Monday, August 30, 2010

Who says we can't control the weather?

Take five while I teach you about the new vocab I'm learning on set. Some is straightforward, some is pretty interesting, and the rest is just downright wacky.

The other day, we shot "day for night," which is fancy movie-speak for hanging black sheets over the windows so it looks dark out when it's really not. Then this morning, we filmed a scene that turned out to be "NG for sound," No Good because of a loud-mouthed lawnmower across the street (what can we do? We can't control the neighbor's chores!).

When we needed a static shot of Laduree's tree, the 1st Assistant Director told the Sound Technician that this would be "MOS." As with a lot of film set lingo, this term has its roots in 35mm film, which had a visual (or optical) representation (or signature) of sound waves printed along the frames. So, when they say a take is "Minus Optical Signature (or MOS)," that's just another way to tell Shawn the sound guy to turn his mics off and take it easy.

After that, the Director of Photography asked his Assistant Cameraman to "give some environment," and the AC immediately walked into the frame until the DP could focus the camera and establish the depth-of-field. Then later today, the Art Department was organizing Laduree's science classroom, doing their best to greek out the labels, or in normal english, cover everything up so they just look like plain ol' books.

Instead of a food table, we call it "crafty"; we shout "points!" if we need to carry sharp objects through a crowd; our "sides" are copies of that day's shooting script (not onion rings or mashed potatoes); and for goodness sake, when the camera guys ask you to hand them some "babies," please understand they just need some small tripods. It's a funky language but we understand it. Now walk it back, we're going to pick it up at one. Annnd...we're rolling.

Friday, August 27, 2010

With a little help from our friends...

Anna overwhelmed by the delicious assortment provided by Yum Yum Snacks

We're doing a lot better than just "getting by." With green partners like Philly Homegrown, Hotel Palomar, and Yum Yum Snacks, our production is rolling along smoothly. And even better, all these companies are doing their best to contribute to our sustainable production plan. Here's how:

Philly Homegrown is our connection to the local eats, helping us maintain our sustainable production plan by keeping us in touch with Greater Philadelphia's network of farmers, chefs, and restaurant owners. As a special treat, they hooked us up with the DiBruno Brothers, a few Italian masters of the gourmet craft who delivered some locally-grown fruit and gourmet cheeses to set the other day. Hopefully, Philly Homegrown can scare up some more local goodies for us to enjoy during production, because after tasting what the DiBruno boys have to offer, we just might be hooked on the Philly fare.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is a luxury hotel in center city that has earned the rare distinction of LEED Gold certification. To earn status as a Leader in Energy and Environmental Design, Palomar cut no corners, garnering recognition for everything from their eco-friendly building materials and furniture to their efforts toward water energy and efficiency (basically, if our sustainable production were a luxury hotel, this would be it). No wonder all of our cast and crew are staying there.

The ladies at Yum Yum Snacks accept nothing short of delicious, taste-testing each product with the very Yum Yum Kids for whom they decided to go into business. With the help of their customers, the sisters peruse all existing products to amass a list of those that do not contain "crummy ingredients" such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, MSG, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives. The ladies then sell these products through their website so busy Moms and Dads can give their little ones a healthy snack while on-the-go. It's perfect for the busy bodies buzzing around set too!

So those are our friends and really, that's just naming a few. Each and every day their impact can be felt on our production and we're doing our best to say "thanks."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet the Cast!

Okay, fine, we admit it, we've been a bit of a tease. We've gotten so caught up with filming, we haven't even had a chance to tell you who we're filming! Since you've all been so politely patient, it's time we reveal the incredibly talented cast of Future Weather.

Perla Haney-Jardine (Laduree)
Jenny and Kristin saw Perla in Summer in Genova and her natural and nuanced performance blew them away. Immediately, they knew she would be ideal for the role of 13-year-old budding ecologist, Laduree. So they traveled to Perla's hometown of Asheville, North Carolina to shoot Save the Future for the 2009 Netflix FIND Your Voice Film Competition. Perla is both a down-to-earth kid and a precocious talent (as you saw with her roles in Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Spiderman 3), and we're very excited to be part of a role that will share her special quality with the world.

Amy Madigan (Greta)
Who better for the role of Laduree's sexy, difficult and hilarious grandmother Greta than an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning actress? No one! You've seen her in Field of Dreams, Twice in a Lifetime, Gone Baby Gone, and Roe vs. Wade, and now she's acting on our set! We're thrilled to have this fearless actress bringing such a challenging and juicy character to life. Each day, we're mesmerized by Amy's funny, diverse performance and are confident that you'll find it unforgettable.

