enthused, she slipped on the floor. Then after knocking on door for all the takes (including the long 5 minute insert shot) a large purple bruise surfaced on her index finger. Liz makes it clear she relishes the chance to play “Jodie” and has read the entire ANOMALY feature film script at least 4 or 5 times.
Daisy Taveras made most of the crew’s eyes water when doing her first scene on Saturday. This scene was the one where “Monica” stumbles out of her bedroom, barely able to walk after being attacked by a ghost. Daisy got the physicality of the scene but what she really nailed was Monica’s emotional state. Daisy’s performance affected all of us, as she was able to convey the hurt & helpless “Monica” felt as she told “Jodie” what happened. I also found it really interesting to listen to Daisy speak, as she has a lower sounding voice, especially if you combine her accent to go along with the emotionality of the scene. Daisy was funny Sunday night when she got the giggles during the car dialogue scene with Chelsea Switzer (“Betty”).
Martha Velasquez was absolutely the right person to play “Officer Karen Langer.” Not only is Martha stunningly beautiful, but she’s got a sweet personality and is not a prima donna. After watching and listening to Martha act the whole weekend (she was in four scenes) I told her that her delivery and screen presence reminds me of Sigourney Weaver. What I found particularly interesting about Martha was that onscreen she comes across as somewhat fearless, when in reality she is a bit of a Fraidy Cat. There was one moment Saturday night were we were doing a long lens shot looking into “Officer Langer’s” police car, when the spooky shape of “The Ghost” is seen standing staring at her in the woods close by. It was getting a little late, it was cold and we where outside. Mike Porciello was backlit, standing motionless within the trees, which everyone felt looked creepy. Anyway, Martha was really getting into doing the scene, when our Gaffer Kato Peragine tapped her on the shoulder through the open window on her driver’s side door. This caused Martha to let out a scream that made everyone stop what they were doing. We all got a laugh out of that one. Well, maybe Martha didn’t think it was so funny.
Chelsea Switzer moved from the east coast to St. Louis on November 6th, only to fly back to New York four days later to be a part of our production. That showed real commitment on her part, which in turn made me raise the level of my game. Chelsea has a real calming feel to her aura. There is a certain easiness you feel being around her and that translated on the screen as well. I thought she made the scene where “Betty” listened to her answering machine really natural and believable. Then when she did the scene with Daisy in the car, I was convinced they were friends. We were lucky to get her involved on this project before she moved.
Lindsay Drew returned to play “Paula Walker.” Lindsay has a nice contrasting look compared to the other girls. Lindsay is the shortest and most curvaceous member of the ANOMALY cast and looked terrific again. She did a nice job switching gears during the scene where she gets a visit from an unwanted visitor at the door to her home. If you haven’t heard of Lindsay before (she is a signed folk/pop singer), I’m confident you will be a fan of hers after seeing her in the trailer
Paula made the crew totally at home again with her organized focus on making the behind the scenes warm & cozy and making sure we kept on time. All of the cast made a point to tell me how much they appreciated Paula making them laugh and how showed she always a concern to make them feel at home on the set. Paula surprised me be having a candle lit cake to celebrate my Birthday. I guess she wanted to make my Birthday extra special because I was making a film, doing the thing I like doing the most. She was right and I love her for it. Paula also agreed to let me use our house as the final shooting location, which I was very thankful for.
Ellen Trapani was under the weather but didn’t let that stop her from being attentive to logging all the shooting details and being her gracious self. Her husband, Paul Trapani, also must be thanked for allowing us to use their home. We shot half our weekend at Ellen & Paul’s. We used almost the entire house. On this shoot one room was the make-up room, while we shot two scenes in their living room, one in their kitchen and two scenes upstairs. In May we shot scenes in the upstairs bedroom, downstairs bathroom so basically we used almost their entire house.
Kathleen Connolly and Jaclyn Lui are the two best Make-up Artists I’ve worked with. They handled all make-up and hair. Though they had never met prior to the shoot, they worked together as if they had been partners for years. They made our cast look spectacular. I really appreciated the amount of work they both did arriving on the first shooting day before anyone else, then working to get each girl’s hair and makeup just right. They also came to me with ideas on how to make each girl look distinctly different based on each character. After completing the initial make-up, they took their portable make-up tool kit belts and gave attention to each cast member in between takes. Kathleen and Jaclyn will be my make-up artists of choice on all future shoots.
Gaffer Kato Peragine and his sons Michael & Joe were huge assets for our production. They ensured we had everything covered electrically and helped Sean & his team prepared lights & camera into action. These three guys worked tireless, kept the cast & crew light on their feet and made things more pleasant. The only problem I had was determining who Michael was and who Joe was. It seemed like every time I guessed the name, I was wrong. There is no doubt we were in good hands with our Gaffing crew.
Janette Pellegrini is the first professional Still Photographer I’ve had involved on one of my productions. Janette would work around the set finding the best places to take pictures. She even got the opportunity to help make the “Jodie” kitchen scene work as the “blower.” It’s not at all what you may be thinking. Janette acted as the ghost who spoils “Jodie’s” attempt to light a candle. Some of her stellar photos are here (her pictures are copyrighted with year & date).
Kevin Austin played had the vital role of picking up all food from the different restaurants who donated meals to our shoot and picked up people from the train station. Kevin mentioned that he filled up his gas tank twice so you know he put some miles on his car driving all over to help us the way he did.
