Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Making of Crestfallen Diary - Entry #2

Entry #2


Russ lives in the Midwest, and it felt somehow important to make this project in that neck of the woods. I’d previously worked for producer Marv Blauvelt on a short film shot out on the east coast, “No Rest For the Wicked”, directed by Raine Brown as part of his horror anthology PSYCHO STREET. Marv has been developing horror features, short films and webisodes out in Bloomington, Indiana, and seems to benefit greatly from this midway zone between two coasts. It’s not the airy, industry-driven vibe of Los Angeles or the gritty, slightly aggressive independence of New York; no, the Midwest has its own character, a slightly friendlier and looser vibe, a kind of cheerful and open quality. As a producer, Marv is the guy on the set walking around slapping folks on the back saying, “You having fun?” I’m the kind of irritant who will respond slightly cynically, “Are YOU having fun?” and he’ll of course answer, “YEAH! I’m having LOADS of fun!” I wish I were as earnest as he is; I have too much city dust sprinkled upon me.

After signing up Deneen Melody in the lead role, there was still much to be done. We enlisted Marv’s resources at Muscle Wolf Productions (finding and securing cast, locations, catering, props, et al), and during our first production meeting it kind of felt like those scenes in LORD OF THE RINGS where all the different factions of good guys unite. In addition to the muscle-bound hunks of Muscle Wolf and their bearded, canny and gentle “man behind the curtain” Jason Hignite, there were Chris Jay and Kitsie Duncan of Dark Rider Productions generously providing lights and gear, Arthur Cullipher and Leya Taylor of Clockwerk Productions handling special effects and logistics, a variety of local actors and helpers, and of course me and my director of photography/editor Dominick Sivilli from New York. We attacked the meeting with high energy, but it is typical of Marv that as soon as we wrapped production on CRESTFALLEN, that same day they’d be shooting a trailer for the Dark Rider production MOTHER’S BLOOD featuring several of the same actors and crew. That’s the other thing about what Marv and his colleagues are doing out in Bloomington; they’re kind of like a factory continually generating product.

(Heck, the day we landed in Indiana they were scouting catacombs for ANOTHER horror picture. Months later they ran the Dark Carnival Film Festival, and the day after that finished they were shooting more of the wraparound segment of PSYCHO STREET with Tiffany Shepis—the VERY NEXT DAY after their festival ended. It’s funny, because Marv said he was taking a break in 2011 from movies, but he’s already acting in a slasher movie, making his directing debut, and in early pre-production on a controversial and button-pushing feature; does the man ever sleep?)

Throughout the shoot, Marv was a very present force. He has the gift of the gab, and would continually be telling amusing stories about other shoots, or self-deprecating tales of the film festival circuit, and of course with a politician’s grace greasing the wheels for us to get access to various locations. He’s also doing a million different projects at all times, which is why he surrounds himself with folks like Jason and Leya, logistical captains and stage managers to keep him on point while he’s spinning. But if we’re the A-Team, Marv is absolutely Face Man.

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