The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 4-5

Day 4-5. Fun SHR Trivia Fact #23: The restaurant location is two different places, we use one restaurant for the interior or “inside” scenes and another for the exterior or “outside” scenes for the restaurant. Like how the NBC sitcom Seinfeld did for their exteriors of “Monk’s Cafe” when really it is “Tom’s Restaurant”, although where they use a sound stage for the interiors, we actually use a restaurant.

 

 

 

We are very grateful for the people at Los Vaqueros for letting us film inside their great space, if you haven’t been there, the food is excellent. And another shoutout to La Playa Maya for letting us film in there parking lot. It helps not only to have a good location but when the people at the location are fantastic and work with you to bring your production to life, you just have to be grateful.

Back on Day 4-5, we were filming the few scenes at Los Vaqueros. These are always light days, because we are only in there before they open, so we have a 3hr window to shoot the scenes for that location. This season it wasn’t a lot which was nice, we have a killer cast that always has everything down and knows how fast we like to shoot scenes. So we blasted through them. And everything seemed to be running smooth.

 

Day 4 was broken up into two parts, the first half was at Los Vaqueros and the second at La Playa Maya to get all the exteriors both day and night. Well, mother nature has her way always and it rained most of that day. Which meant I had to contact the actors and reschedule. The logical thing would be, to just do it tomorrow, but it’s not that easy. Scheduling can be tricky and in the end we could only get one actor to be able to shoot the next day. I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve to get those scenes into the production schedule, I’ll save that for another post. I just realized that I haven’t established who “I” is…

 

Call me Ishmael…that’s a bad joke, why I went with Moby Dick is beyond me. Why we had to read all the chapters that were just about whales…not the point, my name is Dexter. I am a producer and the assistant director at Lumindeo. If you don’t already know me, I’m the guy pictured to the right with that look of “Was that take 2 or 4?”. These blog posts about the shoot will be from my perspective and hopefully, I will do it justice.

Day 4-5 in quick summary were good days, if there wasn’t one rain day during your production it wouldn’t be as fun. Until next time, guys.

 

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 3

Day 3. We had just started the production of Saving Harper Ross season 2. There was new crew, some new cast and new crazy stories. I’m starting on Day 3, because that’s the day I let loose Tony Hernandez. Tony is one of the new SHR crew members, he came on to grip. He brought his camera to set and I asked if he could take some BTS for us (BTS being “Behind The Scenes”). All the pictures that will be on these blog posts or posted on the Lumindeo Facebook page were taken by Tony.

Day 3 was a great day, we were shooting at this cool dive bar in Arlington, TX called Tanstaafl Pub, this was the first day of production that we had a handful of new cast, and it was probably one of our earliest start times. We had some night scenes we needed to film and to pull this off as efficiently as possible we had to shoot them early in the morning before sunrise. Everybody was running on a lot of caffeine that day.

 

This was also the day we got to see a new role come to life, and it was epic.

Some back story, there was one role in the new season of Saving Harper Ross that took forever to cast. And it wasn’t until the very last minute until we found him. The few auditions we had for the role weeks before the shoot, they just weren’t what we were looking for and we held out until we found the right fit. I think it was right after Day 1 of production, Chason our fearless leader, sat down and watched tape after tape of auditions until he found him. It was a great relief when Chason walked onto set the next day telling me he found him. But, that’s just how it goes sometimes in film. Things just work out at the very last minute.

All in all, this was a fun long day with some great scenes that just give you chills. I personally can’t wait to see the finish product. This season of Saving Harper Ross is bigger and better in every way. Get ready people.

 

Until next time.

DEO Live: Ep12 Actor Amanda Erickson

The Super Secret Special Talents of Actors.

This week on DEO Live we interviewed Amanda Erickson, or as you probably know her by now, Harper Ross. One of our favorite things about auditioning actors is that we always look for the bottom section entitled: Actor’s Special Talents. This section is always chock full of crazy strange talents such as, trombone playing, juggling, holding 25 Oreos in their mouth, etc. To quote Forrest Gump, ‘You never really know what you’re gonna get.’

