Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Road Trip Day One

...and so it begins!  My cross country road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Here are a few highlights:

cute info-graphic near the hand dryers

Crossing the M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

We were closing in on Des Moines, Iowa and instead of stopping at the Applebee's or Chili's off the highway, my dad and I decided to search "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" to see if they had been to any restaurant in Iowa's capital.  We were in luck!

Arriving on a Monday night there was about a 20 minute wait, so we figured it had to be worth the wait.  We grabbed an Iowa micro-brew and browsed the menu.  Fong's is actually known for its pizza!  And more specifically their Crab Rangoon pie.  They have other Chinese food inspired pizzas like Beef and Broccoli, "Fongolian" Beef, Shrimp and Pineapple. 

My dad and I went for the Kung Pao Chicken Pizza
loaded with spicy chicken, red and green peppers, a stir fry mix, mozzarella and green onion
We split the 10" size and started with an order of the crispiest egg rolls I had enjoyed in ages
What made the pizza even better was the addition of the left of sweet chili sauce, hot mustard and Sriracha!

So if you ever find yourself in Des Moines, I highly recommend trying Fong's Pizza for a fun atmosphere and good food. After our dinner, we continued on the road a couple more hours and spent the night in Lincoln, Nebraska.  We're off to Denver tomorrow!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Smoke in the Air

As a final send off before leaving for the west coast, I completed my *first feature film*! 
" the four" Craig (John ), Margo (me), Nate (Max), Jenn (Erica)

And when I say "I" that is a complete understatement... The production team and rest of the cast did quite the unthinkable task of shooting 107 scenes in just 13 days.  For those of you not familiar with the film making process, those 107 scenes are then broken down into different shots.  So a single scene can be seen from as many as 15 different viewpoints.  Ok, that is a bit of an overstatement, but next time you watch your favorite movie try and notice when shot changes from a close up to a wide shot of the actors.  Those would be different takes of the same scene.  But I digress! 

 some of the wonderful crew: Peter (lighting), JP (camera op), Atticus (sound man extraordinaire), Kevin (DP)

Of those 312 hours we were in production I'm guessing there is about 200 hours of footage to sort through and edit before there is a rough cut of the film.  From there sound is tweaked, music is added, title cards are arranged and much more before it is ready for its premiere.  The goal is for Smoke in the Air to be finalized for a film festival in 2014 of the director, Connor Smith's, choice!  

Anyhow, our last day of shooting (4:30pm Monday to just after sunrise Tuesday morning about 6:50am) was quite cinematic in itself.  We were all feeling the effects of little sleep, yet words cannot describe how we all felt when the sun rose and the crew got the final shots.  Here we were, a cast and crew all under 23 and we did something that many people said would be impossible.  

Naturally champagne was popped and toasts were said!

 our director Connor and writer/actor Max

I am so grateful to have worked with such a talented group of hard working people.  AND I can't wait to work with everyone again.  Maybe next time it will be in LA, or back in the Chicago suburbs filming a sequel...

last day of production sunrise
production still with Sam

final night shoot!

how my name will appear in the opening credits

one of the first night shoots at Valley Lo

camera rigged to "Nate's" car 

bedroom set created for Erica's character, Jenn
the best stand ins "like ever!"

JP filming a party close up

and "that's a wrap!"