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Making Cherry
a romantic comedy starring Shalom Harlow
Cahiers: There is a good deal of blood in Pierrot le Fou?
Jean Luc Godard: Not blood, red.
--October 1965
You've Got Questions? Cherry Has Answers
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Locations:
Muffin Shop

Sunset: 5:02 PM

Weather: Sunny. Hi of 39.

Principals:
Leila, Evy, Red, Jack, Dottie, Donald,  Darcy, Gary, Menu Man, Customer

6 SAG Extras

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The Dailies News

And we even have our Heath!

We got email today from a guy named David today, and he was quite complimentary about Making Cherry. That's nice, I like hearing that someone out there is following what we're doing and is getting it and is amused by it and is staying interested.

Even better, because praise can fill up one's head pretty quickly, David had a complaint about the pictures. Seems he's met one or another of the crew and the pictures he found of them in these pages, he said, didn't do them justice.

And I have to agree.

The pictures here are, um, pretty artistic, if you know what I mean. Which has been a problem. I mean, this digital camera makes moving the pictures from camera to disk pretty easy--much easier than scanning, but it is causing me problems. I keep ending up with shots of actors and crew, medium shots particularly, that do scant justice to our comrades' good looks.

On the other hand, some pictures work, although usually not the ones I wish were complimentary. Such as the portraits on the personal pages. Is there a solution? I'm going to try some things over the next few days, but I'm not real confident. Part of the challenge is to keep the graphics files small enough that they don't clog up dial-up modem transfers. The other part of the challenge is to keep the site up to date.

I fear the majority of the pictures here will represent a compromise between speed, ease and quality. Which doesn't mean I won't be trying to figure out ways to improve things. Any suggestions?

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I spent some time this afternoon with various crew members watching some of the dailies. What is easy to report about the dailies is that the pictures are beautiful. Even though they're transferred to video, which increases the contrast and has a much lower resolution than the film, they look gorgeous.

What is always tough about dailies is judging how all the pieces will fit together. When the directors and producers and editor and everybody else sit down together and watch the rushes, each has some special area of interest that draws her or his immediate attention.

The director gauges performance. The editor looks for good coverage. The makeup person wonders if "that darkness" is the video transfer. The DP evaluates the image quality, and decides whether it can be properly balanced later. You get the idea.

The point is that there is too much data at hand to do a full evaluation on one look through, and anyway, they all know, the movie isn't anything until it is cut and scored and mixed, which means all those people poring over the dailies are looking more for fixable mistakes than pats on the back.

That's the professional mode.

What I was looking for was laughs. The key to comedy, of course, is getting people to crack up. Comedic performance is rarely judged on how perfectly one has rendered an Upper Uzbekistanian accent, or mimicked the gait of a Bolivian bureaucrat. Comedy is about laughter. And I can report that the people watching the dailies were laughing.

There is a scene in Cherry in which Shalom comes out the door of her apartment building. She is being pulled by her dog and at the same time she is trying to pick up the trash that the prospective sperm donors left in the street earlier in the day.

If you don't understand, all I can say is I mean this, literally.

The scene is really just an excuse to get Leila moving to Uncle Ernest and Mammy's house, but in the dailies the scene plays marvelously, because Shalom works nimbly with Marilyn, and the two dart across the frame like sprites. There are moments where it looks as if Shalom may topple, as she reaches and bends, and others in which it appears Marilyn might dart away. But instead the two dance together across the frame, from right to left, a syncopated move that could as easily have been tapped as walked.

And while watching it, everybody laughed. Nice words, those.

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Above you see a prime example of an art shot. I think it works, sort of. If you prefer atmosphere to detail.

It's your choice.

Heath Jacob Baldwin has been a fixture in the Cypress Films office since last summer. I first met him the night of the Julian Po screening at Planet Hollywood, where the security guards mistook him for Beck and led him up to the VIP lounge so that he could smoke in peace. Needless to say, I was impressed.

It turns out Heath is a character and a raconteur and quite a good guy, too, and he keeps threatening to contribute some writing to "Making Cherry." Heath is also (as if he didn't have enough to do) appearing in the movie as Man #4. Which means he is fourth in the video sequence in which potential sperm donors make their pitch for the video camera. Each, of course, has his own reason for wanting to have sex with Leila.

Heath's is simple: "I'm just really horny."

Nothing is ever simple in the movies, so during the course of filming Heath comes to say the line at least 20 times. And in nearly every one of them the line reading is different.

In the first take Heath is bashful, his eyes are hooded. Can he really have just said the word Horny?

In the next he is surprised, as if he'd just realized why he was there.

Then he comes on seductive, alluring, inviting her along.

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His next take is as open as Nebraska, his is just a nice ol' big farm howdy ya do.

Then he's matter of fact, an IRS auditor telling you your payment is late.

By turns his eyes dart or sit still, his shoulders hunch or shrug or turn. Toward the end Jon instructs him to use his tongue, through which Heath has inserted a gold stud, and he goes through some of the better choices (seductive, open, simple) again, only this time he rolls the stud between his teeth at the start. Or else he let's it spill forward at the end.

The array of choices for this three second shot in Cherry is astounding. And tells just part of the story. Man #3, with a longer schtick, was hysterical. And by the end of Matt Servito's segment (he plays Customer) the crew was howling with laughter.

You can hear it in the dailies.

     Mail the Cherry Web Man       
Peter Kreutzer  

 

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(c) 1998 Peter M. Kreutzer