On Amanda’s Special Talents form she included her ability to us various dialects. This has always fascinated us, probably because we are so bad at it. So we had Amanda walk us through some of this stuff and we found it highly entertaining. Check out the video below. Also, check out Amanda in Saving Harper Ross and if you want to connect with Amanda further you can check out her Facebook page here.

 

DEO LIVE: Ep. 11 Poetry and Hurricanes

Not much rhymes with ‘poetry.’

Let’s face it, poetry is not easy to write. In fact, most poets come in the form of cutsie limericks or Facebook memes these days. So it is very refreshing to read the poetry in Pure Oceans, written by our own Avery Laing.

You might not know it, but Avery has a wide variety of talents and interests. He is the voice actor for Useless the dog in Wyatt’s Fort. He is the waiter in the web series Saving Harper Ross. He serves as a Production Assistant in most Lumindeo films. And he is also the guy sitting over in the corner of Starbucks, headphones in ears, typing away his latest poem.

Pure Oceans, Avery’s latest poetry book, displays a wide range of topics and emotions. It is available at Amazon right now and you should totally pick it up. It is totally worth the read and no one wants to be the guy at the party that says, ‘poetry is lost on me.‘ That guy never gets the girl.

Check out our interview with Avery below and then be a good sport and go buy the book, paperback or digital. If you buy it this month it will help us send supplies down to Hurricane Harvey victims. Enjoy.

DEO LIVE: Episode 10 Acting with Theo Bray

Theo Bray Acting Tips

This week on DEO LIVE I was so excited to interview actor Theo Bray. You might recognize Theo from his acting in The Network as well as Wyatt’s Fort Season Three where he played the awesome Uncle Bob. Not only is Theo a great film actor but he is also a regular theater performer as well. How he has time for all his acting work, I have no idea. But you can check out his reel here.

I was so excited to have him come into the studio to discuss with me his top four important things for any actor, new or professional, to add to their acting arsenal. We also chatted about his new web series Kalah Keys. I’m so excited to bring you this interview. Enjoy the interview and check back in with more new DEO Live videos each week on DEO.TV

DEO Live EP. 10 Theo…Man, That Guy Is Awesome from DEO.TV on Vimeo.

Saving Harper Ross Production Set for Fall 2017

Production for Saving Harper Ross Seasons 2 & 3 Begins November

We released Saving Harper Ross season one back in April of this year and needless to say the series ended with a huge cliffhanger. So you could say we did it to ourselves. People immediately wanted more.  I got calls and texts from fans pleading to know what happens next for our unnamed hero (played be James DeWitt III). While I don’t want to spoil anything here, it is safe to say that the end of season one is a bit cruel. So due to popular and insistent demand we are gearing up to keep the story coming.

Saving Harper Ross Finale

We are not only filming the next season of Saving Harper Ross. We are filming the finale season of the show as well. Harper Ross was always designed around three seasons, nine episodes. I (Chason) certainly did not want to pull a Lost and start not knowing how the show would end. I knew the importance of writing with the end in mind. Especially when the premise is a guy reliving the same day over and over. Early on Harper Ross was sketched out in its entirety to take place over nine episodes in a simple three act structure. I looked at it like a three act structure for the whole, yet each episode has it’s own series of three to four mini-acts.

Coming Soon

This fall we are filming all six remaining episodes. Release dates are not out yet but it will be early in 2018. We have spoken with the cast and are super excited to work with this team again. We were really blessed with the talent on SHR. These guys are going to move on to some great and awesome things. I just hope that when one of them lands on a set with Christopher Nolan they invite me a long for tea time.

Watch SHR Now

If you haven’t seen Saving Harper Ross Season One yet, you can watch it HERE. It’s Free. It’s awesome. Do us a favor and tell your friends about it. Share it on Facebook. It means the world to us and we can’t do shows like this without help from you! So thanks in advance!

Also, check out the trailer below.

Official Saving Harper Ross Trailer from DEO.TV on Vimeo.

Wyatt’s Fort Season Three: The Dreamy Schemey

You’re probably wondering how to take over the world. It’s easy peasy.

Grimhilt

Wyatt’s Fort Season Three: The Dreamy Schemey is Live!

We are so excited to release the latest season of Wyatt’s Fort! We did something a bit different with this season. Rather than three distinct episodes, we ran all three episodes together in one continuous story; The Dreamy Schemey.

