Monthly Archives: May 2009

The making of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) – part 5

OK…you want to work in the film business.  You want to work on a set.  You want to be crew.  First off, understand that you’re nuts.  Crazy.  Certifiable.  Once you’ve gotten that realization out of the way you can proceed…do not pass go…and there ain’t a chance in hell you’ll be making $200 on a low budget set.  (Well, maybe per week…if you’re lucky.)

Which brings me to what makes a great crew member… 

My example of perfection: Jodi Baldwin, my costume designer on both YOU ARE ALONE and FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS)

What makes Jodi so amazing?  Well, her planning is meticulous.  She understands not only the script, but the individual characters, and gives each an arch through their wardrobe.  She can make the actor feel comfortable, beautiful, loved, listened to.  She makes me, the director, feel as if she understands exactly what I’m looking for.  She makes me, the producer, confident that not only will she deliver everything I ask for, but she’ll come in under budget.  And she makes herself, the costume designer, shine with realistic looks, clothing that the characters would actually wear.  She makes the movie that much more believable.  Everyone is happy.

Her work ethic is beyond reproach.  I’ve seen her sewing late into the night.  I’ve seen her continue on despite a family emergency.  Everything is organized, color-coded, steamed, and ready to go.  She is always upbeat, good natured, never complains.  And somehow, despite her brilliance, she manages to check her ego at the door.  She understands that her art is part of a larger picture.  And she does everything in her power to make the larger picture shine.

That is a GREAT crew member.

The ego checking thing…it’s especially hard for a lot of people who want to work in this business.  Usually people who have no business even having an ego in the first place.  But really, unless you’re the director, or you’re putting up all the cash for the production, or you’re some star with actual box office value, there’s no room for your ego.  The set isn’t big enough.  Do everyone a favor and leave it at home.  This is a job.  Might be a cool job, but it’s a job nonetheless.  Treat it as one.  Treat those above you with respect, as you would any boss.  You’ll get a good reputation, and word of mouth will travel quickly, you’re someone worth hiring.  That’s how you succeed in this business.

Now…with the Seattle premiere of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) coming up quickly, I felt it was time for another trailer.  And while I still have yet to complete the long trailer, y’know the one which will tell the story of the film in three minutes or less, I have come up with a fun tease, based around Brad’s Rules. 

Give me 57 seconds of your time to get you hooked:

And of course there’s the toe sucking contest:

(Rules and such are in my last blog entry.)

Ok…all for now.  Really trying to finish up the new novel before getting on a plane to Seattle…

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Filed under comedy, film festivals, filmmaking, friends with benefits, gorman bechard, independent film, movie, opinion, romantic comedy, seattle true independent, STIFF, thoughts

The making of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) – part 4

The sound mix for FWB ate my life for the past week and a half…but all is wonderful…thanks to the pros at DuArt in New York (Matt Gundy and Carmen Borgia, to be specific), who once again rocked in every way shape and form. 

Before I get to what makes a great crew member, I need to devote a little time to the upcoming premiere at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival in less than 4 weeks: June 12th at 7 PM!

So, in the very funny and uber-kinky spirit of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS)…with a nod to co-composer Stephen Harris for suggesting the idea…I present the official FWB Toe Sucking Contest.

Watch the video, and all will be explained:

Here is all the official information:

To help celebrate the World Premiere of our new film FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) we are searching for the world’s greatest toe suckers. (That’s sucking your OWN toes!) 

So, get cracking…take a shower (or not)…and post your best toe sucking online for all the world to see.

C’mon…you know you want to…

Whip out your cams, take off your shoes, and let the world see what you can do.

We want you to post videos of your dirty deed.

And we will be pick the ultimate Toe Sucker! (Comments by viewers will certainly sway us, so get your friends to support your effort!)

Make us laugh, cringe, turn us on…SUCK YOUR TOES!

There will be three winners in this contest:

First Place gets a fantastic What Were We Thinking Films merch package, including three DVDs: Psychos In Love, You Are Alone, and of course, Friends (with benefits), plus a Friends (with benefits) baseball cap, t-shirt and poster, and a Psychos In Love “I Hate Grapes” t-shirt!

Second place gets: a Friends (with benefits) baseball cap, t-shirt and poster.

Third place gets: a Friends (with benefits) baseball cap

Winners will be announced on October 1st, 2009

You can enter as many times as you want. Decision of the judges is final.

So, get cracking…take a shower (or not)…and post your best toe sucking online for all the world to see.

C’mon…you know you want to…

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Filed under comedy, contest, entertainment, foot fetish, friends with benefits, fuck buddies, gorman bechard, independent film, low budget films, movie, seattle true independent, sex, sucking

The making of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) – part 3

In the commentary to my film YOU ARE ALONE, I said that making a movie was the hardest thing to do.  Period. 

Though there’s hardly anything simple about it.  Dealing with the egos, the tantrums, the hysteria that goes with no sleep, no food, too much coffee, stress, stress, stress.  Sorry.  There are few things in life of which I’m certain, but this IS one of them.  Directing a film is the most difficult task a human can perform.  Any if you’re reading this and shaking you’re head, well then, you obviously have never directed a film.  So, you really have no clue.

