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This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Film, Fog, and Naked Torsos

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

The Gunslinger Trailer Shoot Part One of Who Knows
Two Days in Fresno
The shoot was actually in Exeter, California, but our hotel was in Fresno and that title sounds similar to Four Days in Sylmar, The Privateers Shoot. I suppose it’s because of they have the same number of syllables. Yes, I’m punchy, and it won’t get any better. Our hotel was in Fresno, because that was closest to our first location for the shoot. By the time we secured the site in Exeter, our third, the hotel was 45 miles away. We purchased rooms via Priceline.com and couldn’t switch. But it was a great price on some nice rooms. Besides, our leading lady was from Fresno. It worked to stay near her and all travel to the shoot together. It wasn’t a horrible inconvenience, except for the fog. We were warned about that even before reaching Fresno. There were fog visibility checks along State Route 99. That didn’t make much sense until the Saturday morning when we couldn’t see the IHOP across the parking lot from the hotel. Travis thought he had awoke in a Stephen King movie. Reaching Exeter was really scary. We all had eyes peeled for the sudden appearance of trucks stopped on the road.

Our location for the trailer shoot was a ranch in Exeter, CA that often host weddings, corporate team building and other events. The owners were connected to our horse wrangler and pistol provider, Rich Kreps, a resident of the area and a client of our partner. Our hosts were lovely, salt of the earth type folks with a great 20 acre spread where we found several kinds of backdrops for scenes and photos. Because the ranch hosts all sorts of events, our location had niceties that we weren’t expecting like a dressing room for our actors and some facilities that were nicer than what we rented for Demon Under Glass. We were expecting rustic, we got comfortable. And the family couldn’t have been sweeter people. Their five year old son, an Adorable Little Fellow (Alf), was with us most of Saturday and a good bit of Sunday. He was a blonde, blue-eyed, freckle faced cutie with limitless imagination and endless patience. It was really hard to leave him, especially after he volunteered to have his father build us a house on the property. He thought that because we were in a hotel that we were homeless. I’m keeping the offer in mind.

The ranch was not the frontier, but it had enough rustic feel to work for our needs. We had two scenes for Saturday. The first was Shadow Smith alone on a trail, exhausted from life on the run and paranoid about faceless foes. The second is Shadow enjoying a safe and soothing bath from warm water in a rain barrel. Unbeknownst to him, KD Delaney is watching from nearby. They seemed to be simple scenes because they were short and had no dialogue. Ha! We scoff at simplicity and somehow thwart it. The trail scene involved a horse. That adage about not working with animals or children exists for a reason. In this case, it’s the temperament of horses. They do not like strangers or surprises. Doc, the horse Travis would work with, was not an exception to that rule. He also didn’t like crossing wet areas or mounds in the grass. Doc had definite ideas of where he would go. The problem was that in the scene, Shadow is exhausted and not really steering the horse. Thus, Travis had to steer a very stubborn animal while looking like he was about to lapse into sleep. That part of the shoot took a while and involved much that could go on a gag reel.

Somehow, that scene got done, but the sun was low when we went for the rain barrel footage. And though we had many niceties, we did not have anyway to heat water for the rain barrel as planned. Travis had to pour handfuls of cold well water over his head and down his torso. And it wasn’t a quick scene, because we had to make sure the rivulets of water were visible on his skin. Our poor Shadow was soaked and freezing in bright sunlight by the time we finished. He was a trooper though. He poured all that cold water over himself and looked like he was enjoying it. I admit I was.

Our adventure continues in The Outlaw Has No Boots, the exciting sequel to The Vampire Had No Pants. Watch for it this Sunday.

Holi-daze – February Edition
Okay, there are too many holidays in this one, short month. There is Ground Hog Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Chinese New Year, President’s Day and on top of all of that, Black History Month. That’s a lot of pressure for a holiday minded person like myself, especially while readying for a shoot. I did what I could.

I didn’t get to Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez much. I did enjoy some lovely cold fried chicken and a glass of red wine while watching Peter Mansbridge in LA covering Super Tuesday for the Canadian Broadcasting. That was a real treat though I would have loved to see him in person, not streaming on the web. It was a pretty hot time. For the Chinese New Year, which is my year, the Year of the Rat, I made potstickers and low mein and sent well wishes to everyone. My wish for me and for Jon, aside from making a new film, is a return to France. It has been too long without a visit. As for the rest, I’m watching Black History being made this month. I don’t think that can be topped.

Author Stuff

I am still working on A Soldier’s Fate every day. I’ll be inputting until the wee small hours tonight. The caption contest is still on hold. Be patient.

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