We did this for a few reasons. First, the Bible story paralleling Wyatt’s adventure is about Joseph, his coat, and his ultimate rise to power under Pharaoh in Egypt. This is a big lengthy story and we didn’t think we could pull off such a big story in one stand alone episode. By cutting Joseph’s story into three parts we were able to tell it in a simple yet fluid way.

Second, Wyatt deals with some intense themes in this season involving trust; trusting God when it seems like God has forgotten you, trusting God works things together for His good, trusting that God has a plan. These are some seriously deep topics for both kids and adults. So we wanted to take our time building the story to reflect these themes and put it together so that in the end we have communicated clearly and Wyatt’s story is told in an excellent way.

Finally, by making the episodes run together in one epic story we can recut the show into a feature length film. While we are releasing the show on DEO.TV and RightNow Media in its episodic form, we are hoping to release the feature version into Redbox. Fingers crossed on that one!

We really pulled out all the stops to make this Wyatt’s greatest adventure yet; jets, sleeping gas, armored cars, cinder blocks falling from the skies. It’s awesome.

Check out the trailer below and then head on over to DEO.TV to watch it!

Wyatt’s Fort: The Dreamy Schemey Trailer from DEO.TV

 

A Quiet Passion Delivers Poetry to Screen Faux Pas

A Quiet Passion’s only draw is its protagonist—Emily Dickinson—but as it turns out the film’s not even about her.

a quiet passion

What Paterson hit A Quiet Passion missed

Within four months two poem-to-screen films hit distribution. A Quiet Passion offers a biographical sketch of Emily Dickinson, interpreted by her own poetry. Paterson draws a story—inspired by William Carlos Williams selection of poetry entitled ‘Paterson’. Paterson’s secret ingredient is subtlety. Each scene urges a delightful inspection of the details. In QP, subtlety fades to slumber right around the thirty-minute mark. The QP screenplay is remarkably uneventful. Dickinson’s life may have lacked dramatic intrigue, but the filmmakers mistook drama for event and left us with a lack luster sequence of meaningless scenes.

Dickinson’s ‘greatest hits’ falls flat

The A Quiet Passion screenplay finagled Dickinson’s ‘greatest hits’ to fit its own objectives. The poems are not only forced into the story, but also grossly out of place. Rather than guiding the viewers’ affections and attentions they break the flow of the story, espousing not contemplation, but confusion.
The poems selected for the screenplay seemed to emerge from a high school textbook. Dickinson’s work is dense and broad. In several cases lesser known poems would have illuminated the story, rather than drug it along by a cryptic hitch of vaguely repeated themes.

Historicity and interpretation should be in dialogue

People will always take issue with films about real people. It’s obvious. I mean, history is never just fact. It’s always being interpreted by somebody. Welcoming differing interpretations of reality is the foundation for viewing art, but, there is a fine line between interpretation and manipulation. The use of Dickinson’s poems to understand her life appeared counterproductive. I almost had to squint to see where, writer and director, Terrence Davies wanted me to look. The interpretation seemed oddly disconnected from the actual poetry itself. I expected more from Davies.

Preach it—or don’t

Great films are not venting sessions to shame or correct or advise whomever sits out there in those woolly red seats. It’s as if Davies used the mouths of phony characters as megaphones for personal propositions. I’m not saying that it is wrong for filmmakers to have opinions and tastes and guide the story by them. Forcing a story to fit an abstract proposition to which it, organically, has little to do produces a disingenuous film.

As a generous middle-aged woman, whom I met in the restroom after the show, said “It might have been better as a book.” —emphasis on might.

 *Limited US distribution April 14, 2017

– K. Pastore

Netflix Original Film Asks About the After-life

In The Discovery Robert Redford and Jason Segel pair-up as a father-son duo trying to reconcile their pasts and alter their futures.

the discovery jason segel

Dr. Thomas Harber (Redford), a renowned physicist, discovers brain activity that leaves the body after death. Because of this ‘discovery,’ he has the evidence to prove an after-life. This unimaginable discovery makes breaking news all over the world. The impact is dreadful. The proof that life after death exists results in mass suicides.  Together entire families take their lives in order to start fresh in the next life.

