What Did You Expect? (And 3 other features!)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 2, 2011

Archers of Loaf Concert Film Announced.
What Were We Thinking Films Receives Funding For Three Features.

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA & NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT: Director Gorman Bechard, whose current feature, COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS, was named one of “The Seven Best New Music Documentaries of the Year,” by Rolling Stone, takes on another iconic indie rock band with WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?, a feature film capturing the excitement and raw energy of the Archers of Loaf reunion tour.

Filming in August at the legendary Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the film will bring to the small screen the explosive nature of an Archers’ show. “I believe the Archers of Loaf were the greatest rock band of the 90’s, and certainly one of the greatest live bands of all time,” Bechard explains. “The sheer power of their live shows needs to be preserved so future generations can know what a rock a band is supposed to do on stage.”

Bechard’s New Haven based What Were We Thinking Films has also just received backing for three feature film projects:

PIZZA, A LOVE STORY, a documentary that delves into the phenomenon that is New Haven brick oven pizza and the trifecta of Sally’s, Pepe’s, and Modern Apizza. With perpetual lines around the block and customers that include everyone from presidents to rock stars, these three legendary restaurants come rich with history and spark passionate debates. Beginning with the Italian migration to New Haven in the late 1800’s through the urban renewal debacle of the 50’s and 60’s, and into today when a two hour wait in line for a pie is not uncommon, Pizza, A Love Story is about family, passion, and of course one of the world’s favorite foods, pizza. Filming is currently taking place in the New Haven area.

ONE NIGHT STAND, is part two of Bechard’s planned “Alone Trilogy,” which began with his award-winning YOU ARE ALONE. Starring Lynn Mancinelli and Alex Brown, two leads from Bechard’s indie rom-com FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS), the horror film explores what happens when you take the wrong girl home. “It’s completely twisted and claustrophobic,” Bechard explains, “the entire film takes place in one small studio apartment, with mainly the two lead characters. It isn’t until the end of the first act that you realize what’s happening, and by the time you get to the third act, you realize you were wrong about that too.” Filming is scheduled for January 2012.

the temporary poster for BROKEN SIDE OF TIME

BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, also starring Mancinelli, is the first film set in the world of internet modeling. A dark road trip of slow redemption, the film takes a look at a woman who realizes her lifestyle is a death sentence. “She decides to give it all up, and go home,” the director explains, “but not before one last taste of the vices which are killing her.” BROKEN SIDE OF TIME is filming now, and is scheduled to be part of a filmmaking panel for the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival in Bay City, Michigan in late September. Attendees can watch Bechard and company as they shoot the closing scene of the film.

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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.

The making of FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) – part 2

Friends (with benefits) shot for a total of 18 days, beginning on April 18th, 2007.  So, we’ve really been editing it, tweaking it, playing with the song selection, and score, and titles, and color correction, for going on two years now.  (The original assembly was 125 minutes without end credits, the final cut runs 94 minutes complete.)  Doesn’t seem like that long has passed, but then again perhaps it does.  I think once you see the film, you’ll understand why so much time was spent on editing.  We tried to do something a little different here.  (The producers rep who ultimately took on the film called the editing “ground breaking.”  And while I don’t know about that, we’ll certainly take the compliment!)

           

As a novelist (my website, GormanBechard.com has all the info you could possibly need on that), I thought we’d bring a little of that feel to the film, thus in my mind it’s “a novel with moving pictures.”  While all films on DVD are broken into “chapters” I thought we’d take that one step further and actually break the film down into real chapters.  But no one wants to watch a book.  So, how to make it move fast . . . real fast? 

 

Well, originally I wanted the film, especially the dialog, to movie at a breakneck speed, like “His Girl, Friday.”  But there are two truisms in film.  The one that fits here is, and I’m paraphrasing: “There’s the film you write, the film you shoot, and the film you edit.”  Anyone who’s ever directed a film knows they are three very separate beasts, each with a mind of their own.

 

So, while that breakneck pace seemed great in concept (and even in rehearsals), the realities of casting and filming got in the way.  Until editing, that is.  We threw out the rule book.  And decided that we would not allow the audience time to blink (at least for a part of the film…when need be, as a director I am a big believer in giving the performances room to breathe.)  

 

(FYI: I never used the rule book when writing my novels, hell, I flunked English 101 in college, and likewise, for any of you who’ve seen my last feature YOU ARE ALONE, you know I don’t “do” the “master/over-shoulder/over-shoulder reverse” coverage.  It’s boring, it’s lazy, it shows not one iota of originality or belief in your script, or your ability as a director…it’s movie-of-the-week.  Really, just put a bullet in my head and shoot me now.  So, yeah, I certainly wasn’t going to start following the rules now.)

