DAY 15 - Friday
MARCH 23, 2001
MONTAGE & EYEMO
STREET #2 - MONTAGE -- NIGHT
NIGHTCLUB - MONTAGE -- NIGHT
STREET - MONTAGE -- NIGHT
MURAL - 2/3 COMPLETE -- NIGHT
MOVING PATROL CAR - EYEMO CAM -- NIGHT
Cops, hos and hip-hop director
all fun stuff, and a relief after the stress of last night. The bulk
of tonight's work was a series of vignettes for a montage that
occurs early in the screenplay. Francis' voice-over kicks in after
the first Carol scene and we see Francis and Morning dealing with
various perpetrators of mundane mayhem. The idea behind the montage
is to convey the numbing repetitiveness of police work.
montage was another one of those moments in the script where Mike
Jones and I experimented with several different versions of the
action. What I finally decided on was a sequence that didn't rely on
dialogue to tell the story. It became a series of purely visual
I don't know if the montage will even remain as a single sequence in
the film. It may work better if it's divided up and turned into
chapter headings placed at various points during the action. This is
in part a response to an observation that many have made about EvenHand
(most notably Billy D.) -- it's a very episodic story, especially in
the first act. The scenes eventually weave together to tell a story,
but there needs to be some kind of binding agent throughout to
signal to the audience that this is not just a random series of
events in the life of a couple of cops. But that's what's fun about
editing. Our job tonight was to shoot the montage scenes.
challenge was to finish before midnight. Tim was planning to fly to
Los Angeles to attend the Independent Spirit Awards. He was
nominated for an award for Best Cinematographer for his work on George
started at the Better Burger on East Houston Street for a scene
where a Latina woman has apparently knocked a black couple's food to
the ground. Francis arrives (alone) and tries to mediate the
problem. I started by telling the black couple to ad-lib some
dialogue to the effect of "What the hell's wrong with you, you
stupid bitch?" The man informed me that he was a Baptist
minister and would it be OK if he didn't use any curse words? I was
suitably chastened, and assured him that we would keep it clean.
Props delivered some burgers, fries and a couple of cokes, which I
promptly threw on the ground. Then the fun began.
rehearsed, I noticed three neighborhood girls watching from behind
the camera. When we were ready to roll I asked them if they wanted
to be in the movie. They allowed as how they did, so I told them to
go to the Better Burger order window and act like they were waiting
for their food. I have to say, this is one of the things that I love
about low-budget right-to-work filmmaking. Anyone can be an extra!
There are no stupid SAG rules about the minimum number of SAG extras
you must hire before engaging non-union players. And there's nothing
like the real thing. I got so sick of creepy career extras in New
York hamming it up all the time.
The best Mexican food in San Antonio
Better Burger under our belt, we moved on to the J & I Cafe for
the arrest of the prostitutes. My choice for the hos were Karen, our
Wardrobe person, and Lisa Russell, our NY import and Cypress Chick.
The J & I provided an excellent backdrop and, incidentally, the
best Mexican food I had in San Antonio. The Bills ad-libbed an
amusing bit with a stuffed blue duck which Francis produces for
Morning to give to a boy who watches them arrest the hos. Morning
makes his opinion of the ducks eminently clear by the dismissive way
he shoves it in the boy's hands.
Billy D. cuffs Karen...
...while Bill S. puts the moves on Lisa
were appropriately dispatched and we made our way to the next
location, a graffiti wall, for my personal favorite of the montage
scenes: the big fat Buddha guy with no shirt and blood pouring all
down his front from a cut in his head. Behind him Morning wrestles
with the angry guy that presumably bashed him. This was a bizarre
scene to shoot because the guy Candi (extras casting) found to play
the basher was all too willing to get into his role. And Bill Sage
was good to go when it came to subduing him. All in all, it made for
a pretty realistic and strange scene.
Yvonne (Costume Designer) got pretty exasperated
because she had a tacky shirt all picked out for the Buddha guy and
I just made him take it off. If you are ever lucky enough to watch
"Cops" on television you will see that the potential and
actual perpetrators are always hanging around without shirts on.
It's the American way and there's nothing Yvonne could say to
convince me otherwise. Plus, the guy had great breasts.
The Graffiti Wall
The bloody Buddha
some point during the night, Jamie, our hillbilly bug-eating PA was
fired for showing up really late (or something like that; I was
never all that clear on the details). His pal Hurley would be fired
soon thereafter for offering pot to Io, our 15-year-old actress.
Totally uncool. But before we knew of Hurley's tendency to deal
drugs to minors, we did immortalize him on film as Fernando's
drug-dealing cohort in another montage vignette. Art imitates life,
or something like that.
Morning gets the producer to cough up the drug balloon
last scene of the night was the patrol car screeching past the
mural, which is revealed to be 2/3 complete. We did a few takes and
wrapped the Bills and Tim, wishing the latter the best of luck for
his Independent Spirit nomination. A reduced crew rigged the patrol
car for the Eyemo shots.
Matt lines up the Eyemo
Eyemo is a super cool little camera that, by virtue of it's small
size, is well suited for mounting on the outside of a car for moving
shots. With Matt Petrosky flexing his DP muscles, we came up with
several great shots, all very reminiscent of Taxi Driver. I stood in
for Bill Sage's arm with a San Lovisa Police Dept. shirt and a wrist
watch borrowed from Scott Hays, our SAPD motorcycle escort. We spent
the rest of the night driving up and down Broadway zipping through
the Eyemo's tiny 100' magazines. I got to drive the patrol car,
which was lots of fun. After having piloted a patrol car in uniform,
I can more clearly understand the odd transformation the Bills go
through as soon as they get in wardrobe. All night long I kept
trying to arrest and handcuff Kinya.
- Joseph Pierson
© 2001 Cypress Films, Inc. All rights reserved.