Will (Segel) is scandalized by his father’s negligence. Harber refuses to take blame for the death-toll, yet forms his own boarding house for the suicidal. Will and his new-found companion Isla (Rooney Mara) thrust themselves into Harber’s cultic community. Will seeks to stop his father, but Harber plunges ahead to find out what the after-life actually entails. As they say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” That same generational curse of questioning entrances Will—who makes a discovery of his own in the end. . . or perhaps the beginning.

Charlie McDowell and Justin Lader’s film The Discovery  tries to withhold straight answers.

lader mcdowell
Lader and McDowell

It asks a lot of questions. McDowell and Lader’s interesting questions are what drove me to see the film in the first place. During a Q&A writer Justin Lader expressed that this

projected started when he and McDowell began asking, ‘what if somebody proved life-after-death?’ Their answer inspected the underlying guilt and regret that we humans harbor. McDowell and Lader suggest that such a discovery could result in suicidal hysteria, in order to ‘get there,’ that is, to get to a fresh start—a place where people can redeem their past lives.

The first three-fourths of the movie are tantalizing. But, unfortunately the story drops off the deep end when it tries to wrap-up.

Without giving to much away—McDowell and Lader attempt to answer one question, ‘what’s the after-life like?’ and they throw in a twist on top of that. The Inception-ending spin-off is a really unfortunate conclusion to a such a unique story. The final scenes of the film constrict the imaginative freedom that the rest of the film works to create.
Regardless, I consider the film well-worth seeing and certainly worth your time. The Discovery moves into territory of fact/fiction, moral/immoral, certainty/faith. It doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do, asking questions rather than giving answers, but it forges a path into sincere inquisition and story exploration.

The Discovery is available on Netflix, March 31, 2017.

-K. Pastore

“Will movie theaters die?” is the wrong question.

Instead of maintaining equilibrium let’s cannonball into the next possibility.

We should be asking—“What do movie theaters have to give to our morphing cinematic culture?”

Our Cinematic Culture

I’m a big fan of movie theaters. Those nostalgic velvet curtains and thin-framed red seats transport me to the past. My mind swirls about the decades of cinematic history. Even the mouths of crunching popcorn and the slight fear of getting lice from the seat back well-up some sentiment—I’m not alone. Though I’m sitting in a crowd of strangers, for a small blip on life’s timeline it kind-of feels like we’re family. But, the more those ticket prices rocket the less likely I’ll be there. Video-on-demand platforms are offering more options and to tell you the truth I’m getting more into series over feature length.

the crown

My story is not uncommon. A flood of people, probably including yourself, are regularly accessing VOD. And, in the same breath, they are trickling out of theaters. Those at-arms-length films are cheap and abundant. But the cheap and plentiful film selections is not the major reason that viewing has shifted. According to Tim Bevan, Working Title co-chairman, the popular appetite has drifted to long-form narratives, series. Series like The Crown, which Working Title produces, requires budgets close to that of feature-length films. That money’s got to come from somewhere. Overall, it seems that people are more interested in VOD, because they are more interested in long-form narratives.

What About Theaters?

The moment start trying to “keep theaters alive” is the moment we fail as artists. Maintenance isn’t art. . . I mean, it’s not even business.

Music, theater, dance, painting, literature—they all explore. The arts push forward. They look for something new, swoop into unknown territory, ask forgotten questions, and seek untold stories. When we degrade to mere maintenance, we indulge in more singular and conceded sentimentality.

This tension between VOD and theaters has destabilized the filmmaking industry. But, cinema isn’t the first art form to go through massive shifts in funding, production and viewing. It’s just that film is young. This is a major shift, but tension is the place for creativity. It’s the place for collaboration.

patterson
Netflix Original “Paterson” made theater release

We shouldn’t ask if theaters will die, but instead what is their potential. What do theaters have to give? In what way could they partner with  VOD services? How would it work to screen a series? The community, the sound, the giant screen, the night on the town, the experience. I’m convinced movie theaters have a lot to offer long-form narratives and their VOD platforms. Theaters must start collaborating with VODs, and when they do—for better or worse—they’ll transform.

 

 

– k.pastore