Lili Taylor (Ms. Markovi)
When Jenny submitted her screenplay to the Nantucket Film Festival, this accomplished actress was one of the judges. It was clear she was a fan of the script when she and the judges presented Jenny with Showtime's Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting. And when Jenny (who had been a fan of Lili's for many many years) found out that Lili had read her script, she felt like she'd won the lottery. Lili has performed in Say Anything, High Fidelity, and Six Feet Under, and after meeting Jenny in Nantucket, the two agreed she'd be perfect for the role of Laduree's environmentally-active science teacher, Ms. Markovi.

Marin Ireland (Tanya)
Tony Award nominee Marin impressed us big-time in her audition for the role of Laduree's flaky dreamer mother, Tanya. She brought humor to a role that could easily dip into cliche, and was able to make her character likeable despite her inability to take care of her child. Besides countless roles in prominent Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, Marin has appeared in films such as I Am Legend, Revolutionary Road, and the upcoming Mildred Pierce. It's a gift to have her as part of our ensemble.

Bill Sadler (Ed)
You name it, Bill has probably acted in it. From Shawshank Redemption to The Bourne Conspiracy to The Pacific, his on-screen experience is dazzling. We're very grateful to have Bill working with us; we're sure he won't have a hard time distinguishing our production with any of the other nine films he has scheduled to release within the next two years.

So when you're munching on your popcorn and Mike 'n' Ikes and watching Future Weather on the big screen, make sure you've got a box of tissues nearby - these guys aren't messing around. With all the talent in front of our camera, don't be surprised if you see a few of our actors holding a little golden statue sometime in the near future. Think we're getting ahead of ourselves? Just wait and see.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peach Pits for a Better Tomorrow

Producer Carolina Roca-Smith poses with our on-set Philly Compost bin

So all this talk about sustainable filmmaking, I figure I might as well give you an example. See, every film crew has got to eat, right? Right. But we found a way to eat and recycle at the same time (pretty sweet, I know). A local company, Cosmic Catering, has committed to providing us with one hot meal each day and when we chomp down on our free range chicken or local honey ham, we can toss the table scraps into the compost bin donated by Philly Compost. This is when it gets cool.

See, one of the primary ingredients in compost is food scraps, which Philly Compost collects from local restaurants like - you guessed it, Cosmic Catering. When the meals are being prepared by Cosmic, their bread crusts and lettuce stumps get collected by Philly Compost twice a week. Then, Cosmic shows up on set with their bounty of excellent grub and a complete supply of compostable plates, cups, napkins, and utensils to enjoy it with. After we munch, we toss our peach pits and dirty plates into our bin to be collected later by Philly Compost, and it all comes full-circle. This way, everyone gets to contribute, everyone gets something out of it, and nothing gets wasted; it's a win-win-win.

Our green production plan is re-enforced doubly by these companies who are committed to sustainable business practices such as diminishing waste, reusing materials, and using locally made and grown products. We could do everything we can to maintain a sustainable production but without the help of companies like Cosmic Catering and Philly Compost we wouldn't get very far.

Plus, we gotta eat, and well - it's delicious.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And it begins! Life on the Future Weather set

Day 1

There's something funny about a guy in a John Deere hat and an undershirt talking into one of those fancy secret service earbuds. Walkie-talkies are everywhere, funky lingo's coming out of everyone's mouth, and there's an empty trailer in the middle of nowhere that couldn't be more alive. The excitement of making this film is finally realized. It's day 1 on the Future Weather set and production is in full swing. Who would've thought that 50 people running around wearing cargo pants and bug spray could be so professional? The first day went off without a hitch; things are looking great.

Day 2

Running errands this morning, I didn't get much chance to spend on-set until the afternoon. Turns out, they work okay without me (shh, don't tell my boss); but seriously, this crew is operating like a well-redbulled machine. Of course, we'd all be a bunch of zombies in this heat if it weren't for the incredible help of Cosmic Catering, Betty's Speakeasy, and some black magic. And, as always, our green efforts are rolling every time the camera does. While helping us reduce our impact on location, Golden Valley Farms is also keeping us energized, Klean Kanteens are keeping us hydrated, and the Philly Compost bin is on-set and...well, composting (but more on that later). Anyway, time to go, I need to get more ice.