 

The Friends (with benefits) secret weapon?  Split screens.  If two stories were happening concurrently, why not show them?  Adjust the timing here and there, and let the characters on the right answer the characters on the left.  It was just an experiment at first.  Tried it in one bar scene where two male characters are conversing about the same subject as two female characters.  What do you know?  It clicked.  It worked.  Jokes came faster.  You didn’t have time to blink and you were laughing again.  Or in a few cases, the inherent sadness of a friendship perhaps destroyed was given an even greater emotional impact.

 

Watching and using the split screens, co-editor Ashley McGarry and I just knew in our guts this was right for the film. 

 

And that’s what it comes down to for me.  That gut feeling.  Whether holding on someone’s expression for a beat longer than you might think necessary, because in reality sometimes we need that extra moment of reflection.  Or inserting a list of “rules” as a text scroll to make a scene go where it needed it to go.  Or dozens of other little examples in this film.  (Some big examples: cutting a huge emotional scene down to one line because I felt the rest made one character just a hair less likable, cutting scenes because I found an actors blocking distracting, sacrificing a few amazing shots that ultimately did nothing to move the story along, or reducing characters down to a few lines because either the story wasn’t really about them, or I felt their performance distracting.)  You go with your gut.  In the end, as director, it’s your name signed at the bottom of the canvas.  And after a horrible bigger-budget filmmaking experience back in 2002 (read the blog entry titled “Just say no to Billy Zane” from September 2008), I promised myself I would never again sign my name to a film or book I wasn’t proud of. 

 

Well, I’m ready to sign my name to Friends (with benefits).  Come see it at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival on June 12th, and you’ll see why.

 

P.S. An aside.  OK…I did not sign my name to my last novel UNWOUND.  It was published under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine.  But not because I wasn’t proud of the book.  I actually love the book.  The name change was quite simply to trick the computers at Barnes & Noble.  See, the big chains, like B&N, preorder copies of your new book based upon the sales of your last book.  Now, most of my novels have had a first printing of between 5,000 and 20,000 copies.  The first printing for UNWOUND was going to be 146,000 copies. Thus the publisher wanted the B&Ns of the world to order a lot more than what they ordered and sold of my previous titles.  Smile.  You just learned something about the publishing business.

List of Extras on the PSYCHOS IN LOVE dvd…

 Just wanted to update everyone on the long awaited US DVD release of my film PSYCHOS IN LOVE. Besides this being a pristine and beautiful transfer of the film, this DVD is LOADED (scream “LOADED” from the rooftops) with extras.

Here is the complete list:

Feature Commentary with Gorman Bechard (from 2009)
Feature Commentary with Gorman Bechard and Carmine Capobianco (from 2005)
Original Trailer
Alternate Opening
Making Psychos in Love
Photo Gallery (make that a HUGE photo gallery)
Extended Scenes
Highlights from Psychos in Love: The Stageplay

As well as three of my short films:
Bartholomew the Strangler, Short Film (1983)
The Only Take, Short Film (1983)
Objects in the Mirror are Further Than They Appear, Short Film (2003)

Trailers from my last two features:
You Are Alone, Trailer (2005)
Friends with Benefits, Trailer (2009)

And a very cool video promo for my last novel:
Unwound, Promo (2007)

Not bad for under twenty bucks!

Pre-Order the film HERE
Visit the offical PSYCHOS IN LOVE website HERE
And please remember: grapes do kill people, because we kill people who eat grapes!
Original promo card.
Original promo card.

Book outweighs Blog, Blog fills up Paper, Paper covers Rock…

Sorry…been working on the new novel, so blogging takes a back seat.

However, there is a half hour interview with me which you can watch by clicking HERE.

And you can pre-order your jam-packed-with-extras version of the PSYCHOS IN LOVE dvd by clicking HERE.  The trailer for PSYCHOS is on the film’s FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.

More soon…

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Psychos In Love

Forgot to mention, my crazy cult horror comedy from 1986 — PSYCHOS IN LOVE — is about to get a top notch dvd release from Media-Blasters. Tons of extras, including two commentaries (one I’m doing now, and one from a few years back with me and Carmine). a behind-the-scenes, the original trailer, a huge photo gallery, trailers for my two most recent films (You Are Alone and Friends With Benefits), a promo video I did for my last book UNWOUND (written under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine), and two shorts, one old (The Only Take) and the last short I made (Objects In The Mirror Are Further Than They Appear)…and perhaps even a few other suprises.

Not to mention, this will be a new transfer off the original film…so it should look pristine!

It’ll be available on March 31, 2009…and you can pre-order your copy of the PSYCHOS IN LOVE dvd by clicking HERE!

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