If you’re nodding, going, HELL, YEAH.  Then read on . . .

Protein.  Yeah, that was one of the big complaints on the set of Friends (with benefits).  Despite the more seasoned pros on the set claiming we had the best food and coffee they’d ever had on ANY movie set.  (I do believe in feeding people well, especially when I can’t pay union wages, and in many cases Pas are working for little or less, good food and coffee is the one thing I CAN and WILL provide.)  There were the very vocal few who felt there wasn’t enough protein during breakfast.  Of course, in most cases these were the people who did the least amount of work.  Why is it that the most useless people complain the most?  Do they have nothing else better to do?  Obviously.  They’re not really working.  They’re just looking to create drama.  That is what they do best. 

These are the people that need to be stepped on like bugs on a movie set.  I don’t care if they’re your friends.  All they do is breed hostility.  They make what could be an otherwise happy set, miserable.  And why?  Because they need some fucking protein in their breakfast?  No, because they’re lazy assholes to begin with.  GET RID OF THEM.

One of the worst “problems” on the FWB set was a young woman who claimed to be vegan.  Who complained at every meal.  Who never once asked nicely if we could perhaps have something different for breakfast.  (Asking nice goes a LONG way.)  But instead spread her nasty attitude like a virus through the set, even infecting the cast.  She was worthless on crew.  And because of her attitude, I absolutely refused to even listen.  Then one day I saw her eating a plate of scrambled eggs.  The vegan eating eggs.  Snagged.  You know what she could do with her protein complaints from that point forward.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love most of the filmmaking process.  Especially writing and editing.  My least favorite part would be the actual filming.  Mainly because of the one or two rotten apples that spoil it for everybody.  Every set has them.  I wish I knew how to get rid of them.  All I can do is report them to a few line producers I know after the shoot.  (I do, believe me . . . and yes, there are list of “unhirable” people out there, both crew AND cast)  It’s a small community.  Eventually word gets around.  And word really gets around with it’s a department head who’s causing the problems. 

Unfortunately, because you’re shooting for just a few weeks, and usually not dealing with unions, finding a quick replacement is impossible.  (Especially if you’re not in New York or LA.)  So, do you cut off your nose to spite your face?  (We did that a few times on FWB, and usually the work would fall onto either my shoulders, or more often than not the shoulders of Ashley McGarry, who shared the writing, editing and producing credits with me, and who ultimately ended up also earning the title of Production Manager, because she, well, managed the production when those that were hired to do so either didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, whatever.   She did what was needed to get the film made.  I did likewise.  But there’s only so much two people can do.)  So, no.  You try to ignore the morons, hope they get a tiny bit of work done, that their department heads actually whips them into shape, and focus on the task at hand: making a movie.

And there are bright sides.  When all goes well during a day of shooting, it’s becomes the greatest day of your life.  Hands down, it’s one of the greatest highs.  Despite the exhaustion and stress, you are flying. 

And don’t get me wrong, this entry is about the FEW, the not so PROUD.

Seventy-five percent of the Friends crew were stellar, hard working professionals, who did a great job, and rarely complained.  Really, in addition to the aforementioned Ms. McGarry, who went above and beyond and probably deserved another dozen titles, my dream crew would certainly include Adrian Correia as my cinematographer, Dave Groman as my sound recordist, Jodi Baldwin (one of only two people I asked over from the You Are Alone crew) on costumes, Stefani Rae Fisher and Mara Palumbo on makeup and hair, to name just a few. 

It’s the other twenty-five percent I’m ranting about.  Actually…it’s the really just the bottom ten percent: protein girl, vomit guy, wrong contract dude, and those who can’t schedule or telephone extras (etc., and so on) despite the fact that it’s their job.  (If you EVER find a first AD that you love…when the film ends, keep them chained in your basement and never let them go.  Great Assistant Directors are the holy grail of the independent film world.)

It’s that ten percent which, in a perfect world, would be sacrificed to the Gods at the wrap party.  Burned alive at the stakes, as we danced around the fire, drinks in hand.  I’d gladly light the fire.  It would be our gift to other independent filmmakers.  Freedom from ever having to work with these certain few. 

(I mentioned the You Are Alone crew.  I guess that only two people from YAA were asked to come work on Friends With Benefits pretty much says it loud and clear.  The rest is on that DVD’s commentary.  But yeah, that would have been one huge fire.)

Next time I’ll address what makes a great crew member, a great collaborator, in this most difficult artform.

P.S. Wanted to proudly point out a few rave reviews of the new PSYCHOS IN LOVE dvd.  Click HERE and HERE!

ALSO…the official Friends (with Benefits) site has tons of fun new links (DELETED SCENES!!!)…and it’s even iPhone compatible.  Also check out the Gorman Bechard site, my personal site, for everything on the books and films, if you haven’t already.

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Filed under comedy, director's commentary, entertainment, film festivals, filmmaking, friends with benefits, gorman bechard, horror, horror-comedy, independent film, indie, movies, psychos in love, rants, seattle true independent, STIFF, thoughts