Mike Porciello was also valuable to our team as he acted in the aforementioned scene as “The Ghost” and helped too many ways to list here.
The teamwork and camaraderie stood out big time during this shoot. I’ve never worked at a regular job that had the extraordinary positive spirit the cast and crew displayed. People were busting their humps and enjoying every minute of it. I credit that to the character of everyone involved.
ANOMALY TRAILER SHOOT
The Trailer for AMOMALY was shot on Friday May 18th and Saturday May 19th. The shoot went incredibly well even though a few curve balls were thrown at the production.
Terry says, on Friday morning Liz McKendry came in and did the bubble bath scene playing Jodie Newman. “Liz was very enthusiastic and looked terrific in the scene. The ghost costume that Paula purchased worked much better than I anticipated. Kevin Austin did a fine job of making the ghost creepy.”
Friday evening, Daisy Taveras performed the scene playing Monica getting molested by the ghost. “Daisy brought tremendous sensuality to the scene and true touch of terror. What Daisy did affected the whole crew. This scene was not easy for Kevin as the ghost because he was in the costume, under the sheets and couldn’t see a thing. But we had a lot of fun doing this scene.”
Saturday brought some difficulties, Terry admits, “Not getting the ambulance from the fire department, which was set a month prior to the shooting, made things pretty intense during the morning/mid-day. But this forced me to change the scene. I re-wrote the scene an hour and a half before our call time. I gave the actors the heads up so they’d be ready and they definitely responded. This pressure really stirred our creative juices as the scene turned out better because there was more character development and dramatic conflict between the characters.”
Rain came down throughout this first scene shot Saturday night, which made DP Orville Herry a little nervous about the equipment getting wet. But the positive result was the atmosphere the rain created on film. “The entire crew pulled together and ignored the water & cold temperature to go for it. Paula did a wonderful job making sure we had a couple canopies & tarps to use as shelter between takes. Ellen Trapani was very valuable working as Continuity, Clapper and Terry’s Assistant. Lenny Viviano & Eric Press helped set up things and a surprise phone call from Steve Jones all proved vital to this shoot. “We were having some difficulty getting the generator to work smoothly but Steve’s cell call with Lenny was like a message from heaven and Kevin joined in to help solve the problem.”
“I don’t know if you can work with a better actor than Brian Townes. To get ready for the scene where Brian was playing Geoff Sykes, who’d been hit by a car, Brian found a patch of dirt on the ground, rolled around to get dirty. At one point, he had Kevin drag him across the ground to stain his wardrobe. I’ve never seen anyone do anything remotely like that. Then while Brian was on the cold pavement, he constantly asked me to make sure he was bloody, bruised and wet. I really admire that kind of dedication. The whole cast & crew was impressed with Brian’s performance.”
“Lindsay Drew brought everything I was looking for in the character Paula. She was caring, passionate and beautiful. I’m really glad that I didn’t rush and settle for someone else in the part.”
“Cornelius Jones gave needed contrast to the scene in his character’s attitude and tone of voice. To me, he made the scene much more interesting because he went against what the other characters wanted to do to help Geoff.”
The second scene shot on Saturday night was the opening scene for the trailer. ” I liked the chemistry between Ed Bergtold, Brian, Rick Toscano and Vinnie Petrosini. The guys really ironed out the scene and nailed it. We actually finished a ½ hour early.”
Orville Herry did a commendable job as Cinematographer. “Orville captured little nuances of some of the films I had referenced for this shoot and he did work pretty much non-stop. He had some good help from his AC Erin Hurson and Gaffer John Mele Jr. The cinematography team is always the backbone of the principal photography. Without them we don’t have a movie. I look at them like the offensive line of a football team. They set it up so that the actors and the rest of the filmmaking team can excel. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work.”
The only real negative thing from Saturday night was that Make-up Artist Tina Esposito had to leave abruptly because her boyfriend’s father passed away right before we started shooting Saturday night. “Tina was a real asset to the production not only in doing the make-up but she helped any many other ways paying attention to little details. We send the best to her and her boyfriend’s family during this trying time.”
Terry has moved into the next phase of production having Editor Sean McGinn run off the footage onto DVD. “I’ll be spending the next week or two logging all the footage and making my notes for the editing. Then I will get together with Sean who will edit the film. It’s always exciting to see what Sean will bring to the table.”
We also must thank the wonderful establishments that helped support our production. These include:
All American Hamburger Drive-In – Massapequa, NY
Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria – Melville, NY Corner Galley – Massapequa, NY
Gino’s Pizza – Massapequa, NY
Home Depot – Farmingdale, NY
Olive Garden – Massapequa, NY
Starbucks – Farmingdale, NY
Subway – Copiague, NY
TGI Fridays – Massapequa Park, NY
Bagelman – Copiague, NY
Subway – Copiague, NY
Kurt’s Deli – Lindenhurst, NY
Outback – Lindenhurst, NY
Home Depot – Copiague, NY
Classic American – West Babylon, NY
Cold Stone Creamery – Babylon, NY
Dunkin Donuts – Copiague, NY
Starbucks – Massapequa, NY
Quizno’s – Lindenhurst, NY
TGI Friday’s – Massapequa Park, NY